Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Spring Phlox

My spring phlox (the tall purple stuff) began blooming this week. It's a rather weedy plant, but I like it in combination with the orange poppies. It reseeds everywhere, but I just yank it out in early spring if it comes up in places where I don't want it.

This is a view I probably have not shown you before. It shows both my large rockwall garden and the small rockwall area.

Pain in the Posterior Pine Pollen

Say that 3 times!
I have this large pine tree in the corner of my deck which provides wonderful shade

But not so wonderful


Fortunately the pollen falls for just a few days. Since we had a good rain last evening, it may have knocked most of it down already. . . crossing my fingers that that is the case...because this stuff is a real mess.

How to Post a HyperLink

I was reading a new blog yesterday and the author was asking how to make a hyperlink in her post.

I was going to tell her in a comment, but once I started, WOW! it was way to complicated to explain in a comment. I remember not that long ago trying to figure this out myself. I would have loved to have found a post with pictures explaining it all.

So here goes my attempt:

First you need to find the unique address (the url) for the post you want to refer to. You want the URL where only that post comes up, not where there are multiple posts (like on your home page).

I get this by clicking on “links to this post” at the bottom of my post. For some of you, you will click on the time instead.

The URL is here

Right click on it and click "copy"
Now you have the URL stored in your computer’s memory.

Go into Blogger and write you post.

When you come to the word or words that you want to hyperlink,

Highlight them (in my example I am using the word “here”)

Click the hyperlink button (see pic below)

When you click the hyperlink button another box will appear on your screen

Right click in the box that popped up where it says “URL”

Click paste

The unique address of the post you want to link to should now be pasted in that box

Click OK

Your done. Finish writing your post and hit publish.

I hope that someone who reads this will be able to figure it out and be as excited as I was the first time I made it work. It is so much more fun to blog when you understand how to use the tools provided.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Few New Blooms

One of my customers gave me a few of these "Raspberry Blush" iris' in the fall of 2004. This is my first bloom.
It is a small iris (about 20" tall)--very delicate and pretty.

This beauty is one of my many poppies. This is a very large double variety, which is so beautiful -- as long as it's not windy or rainy. The large head which makes it so beautiful also is very heavy and the slightest wind/rain will make it fall to the ground.

It's thundering outside right now so it shouldn't be long before this one takes a tumble.

My favorite poppies have not yet bloomed. They are single and their foliage is much bushier with the flower stems shorter. Here is a picture:

Can anyone explain the difference to me between the above "good" poppies and the "bad" poppies below (the long curly stems with very little foliage). I got both from my Mother-in-law and she does not remember what they are.

Update: Since I awoke very early today, I had time to do a little searching and found out that these are two different species. Everything I read suggests that this:

The "bad" poppy is Papaver rhoeas, also called the Common poppy or field poppy.

The "good" poppy is Papaver orientale.

I also found this :

"Each plant is able to produce around 17, 000 seeds, these can remain dormant in the soil for 80 years or more, perhaps even as long as 100 years " WOW! You better love these once you plant them.

I never let mine seed because I don't want more of the "bad" ones. Although, as Kathy mentioned in her comment, I also find that these must spread by other means...even though I don't allow them to seed, they are spreading out in about a 2ft radius.

Unplanned Library Stop

I had a dentist appointment today at 2:30 p.m.

Just prior to going to the dentist I wacked my fingernail on my desk drawer at work and broke it (shouldn't that be a worker's comp claim? LOL).

My next nail appt. is not until next Monday. I can't go that long without a decent nail. So I called for an emergency fix. Got an appt. at 3:50p.m.

The dentist appt. was a quickie just to see if previous procedures worked (they did) and I was out of there at 3 p.m.

That left about 45 minutes between the dentist and the nail technician, so I went to the library.

It's been months since I've been to the library. I used to go every week or two.
I did not even know how to use their new computer system.

After finding an old high school friend (who works there) to help me, I finally got these books.

I've been wanting to read more of the Jennifer Chiaverini quilt novels and went there with those books in mind.

As you can see I found 3 of them and a couple of garden books.

Now if only I can find the time to just sit and read!

I did arrive at the nail salon 20 minutes early and started reading The Runaway Quilt.

On Friday after work DH and I are leaving town for the night so I can read for 2 hours in the car while he drives.

I just need a few more hours in each day.

My 2¢

Or how to make the cent sign appear in your post.

I just had to look up how to do this for another purpose, so I thought I would post it just in case someone else wants to know how.

Just hold down the Alt key and hit 0162 from the keypad, not the numbers on top of your keyboard. I don't believe it will work if you use the top ones (at least it won't on my computer)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Autumn Crocus (Colchicum) Foliage

I get a lot of hits from people who google for this, so I thought I would oblige these visitors and post what the foliage looks like in the spring.

I like it a lot.

Since I just planted these last fall, I don't know what happens next. I believe this lovely green foliage dies off and the flowers just sort of "pop up" in the fall.

Kathy, if you are still around, am I correct?
Or if anyone else knows, feel free to jump right in.

This is what the flower looks like in the fall

Ladies Petticoat Columbine Has Been Planted

If you are a long-time reader of my blog, you know that my big pet peeve is posted macros without showing how the plant actually looks in the landscape.

As I did yesterday with the columbine.

That pic gives you no idea of the actual size of this plant nor how it looks incorporated into a garden. That is why we are so often unhappy with plants we order from big nursery catalogs--they know the macro trick makes their plant so much better than it is.

When I got home from work this afternoon, I planted the columbines. They are small flowers and really have no presence on their own. I felt they needed to be near a big rock to give them some interest and that is where I planted them.

You see three in this picture. I also planted one in front of a different large rock about 4 feet away from these.

I think another purple/pink is just what I need in the rockwall area. :)

Live Eagle Cam

I was visiting Kerry's blog this morning. She posted a link to this incredible live video cam of an Eagle's nest. It has audio so can hear them chirping (or whatever it is eagles do).

I lucked out the mother eagle was there on my first try.

Go here to visit the nest and stop by Kerry's blog to thank her for alerting us to this incredible cam.

The picture was taken from here, where you can find some background information and other interesting stuff.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Columbine Ladies Petticoat

DH took a bag of pine needles to his mother who lives in the city and likes the pine needles for mulch for her acid-loving plants. She sent him back home with 4 of these Columbine that she grew from seed. She said they are called "Ladies Petticoat", presumably because they resemble a petticoat.

They are quite pretty.
I will have to find a place to plant them tomorrow.

Almost Done Hauling Furniture

We put the large white table way down at the end of the garden.
See it waaaaaaaay done there?

I only put out two chairs this year because it is a pain to keep these clean. All of the pine tree debris fall upon the table and chairs. I am always hauling out a bucket of soap and water to clean everything off, so two less chairs will help.

Because it is very shady, this is a nice area to take the Sunday newspaper and a cup of coffee on a hot summer day. It is also a nice place to sit and view the main borders when they are in full bloom.

Have you noticed that I like a lot of seating areas around my garden?
You can never have too many places to sit a moment just to enjoy all of your hard work.

We have just one more big table to bring out from the basement. It's the glass table that goes on the deck. We will probably do that tomorrow.

This primrose picture makes it in tonight just because it's very pretty and all these blooms will only last about another week.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Extra, Extra! Read All About It!

Want your own newspaper headline?
Check it out here.

I Brought Out the Table and Chairs

for the woodland area today.
I decided to use twigs for the centerpiece because I did not want to have to go out there to water it every day.

The alliums are almost all in bloom now (except for some Christopheri in the front).

If you click on this, you can also see some of the big orange poppies just starting in the back (near the smaller arbor).

astute readers may notice that I changed this photo. I added flowers to the arbors and this photo shows them.

The Swan Turned Into

this ugly duckling!
In less than a week it turned from beautiful to this....

It is such a short-lived pleasure. Now I will just enjoy the shade it will provide when the weather turns hot.

Lucky for me, though, I now get to enjoy my neighbor's gorgeous crabs which I can see while I sit on my deck and from my living room window. Aren't they magnificient?

I am so lucky to have a neighbor directly across the street who takes care of his yard.

Weed Digger Tool in Question?

Alice, this is the tool I have. Is this what you were talking about?

I used it today to remove some grass from this snow-in-the-summer, which is another difficult mat-type plant. It worked quite well and was not as invasive as my other method.

That's what I love about blogging -- I learn so much from my readers!

Thanks, Alice, for another good tip.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Weeding Tool?

Alice left this comment

Zoey - have you tried using a digging fork instead of a shovel? I think you may get the same result without actually disturbing the soil or the roots so much. I don't mean a little hand fork; a four-pronged fork with a handle about waist height.

Hmmm, Alice, no, I have not. I am not quite sure just what the digging fork is, but I am going to see what I can find on the net.

The only other tool I ever use is this little fork thing. I just call it my "dandelion puller". It works great to get under individual weeds deep enough to get the root.

Oh my gosh, as I am typing this, I think I figured out what you mean, Alice. Is it like a pitchfork? Because I think I have one in the shed that I never use.

The Beginning of My Own Bottle Tree?

I was gifted with this bottle of wine today.

The first thing I thought of was that cobalt blue bottle tree! LOL

Nancy stopped by and left this comment:
...A lot of the old bottle trees had blue bottles on them. Some were the milk of magnesia bottles, but I think a lot of the bottles started out clear and turned blue. There is/was something about older glass bottles that seemed to make this happen.

Thanks, Nancy, for the input, which I found interesting. Perhaps that is why so many people now use blue bottles.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Turn Your Head for 3 Days

And the weeds (grass) takes over!

I am always being asked, "isn't it hard to keep the weeds out of that?"

They are talking about the creeping phlox.

And yes, thank you for your concern, it certainly is!

When I get a big patch of grass like this one, I use a shovel to dig down under the roots and pop up the whole shovel full.
I then use my hands to loosen the soil underneath by pulling and shaking (I could not photograph that as I had no free hand for the camera).

Once the soil is good and lose, I turn it back over and grab the grass close to the soil level and just pull it out.

It works quite well to get most of the grass roots without doing too much damage to the phlox.

Notice the gloves I am wearing? They are very thin latex gloves (used mainly for handling food). I like to use them because it helps to be able to feel more than is possible with regular gardening gloves. Of course, bare hands would be even better, but I try to protect my nails as much as possible.

Here is the same area with the grass freshly removed.
I don't think it looks too bad considering all the trauma I just subjected it to.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bolting Rhubarb

Does anyone know why my rhubarb thinks the season is over when it's just beginning?

This is the second year it has bolted (shot up those flower stalks for nongardeners out there) in May.

I am going out right now to cut them off.

The Promise of Things to Come

I took a little stroll around before leaving for work (at 6:00 a.m.) this morning. I have found that 6 a.m.-ish is really the best time to take pictures.

The Persian Blue Allium I planted last fall (that are not "blue" at all).
In the bed directly across, there are many more allium. I am hoping they will all bloom together.

Big Bold Orange Poppies Ready to Burst

And last, but not least, the rockwall has even more purple phlox in bloom.

If you click on it, you may be able to see the blue forget-me-nots that are also blooming.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bottle Trees

I have recently found myself wondering about these bottle trees I have seen on the net as well as in an occasional garden magazine.

I am no garden snob.

I certainly have my share of beloved garden junk. But I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would feel compelled to stick a bunch of old bottles on a tree and plop the darn thing right in the middle of their yard.

I started to research a little and I found this info on P. Allen Smith's site archive:

Bottle trees are a Southern tradition rooted in the belief that evil spirits become trapped in the bottles and therefore are not able to plague a house or its inhabitants. There is no wrong way to create a bottle tree, just use your imagination. Some gardeners like to build wooden posts with pegs drilled or nailed into them to support bottles. You can also use large, dead tree limbs that have been “planted” in the ground or simply suspend the bottles from the limbs of healthy trees by wires like wind chimes. Today most people balk at the idea of trapping evil spirits and simply enjoy the folk art behind bottle trees, which is lovely when illuminated by sunlight.

Ok. So there is some tradition and folklore. At least I now know where the idea originated.

Cobalt blue seems to be the coveted color. I must admit it is a pretty color.

I found another example here

Not nearly as striking as the blue one.

I am still not convinced..........right now I have it mentally filed just above the petunias in the commode.

I did find this man's account of making his bottle tree. It's pretty interesting to see how enthused and passionate he is about the adventure. His looks quite nice, too.

Enough is Enough!

It's May 23 for goodness sake. This is day 3 of frosty mornings.

Monday, May 22, 2006

He can lay his chef knife

on my counter any night.

This is Curtis Stone , an Australian master chef, author and host of TLC’s new series Take Home Chef.

It's a new show I discovered just last week.

Each show begins with Curtis roaming the grocery store until he finds an unsuspecting shopper to whom he walks over and introduces himself.

Together they shop for the ingredients for the gourmet meal he is going to cook in their own home.

They spend the afternoon dicing, mincing, and sauteeing until they turn those newly purchased ingredients into a very memorable meal.

Hmmmmm, I may have to take over grocery shopping.

Curt (he just looks more like "Curt" to me) suggests at the end of his show, that one should always dress to go to the supermarket because "You never know who you may meet in the grocery store."

Bon Apetite.

Root Bound

This is a fine example of a plant you do NOT want to buy.

I would be hard pressed to find a more fine example of a root bound plant.

This poor guy is choking to death.

I must confess that I never check the roots before I buy. I just grab a flat based on the flower type and color.

For this guy to survive, you MUST loosen those roots. I grab a small bunch at the bottom and just yank it off and toss it. Then I use my thumb and fingers to gently massage the root ball until it looks something like this one. It goes very quickly. You don't have to be terribly gentle.

Now he's ready to be placed in the soil and I think he will survive just fine. Those roots can now reach out to get water and nutrients.

It would really be best to check before you buy. You should not waste your hard-earned cash for an inferior plant like that.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Shades of Pink

I just noticed that my pink azaleas are almost the same shade as the crabapple.

One of my Favorite Ground Covers


I love this stuff.

It has great looking foliage all season, but when it blooms with these purple-blue spikes, it is especially eye catching.

Ajuga likes shade, but will tolerate quite a bit of sun as it does in this area. Butterflies, hummingbirds and bees are attracted to the flowers, but deer are not (a big plus for me).

It is fast spreading through runners, but I would not consider it invasive. The runner plants can be pulled up and replanted elsewhere which is exactly how I got so much of it from my original planting of two pots years ago. It is very easy to replant. In fact I have been known to just yank out the runners and toss them about, (making sure they land upright) and they have survived.

The only thing I don't like about ajuga is how the spikes look after they go to seed. I find it messy looking. I will often cut each spent bloom off just to tidy it up if its in a highly visible area of my garden.

If you are looking for a good groundcover for a shady area, I don't think you can go wrong with ajuga.

The Weatherman Was Right

It's snowing right now!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Possible Snow Tonight!

Every year I plant my annuals too early knowing full well that I may have to haul them all inside due to frost warnings.

Knowing does not make it any easier when I have to do it.

DH was watching the weather channel and came out to tell me there is possible snow mixed with rain tonight and the temp will be around 36 degrees.

I can't chance losing all these flowers.

We hauled many into the garage and I clustered a bunch under a table and covered them with plastic.

So now I am back to square one on my deck arrangements.

Very frustrating.................
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