Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall Equinox Heralding a New Start to the Garden

This spring my DB and I removed 6 shrubs that we knew were invasive. We didn't know this when they were planted some 20+ years ago. The plants were acceptable at the time. We replanted with shrubs that are now considered either native or at least not invasive. I have become a lot more aware of native plants especially as they have become more available.

After we did all this work I was bragging to a friend that works for the Nature Conservancy telling her how hard we worked and offered a garden tour to show how well we did. Much to my embarrassment she sighted several more plants that are considered invasive.

We knew we had our work cut out for us. Luckily when we attended the first Knox County Native Plant Days we won a door prize that was 'a day of work of removing invasive plants'. It couldn't have been more timely. We called and set up a date for the work to be done.

Last evening we had a team of garden workers descend on our garden to once and for all remove the of the invasive shrubs from our garden. The group below tackled some winter creeper growing in a ring around my Knot Garden. This Euonymus wasn't supposed to spread. After some time it started reverting to it's original state which is invasive. This group made short work of the tangled mess. 
As some were working there across the path another started cutting back this huge European Cranberry.
After it was cut back it took three men with two Pullerbears and a shovel to get the base out.
What is a Pullerbear? It is a gizmo that can grab a good sized trunk and it has a long handle to use as a fulcrum. 
They got this brute pulled out.
There were two European Privets that had to go. The Pullerbear was again in use.

Another 4 Euonymus and a Bittersweet were pulled and all was crammed into the back of the truck to be taken away.
I can't thank this team of hard working men and women enough. They came here after their day jobs, on a hot humid evening, to work until all was removed. 
Thank you again.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Foliage Follow Up - September 2017

Pam at Digging always has a Foliage Follow up after Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. I have what I think is a very interesting foliage to share with you. It is a  small area right by my front porch that is covered with 'Silver Falls' Dichondra.
I have to agree with you that this isn't such an uncommon plant but for it to be here again this year it is amazing to me. Dichondra isn't supposed to be hardy in my zone 6b. I had an extra Dichondra after planting my pots last year so I stuck it in the ground right here by the front porch. It took off. and covered this area.
This late spring I saw a tiny tendril poke up out of the ground and it took off. I guess with all the concrete around it and our mild winter it enough had life to take off again this year. I like the way it works as a ground cover. It is a tough plant because this area doesn't get much extra water. Just when I have to water the plants in the pot above it. Since this is out front I don't get out there often. Happiness is an unexpected return of a plant.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - September 2017

This month you can clearly see who is not paying any attention to the lack of rain in the garden. The major thugs are battling out for territory along the gravel path in this corner of the garden. The bees and bugs are seemingly cheering on the Golden rod 'Fireworks' with their buzzing and swirling around each golden bloom.
While the white anemone 
‘Honorine Jobert' leans over the path to entice the Turtlehead 'TinyTortuga' into the fray. 
There are a few annuals blooming such as the stalwart Salvias 'Blue Spires' and 'Wendys Wish'.
With this drought the grapes are intensely fragrant and flavorful. I hope to get some grape jelly made before they all fall to the ground. 
The other bit of 'Fireworks' in the garden is Pennisetum xadvena. I have already cut some of the blooms to dry for an arrangement. It being in a container that I can keep watered it has been throwing out more 'Fireworks'. 
At this time not a whole lot else is blooming. Sedums and Toad Lilies seem to be awaiting a good rain to actually open their buds.
What is blooming in your garden this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day?  Carol hosts every month on the 15th. Please join us at May Dreams Garden and tell about what is blooming in your garden at this time.

Other blooms in the garden:

Tall garden phlox 'Robert Porre'
Geranium 'Rozanne'
Persicaria 'Lance corporal' & 'Red Dragon'
Honeysuckle 'Scentsations'
Hardy Begonia

Fuchsia 'Gartenmeister'
Gomphrena 'Buddy Purple'

Friday, September 1, 2017

Apple Tree Bed Conversion

The flower bed that I refer to as the Apple Tree Bed no longer exists as it did several years ago with our old apple tree right in the middle of it. This first picture was taken June of 2010. The apple tree was 30+ years old and developed a disease that killed it. So what did this gardener do? I carried on despite losing one of my dear old friends.
 It looks a whole lot different than it did in 2010. I have added the Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea and some other shrubs and trees that you can't see from this vantage point.  
What I am particularly pleased with is the little seating area that we, we being my DB and I, made with the left over concrete from the sidewalk remodel out front. For the last few years  I have had this old bench sitting here. Since I do use it, especially in the morning, I thought to get a new set of furniture to sit in this little space.
I have always wanted one of those white antique wrought iron sets of lawn furniture. While this is not antique it gives that feel to the setting.
Right now everything in the garden looks so rusty since it is the first of September and August was so terribly dry. We only had .7" of rain in the gauge. Where Weather Underground officially measures for our area WU said that August had no rain but luckily we had a touch. Below you can see a better view of the little trio.
I am trying to train myself to call this area my Sitting Garden because I do seem to do a lot of sitting here. I now have a little table to set my book, camera, paints etc on. Surprisingly these little chairs are a lot more comfortable than they look. 
I am looking forward to the day when the garden is again well watered and look all green and plump as in the first photo. Come on fall rains.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dog Days of Summer

Yes, the garden is going to the dogs, literally. We are dog sitting for my Sister's dogs, Sonny and Cher.
The ever present Annie keeps an eye on the little rascals.
One never knows where they might get off to and what they might do in the garden. They like to go up and down and around the paths in the garden.
Not a whole lot blooming in the garden right now but if you look around there are spots of color. The Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea, Rudbeckia and hostas are thrumming on.
If you look really close you can see a few more colors. 
We have been so rain deficient that the holly hocks haven't grown tall nor have they many blooms on them. The poor monarda has absolutely flopped over. 
The Limelight Hydrangea scoffs at the drought. 
The turtlehead is another plant to consider if you need late summer early fall color. This is a hybrid 'Tiny Tortuga'. It doesn't get as tall as the straight species and isn't quite as aggressive but it can and does hold it's own in any weather. 
We have had lots of butterflies flitting through the garden. I think the only way I was able to get a shot of this Tiger Swallowtail is because it was worn to a frazzle and took a rest on a sunny Witch Hazel leaf. 
We herd the dogs to the park daily for a good walk. While there this week I spotted this HUGE fungus growing at the lower 2feet of this tree. 
It is huge as you can see with my hand being there to compare. I don't know what kind of fungus this is but it is a beauty. 
It also is in layers. If you know what this fungus is I would appreciate any information you can impart about it.
I hope you are enjoying the Dog Days and your garden is thriving not just surviving. 

EDIT:  I found out what kind of fungus this is, Dryad's Saddle.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday Wildflowers July 26

Gail at Clay and Limestone has a meme for the 4th Wednesday of each month about the wildflowers in your garden. I often like to participate and I hope you will too.  This month I am cheating a little bit because I saw a sight I just had to share with some of you that appreciate wildflowers.
While out driving through a mine reclamation area we found a couple of miles of fields full of Queen Anne's Lace. I realize it is an introduction to the States but it has been around so long that most people consider "one of ours". 
It was quite a sight. It appears as a monoculture but if you look closely there are some other colors in this mix. A tall purple thing in front and some clover mixed in. This area of the reclamation has been used for cattle grazing and there are farmers making some of this into crop fields. 
It wasn't only the plants that drew us here. It is a place where there is enough space unmown and not used for agriculture that there are specialty birds to seen.
This Henslow's Sparrow is one of the most rare sparrows in Indiana. It is actually becoming rare in many places. It needs this type of area to breed in.
While driving down the road we saw at least four of them in this area. 
Please excuse the quality of pictures. It was high noon and the bird was really out of range for our little camera. 
I was so thrilled at finding such a large cache of these sparrows I wanted to sing along with this lusty male defending his little swathe of territory. Now when I say large cache, I meant there were four of these sparrows that we saw/heard here. You don't find them in many other places in the state.
Grasshopper Sparrow and Upland Sandpipers also nest in this area. We also saw and heard several Grasshopper sparrows, it is a rare sparrow in Indiana too. The Upland Sandpipers weren't to be seen at this time of day. It just means another trip to try to see them.
This goes to show that we need places where the wildflowers can grow to sustain the wildlife that we all love not to mention our selves.
Happy Wildflower Wednesday.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -July 2017

While looking over the garden today it was clear to me that the most striking things blooming in the garden were the Lilies.  I need more lilies.
Of course they weren't the only things blooming.
Tiger Lily 'Splendens'
They just seemed to be the only flowers to not appear to be too stressed out from the lack of rainfall. 
Oriental Lily 'Legend'
Of course I have watered but it just isn't the same.  
Rose lily 'Thalita', Honeysuckle 'Scentsations' and Black and blue salvia.
The Rudbeckia even seems a little shorter this year. That tells me that the water situation is not so good.  The bees do appreciate all our watering efforts too.
Rudbeckia 'Tribola'
It is amazing how Hostas keep throwing out those blooms in the dry spell. Lilies in any form just keep on blooming. 
Hosta 'Curley Fries'
Skip over to Carol's blog to join in on the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Show us what you have now and/or just visit all the people sharing their blooms.

Now the rest of the story of what is blooming here:
Rozanne Geranium
Curley Fries Hosta among others
A few daylilies
Crocosmia 'Lucifer' plus an unnamed orange one
Calla Lily 'Golden Nugget'
Honeysuckle 'Scentsations' and 'Major Wheeler'
Clematis 'Roochi' and Ramona
Tall Garden Phlox
Ice plant
Filipendula 'Kakome'
Strawberry Vanilla Hydrangea
Lime light Hyddrangea
Weigelia 'Red Prince'
Salvia 'Black and Blue', 'Wendy's Wish', 'Mystic Spires Blue'
2 unnamed succulents
and other Annuals

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Garden Putzing

It is one of those chores that one puts off as long as possible. It isn't that it is a difficult task but slinging pea gravel over paths certainly looses any glamour it might have had in 90 degree weathers.
Not only that I chose to complicate the matter somewhat with a bit of a change of scenery.
All of that strappy foliage equals daylilies that doesn't get enough sun to bloom. 
Plus under that pile of mulch is a round stepping stone, I think. It has been a long time not seeing the light of day.
Yes, stepping stone found. Since I had a pile of brick and pieces too I decided to try to jazz up the single step a little. I do like my sun pattern or as a friend of mine calls it a star. Either way it looks better than a pile of mulch. 
With the strappy foliage moved away and some small hostas planted on both sides of the step it is a more inviting look.
On the east end of the patio these stepping stones were alright in the pea gravel but there again the daylilies didn't bloom this year. So out they came. 
Brick edging went as far as the bricks lasted. I wanted hosta for here too. I went to the local nursery to see if they had an interesting hosta that I liked and I didn't already have. Sure enough they had 'Blue Ivory'.  It was a nice fat plant so I chopped it in two. One for each side. I took out strappy plants and other plants that had self seeded in the area.  
So nice and neat. The hosta is a color echo of the hydrangea in the background. Along this path are also some white asiatic lilies which are finished blooming. I think I will like this better. 
At the opposite end of the patio the path that goes off to the West and then splits got it's fair share of pea gravel, and I have a confession to make. 
While shopping for the hosta I saw this planter. Of course it was on sale so...I couldn't resist.  I also picked up this Pennisetum 'Fireworks' to go into the planter. How could I not???
I will leave you with this view of the Western most path in the garden. Not a view I often  show. You can see in the right foreground the tiny variegated Oak tree I bought lately. I had to put it into a pot so it can grow tall enough that the rabbits won't eat it before planting in the garden.

Have any of you been braving the heat to do any projects. ??  Do share.