Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015's Last Surprise

Maybe I can't say that it was a total surprise what with so many people posting about the unusual blooms in their gardens at this time. I took a quick walk about the garden today and found a couple of blooms too. Hellebores in a protected spot are indeed blooming. Such a happy face.
More of a surprise is a lone Sea Pink is about to bloom. It is going to freeze it's little petals off. It is now cold here...as it should be.
As it is the end of 2015 there is hope for the garden of 2016. Not all the hellebores are blooming and so much more will have to bide it's time until they can fully bloom.  Old Man Winter is not finished yet.
I hope you all are happy, healthy, filled with anticipation for the 2016 Gardening Year to come.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The December That Was...

As a Gardener I often look at the months in terms as how the weather has affected the garden. While this December isn't officially over, we have over a week to go with this month, I know what the next days bring. I won't have a more than a moment to myself to look back at December and enjoy the wild weird weathers we have had and have been promised to have continue.
The first few days of December were below average in temperatures. Most of the plants in the garden obeyed the law of averages and decided to drop their leaves. The few roses I have in the garden weren't quite convinced. Sure enough the weather warmed and has been so since.
 My poor hydrangeas are fooled by this warmer weather. They are trying to bud and leaf out. I am afraid this means there won't be any hydrangea blooms this early summer. For surely the weathers will figure out it is winter when the Little El Nino lets loose it's grip.
Of course the hydrangeas aren't the only ones a bit confused. Daffodils are poking out of the ground. I don't remember ever having them in December. I don't worry about them. I think they can withstand most any weather changes.
It isn't just the wanted plants that are succumbing to the lure of warmer than usual weather. The weeds haven't skipped a beat. At least the dandelions give us a bit of bright sunshine as they peek out.
Even the lamium that is in a large pot is blooming despite being frozen a few times this month. This and

the orchid inside are the only things that were blooming on December 15 this year. I was amazed at the lamium but I am thrilled with the orchid that has bloomed. It is the only one in my collection with actual blooms. The rest are all in buds. As you can see I don't stake my orchids. I have seen them growing in the tropical areas and they hang down as do the flowers. They seem happy enough with this arrangement. I certainly am quite satisfied with them.

I hope you are all happy scurrying around enjoying the holiday celebrations. I also hope that you are able to take a few minutes to enjoy this December that was...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November - 2015

I have been quite busy here this November. The Autumn weather has held off for the most part. A few frosts so far. Just enough to bring the flowering plants to a halt.
We always a few hangers on. This lamium is still sporting a few blooms. 
If you look around the edges of the knot garden you can still see a bit of alyssum blooming. 
The few trees that still have leaves are few and far between. This Coral Bark Japanese Maple has red leaves on top and yellow at the bottom. It has been all yellow until now. You can see the deep red leaves from the neighboring Japanese maple photo bombing the Coral Bark. 
Speaking of leaves. I have been busy wrangling leaves in the garden. I mulch and put them in the flower beds. Easy to do and the soil and plants appreciate the effort.
I have had to keep the screen house open so the House Sparrows can come and go. When the doors are all shut the rascals get in and then they can't get out. They make a mess in there when they are frantic to get out.  
We have the veggie corner cleaned out. I will be adding some of those leaves soon. 
Luckily we had some rain the past couple of days. The unlucky part of this is that a cold front came blowing through. It blew down my favorite arbor. 
This will be a project that will be addressed as soon as possible. This weekend the temperature are to be colder than normal. From one extreme to another. Such is a gardeners life.
I am thankful for this long warm autumn. Looking forward to celebrating next week with the family. I hope you all are too.



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - October 2015

It is that rusty dusty time of year. There isn't a whole lot blooming but the few blooms that are in the garden are most appreciated.
 The above Filipendula 'Kakome' is always such a pretty sight this time of year. When other things are winding down this is just getting charged up.
 I need to plant some in front of these beautiful Japanese Anemones. 
 The lamium that is in flower pots as filler is blooming again. 
This little dahlia has bloomed all summer for me. It is one of those little short ones. It doesn't make a very good cut flower as it doesn't last long in the vase. This might be why it has done well in this dry summer. 
 This mum has been in the ground for years. I don't do anything to it. No extra water etc. It is so reliable and at this time I appreciate the cheerful yellow blooms.
 My poor Toad Lilies look pretty pathetic if you look at the foliage. Don't look at it.
 Just look at those lovely blooms. 
Something I learned this summer...that Lamium does well as a pot filler. It usually goes dormant in the ground here during summer. It often dies out because of our long dry spell. (I am trying not to complain) It looks quite good in a pot and it reblooms. Nice.
What do you have blooming in  your garden this month?  Do you have anything you will protect from the coming frost?  We are to have frost this weekend. I will let all be.
To see what is blooming in other gardens at this time hop over to Carol's blog.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Bugs in the Garden

This fall a stink bug laid it's eggs on our patio door. It gave me an opportunity to watch them to see if they would hatch. Luckily I looked at the eggs right after they hatched.
I could see there were a couple more ready to hatch. The buggy things grow up and come in the house during winter. They don't hurt anything. They are just an annoyance.
The spiders are making themselves noticeable this fall. I don't think there are as many as usual. Of course I blame everything on the drought. Ha...I don't know for sure. I have never counted them. This one right outside my office window caught my attention. An unassuming bumble bee got caught in this web. 

 The owner dashed out and proceeded to attack it. I watched wondering if the spider would wrap it up in it's webbing. It didn't. The spider ran all around it seemingly attacking until the bumble gave up. Then unfortunately the web broke and the bumble fell to the ground. I hope something gained  from this bumble's death.
All this got me to thinking about the up close look we got of a wasp's nest we had this summer. The wasps were made several nests in the folds of our umbrella. I couldn't leave them there. I was afraid that every time I cranked up the umbrella we would be attacked. There was a small nest in two of the folds of the umbrella. It was becoming a wasp hotel.
If you look close you can see an egg in one of the cells and several stages of larvae. I thought this was most interesting. I haven't been that close to a wasp nest before.  
Have you had any unusual bug sightings in your garden this summer/fall?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Autumn Garden Update

My daughter gave me this Welcome Autumn several years ago. She knows it is my favorite time of the year. 
 This fall has been quite different. This is usually the time rain replenishes the garden. It hasn't happened yet. If you don't look close it looks about as you might expect. Sort of wild and wooly around the edges after a summer of growth.
 Even in the back things are a little crispy around the edges. Leaves are falling fast. Yet even though we are 5+ inches in deficit of rain there is a lot happening in the garden.
 There are still plenty of garden visitors. If you look close you see some of the usual suspects enjoying what is blooming.


 Despite Annie's constant patrolling little furry creatures make themselves at home.
 Taking advantage of the feeders are, from the left, a White-breasted Nuthatch, House Sparrow, and Carolina Chickadee.
What really made my heart soar was the visit by a Northern Flicker (Yellow Shafted). She came to the water feature. We used to have them nesting around here but since so many trees have come down in the neighborhood they aren't around so often. You can see the yellow shafts of her under-tail feathers as she waits her turn at the water feature.
Here she is looking down at the melee below hoping that some of the sparrows will move out long enough for her to get a sip of water. 
She finally got courage to get down amongst them. 
She slipped in for a sip, then flew away. 
The House Sparrows were thrilled that she departed. More room for them. 
Are there any visitors to your garden that you want to share with me?

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Bitter End

With temperatures moderating some I was walking around the garden. I couldn't hardly get down this path...
Not even if I approached from the other direction.  Going in this direction you are supposed to be able to look through the circle of neatly trimmed bittersweet. Stop laughing those of you who have tried to tame this beast. See how it goes up into the tree if limbs dare to get within 5 foot or so.
Let us just say that we prevailed. I started the project and my Dearly Beloved came to the rescue with shovel and saw and saved me.
You can now see the trellis with the circle. Things have changed in the neighborhood. There is no longer a pretty crabapple to showcase during spring. The shrubs on the left of this photo obscure the chain link fence that I hate to see.
This area can now be ignored. More likely I will rethink this area. Maybe this area can become a showcase for clematis. Hmmmm.... What do you think?