Sunday, September 20, 2015

The End of Summer

I can hardly believe that summer 2015 is gone....I did not even get to enjoy the deck ... not once did I put out the rugs, quilts, or pillows to spend a relaxing weekend at home...

I went out at 9am this morning and took this picture of the two whiskey barrel planters full of yellow daisy-like dahlias and yellow calla lilies. The callas have finished blooming, but you can still see the huge white spotted leaves.

Here are the same planters two hours later;
Everything has been dug out and placed on the back lawn to dry:
It always amazes me that those HUGE calla leaves came from one of those small croms with the white roots!

I left the other two whiskey barrels planted because the Tropicanna Golds are just beginning to throw up their bright orange flowers and I can enjoy them inside from my family room windows.

I like the spotted calla leaves with the striped canna foliage.

One of the new dahlias that I bought from Breck's has put out its first flower:
It's called 'American Dawn'.  I am less than happy with this one. It's almost the end of September and I have had only one flower which is full of bug holes...but at least it bloomed.  Maybe I will see a  better performance with more of a purple center next year.

I am hoping to get at least 3 more weeks from my garage urns and under-the-window garden of  pink dahlias.
 The Sedum Autumn Joy  really brings this garden to life. 
SAJ is such a  carefree perennial...once planted it takes almost no work.. never needs watering...just a bit of weeding...nothing more...gotta love that!

Last night I made ham and scalloped potatoes for dinner.  I took the time to caramelize the onions prior to baking and left the skins on the potatoes, then poured the roux atop:
 and baked until the taters were tender and the top was browned:
YUM! The perfect side dish to a brown sugar/mustard-glazed ham.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Coleus 'Henna' & Review of Breck's order

This is the second time I have planted coleus 'Henna' in my urns flanking my garage.  I love this coleus with the bright red leaf underside.  I would plant it every  year, but I can't always find it in my small town.

 Here is the other urn where the top of the leaves is more prominent than the underside:
 I like the sawtooth edges of 'Henna's' leaves.
I am still giddy over the Japanese Bottle Brush shrub blooms (even though they look nothing like the "fuzzy caterpillar" pic Breck's showed). I  also had no idea the plant would be this tall as their description says up to 3 feet high) and mine is well over 6 ft.

Following are some pictures from the Breck's order I received this spring. I am linking to the order url should any of you want to order your own.  BTW, I get nothing, zero, zip, nada to talk about Breck's.  About 50% of the time I am not happy with them, so they certainly would not be paying me to post about their product. I am just linking as a convenience to my readers.

This is 'Little Blue Wonder', a dwarf sea holly.  I love it --  but I ordered 5 of these from Breck's and this in the only one that came up. 
I had planted them all across the front edge of  my small dahlia garden under the living room window.

 I am so sad that I don't have a sea of blue under the pink 'Park Princess' dahlias as I had planned.  Yikes, I just looked at my order form and realized that I paid $14.99 each for the dwarf sea hollies! Since only one survived,   it cost me $79.95 for one plant.  I better write to Breck's and request a refund.  Breck's has a great refund policy. If something is not right, they refund or replace the item.  That is why I continue to order their products.

I am loving the bold paintbrush splashes of dark red/purple in this  dahlia called 'Tropical'
The yellow color at the petal base looks like the sun is shining through. I am totally happy with this purchase. I planted two of these, but so far I have only seen one that has bloomed.  I am not sure if the other died or if it's just a late bloomer. 
I was eagerly awaiting the bloom from this dahlia called 'Que Sera'. This is what I expected it to look like (pic is from Breck's website):
This is what I got.

It is nothing like what I ordered! Very disappointing! Another refund request will be sent for this dud.
Talk about disappointing.....remember this 'White Feather' hosta?
I planted it in a container so I could give it special attention.
This is what came up:
I paid $19.99 for this!!! I almost tossed it in the compost pile.  The only positive thing I can say about it is that it did, indeed, come up white.
I hid the pot behind some other containers on the deck and kept it watered.  It surprised me by putting out many new leaves.  Here it is today:
 So it's alive and much bigger, but it's a totally blah hosta once the leaves fill with chlorophyll. I knew it would only be white as it emerged and then it was supposed to have white streaked leaves.  I guess there is a bit of white streaking, but, honestly, I would not waste the money to buy this hosta. I won't ask for a refund, because it did survive and I knew that it would only have white leaves as it emerged. If it survives the winter, I think I will be much happier next spring.
I still have one  dahlia that I received from Breck's that I have not yet seen a bloom.  It's called American Dawn.  I can't remember which container I planted it in, but if it  blooms, I will show you the pictures.
This post is getting way too long and taking me way too long to create so I will end it now.  I hope you are enjoying your late summer garden! 

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 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!
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