Sunday, August 23, 2015

Japanese Bottlebrush Finally Blooms!

In the spring of 2013 I purchased a Japanese Bottlebrush plant from Breck's.

I have never had this plant and had no idea what to expect.  Breck's description said it would be  30" to 36" high and would have red flowers.

Since I had dug out a new roadside garden which had a lot of empty space, I decided to plant it there in front of  a Ninebark shrub.

This is the new roadside space in 2013 just before I planted a Ninebark shrub and two Golden Cypress shrubs and the Japanese Bottlebrush. The Bottlebrush came up in 2013, but did nothing.

 

This is the same garden in 2014.  I added some dahlias to fill in the space and some of J's favorite annuals -- marigolds.

I was quite happy with this garden in 2014.  The Japanese Bottlebrush was still alive and I expected to see flowers soon.  You can see the Japanese Bottlebrush in the center of the marigolds--still very tiny, but alive. After waiting all summer to see flowers, I was pretty discouraged when no flower emerged.


In the spring of 2015, I  saw some green leaves emerge and noted that it survived another brutal Michigan winter.
 

I had pretty much forgotten about it, until a few weeks ago when I noticed how tall it  was --
already over 2 ft. tall.


Today I was thrilled to see that the dozens of little green nubs  on the ends of the branches had sprouted into tiny little flowers

The plant is way taller than I expected and the flowers are not the "red" color that I thought they would be...I am happy about that because the purple color they are blends nicely with the Ninebark.
 Perhaps they will turn more red as they mature......I hope not because I like them the way they are now.  It  seems that the old saying..........the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap is right on with this plant!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Santa Claus Dahlia

This is the second time I have purchased this dahlia from Breck's.  The first purchase (about 5 years ago)  resulted in nothing...zip.....nada........the tubers never came up.  Breck's refunded my money.


Early this year I ordered "Santa Claus" again.  I am so glad I gave it a second try!

Such a lovely color!  Doesn't it make you think of Christmas?
 I wish I had it blooming in December, so I could use it for a Christmas centerpiece!

Do any of you grow this dahlia?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

It's a Beautiful Saturday on the Deck

Do you have one of these floor lamps?
I had two of them.  One of them broke and I threw it away.  Last year I turned the other one into a planter for my deck.

I am really enjoying the height it adds to my deck arrangements. 

The calla lilies in my whiskey barrels are HUGE this year.
J gets all of the credit as he has been taking care of all the gardens this year.  They seem to love all of the attention he gives them.
 
 
I have never seen my calla lilies this huge!

Has your garden been better than usual this year?  It seems everyone I talk to  thinks this has been a great year for gardens.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lionheart Asiatic Tango Lilies -- & other Yellow July Bloomers

These Lionheart Tango lilies are beautiful this year!  It's the first year the deer did not eat 90% of them.
The are advertised as yellow with a black center, but I would call the center dark purple--a perfect match to the Ninebark shrub planted in back.  FYI - the Tango lily to your left is called "Cappuccino". The petals are white with a bit lighter purple center.  I have at a number of different colors of the "Tango" series--from white petals to vibrant red petals , to warm autumn orange petals -- and I love them all. 


At the beginning of this garden path, you can barely see the Lionhearts; until you walk further along around the curve


and the Lionhearts are suddenly right next to you in all their gorgeous yellow/purple glory!






At the very start of this path, I have some Echinacea Sombrero® Sandy Yellow that I planted in August of 2014. Echinacea has always been difficult for me to keep alive, so I am thrilled that they survived the winter of 2014/15!  They are not quite fully open in the photo below:



The yellow blooms continue right on to the whiskey barrels on my deck where I have some very tall yellow calla lilies.


 My MIL gave me a small pot of two callas about 15 years ago and they have multiplied at last 100 fold since then!  I have them in many of the deck containers


as well as in multiple gardens in the yard.

I even bring them inside for centerpieces.




Calla lilies are one of my favorite flowers.


If you are interested, This is my post last year on July 26 when I had only 2 of the Lionheart lilies that escaped the deer buffet.  You can also see some of the red "Olina" Tango lilies in that post.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you are as thrilled with your garden this year as I am with mine!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

It's a Good Year for Feverfew

Feverfew is an invasive herb that I usually keep contained by pulling out young plants each spring.  This year I did not get around to pulling it out and I am being rewarded with masses of the white fluffy flowers.



It will look beautiful for a couple of weeks and then all of the snowy white will turn to a muddy tannish-brown as the flowers go to seed and look like a huge mess.  At that point I will wonder why I ever let it all bloom and swear to never do that again.  Then I will yank it out by the wheelbarrow load.

But for now I am just going to enjoy the flowers.

Do you see that green and blue container planter at the edge of the wooded area?  Does it look like anything familiar?

........................ .......................... ..................................... ............................... ...............................


Yes, it's a garbage can.

I had J drag it out of the junk pile last weekend. Here is what it looked like before its 10-minute paint transformation:

The rotted out bottom is perfect to allow the water to drain through. I stuffed it full of smaller plastic pots of dahlias (I have lots of dahlias that I save every year).  Gotta love free flowers to fill a free huge container!

We have painted every piece of junk we could find around the yard. Here is my old wheelbarrow that used to be red:

To think I was going to toss this treasure to the curb for garbage pick up! I am so glad I kept it in the junk pile for a few years until I came to my senses.  It, too, is planted with dahlias and a few yellow calla lilies.

I painted my old chippy bench in the same blue:

This is the same bench viewed from the garden side:


I am really enjoying all of the aqua blue items in the garden this year.

I had painted the three bowling balls last year and just left them sitting right here all winter long!
 
I have three clumps of delphinium that are  just beginning to open. This is the best they have ever looked (I think they are three years old).
 
My heuchera plants are also doing well this year. 

Here's another good shot of all the feverfew blooming.
 
I am really amazed at how well everything is growing. I am sure it's due to the removal of the dozens of huge pine trees in 2013.  Now all of my gardens get the sunlight they need!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Garden Junk Arrangements

I really enjoy turning junk into flower arrangements on my deck.
 I have had the rusty milk can for years, but this is the first year for the rusty old tool box.


In another area of the deck I have planted and old indoor light with 'Vampire' Calibrachoa, Creeping Jenny and white biden. Do you remember these floor lights that almost everyone had in at least one corner of their living room? I think they make wonderful planters.
The bottom of the container is planted with dahlia (yellow I think). From this side you can't see the real star of this arrangement.

 Let me walk to the back side to show you....


Wow! Loving this vibrant red 'Vampire' Calibrachoa!  I must remember it for future years. It should soon spill over the top and down all sides. I am looking forward to seeing this planting  mature.





This delphinium should open soon.


 This is a very bright peony!

I am now going to douse myself with bug spray and battle the mosquitoes as I attempt to weed these perennial gardens. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Red Alert Calla Lilly in a Container

I am really enjoying this new purchase of 'Red Alert' Calla Lilies in the urns beside my garage. (You can see some dahlia foliage and some handsome striped leaves of a new pink canna lily planted behind)
 'Red Alert' remains short - no more than 24" high. One bulb produces multiple flowers in a nice red/orange color that looks great with this 'Henna' coleus.
 I am especially fond of the white-speckled leaves some of which echo the red floral color.
 
I am also happy to see that my Korean dwarf lilac shrub 'Miss Kim' is full of blooms this year.
 'Miss Kim' blooms appear just has my old-fashioned lilac bushes fade.
 
This shrub should get about 4 feet tall and wide.
 
Despite very little attention, June has been a great month in my perennial gardens.  I am looking forward to a good season in 2015!
 
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