Monday, July 30, 2012

Dahlias Tumble and Surprise Seed Survives

These dahlias took a tumble after the rain last week.
So I cut them down to use for a centerpiece on the deck table.

I did a double take when I noticed this hyacinth bean vine beginning to climb the arbor!
Out of the whole pack of seeds, just two survived. I gave up hope that anything would become of the two tiny plants. Now I wonder...this is growing fast. I should still have a good two months of nice weather. Do you think it could possibly produce a bloom or two? 

The liatris in both barrels has been blooming for a while.  I really like it with the pink coneflowers.
I never had any luck with liatris when I planted it in the ground. It always died out.  My thumb became much greener when I stuck them in the whiskey barrels.  They love it there, increasing twofold each year. 

Here is a shot from the backside. I was actually taking a picture of the moon.

  Can you see it between the trees at the top? It looked more impressive in real life. :)

I don't have much luck with coneflowers grown in the ground either. I  tried for years and they never returned.  When I put this path in a few years ago, I finally found a spot they liked.  I think these have survived for three years. 

That's a record for me! They have not multiplied, but at least they grow and bloom. I am happy with that.

I did not feel like watering the deck containers when I got home from work. There is a chance of rain tonight, so I am betting on that.  I also did not feel like remaking the second set of curtains for the family room.  I just have no enthusiasm to do these things after I have worked all day.  It's not like my work is physically exhausting, but my energy evaporates from noon 4:00 p.m., it's gone. 

I have not yet made it to Home Depot to return the nearly-dead plants. I am hoping to do that tomorrow after I spend another two hours at the dentist...then again, maybe not. It will be after 4:00 p.m. when I get out of the dentist chair and my mouth will still be frozen.  Upon further thought, odds are high that I won't be going tomorrow.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The End of a Work-Filled Weekend

After all the work I did the past two days, I deserve a freshly-squeezed lemon drop.

I spent Friday night and most of Saturday wearing this not-so-fashionable footwear:
We rented a carpet cleaner and spent quite a few hours spiffing up the carpet.  I was on hands & knees with a bucket of hot water, a brush and some high-traffic-area spray to make sure the most walked upon areas came out clean.  DH wrestled the big industrial machine full of hot water and soap.  He did some areas three times.  It took 48 hours for the floors to dry.

Since most of my work was completed on Friday night, I spent all of Saturday morning outside weeding and moving plants.   I decided that I no longer liked the gold 'Condilla' double daylily in this area:
 So I dug it out, divided it into three plants and put in it in my new path area.  You can see a bit of the 'Condilla' lilies on the right side in the picture below. It's early in the morning and the lilies are not yet out for today.

I dug up all the 'Lionheart' Tango lilies and moved them to the spot where the daylily was.
I now have all 12 of them in the same area.  I am hoping for a bigger impact than they  made this year. I thought they were a bit small and scrawny. Usually the first year is great for the Tangoes.  But we all know that this year has not been normal!

I also moved hostas, Bergenias, red daylilies, lamb's ear, ornamental grass, bellflower, ajuga, and probably a few things that I have already forgotten.  I spent about 4 hours in the garden on Saturday.

We bought burgers for dinner and ate on the deck since all the floors were wet.  After dinner we took our floor fan apart, brought it outside and cleaned all the individual parts. It is now sparkling clean. I love that!

Yes, I was totally pooped Saturday night!

I slept until 7:00 am. on Sunday (very late for me). I spent the morning outside again.

After lunch, I remade the family room curtains. 

DH had ripped the burlap when pulling them closed, so I replaced the burlap with a more sturdy green-striped fabric that goes nicely with the new furniture.  I still have one more pair to do. It's a simple project, but it does take about an hour and half per pair.

We worked the entire weekend, but it was a good weekend.  We both feel great about everything we accomplished.

I hope you all enjoyed whatever you did this weekend.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Family Room Items

First of all, thanks to those of you who said I should return the Home Depot Duds.  I knew they had a year guarantee, but I did not save the receipt.   I never dreamed the plants would die within the month! 

When DH got home today, I asked him if he had saved that receipt.  Much to my surprise, he did!  I had no idea he saved receipts. (Sorry, ladies he's taken)  :)

 I plan to return them this weekend and I really hope they have the same plants, so I can exchange them.  Since I now know the root system is lacking, I will water accordingly.  I will let you know how easy it is to return them.  I have never actually toted a dead plant to a customer service desk to ask for a refund.  I think they count on people not feeling comfortable doing that.  I would prefer to just toss them, but I feel I have a principle to uphold here.

On to my family room....I have finally received all of the items I ordered in May.  I was told the pillows would be fast, about 10 days. HA! It was more like 10 weeks.  I was in no hurry, so it did not really matter.  I got four pillows in this fabric:
The pillows are larger than I expected, but I do like them. 

I originally ordered the ottoman in the same fabric as the pillows, but after thinking about it for a few hours, I called them back and told the salesman I wanted it in the exact fabric as the sofa. I did not want to be stuck with a floral print that I would hate in a few years.

I am happy with that decision.   I can now just change pillows and a few accessories and have a new color scheme. 

I just bought those orbs today. 

I stopped at Big Lots prior to a dental appt. and I found those as well as this large metal clock.

I had a two-hour dentist appointment for  Periodontal Scaling and root planing. I bet many of you have had that done.  This is my second time in the last ten years. I had two quadrants done at one time today and it took eight shots in the mouth (5 on the top and 3 on the bottom) to numb everything.  It is common for me not to get numb on the first shot.  The shots have all worn off now and my mouth is hardly sore at all.

 I am thrilled to show you this:

It is pouring rain right now! YES!  (I have left those Crocs outside for the past 10 days waiting for a good rain to clean the garden soil off.)

Speaking of Crocs, I ordered this pair from Amazon early this morning:

Since I ruined my feet by wearing heels for 30 years, I find that Crocs are the only casual shoe I can wear to walk for more than 5 minutes. I have had to learn to love them. :)  While my heart still says 3-inch heels, my pain level goes with cushioned flats.  It's not fun to get old! I have never tried this style, but I am hopeful that it will be just as comfy as the original holey Crocs.

Not counting the dental procedure, I have had a good day. I hope you did, too!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Red Daylilies & Over watering Kills

I have not been out in the garden much since last week.  I took these pictures of blooming phlox and daylilies a few days ago.

I have this phlox planted in a number of different areas. It's the one I used for the ice cream sundae bouquet.
Speaking of that little bouquet, I changed it yesterday after I accidentally broke off one of my 'Hot Papaya' coneflowers.  I didn't want to waste the flower, so I picked off all the petals and just used the top to put a big cherry on my bouquet!
Works perfect for a cherry, don't you think?

I  have a lot of these red daylilies.  I like them since they bloom in an in-between stage of gardening--right after the first big flush of Asiatic lilies is over

I have not been deadheading my daylilies this year.  It's a big chore, so I said to heck with it. 
Next year I think I will go back to deadheading each day after work.  I can't stand how messy daylilies look without deadheading. I need to either deadhead them or don't plant them. I am not doing them justice by allowing them to look like this.
Not pretty at all.

Remember the gorgeous green coneflower and red rudebeckia I bought a few weeks ago from Home Depot?  If you forgot, the following pics won't help you remember because they are only the decayed corpses of their original bodies.
 Overnight they both drooped and within two days looked like this.  I thought it was impossible to overwater during 90 -95 degree days.   Just for kicks, I pulled the plants out and was quite angry to see this tiny root system just three inches from the top of the container:

 Had I known there was no root system, I would have never bought these plants. This is the first year I have had a problem like this.  I guess I need to take the advice I have read on the net and BEWARE OF HOME DEPOT PLANTS! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Morning Sundae Bouquet and Why are my Calla Lilies turning Green?

I decided to cut off the one tiny little Forever & Ever hydrangea bloom that my 4 YEAR OLD PLANT produced. I wanted to bring the flower inside so I could at least find some pleasure in that DUD purchase.
The bloom was an even tinier than I thought, so I also brought in one phlox stem to beef it up a bit.  Are you wondering what could possibly be done with just two flowers?

Well, how about this cute little sundae bouquet?
It doesn't get much easier than that.

"Why are my calla lilies turning green?" is a question I see often when I check the terms googled to find my blog. 
The answer is simple.
When the calla lily turns green, it's blooming life is over.  In a few days it will look like this one:
Not a pretty sight. I try to snip the bloom off before it becomes an eyesore. Just go down as low as you can and cut it off.
Callas only bloom for about three weeks and they are finished for the year. That is why I plant them in containers with other flowers to take over once they finish. Their interesting spotted leaves last all season, so they are still making a nice contribution to the overall container display.
Another popular question is "Do calla lilies need to be deadheaded?"  I say yes. Deadheading helps the corm save energy for next year.  If you don't deadhead, the lily gets very heavy with seeds and falls over making a big mess. 

I hope that helps those of you searching for answers.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Can't Grow a Seed in the Garden to Save My Life, But I Do Pretty Good Planting them in Containers

I planted a package of nasturtium seeds that appeared to be a mix of brick red and off-white.  They are blooming now. I expected the red to be a bit more burgundy and the off-white, turned out to be yellow!
That's OK. I still like them and the yellow goes nicely with the calla lilies.  Dianne, these are the same as those I sent you. Did yours bloom?

Remember those crates I painted in May?  Well, they are finally filling out:
I like how the sweet potato vine filled out sideways instead of hanging down on the ground. I am sure they will soon take over the entire crate, but I will just them off when they do.  These containers are full of red and pink dahlias. You can see a pink one just beginning to bloom. Hopefully, I get a huge mass of pink and red.  I will show you these again when (if) that happens.  I must say, I am enjoying these crates much more on my deck than when they sat in my basement full of junk treasures.

Today I noticed my first orange cosmos blooming on the deck.
I saved seeds from last year and just sprinkled them among the deck containers.  I think these seeds came free in the mail a few years ago.  I bought some seashell cosmos seeds this year and planted them in the ground and got 

I do have some new blooms in the main gardens.  I planted speedwell 'First Love' (pink) and Sunny Border Blue together and they are doing OK in a spot that is all rock just four inches down.
 Same flowers looking in the opposite direction( and less blurry):
  Here is the view from behind the Shasta daises you see above:
The Shastas in this spot are very short this year. I like them at that height.  They are at the very end of their bloom cycle.

The Forever and Ever hydrangea I moved last week is actually blooming! I guess it did not mind the move at all.  Of course I kept it well watered all week. There is only one little flower, but that is all I ever get and the plant is barely a foot tall(again that is normal).  I consider Forever and Ever to be a big DUD. 

  We are in need of an all day rain as this ultra crispy blueberry bush confirms:
It looks like there will be no fresh blueberry pies in my near future.

I hope you are all getting the rain that I expected today but did not get.     :(

Sunday, July 15, 2012

French Urn Container Planting begins to Make Me Happy

This container is full of nasturtiums that I grew from seed and planted not knowing what the color would be.  It turned out that the golden yellow is just the right color (there could still be other colors as I just randomly stuck seeds in)

 Purple Shield,  and Purple Heart (unknowlingly overwintered from last  year), are three of the plants taking top honors right now in the urns flanking my garage.

 I had hoped there would be at least three yellow calla lilies, but so far only two and one is about finished.
I love how the Purple Heart grew down the front like that with the Creeping Jenny behind.   I wish the Purple Shield behind it was at least a foot taller.  Maybe it will take off soon.  I am not sure what dahlia I planted in this urn. I will know soon as buds are forming.  It's fun watching these urns change almost weekly as new flowers bloom.

I still can't believe it looked like this in mid-May:

In case you are wondering, I moved that grass over to the side. You can see a bit of it in the first picture.  It is still quite small, but I am expecting it to grow a lot bigger. I remember thinking that the tiny little piece of Creeping Jenny was probably not enough. I can't believe how it filled out so quickly.

Friday morning I was admiring how the sun highlighted these striped canna leaves and calla lilies on the deck:

Also on the deck, my second whiskey barrel of coneflowers has begun to bloom. This is the more common purple echinacea and is on the opposite side of the stairs from 'Hot Papaya'.

I am so happy that my containers are going crazy just as my main gardens are finishing with  the majority of blooms for this year.  Except for watering there is not much work to do on the container plantings. I can spend the next two months just enjoying them.

I have a lot of dahlias just beginning to bloom, too. I will show you those later this week.

Right now I have to get some work done while dinner makes itself in the Nesco.  Now that's a colorful meal!
I have had this NESCO for years, but rarely used it.  With this year's heat wave, I have started to use it so I don't have to heat up the kitchen.  It is a 4-quart -- perfect size for two people.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Echinacea 'Hot Papaya' in a Container

Last August I planted 'Hot Papaya' in a half whiskey barrel. It overwintered beautifully and I was so happy to see over a dozen buds on it this year.  It is advertised as Unique and Sizzling Hot... firey shade of red. When they all burst into bloom on July 6, I was disappointed.

 The flowers on mine were plain and uninspiring.  The center did not resemble a pompom.
On July 8th, I felt better to see that the flowers had begun to form the drooping-petal shape I expected, but I would not call the color "firey and intense".

Day 3: Now this is more like it! ... drooping petals, hot red color emerges, pompom begins to stand out.

Day 6:
Love the color, love the it all!  I can now declare that 'Hot Papaya' performs just as advertised.  If you like bold, get this one.

7/15/12 Update

'Hot Papaya's' pompom changes to the color on papaya flesh as it ages.  This flower is 9 days old:

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