Monday, June 27, 2011

Who Knew that Kale Bloomed?

Our rainstorms knocked down my peonies just as they started to bloom, so I cut the fallen branches off and used them as a centerpiece on the deck.
I was able to appreciate them all weekend on the deck.

I have a lot of the yellow-flowering allium 'Molly' in bloom.
 I have them in a few different areas.

My orange impatiens have finally begun to fill out around this hosta.
They are still a tad sparse on the opposite side.
I was totally surprised to see these buds on my purple kale. Who knew that kale bloomed--not me!

We have thunderstorms predicted for tonight. I am happy because it did not rain yesterday and all the containers need watering.   I would be totally ecstatic if it would rain every other day for at least an hour.

Go visit Jean's Blooming Tuesday if you get thyme time. There are lots of interesting flowers this week.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Got so Much Done This Weekend!

My weekend went by super fast, but I feel good about all the inside cleaning/outside garden work I got done. I will spare you the details of my long overdue cleaning chores.

Our local strawberries were ready this weekend.  DH stopped and bought two quarts from people who sell them by the roadside.  They go out picking at the crack of dawn and by 9:00 a.m they are selling them for $3/quart all over town.  I put the two quarts in my vintage strawberry carrier and set in beside my nearly-ready-to-bloom white astilbe for this photo Op. Then I took them inside, cleaned them and squished the to smithereens!

Then I took them inside, cleaned them and squished the to smithereens!.We often buy California strawberries in early spring. They were pretty good this year. But they never give off all the sweet juice that our local berries do.

The local berries made for a tasty dessert served over some store-bought pound cake.
This morning I decided to remove some of the Lamb's Ear I planted last year. It has grown so fast that it is taking over my lavender in the front Arbor Garden border.

I removed this big clump and planted it here:

I think it looks nice between some blue spiderwort and Johnson's blue geraniums.
After moving it, I cut it down and then moved a second Lamb's Ear to this area.

I think I am going to enjoy it in this garden.

Saturday afternoon I spent a bit of time on the deck tying these green beads to a project that I finished on Sunday.
Do you have any idea what I made?
Well, you can find out by going to my sewing/quilting blog. Just click this sentence. 
If you want to know how I made this altered fabric, check the previous post by clicking here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Queen Alexander

During the past two days of rain storms, Queen Alexander made her royal appearance. I think she is one of the most beautiful of the oriental poppies with her light salmon-pink blooms. I thought she arrived alone, until I peeked inside.

I do love to photograph these white spiders.

I like the combination of this smokebush and the pink/purple iris's:
After work today I spent a little time outside cutting down the  majority of my iris plants. Isn't it amazing how fast they finish blooming? Way too fast in my humble opinion.

On my trip around the Ponderosa, I found this Tango Lily bud encased in the stem interesting:

If you love Vidalia onions, as we do, you may want to get some and freeze them before they are gone.
I cooked up about 10 big onions and froze them for winter 2012 use.  I may do a few more uncooked this weekend.  I am planning a stay-at-home-get-a-lot-of-work-done weekend!  How about you?

a few people asked me why I cook them before freezing... I only cooked them because it takes at least 30 minutes to get a properly caramelized onion and sometimes I don't have that long. So I caramelized them and froze them in little packets, so they would be done when I needed them.  I also save the time of washing the frying pan and all the stove splatters every time I want a few onions. I am all about cook one--eat twice (or more!).   I will freeze more raw and chopped to use for non-caramelized uses.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Miscellaneous Garden Musings for Cottage Flora Thursday

This is where I ended up planting the new heucheras:

Dab smack in the front of the border where I can enjoy them every day from my bedroom window (from which this picture was taken).

Ah, the refreshing snow-in-the- summer (Cerastium tomentosum) with Allium Molly (the yellow flower).
Silver/gray and yellow is a very chic color combo for interior decorating this year.  I guess I was ahead of the trend. :)

I love the fuzzy buds of Tango lilies.  This is how they are supposed to look.

and now for the not-so-pretties...I asked DH to take the lawn mower over this big area of creeping phlox and even though it was thick and difficult to get through, he obliged.
I had no idea it would be brown under all that green! LOL. That's OK. It will be easier for me to remove a lot of it. I may work on that this weekend.

Just behind the dead-looking mass, is this little vignette that was so lovely last week.
I just hate when everything dies at the same time, but that is just a part of perennial gardening. That's the challenge--to find plants that bloom immediately after others die off.  I think my daylilies should begin to bloom next.

Please visit Cottage Flora Thursday to see a lot of other wonderful gardens.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Watermelon Salad & My Seed/Tropicals Saga

Simple yet delicious. Watermelon, cottage cheese, red onions and mint from my deck.

The Bells of Ireland seeds are not doing well.
The egg carton is breaking apart before the seedlings emerge. I still have hope that I will get some of these unusual green flowers.

I have had much better luck with the 'Cherries Jubilee' nasturtium seeds that Dianne sent me.  I transplanted them all into different deck containers.

I can't wait to see them spilling over the edges with their cherry-colored blooms.

My tropical deck containers are not filling out very quickly.

 It's been too cold at night. I am hoping they will be full by mid July. Yes, it rained last night. That made me happy. It's been raining most of the day today..with the promise of continuing for the next two days.  That does not make me  happy. I really don't want any flooding now that the gardens are just beginning to look decent!

This barrel full of liatris (blazing star) is one container that is doing very good. I see at least a dozen flowers that will emerge from this one clump. 

I have one other container that is looking good.
That's coleus Sedona in the front. I really enjoy its orange/red/purple foliage. So far no worms are eating the kale. Gotta love that.

So that's about it for the deck plantings. If they ever fill out and look good, I will show you the fully decorated deck.  I've been painting a lot of deck furniture in blue and green.  Unfortunately I am not yet liking what I've done.  Hopefully I can tie it all together with some pillows, quilts, etc.  We shall see.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Let the Blooming Begin!

Finally, I have lots of new bloomers!  I don't even know where to begin. I will just pick a few to showcase for Blooming Tuesday as I know most of you don't want to see a dozen or more pictures today!

First I will show the lupine that I featured awhile back.  It turned out to be pink and quite lovely.

I have to say that this is one of my biggest and best lupine blooms.  I am doing the happy dance over this one!

I also had one white poppy bloom. I LOVE this poppy called 'Royal Wedding', BUT....
I am very disappointed as I expected many white poppy blooms as this is the third year for these Breck's poppies.  Most of you know I order from Breck's and I have not been happy the past few years.  You all know the saying..........the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they LEAP!  Hmmmmmmmmmm, one bloom is no leap in my book.  I planted six poppies  (2 of 3 varieties) and this year I  have a total of 4 buds..........4 buds total for six plants--not good!

I have long forgotten where I planted which color, so I am pretty excited to see what these two luscious buds will morph in to--I am hoping they will be the gorgeous salmon-colored 'Queen Alexander'.

Update 5:00 pm:  I got home from work and the two buds opened.  I was a little let down to see they were white.
I still have two buds to open on another plant. I think that one has to be either purple or salmon.

I also have two different colored spiderworts blooming--the typical blue and the less seen magenta:
I seem to have alot of magenta this year. I probably dug up a lot of blue and threw it out last year.  It tends to take over and sometimes my patience wears thin and I just toss it out in the wooded area where it usually continues to bloom even though there is very little sun back there.  You really can't kill this plant.

Right next to the magenta spiderwort, I have an allium 'Christopherii' blooming. 
This guy started out HUGE - like 12 inches across - now I can fit it in in my palm.  I really hate how my allium get smaller and smaller each year - that is those that return - most them just die out. I love allium, but I have to treat it like an annual to get the best blooms.  That can be pretty expensive, so I don't do it.  Do any of you have this problem with allium?

My MIL gave me this white-flowering plant. She called it Sweet has the most wonderful sweet any of you grow this herb? 

I have a few clumps of Dutch Iris blooming. I like them next to these chives:

Last, but not least, I show you the promise of  flowers to come:
I think I enjoy the peony buds almost as much as the flowers.

Be sure to go and visit the other participants at Jean's Blooming Tuesday.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Heuchera Caramel and Heuchera Villosa Tiramisu

I have admired Heuchera 'Caramel' in so many online gardens. I am so  excited to be the owner of this beautiful foliage plant which contrasts nicely with any green color in the garden.  I think it's apricot foliage even looks great against this silver Lamb's Ear.
It will have tall airy stems of light pink flowers in the summer.

I also bought this one called Villosa 'Tiramisu': It's beautiful chartreuse leaves with red veining are supposed to turn amber for the summer and then a  deep red for late fall.

Chartreuse is a color I can't get enough of in the garden.   "Tiramisu's' blooms will be white.

Not everyone is as enthused as I over these two. DH says they look like the stuff he rakes up off the lawn every fall!  He has no sense of color contrasts in a garden. :)

I have not decided where to plant these Coral Bells. I think I will remove the Bergenia from the front of this border and plant 'Caramel' here.
I wonder if I can split it in half and put one on each side. 'Tiramisu' is too much the same color as the hosta, so I will find a better spot to show off its color.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Eyesores & One Eyesore Fixed

Because most tubers/corms refuse to grow in my garden soil, I add a lot of  containers to my gardens so I will have some late summer color. All of the containers have Tropicannas, calla lilies or dahlias that will bloom in August.

I really do not like to see ugly containers sticking out of perennial gardens.  But in order to get something interesting later, I must but up with the uglies for a while in late spring.

As you can see, right now they do not look very pretty.
I added them now so that the foliage can grow around them.  It won't be long before they are hidden.

This little container is pink calla lilies.

From the front view, you can barely see it.

This big square green container of Tropicanna is quite visible right now.

This is the same container, just a different angle.

and a third view of the same container to show that it is visible in all directions.

I find these round black plastic containers the easiest to hide.

Here is another big green square container. I think there will be enough foliage growth to hide it completely within the next week.
The only problem with containers nestled among the foliage is that I have to find them all to water them. Bring on the rain!

Remember the big area of grass that the grubs killed?  DH has been working hard on that area and it looks so much better!

In case you don't remember what it looked like a few weeks ago, here is a reminder:

I think he has done a darn good job of making this area presentable.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Added a Few Pieces of Garden Whimsy

DH has a few old Tonka trucks and I like to use this one for fresh bouquets.  The bed is surrounded by white rails, and is the perfect size for fresh flowers.

I added a hosta to the old rusty milk can near the main arbor. I like to keep a few hostas in containers to use for accents inside the milk cans.

The hostas take little care--just some watering every week. Since they are basically some shade of green, they go with everything.

I also brought out a few more watering cans. I like to leave my watering cans unplanted so I can make bouquets of fresh flowers to match whatever happens to be in bloom -- like the iris' behind this blue watering can.

The bouquets usually last 3 to 5 days, then I throw out the flowers and either make a new bouquet or leave it empty.

I also moved the little bird houses to the arbor containers. They were getting hidden by all the foliage in the main gardens.

I am joing the Cottage Flora Thursday party today.
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