Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Spot of Rain

I am in the throes of frustration. I have bought a new phone. My new phone is 5 upgrades.  That should tell you all you need to know. It is making me crazy trying to get all set up where I can easily use it. Yet it gets worse. I can't figure out how to download photos to where I want them. Needless to say I went into the garden to try to find comfort. Found it I did.
As you can see on one of the last daylilies blooming in the garden we got a spot of rain today. I emptied 1/2 inch from the rain gauge and a bonus was there was a drowned Japanese Beetle in the gauge. Does that sound mean? I don't think so. The rascal was probably buzzing around looking for lunch when it fell into the gauge.
A nice result from this bit of moisture is that one of the last of the tall lilies opened. It was waiting for a good drink of rain. I had watered it yesterday but it wasn't satisfied until the clouds cooperated.

The beautiful Strawberry Vanilla Hydrangea perked right up too. It is covered with blooms. My favorite hydrangea. 

Another that benefited from this shot of moisture is the tiny start of my moss garden. 
You can't see it very well but it is growing. I need to get out there and pull some grass and weeds from around the moss as it grows. 
I am pleased that you can actually see the moss patch now. If I can just keep the violets out of it all will be well.
And finally the little patch of tall garden phlox was wafting fragrance on the heavy air. The best aroma therapy.  It gave me the sense of calm I needed.  
I hope you are having a calm restorative time. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Cha Cha Changes

If you have read my blog very long you will have seen this water feature. I made it 21 years ago by digging out a hole and filled it with concrete. I think it took 3 bags of concrete. It has been so long ago I hardly remember. I also smushed rocks, shells etc collected on trips into the edges while the concrete was wet. My Garden Journal for that time doesn't mention how much concrete but I remember having to go back for more than I originally thought I needed.  I initially was disappointed because I wanted a shallow spot where birds could bathe. Since I made it a little deeper and larger than I anticipated I put a pump in it and let it go. I have a soft spot in my heart for it as it hasn't ever cracked and we have seen so many birds come to it. 
The area slopes down from the patio to this area so I put a little dry creek in. Now the times are changing and so am I. I hated stooping down to clean it out etc. Couldn't be that I am getting older.? No surely not. After so many years I wanted something different.
Since I didn't really want to get rid of it I figured I could find another place in the garden for it. That is  IF we could get it out of the ground unbroken. If it broke apart as we pried it out of the ground that would be it. It must be tougher than a chunk of iron. We got it out and moved it to this spot by the screen house.   I like the way it looks like a big mushroom sitting there.
The hole left behind had to be dealt with. I didn't have enough compost to fill this hole and level it.  I had to purchase  4 bags of 2 cuft of garden soil. That pretty well filled it.  Then I planted some ferns, moved some rocks etc.  The area is still evolving.
With the birthday money I got from my Dad  I bought this fountain. I love the sound of the water trickling. I really like the ease of cleaning it and keeping it full. 
After the Gray Catbird heard the tinkling of the dripping water...
She gave her tail wave of approval. I am quite pleased with this new arrangement too. 
If you look off the other end of the patio you see what might first appear to be a big black hole there too. Naw not really.
It is a beautiful new pot I also acquired this week. I found this pot as I was shopping at a nursery for some plants to put around the new fountain.  
I planted some of my mini hostas in it. Blue Mouse Ears in in the center and the Church Mouse is the other dark green one on the right. Are you seeing a theme here? 
I can tell you that I need a new rock that says Mouse Trap instead of Garden of Weedin. 
I still have some plants that need planting, rocks that need moving, mulching and other changes.
It is too hot to carry on with any more changes right now. That gives me something to look forward to when it cools down again.  Are you doing any changing in your garden?

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Happy Birthday Month

According the government I am officially a Senior. I never would have thought while growing up during the times where we weren't supposed to trust anyone over 30 that I would ever make it to this age. 
I woke on my birthday and looked out to see that we had a light rain coming down and a bright yellow daylily 'Tetrina's Daughter' peeking at me around this begonia.
Speaking of daughters, our darling daughter came to visit with a 'Highlights' Arborvitae and a miniature hosta'Church Mouse' both of which were on my wish list. We also were treated to a lovely lunch out. 
The next morning in the drizzle my Dearly Beloved planted the Arborvitae for me.
It is replacing a rather large hydrangea that we took out in this spot. The hydrangea didn't ever bloom and I wanted something that will eventually block the view into my neighbors garden and my compost pile. 
 If you look through this arch you can see where the path takes you around to the gate where you can enter the neighbors garden. Our neighbor removed a small shed that really opened up their back garden to us. My hermit tendencies lead me to enclose the garden. 
This is how it looks from the neighbors view over the fence. Did you notice that big mushroom  like water trough beside the gazebo? More on that another time.
Yet another morning I found my Dearly Beloved in the floor with a splayed out project. 
Annie was right there with him making sure he gets it right. 

What he put together was another item that has been on my wish list. A nice new garden bench.  It is aluminum so I won't have to worry about rust or peeling paint (I hope).
Below is the dilapidated bench that is being replaced. It sits in front of our barn. I often pause here to rest or set items here before moving on. This was taken last month when the Viburnum and Chocolate Chips Ajuga was blooming
It is sort of a more quiet look now.  I also moved some plants out from behind where the old bench sat. I also added some 'Christmas' Ferns Polystichum acrostichoides since the hostas on either side of the bench are 'Christmas Tree'  Hosta. Now all I have to do is get some more mulch to cover the bricks that the bench is sitting on. Those feet on the new bench are so pointy they sink down into the mulch. 
My birthday Month, I mean DAY, has been filled with many blessings. I hope your June has been as good or better. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Miscellaneous Monday

I am happy to report we have received a good share of  Miracle Moisture that I have been complaining about not having. I won't mind a bit of some of those 25% and 45% predictions of more Miracle Moisture show up.
The garden has certainly responded. It is such fun to find perky plants instead of droopy dull plants in the garden. Just step through this path off the patio and I will show you some other miscellany.
This flower bed has a bit of color in it now.  The first daylilies, a tall lily and a oak leaf hydrangea blooming up a storm. The blooms are small this year but it is good to see them. You can embiggin the photos if you want a close up look.
We have a tulip poplar that popped up at the edge of a flower bed. We have been trying to get one to grow out in the side lot for several year. We haven't had any luck. This I think of as a gift. Maybe I will leave it here since this is where it chose to live. 
Annie seems to be inspecting the Nikko Blue hydrangeas. Do you notice anything odd about this picture? These shrubs are normally several inches taller by this time of the year.  It seems a lot of plants are struggling this spring.
The Miracle Moisture also brought out jelly fungus.
It turned the white fungus that was growing on the rock below black, yuck.
The Miracle Moisture also brought out other creatures. This garter snake was keeping an eye on me.
It was a pretty bright color. Look how wide her mid section is. It is either pregnant or it had been eating something yummy. 
This past weekend I bought a few native plants that the Knox County Invasive Species Control Association was selling at the Farmers Market. This vine, Yellow Passionflower Pssiflora lutea, will hopefully climb up a pole it is planted beside. Will I be sorry about this? We will see. I also bought a Woolly Pipevine aristolochia tomiatosa, Foxglove beard tongue, Butterfly weed to add to what I have already. 
Speaking of butterflies. I had a Red Admiral  and this Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly in between showers. Neither would hardly sit still for a portrait.
Lastly but not least we finally got a new top for our gazebo. It is so pleasant to be able to sit out in the early morning or late evening and not be eaten alive by mosquitoes. 
How is your garden getting on now? I hope you have had enough of the Miracle Moisture to keep things blooming.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Unusual sighting - Tacky Green Russula Mushroom

We had our daily walk with Annie this morning. The sky was still overcast and you could feel the humidity in the air. We had a good rain last evening with a promise of more rain this morning so we had to get out before the rain came pouring down. Since this is the first rain in June it was most appreciated.

As we came to the end of our walk there upon a mossy hummock along the road were these nice greenish mushrooms. I have never seen this color of mushroom before.
There were several scattered through the moss. This rather large one was knocked over. 
You can see the gills below. 
With me holding this you can tell it wasn't small. Probably 3 to 4 " wide.
As they were popping up this is how they looked.
My best guess by looking through a mushroom field guide is that it is a Tacky Green Russula   Russula aeruginea. My field guide is fairly old. It is the tenth printing (1994) of the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms.
If there is an updated name for this mushroom or if I am totally wrong about what it is I would be happy to know just what it is I have seen. 
I think our dry spring has made all sorts of plants happy to receive rain. Everything looks perky this morning.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Nichols Arboretum University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

I will tell you right now if you like peonies you will appreciate this post. I have lots of pictures. I will for the most part let the pictures do the talking.
 It has been scorching hot here. We had hoped as we drove North to Michigan we would find it cooler. It was not to be as they are having record breaking or near record temperatures. When we stepped into the garden my first thought was oh we have missed everything.
We looked down the long path where the herbaceous peonies are planted and realized we were just a week or so too early for them. My what a sight this would be with all of these blooming.
I did find a few blooming.

As we strolled further in things began to look much better. I noticed that they had under planted the tree peonies with wildflowers. Here I recognize Golden Alexander and Geranium Maculatum. 
The big draw for us and the other early birds were these tree peonies backed by the huge golden and orange Rhododendrons. 
I also read a sign that said this Laurel Hill trail was being renovated. I guess that is why a lot of these tree peonies didn't have name tags.
No matter because they are gorgeous no matter what the names are. 

This yellow one was one of my favorites. It did have a tag, 'High Noon'. It was a tall plant, maybe 4' tall. I must say I have never seen tree peonies this tall.
A close up of it 'High Noon's' flowers.
'Leda' is the name of this pretty girl. 
'Satin Rouge' a French variety. 
This purple to lavender to white one is my very favorite. It had huge blooms and the color is perfect in my eyes. The name gives it quite the spirit too, ' Guardian of the Monastery'. This was also a very tall plant. 
As you can see even though we missed the big show we had plenty to admire.
I hope you were able to get out this weekend and enjoy the day before it got too hot.