Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sweet Relief

It wasn't pretty but boy was it ever sweet relief. This shot was just before I emptied the gauge the first time. 
I couldn't get a thing accomplished around the house from watching out the windows. It had been so long since we received any measurable rain. I watched out the front window as the water crept up the drive.
Then I would dash to the kitchen to look out toward the Circle Garden. You can see around the edges that the water was gathering. The center of the Circle has been built up over the years with mulch and compost. These newly installed plants are loving this rain.
Now we can look out the patio door windows. The patio was full of water. All of the flower beds around the patio have been raised over the years too. With so much rain I doubt it would make much difference.
I decided to take a little break in my office. I looked out and there was a small creek between our house and the neighbors. 
During a lull in the action I went out to check for any downed limbs etc. We kept hearing limbs hit the top of the house.
I didn't get far away from the house due to full paths. 
This morning I emptied another 1.25" from the gauge. I had quite a bit of debris to pick up. One of the limbs came down on our Lemon Tree and dislodged 3 of the 4 lemons that were on it. I hope the remaining lemon grows in girth since there aren't any others remaining on the tree. The odd thing was I could only find 2 of the loosed lemons. I wonder if an animal came and got one. Hmmmm
This is the first time I got to use my shiny new wheelbarrow. It is much larger (6cu ft cap)  than my previous wheelbarrow. Yet it is as easy or easier to use due to having 2 wheels for stability and a poly tray to keep it light weight. I got the entire mess from yesterday to the truck with one trip.  
All of this rain was pushed into our area by the tropical storm Gordon. I hope that all of my gardening friends are finally well watered yet not over watered. If you need rain it looks like a hurricane is going to hit the East Coast this week. I think we are caught up with rain now but I wouldn't mind to get a bit more after a few days. All the plants are seemly beaming. I hope your garden is happy too.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Untying the Knot Garden

The Knot Garden is no more. It all began last year when the Euonymus was deemed an invasive plant and had to come  out. 
While I cogitated about what to do here this winter the severity of the winter removed some of the boxwoods. This gave me even more to think about.
This area is looking quite bare especially after I pulled out the dead and dying boxwoods. I realized I didn't really like seeing the shed as I entered the back garden through the side gate. Thinking about this I decided I needed a whole new look with  a small tree here.  Oh, and all of these lycoris squamigera have to be rehomed.
I found a sweet little Dogwood 'Celestial  Shadow' and planted it in the center of the Circle Garden. I found the dogwood just as the full moon was about to happen this month. I hope this is a good omen for this tree and it will grow well here. Now all of those boxwoods need new homes and the huge Daturas have to go.
Voile, the Circle Garden. Around this circle there are six paths that converge here.
I moved a few big rocks into the circle. Each path has a different view of the circle. This dwarf Thuja, below right and I have lost the information about which one it is, has been half hidden under an Oakleaf Hydrangea that spread. I hope it likes it's new home. 
I made it so there is some nice shrublet or rock or both to see from each path as you approach the Circle Garden. 
The  Serbian Spruce is one of my favorites.
I left a couple of the boxwoods in place. The largest rock I had to have my DB help me move as it is so heavy I can't budge it by myself. 
The other rocks aren't so big but they hold their own.
A lot of empty space here. While I like the less is more idea in theory empty space makes me nervous. 
I am pleased by the way this is looking.  When  you enter from the side gate you can no longer look straight through to the shed so I am pleased with that and as the 'Celestial Shadow' Dogwood fills out it will block even more of the shed.
My most often seen view of this area is from the kitchen door. 
I have to say I like it yet, those empty spaces keep nagging me.  I doubt these empty spaces will be here for long. If I find some more dwarf conifers I would be tempted to plant them here, or some sort of ground cover. We will see what shows up.
Do you like those open spaces in your garden? Or like me are you compelled to plant up those empty places?

Friday, August 17, 2018

August Planting

I was walking around the garden the other evening trying to get pictures of the big moths that come to the Datura. I didn't have any luck finding moths. All I found were these late working little bees. 
In the near darkness one sees their garden in a different light. The Hosta blooms  clearly show up and most have a light fragrance more noticeable than during the day.
As I walked along the back perimeter of the garden along the chain link fence that I keep trying to hide I was jolted into the fact that I had not developed the ribbon of a flower bed I started to create last fall. I pulled a few of the violets to see how hard the ground might be here. To my surprised they came out easily. I wasn't going to donate too much blood to the mosquitoes so I decided to wait until the next morning to work on this area.
While I have rarely, if ever, thought of August as a month to do much planting this year the last week of July and this first part of August is receiving the rain we should have had in June and first part of July.  Being a highly unusual year for weather has brought me to this point. I have made a new planting. 
I bought a selection of wildflowers that I have been wanting and got busy planting. Hairy Wood Mint, Northern Wild Senna, Blazing Star Liatris, Spotted Beebalm and a couple of grasses, Little Blue Stem and Switch Grass.
This area isn't full sun but it is the most sun I have in the back garden. We will see how well these plants adapt or if they even can adapt. I really hope this Spotted Beebalm Monarda punctata is quickly becoming one of my favorite plants. It adds color and an exotic look to the garden. The hummers and bees really like it too. You can click on the photo to see the spots and the exotic orchid-like parts of the blooms.
As I got about half way through in this area my Dearly Beloved must have noticed a slowing down of my progress as I dug and pulled on all those violets. He came out to the rescue. So all was planted.
In another spot in the back garden I had some rather thugish pink campanula that I wanted to remove. I was tired of having to keep a constant vigil to stop it from overtaking everything in it's path.
After my DB removed the offending plants I jumped in to plant this section with more of the Liatris.
Happily we have had an 1 1/2" of rain since we got these into the ground. All of the plants are looking quite happy out of the small pots they were in.
Have you dared to plant up an area at this time of year? I would love to know if your planting survived the typically dry hot August weathers.

Friday, August 3, 2018

August Arrived

I looked out the front door the first of August to find 1 6/10" of rain in the gauge. It takes only minutes it seems after a good rain like this to make everything look a bit perkier especially in August when it is typically so dry.  
I looked out the back and found that the rain had made the Surprise Lilies all bend over.
The Surprise Lilies pop  up in a lot of places around the garden. Sometimes worming their way into odd places.
 Sometimes all neat and tidy like a bouquet.
However you look at it there will be plenty to fill a vase for some time.
The big established Clethera in the back has it's fans too.
There are oodles of bees and other pollinators working over the flowers. Nothing is sitting still long enough for me to get pictures. I like to just stand here and sniff the air as the humming and buzzing goes on.
I can't wait until this newest little Clethera is fill with pollinators. The blooms are supposed to  be pink. We will see as it ages if these flowers indeed turn pink. It is in more shade than the big plant.
There are other plants to entice the bees and butterflies. Asclepias-tuberosa-butterfly-weed is a magnet for any of the butterflies that zip by.
I went out the other evening hoping to find moths coming to the Datura.  It was not to be. All I found was a late bee collecting pollen. The lightening bugs were flashing and the cadydids singing but no moths.
The above photo I took in June. I didn't use it but I sure like the look. Is there anything in your garden you are particularly liking now? 
Have a great weekend.

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?