Thursday, July 29, 2010

National Lasagna Day - July 29

Earlier in the week, I read that today was National Lasagna Day. Since I had made lasagna a few weeks back and frozen some, I decided tonight would be the perfect time to have it again.

Then I went out to see what was happening in the gardens. What I saw was a whole lot of phlox!

This is 'Little Laura'. She stays nice and short (about 2 ft) and is a vibrant purple color with a white eye. I have had Laura for a couple of years (gift from my MIL). I may divide her this fall just because I want her in a few other places.

I have tons of this purple phlox. I want even more, so will probably divide some of it this fall.

You may notice that the phlox next to the arbor is a lot taller than the phlox in the center.
It's the same phlox, but I cut the center way back in early July--probably by half. I wanted it to bloom shorter in those areas.

I also have phlox in back of the phlox above.
It's also in a number of my other gardens,like this one on the opposite side of the yard.
I guess I just like phlox! It's almost essential to guarantee some color in August in my northern garden.

Because I am loving this new Rembrandt dahlia, here is another picture with more flowers blooming.
I am tempted to set a 'Christmas in July' table for two on that white table in the back...just so I can use these for a centerpiece. Since July is almost over, it may have to be a 'Christmas in August' table!

High Hopes

This is one of my whiskey barrels. All of my deck containers are finally filling out and looking like I imagined them to. It's nice that they do this just as my main gardens are nearly finished. It gives me something new to concentrate on during the last days of summer.

This whiskey barrel has both of my favorite Tropicana's--the original "Tropicana' with the red-striped leaves and 'Tropicana Gold' with the green striped leaves.

I also planted the 'Elijah Blue' grass in here and the 'Orange Perfection' phlox (way in the back--no signs of bloom yet) that I bought this year. The white blooming flowers are volunteers of the herb 'feverfew'. Way in the back I also have some Russian sage, which will have blue flowers. So far I like this container. I have high hopes that when it all blooms, it will be wonderful.

In the green watering can, I have a Peruvian daffodil that I planted on April 12, 2009. Last year it had nothing but the strappy foliage.
When I went out this afternoon to water the deck containers. I almost squealed with delight when I saw this bud!

Whoo--hoooo!!!! It's going to bloom this year! It looks like some bug has been munching on the bud, so I immediately went out and sprayed it with a plant bug spray. I've tried the 'organic' methods--nothing really works--so now I use a chemical to kill the predators.

Judge me as you will...

I have high hopes that there will be many more buds this year that will open into the spidery white flowers.

Every afternoon when I get home from work, I have to water all of my containers on the deck and in the Arbor Gardens. This is my irrigation system.... a hose, an aluminum bucket, 2 Folgers coffee cans and a white bucket from work. I fill the aluminum can, scoop the water out with the Folgers cans and carrying two Folgers cans at a time, I water all the deck containers. Most of them need a full Folgers can every day--some need two. Then I fill the white container and walk down the steps to the Arbor gardens---six to seven times---to water all of the containers I put out there.

The entire process takes at least a half an hour.

So if you have a real irrigation system, count your blessings!

On a personal note: Frances C who sent me a facebook request--are you Frances in Australia? I don't want you to think I am ignoring you, but I have no Facebook account...I know nothing about it, so I have no idea how to answer your request. I am flattered that you sent it, but I don't think I will begin an account there. All of these blogs are enough for me!

same thing to TC Connor in Penn. - no idea what Linkin is....sorry!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This Smells Like a Scam

Yesterday I received this box of 3 books (2 are on backorder), a tote bag and a cloth picture frame with a welcome-to-the-club letter.

I never joined this craft book club. I immediately called the customer service number.

The CSR that I spoke with did not blink an eye when I told her I did not order these. With no questions whatsoever, she said she would remove the charges from my name. She said I could just keep or donate the books. I ask how this could happen. She said that someone had gotten my information and subscribed me. Hmmmmm....I asked if was on the internet...she said, "No, it was through the mail." She said it was on July 20.

So supposedly someone subscribed me and ordered quilting books and a bird book....not knitting books, or crocheting did this person know my interests?

A few years ago I was with this company just long enough to fulfill my commitment. I ordered some quilting books and a paper-pieced bird block quilting book. Coincidence? I doubt it. I think this is an inside job and this club is doing this on purpose in hopes that people will just accept it and pay the bill.

Has this happened to anyone else out there?

Speaking of books, I just stopped by the library to pick up the latest Jennifer Chiaverini book. I am looking forward to a good read, so I hope it does not disappoint.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Canna buds & Garden Comparisons - 1 Year Apart

I don't really have any new bloomers for Jean's Blooming Tuesday, but I do have a two gorgeous canna buds to show you. They are both on the same plant and will open into big yellow/orange flowers.

Yesterday I bought a new Elephant Ears. I put it behind the pot I already had by the arbor. It looks like it's all one big arrangement.
This one has black stems.

In the gardens, all of my flowers bloomed a week to two weeks early this year. Here is a pic from last year in early August. The lilies that finished last week were still in bloom last year in early August.

2009 - 1st week of August: I had just bought, stained and installed this arbor. The lavender was in its prime...this year it is finished already.

I had a lot less Asiatic lilies in '09. I must have moved a ton of them to this area last fall.

The front of this border had about 15 feet of creeping phlox. It was beautiful for 2 weeks in the spring, but then just looked blah for the remainder of the year.

This year I was getting really tired of weeding out the grass in the heavy mat of creeping phlox. I did not get to it until late this spring, which killed off some areas and made the display less than it usually is. The blooms went all around this garden to the same spot on the other side.
I decided that this was prime real estate in my garden and it needed to do more than look pretty for two weeks. So my big project this year was to remove almost all of it.

I finished the removal on Sunday, July 25, 2010. This year all of the Asiatic lilies are finished, but I still have quite a bit of color since I added those big canna leaves and moved a lot of daylilies to this area.

In this pic, I have also removed all of the creeping phlox around the border, but not yet planted it all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010 -- I finished replanting this area with a number of different perennials.
Here is more of the border that was once all creeping phlox.

I am sure I will miss all of that creeping phlox next spring, but I really think this planting will serve me better throughout the gardening season.

The more I look at this area, the more I think I need a red daylily right behind that lavender.....maybe I am not done moving plants.

Don't forget to visit Jean to see what everyone has blooming. I will be doing that after work today.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Added More Tropicannas to this Garden

I think I am done moving things for at least a few weeks. On Sunday morning I moved some more cannas in containers to this area:

I really like the dark leaves with the red daylilies. All of these cannas should shoot up another 3 feet with big orange flowers. They usually bloom around mid August. By that time all the daylilies will be finished and, without the cannas, I would have nothing to look forward to since I removed all of the fall asters (did not like the ugly aster foliage) from this area.

I also cut down the spent lilies and much to my dismay, the ligularia, which left the area in front of the smaller arbor pretty blah. In this photo I have not yet cut down the ligularia. It's the tall thing with a teeny bit of yellow on the top--pretty well spent--so it was time to give it the big snip. I decided to move a big container of Elephant Ears and Cannas to the side of the arbor. There was a lot of daylily foliage in that area, which helped to hide the container.

The ligularia foliage is in the way from this angle. Here is another angle:

I am tempted to add more, but I also want some left for the deck. It does takes a lot more time to run around watering all of these containers since my water faucet is quite a distance away.

Update: Yesterday I bought a new Elephant Ears. I put it behind the pot I already had by the arbor. It looks like it's all one big arrangement.
This one has black stems.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Changed the Wagon Wheel Garden

You may have noticed in Saturday's post that I had moved the aqua milk can from the wagon wheel garden.

There used to be an aqua watering can here.

I swapped the two around.

The wagon wheel garden now looks like this:

I also moved the clump of tall purple phlox to the side of the stump. I like it better now. The tall milk can with the cobalt blue container was too much in one area.

Here is the view from across the path:

The gold lilies in front are the 'Condilla' double daylilies. The big yellow daylily is 'Charm Bracelet'--it has huge 5-inch blooms with ruffled edges. They are lovely when they bloom, but a big wet mess the next day!

I have been trying to think of a color to paint my dining room walls -- when and if they ever get re-drywalled--all the contractors are busy and taking forever to give me a bid...........anyway, I love this dining room:

Right now I am planning to paint the walls a light aqua and paint my dining room chairs white. Of course, that is subject to change...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bean There Done That

That title pretty much sums up my day--in more ways than one.

Early this morning I was out moving plants again.

A couple of weeks ago, I moved a gold double daylily to this section. Today I took it out.

I decided I wanted only red in this area, so I put a red daylily in its place.

I moved the gold 'Condilla' daylily in front of this milk can, where there used to be a big sedum 'Autumn Joy'. There is another 'C0ndilla' a feet up from this one. The gold/yellow is such a strong color that I thought they should be in the same area. I think it gives a much bigger impact than having two scattered about.

The Sedumn AJ ended up here . I needed one here to match the other big one on the opposite side (which you cannot see in this picture).

I spent considerable effort-- in nearly 100 percent humidity-- removing the rest of this creeping phlox (pic taken in early July) to make room for the SAJ and a hosta in front of the lavender.
All of that (and moving a half dozen tall purple phlox & a couple of hosta) took about three hours. Then it started to rain, which is exactly what I had hoped would happen.

I got to go inside, shower and do next to nothing for the remainder of the afternoon. I did a read a little bit. I started a new cozy mystery last night. Check out the title--hence, the title for my post today. :)The murder-solving sleuth owns a coffee shop, thus the "bean" in the title refers to coffee beans. This is my first read from this author. So far I am enjoying it. Anybody else read her books?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A wine Connoisseur I am Not

About two months ago, the Big Kahuna (my boss) took a trip to California. While there he toured a few wineries and ordered a few cases of the wines he liked.

The Big K is somewhat of a wine connoisseur. He has been trying to educate me (with little success) for the past five years or so. He is appalled that I still enjoy the cheap boxed white wines.

He ordered a case of this inexpensive (to him--I have no idea what it costs) red wine. He likes reds, but I am not all that fond of reds. He gave me a bottle of this one to try. When I saw the bottle I thought it would be perfect for a Halloween tablescape!
Every week he asks me, "Did you try the wine yet?" Every week I have to say no.

So tonight, after half a glass, my box of cheap Chardonnay ran out, and I decided to try it; because I did not want to dirty another glass, I am using a white wine glass for a red. (just want everyone to know that I do recognize the difference! LOL)

After my first sip, I thought, "Whoa . . .tongue jolt! It's very, very dry. But I kind of like it.

I googled the wine and found this review:
The Twisted Wines 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon has a bright nose that features a ton of red raspberry and lighter hints of vanilla. When you take the first sip you'll find a medium-bodied wine that alternates between dark and bright berry fruit characteristics. Touches of candied black cherry emerge, and lead to the finish which continues the berry theme, along with spice notes in the form of white pepper and nutmeg

Yeh...that is exactly what I was trying to say! I did notice that there was a little tang on the tongue a few seconds after swallowing the wine...that must be the pepper and nutmeg spice notes...

I think I still need more teaching before I qualify as a wine sommelier.

With my glass of red wine in hand, I went out to water the containers. This corner of the deck is beginning to look interesting, even though there is just one tiny flower in bloom.

To my eyes, the big canna and Elephant Ear leaves are just as lovely as flowers. Like wine, cannas may be an acquired taste. I used to hate them. Now they are, without a doubt, my favorite flower for the deck containers.

Just look at those stripes:

A few days ago, I changed the wagon wheel garden. I brought a big pot from the deck and went in the woods and found a stump that I've used in previous years. It already had a Black-eyed Susan growing inside, so I wheelbarrowed it (it's heavy)to this area.
I am not really loving this vignette. I will probably make some changes this weekend.

I know a little more about cooking than I do about wine. I made a pretty tasty macaroni and cheese for last night's dinner. No little blue boxes and powdered cheese for this girl! I will probably have leftovers tonight.

I hope you are all having a good week. I can't believe tommorow is Friday already!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blooming Tuesday

'Kentucky' Tango lily burst into full bloom this weekend. I showed you the first bloom, but I think 'Kentucky' deserves its full-bloom glamour shot, just like the other 4 Tango lilies had.

I want to order more of these. Three is just not enough. Here is the view across the grass path to the other arbor garden:

A little further back my purple phlox has begun. I have a few different shades of purple/pink phlox. Some of them are twenty years old and I have long forgotten their names.

Phlox is such a staple of my late July/early August garden.

This red striped/blotched Rembrandt dahlia just opened yesterday.
I'd be totally ga-ga over it, if it had a few more petals with the bold red stripes. Maybe some of the other buds will have more red. You never know what you will get with the Rembrandts. That's part of the fun about growing them. It's exciting to run out each day to see what the new flower looks like.
Update: 4:30 p.m. July 20, 2010 I just went out to see how the dahlia looked today. The next layer of petals opened and I see a lot more red stripes! I am almost
ga-ga! If I had this dahlia at Christmas time, it would be the centerpiece of my holiday dinner table--it reminds me so much of candy canes!

This Rembrandt is not lacking in red color!

I love the purple center petals. I have had this one for a few years and it never ceases to fill me with pure Rembrandt love!

Here is another of my original Rembrandt dahlias. They are purple and my least favorite.
So wouldn't you know that the purple are what I have the most of! I ordered another Rembrandt collection last fall. So far none of them have bloomed. I am hoping that I do NOT have more purple in my new collection!

I just went out and cut down the orange and red spent lily stems around the globe thistle.
Now all of those lovely orbs show up nicely. It won't be long before they turn blue. I am hoping that you won't be seeing that pile of top soil much longer. I have been asking DH to knock in down for the past two years. I have been waiting at least 104 weekends....maybe next weekend will be the one! It's getting small enough that I can probably do it myself. It ruins all of my pics!

I got down close to the ground for this shot. I wanted to get the red-striped Tropicanna leaves in. This canna is planted right in the ground and is not growing as fast as the cannas I have in containers.
Last year the one I planted in this same spot did not bloom. I am hoping for a better outcome this year.

Right now I have a lot of red daylilies blooming -- many of them are called 'Red Fan Fare'. They are a fairly short daylily - -about 12 inches tall--I like the yellow centers -- they look like they are on fire!

So that's what's new in my garden. Now head over to Jean's Blooming
Tuesday to see what everyone else has. Jean has a lot of different coneflowers--all colors. I am going to see the others right now.
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