Thursday, July 30, 2009

The container Combos at Work

I haven't shown you the containers I planted at work yet. That's because they have been incredibly slow to grow and, despite all my attention, there has been nothing interesting to show. Our cold weather this year is not conducive to canna growth.

The cannas are still not flowering, but the undergrowth has finally filled out and some of my so-carefully-planned contrasts in texture, shape and color are beginning to show.

I love the big bold canna leaves against the delicate ferny silver foliage of the Russian sage. The sage has fallen over and its blue flower spikes are beginning to twine through the heuchra 'Palace Purple' and the red/white "Grande Tampico' dahlia hybrid. I am loving that. I had expected the sage to be tall and poke through the canna leaves, but it had different ideas. 'Palace Purple' should also bloom soon with it's tiny little neutral flowers. The flowers should shoot right up to fill in the space between the heuchra and the canna and provide a definite contrast with the big coarse Trop leaves.

On the other side I have coleus 'Sedona'. It has an interesting dull orange purple-tinged color. I think it's a wonerful contrast to the dark ornamental sweet potato vine (ipomoea) and once the orange canna flowers appear the orange color will make more sense.

The planter below is done in the same colors but in opposite spots.

The top has Tropicanna 'Phasion' with its gorgeous multi-hued, mostly reddish-purple leaves. The bottom is mostly greens with a big punch of brilliant chartreuse leaves from "Marguerite' sweet potato vine.

'Phasion' will be flowering soon with brilliant tangerine orange flowers.
The grass underplanting is no weed. It's actually a dwarf fountain grass called 'hameln' which should get showy, silver to pinkish-white , wheat-like flower spikes. I see no sign of these yet. When the grass finally blooms I think it will bring the whole planter to life.

I will show you the full planters if and when everything blooms.


Ah, the lavender is blooming and it's so pretty right now.
Because I like to see more than close ups of what's blooming, I will assume you do, too. Here's a bigger view of this area. The lavender sits right at the front of this garden. There is a second patch of it further back on the left.

I will have to remember to use some lavender in a flower bouquet this weekend.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pineapple Lily

Does anyone grow this lily?

I am thinking of ordering it for next year and am hoping for some feedback before I shell out the rather expensive price of $13 per bulb. B*reck's has a buy one, get one free special right now, but still after paying the shipping, it works out to a slightly better $10/bulb.

For that price I would like to know that it's pretty spectactular before I buy, so please, if you grow it and have a few minutes to spare, I would love a review.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Outside My Computer Room Window

From my computer chair, I have been looking at all of these little apples for the past few weeks. This seems to be a bumper crop year (much to my chagrin).
I will be picking wheelbarrow loads up from the ground in a few weeks. I would cut this tree down, but besides annoying me with all these inedible apples, it provides a nice shady spot to sit in the hot summer. Although I must confess that I have not found the time to sit there once yet this year.

I stuck the camera out the computer room window last night to get these shots. This is a view of the main gardens that you hardly ever see.

It's the backside of the areas I have been showing you.

I took this picture to show you that it is still raining.

update: As of 8:15 PM we have not had any rain yet today. I think we get a couple day's break and then another 3 days of rain. I liked the rain a lot better than I like today's muggy hot (in the 80's) temps.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Blueberry Cheesecake Muffins

Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits and they are in season right now. We bought 5 lbs. this weekend. I decided to make some muffins.

The recipe is from Taste of Home magazine. I found it reprinted on this recipe site. You fill the muffin cups about half full of batter.
Then add the cream cheese/blueberry mixture.
A tablespoon of streusel topping is sprinkled atop each muffin.

I was worried that they would overflow and mess up the oven, but they behaved nicely. The cream cheese mixture solidified as you can see in this cross section.
I thought they were quite tasty and will probably make them again.

Sunday Between the Rain Showers

Everything is so fresh and green after the last few days of rain.

I have hundreds of orange lilies blooming. Most of them are in the wooded area because I have been removing them from the main gardens where they were taking over.

I did not take them all out because I do like that pop of orange in different sections.

I have them mixed with daisies in many areas because I have also been removing a lot of the daisies from the main gardens.

Speaking of the main gardens, here are two shots standing at the biggest Tango lily. This shot is looking toward the arbor (the rockwall garden is way in the background). The big daylily next to the Tango lily will be blooming soon. It's red.

This shot is looking directly across the swath of grass toward a second walking path which leads back into the wooded area. It makes a turn to the right and ends where the bistro table is.

The path with the round pavers is the first path we put in. I could not find round pavers for the second or third paths, so I had to change to squares.

Nestled between two day lilies is one of last year's new 'Forever' hydrangeas. I planted three of them. The other two are in the rockwall garden.

Here is one from the rockwall garden. It has huge flowers and is doing very well.
The third one is not blooming.

Remember a while back I told you I moved a new poppy and I thought I had killed it because it immediately turned brown and shriveled up? Well Jen left a comment that maybe it just went dormant. I was hoping Jen was correct. And it looks like she was!
Here is some new growth in that exact spot. Yippee! Maybe it will be a purple one for next year. Neither of my purple ones bloomed this year.

I decided to join Artie over at Color Outside the Lines for his Share a Sunday Garden. If you love gardens, go visit Artie. He is sharing a beautiful one today.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I am Loving the Rainy Weekend

With all the rain, I won't be working in the garden at all this weekend. The fact is I don't plan to do much work inside either. This will be a relaxing weekend to indulge in some reading and other ME activities.

These poor white lilies were beaten down by the rain.

So I took my nose out of my book long enough to go outside and cut them down.

I removed the stamens so the pollen would not get on my table. I learned to do this many years ago after staining more than one tablecloth with lily pollen. Then I put together a big bouquet of stamen-less trumpet lilies and callas.

Since it's the weekend I will be able to enjoy these flowers much more inside.

This is for Debbie who wanted to see how the new table runner turned out. The top is all pieced, but I still need to add the backing.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Rain Finally Hit

and it is expected to stay for quite a few days.

We are under flash flood warnings today.

I am right in the middle of that big moisture blob. (Oh, Miss Pea, be ready because it seems to be heading in your direction!)

So I probably won't be working outside much for a few days.

That's fine because I am all prepared for some inside reading time.

The librarian called twice this week and I now have 4 nice gardening books to peruse as well as a new mystery novel.
I have already read the Abundant Gardener, which I really enjoyed. The gardens are exactly the kind I like to tend to.

I have also started another table runner.
It's an easy one and will be perfect for when I tire of reading.

So it's not raining on my parade. Quite the contrary, I get to go to the parade because of the rain!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Crocosmia 'Chopsticks' is going to Bloom!

While watering after work today, I spotted this flower embryo inside the strap-like leaves of this crocosmia (kro-KOS-mee-uh) that Wandering Chopsticks sent me last September.

This is the post I made when I received them.
I went around to the other areas where I planted them to see if there were any more signs of bloom.


This one is even closer to being an orange flower.

I am so excited that these corms that came to me all the way from California are going to bloom in my Michigan garden this year!

I have also been keeping a close eye on some hollyhocks that Jean sent me last year. She sent me some seeds and I had three plants that came up last fall.
Hollyhocks are bienniel, meaning that they come up one year and bloom the second year. I was hoping that I planted them early enough last year that they would bloom this year, but I am not seeing any signs of a flower. I think I will have to wait until next year.

I am sure they will be worth the wait because I have seen Jean's and they are gorgeous!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

8 Hours of Moving Plants and A loosestrife that does not run rampant

Nothing is safe when I start digging up plants. I have dug up at least 30 of them in the past two days.

I can just see the poor dears shaking in fear wondering if the mad woman stomping the shovel into the ground will be chopping into them next!

I planted Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander' (Yellow Loosestrife ) in the rockwall garden in 2005. It has been perfectly well behaved staying quite short and flowering in golden spikes atop that lovely sage green and cream variegated foliage. I really liked where it was planted.

It makes no difference to me if it looks good where it's at. When the mood to move strikes, nothing stops me from yanking it out and moving it to an unproven area where it may not do nearly as well. At that moment all that mattered was that I needed a plant to fill a bare spot and I thought the loosestrife would work. So I moved it.

Here it is in its new home.

I like it.
This year I am paying a lot of attention to watering this area, so hopefully it will learn to love its new home as much as I love having it here.

Here's a little loosestrife trivia for you:

Legend has it that this herb soothes anger, or loosens strife. Hence, it's name - -loosestrife. So if you know someone who is always angry, maybe you should send them a bouquet with loosestrife in it.

To the left of the loosestrife is another bare area where I have been killing off invasive plants. I decided to put a big wave of lychnis coronaria in this area because it's easy to grow and the bare area is not in a prime location. This area gets little sun and it's difficult to grow anything here.

So I went around all the different gardens and dug up lychnis plants that were not where I wanted them. I had a couple wheelbarrow loads of lychnis coronaria.

I did my usual - dug holes, filled the holes with water, let the water get absorbed, then plopped the plant in and watered again.
I love lychnis coronaria with blue spiderwort, so I moved a bunch of spiderwort in the same area. Right now it looks a bit messy, but it should improve (at least for next year).

We finally brought out my garden bistro table today. We put it in its usual spot out in the woodland grassy area.
Now the new path we put in a few weeks ago leads right to it. I just can't tell you how much I have been enjoying that new path. It has totally transformed this area (well with a ton of work from me moving plants).
I cut some daisies and put them in a watering can for a centerpiece.

I also moved some yellow daylilies next to the bird bath.

I removed the daylily plants from this driveway garden and then filled the whole area full of Sedum Autumn Joy that I removed from my yew hedge garden. The yews have grown so big there is not enough space left for the Sedum.

I think they will look nice in late August when they form a mass of pink flowers around the Alberta Spruce. After looking at this pic, I realized I needed one more Sedum Autumn Joy in that bare spot, so I went right back out and dug up another one and stuck it in. Can you imagine how much it would have cost me if I had to buy all those sedumn? I think they are around $9 to $12 a plant in my area and I used about 10 in this garden. It's great to be able to completely change this little garden at no cost to me (other than my labor)!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It was a great day to move plants

It was nice and cool and I spent from 7:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. moving plants to fill in bare areas.

I moved a golden privet shrub here because I liked the golden yellow-green color. I think it will be nice to have some color that will stay all season.
I will keep it trimmed down to about this size. This is another shrub that is easy to move. Again I dug a big hole, filled it with water and then stuck the shrub in. I flooded the area with more water once it was in the ground. So far it's as happy as can be. Way across on the opposite side you can see a couple of tall yellow spots. Those are the Margarite daisies that I told you I was going to move. They were a bit more finicky and I cut a couple of them way back because they were throwing a little snit about being moved--all droopy and sulky.

My Tango lilies called 'Cappachino' just started blooming. I didn't move them.

Around noon I went to the art show on the bay. I bought this lizard.

I decided it was a she and named her Lizzyanne. Unfortunately I was moving the hair allium to this area and I dropped Lizzyanne on the rock paver and she lost her foot. I am just not cut out to be a pet owner! :)

I also spent about three hours cooking - I made sweet/sour pork, rice, chili, and two pans of lasagna. Now I won't have to put much effort into making dinner for the whole week. The chili is still cooling so I am off now to see if it's ready to put away.

Friday, July 17, 2009

5pm and 56°

It sure does not seem like mid July, but I don't mind. It's sprinkling just a bit and I am hopeful that we will get more rain tonight.

The sunless day makes for some good picture taking so I went out and a snapped a few. I am glad that I moved this big piece of driftwood because I enjoy it much more in the arbor gardens than I did further back in the woodland.
The white trumpet lilies burst into bloom while I was at work today. I think they are bigger than usual this year.

We are staying home this weekend and I am not sure what I will do. There is an craft show down at the boat harbor, so I may go there tomorrow. The library just called with another book so I will pick that up and do some reading as well as some gardening.

Isn't this the cutest McDonald Christmas ornie? The little bear is sitting in a bag fries--too cute!

A long time ago I mentioned that my husband collects McD's items. Dianne, from Diane Rambling On, remembered that and she sent him this. I thought that was so thoughtful of her! She is such a kind, thoughtful person . Thank you again, Dianne. We will think of you everytime we use it to decorate for Christmas.

Right now I am going to have this colorful salad for dinner.

It's a meatless meal tonight because I don't feel like cooking. DH has leftover pizza, but I will just have a salad and some chili fritoes with cream cheese :). These fresh sweet cherries make a nice addition to my salad and the poppy seed bottled dressing is the perfect complement.

What will you all be doing this weekend?

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