Thursday, June 24, 2010


I always loved hollyhocks, but every time I bought some (forget seeds - absolutely no luck with those)they would live for a year and then not come back. In all fairness to my gardening ability, I think some little bug gets in and eats the seeds to keep them from self seeding a lot of the time because when I've tried to save seeds, there is nothing there but some husks. Anyway, about 10 years ago I decided to try again and got a red/rose colored one from Glasshouse Works. I believe it was one that originally came from Ken's parents' farm. Well, it grew and came back and there were always a few. Never a huge amount, so I still think most of the seeds are being eaten. After a few years, there was some variation on the colors, but still all in the rose/red range. This year, for unknown reasons, I have lots of hollyhocks and the color range is wonderful. Here are the eight different ones that are blooming this morning. Some are not really good pictures, but it is really hot out there and these, of course, grow in full sun, so it was a quick trip to get some pictures for the blog and then back inside to my fan.

This first one is probably close to the color of the original plant.

And this one has a texture like a tree peony, rather crepe-papery and translucent.
This is a much darker and clearer red.

This one is perfectly round, no ruffles or anything.

This is a tinier flower with a pretty eye.

This is my favorite. The petals are thin, fringed, and the center eye, though it looks cream colored here, is really a light green. Quite stunning. All of these plants are taller than I am, so there are a lot of flowers on each one. I do hope they seed around a lot. Can't wait to see what shows up next year.

This is a very, very pale pink with a slightly darker eye.

And last, another mostly round one with an edge that is green when it first comes out and then fades to cream. The bumble bees seem to like them a lot!

Hollyhocks like full sun and seem tolerant of pretty much any soil, though I don't think they like wet feet.
Stay cool,

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Hot" Daylilies

On such a hot day I should probably be taking pictures of cool white daylilies, but the most striking one this morning were the hot colors, the reds and oranges.

This first is one of my all time favorites 'Primal Scream' . It is a rather larger flower and right now the plant is just covered with blooms.

Next is 'Open Hearth', an oldie with a rather flat form.

'Old Tangiers' is a lovely deep orange. It always reminds me of a gorgeous sunset.

'Chinese New Year' is very similar, but leans more to the red side.

'Aztec Firebird' is a spidery/unusual form bi-color with red petals and yellow sepals. It has been a fast increaser and dependable bloomer in the 3 years it has been in the garden.

'All American Chief' is definitely red. No shades of anything else. Just red. And that's a good thing!

'Mauna Loa' has always been one of my favorites. We have clumps in several different places in the yard, and every year without exception, the first bloom on each clump will open on the same day. Odd.

'Dragon Wings' is another red. You can't really see it on the photo, but this one is really velvety looking in person. This one is a bit slower to increase, but lovely none the less.

Last for today is 'Christmas Ribbon'. This one has formed a large clump, but I have had trouble with the blooms being a bit splotchy. This year with all of the moisture and heat it is just wonderful. In addition to being very red, it is also a very large bloom, probably 10 inches across. You can pick it out from across the yard.

Not sure just what I'm going to write about next, but I'm taking pictures every day, so I'm sure something will strike my fancy tomorrow morning.
Stay cool,

Monday, June 21, 2010

More Pink

This is a new shrub we got this spring. It is Hydrangea arborescens 'Spirit'. It is a pink version of Annabelle. If you are familiar with Annabelle, you will know that is absolutely dependable with its big white flower heads that can be dried for winter. Our plant arrived quite tiny, maybe 8 inches tall. We kept it potted for the first week or two because we were still expecting frost. It has been in the ground for a month or so now and is about 2 feet tall and has 2 blooms. I really wasn't expecting our little plant to bloom this year. I think I'm going to like this one. It likes light shade, but otherwise isn't really particular. A portion of the purchase price of each plant goes to fund breast cancer research. Beautiful flower, good cause ... can't get much better than that.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Daylilies - Mostly Pink

It's been a busy week. All this wonderful rain has made the weeds grow as well as the plants, better actually. We get up extra early to get some weeding done before the sun hits and the temperature climbs towards 90 degrees. Once it gets that hot, we either move to a weeding project in the shade, or find some other chore to do. With a garden this large, there is always something to do.
We are fast approaching the peak of our daylily season. Hard to believe since we're at least 2 or 3 weeks ahead of normal. I expect that by next weekend the show will be spectacular. So far (keep your fingers crossed) the Milorganite has been doing its job keeping the deer from eating the daylily buds. We had a tiny bit of nipping, I spread the Milorganite and since then I haven't seen any damage. So, if you're in the area, please come a visit on one of the next 2 weekends to just enjoy the flowers. All of our potted daylilies are only $5, regardless of the regular price, so it's easy to take some home to enjoy too.
Today the pastels, especially the pinks were my favorites. Here are a few of them.
First is one that is barely pink, mostly just pink in the center and is called 'Salad Bowl'. It is a fairly large flower.

This next one is 'Shell Point', an older cultivar.

'Princess Powderpuff' is another oldie. So much of our garden is older cultivars that it is not surprising that most that I photograph were hybridized earlier than about 1985.

This is one of the newer ones called 'Louisiana Lovely'. It has thick, waxy petals and the best color.

'Lavendelle' is not strictly a pink, more of a lavender, but I'm including it because it is one of my favorites.

'CeeTee' is one I dug for a customer this morning. You can see why she chose it.

Last is 'Antique Rose', another with thick, waxy petals. I've always loved the shading on this one.

I've been taking a lot of pictures to update the website. I'll try to include some here every day as I'm working on it.
More heat tomorrow. We're certainly making up for last summer when it never, or only once hit 90 degrees. Fortunately the evenings have been cool so far. As crazy as the weather has been this year, we could have snow in July. Veggie garden is coming along. Still only lettuce and radishes to eat, but there are buds on the tomatoes, broccoli and cabbage look good and the cucumbers and sweet potatoes are growing. We've finished the onions. They never keep that well in this climate anyway.
Till tomorrow,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Deer Resistant Plants - Iris

All right. Too many long days of weeding and the brain is tired, so mostly a picture show today on Iris. Deer don't seem to bother them here, though with deer, you can never be absolutely positively sure they won't eat something.
This first one ia Iris albopurpurea 'Monstrosa'.

Next Iris virginica alba

Then Iris versicolor - pink form

Here's a tall bearded iris called 'Edith Wolford'.

Iris spuria 'Zamboanga' is definitely an unusual color.

Iris siberica 'Contrast in Styles'

Next, an iris that is a cross between 2 species. Iris pseudata 'Kinshiko'. I love this color, though it is easier to enjoy than to describe.

Iris pseudacorus 'Gold Pagoda'is a double form of Iris pseudacorus.

The Pacific Coast Hybrids are gorgeous, but here they are very short lived, 2 years at best. I tried to grow them, but they just don't seem to like our climate.

The miniature iris are cute and need really good drainage and lots of sun. This one is 'Black Cherry Delight'.

Next is Iris Louisiana 'Cherry Cup'

Iris laevigata 'Datusaga'.

Iris lactea, a small species.

Iris histrioides 'George' is an iris that bloom very early in the spring, even before most of the daffodils.

Iris graminea likes full sun and a sort of dry spot. The blooms are barely above the foliage, sort of like a flock of butterflies alighting on the leaves. This one blooms mid-May.

Iris fulva 'Red Dazzler' is a water iris. There is also a yellow form.

Iris ensata 'Wispy Clouds'. These used to be called Japanese Iris.
Iris cristata 'Blue Giant'. With the cristatas, the word giant is relative. These are small, ground cover type woodland iris.

I grow these Aril Iris (this one 'Burra Sahib') in the same gravel bed as the cactus. They need perfect drainage like they would find on the cliffs where they grow naturally.

Hope you enjoyed all of the photos. I think I'm done with the deer resistant stuff and will be off to 'what's blooming in the garden' for the next few posts.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Deer Resistant Water Plants

This just looks like an iris. It is actually Acorus. If you notice right in the center at the bottom, there is a tall skinny thing with a cream colored top and green bottom. That is the bloom. Obviously this isn't grown for the flower. It grows in water or just damp ground and isn't bothered by much. It multiplies nicely. Full sun to light shade would be its preference. The root is known as orris root and is used as a preservative for dried flowers and things. You use it when you make those pomander balls from oranges and cloves for scenting closets and drawers.
This is another acorus, but a miniature one. It also likes growing in shallow water. It is striped chartreuse and green, though in a lot of sun it might seem more gold. Fairly easy to grow. Expect it to grow a foot tall or so. Ours seems to prefer light shade.

Iris laevigata 'Albovariegata' is another of the water iris. I'll do a whole section of iris tomorrow, but these are just a few that are happy in a pond. This one likes full sun and has a purple flower.

Cattails and ponds seem like a natural thing, but unfortunately, cattails will quickly take over any pond in which they are put, so a bit of yearly maintenance is needed in weeding out the excess. That said, this striped one is great (and a bit smaller) than the all green ones.

For a very small pond, this is a perfect cattail since it only grows 18 inches tall. It's so cute people have trouble resisting it once they see it. Full sun for this one too.

This last one is recommended with reservations since it tends to be a bit invasive. It grows in water, likes sun, gets about 3 feet tall, and blooms in early summer with these lovely yellow buttercup flowers. It's name - Water Buttercup. My recommendation would be to give it a small pond all to itself. I love having it here, but am still pulling it out every year from the 2 places where I first planted it. It just crowds out everything else. That said, I will continue to grow it, just in a supervised situation.
I have not included any of the waterlilies because deer seem to love them. We didn't realize it until a very dry year when the deer were coming into our ponds to drink, and while they were already in the pond, they munched the waterlilies, blooms, leaves, tubers, just about anything. So they are definitely not safe from deer. Speaking of cute deer, on the way to buy groceries this afternoon, we saw a momma deer with a very tiny spotted baby. Soooooo cute. I just wish they would leave my garden alone.
Sorry I wasn't here yesterday, but I weeded in the fairy ring amongst the hostas from 8:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon, after which I mowed the central grassy places. It looks gorgeous, but by after supper I could barely stay awake, so no writing - at least nothing coherent.
Tomorrow, a little tour of the iris gardens. Deer don't seem to have much liking for iris, thankfully, so if you can grow them, they should be pretty safe.