Friday, June 29, 2012

Loosestrife 'Alexander' in front of a Bodker Dairy milk can

I like this perennial with variegated foliage and its bright yellow flowers.  Loosestrife is known for being invasive, but I do not find this variety to be invasive at all.  That may be because I have it planted in terrible rocky soil, so I am thrilled with anything that lives in these conditions.  :)

Do any of you living near Detroit,  know of the Bodker dairy advertised on my milk can?

I have had 'Alexander' for a few years and it has grown large enough for me to separate.  I have it in four different areas right now.  Here is another section near my bird bath:

I do love to get four or five nice plants from one purchase. 

I even have it growing in the area where I toss all the debris I remove from my garden.  Somehow I must have dug up a small section of 'Alexander' and tossed it along with something else. 
Unfortunately the foliage has reverted to its original green color.   I am still going to dig it up and find a place to put it in one of my gardens.

I took a vacation day from work today and spent 6am to 10am working outside.  One of my main projects was to trim the yew hedge leading to my deck.
I have about half of it done in this pic. 
It is getting pretty wide, so I also removed a bit of its girth.
It took about 1.5 hours to get it all done (it is only half done in this pic, too).

I just used my little Felco pruners, so I had to make a gazillion cuts.

This yew bush in the front of the house  also got a haircut.
You see the unpruned shrub. I did not take pics of the finished work, so you will just have to trust me when I say that it all has a much cleaner appearance now.  I still have one more shrub to prune, but my fingers are getting a bit stiff, so it will wait for another day.

It's about 11 am now and I just finished a ham/cheese sandwich for brunch.  Even those it is already 80 degrees outside, I am heading back out. I never waste a day off just sitting around.  I do intend to work on less strenuous projects like painting a table and some chairs.  Of course, you know that I will show you how it turns out in a later post.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Container Garden Update

Most of you know that my favorite type of gardening is in containers--large containers.  I like space so I can play with the design of the container.  There is little fun in putting one plant in a container....Boring, with a capital B! :)

The two new whiskey barrels I planted in May are slightly different.  This one has a perennial, guara, in the front for the spiller:
 While this one has purple fountain grass:
They both have cannas and callas buried behind.  Since taking these pics, I also added some 'Sedona' coleus and some nasturtium seeds in the front (among other things that I have probably forgotten!).

Here is the one you saw directly above:

Whoa! What a difference a month makes!

 and the one with the perennial guara, which I might add is looking very robust. The Guara will soon have long shoots with tiny pink flowers falling over the edge.
I did end up adding some purple fountain grass to this one. You can barely see it --it is right next to the guara.

Do any of you remember the Cordayline 'Red Star' that I over wintered and had only a few top sections that survived?  Well, if not, here it is in May:
and here it is on June 22, 2012:
Definitely worth saving, in my humble opinion. My only disappointment is that the creeping Jenny is still so tiny. 

I also over wintered the big urns flanking my garage. They looked pretty sparse when I pulled them out in May. In this pic I had just added the 'fireworks' grass,the purple shield and the spiller, creeping Jenny:

Here it is now:

It is just beginning to fill out with one yellow calla lily in bloom.  It should be HUGE in another few weeks with blooming cannas and dahlias and large plumes of grass with swaying seed heads. The beautiful 'fireworks' fountain grass is getting buried in the center.  I expected that grass to grow faster.  I think tomorrow I am going to dig it out and put it up front to the side.

My old whiskey barrels (way in the back) are full of perennials.  I don't have to do a thing with them, other than provide water.  Here they are in May:
Here they are today:
 This one has the coneflower 'Hot Papaya' that  I bought last year. I am happy with the growth since last year. There should be many  lovely orange blooms in a few weeks.

This one has purple coneflower and a lot of liatris.  I did plant nasturtium seeds that I saved from last year,  in the front of each barrel for spillers. I had a lot of nasturtium seeds, so I stuck them in just about every container I have. They are  about the only seeds that came up out of a dozen packages of various flowers.
The wonderful thing about planting whiskey barrels with perennials is that there is nothing to do except water them each spring and they burst forth with an abundance of blooms.  Gotta love that!

These are just a few of my containers.  I did not count how may I have this year, but I know it is considerably less than the 75 or so I normally plant.  I made a vow this year to cut back to save time and energy.  I combined four or five smaller containers into the new whiskey barrels and took a few containers to plant at work. One of my huge wooden planters rotted, so I tossed it to the garbage truck.  Still it took me 45 minutes tonight in miserable 90+ degree weather (after getting home from a full day of work) to water and tend to those I still have.

I can't wait until they all get large enough for me to arrange a little hideway in the lattice-walled deck corner.  I think that is my favorite part of the garden season.  I love the secluded feeling I get when I surrounded by tall plants.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Love my Alliums

Ah, the lowly onion.  Many people would never believe that these blooms come from the same family as the onion you slice up each night for your dinner.  But they do.

See those little white caps behind the Smoke bush?  It is an allium called 'nigrum'.  At least that is what I ordered.  Here is a close up:
It looks a lot like allium 'Jade eye' to me.  Whatever it is, I like it.

Aren't these  strange flower buds? 
 I have about ten of these. They are called 'hair' allium.  When the flower opens, it looks like a bunch of green scraggly hair!
I love this one, just for its shock factor.

I also have yellow allium Moly 'Sunny Twinkles':
These are short with lemony clusters of tiny star-shaped flowers and are the first to bloom each spring.

Here is 'Christopherii':
It was twice this big the first year.  I planted 8 or 9 of these. This is the only one left after just a few years.

I planted 'drumstick' many years ago:
This one has multipled ten fold.   Here is a nice little bunch from a few years ago:

This little 'azure' is a pretty blue color, but it did not survive in my garden .  I planted 12 of them two years ago and have none left.

I keep replanting the bigger purple-ball varities, but they also never last more than a year or two. 
Look how many I had in 2006:

None of these are left. I have to treat them like annuals if I want to admire them each spring.  I did miss them this year, so I will probably plant a few this fall.

Does anyone else have problems with these coming back?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

These 'Manhattan' Asiatic Lilies are Wowing Me this Year!

I love these so much that I have devoted an entire post to them.

 I know many of you probably have huge Asiatic lilies with dozens of flowers on each stem, but I have never had lilies grow large like these. It helps that they are planted in one of best spots for sun and soil.
 I think the purple clustered bellflowers look nice with them.

Here are some of the same bellflowers on the opposite side:

I have planted the lilies all around this walking path.

 When I bought these lilies two years ago this fall, I thought they were dwarf and planted them all along a different walking path. Ignore the arrows, etc. in this pic from two years ago. I just want to show you how big they were when planted.
I was shocked the next year when they were way too tall to be in the front of the walking path.  So I had to move all of them.

A few days ago,  I noticed that I missed a couple of bulbs when I removed them.  Notice that these are short just like when I bought them.  They must start out short and then go wild the following year!
I will have to move these soon.

I really wish all of my Asiatic lilies would grow as well as these that I bought at a rock bottom end-of-the-year markdown price from Home Depot.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Need One More Golden Privet Shrub

After I planted the 2 smoke bushes last week, I realized I needed one more Golden Privet Shrub behind the smoke bush  (red X on the left ) so it would match the other side.  I would also have a nice triangular arrangement of that bright chartreuse color.

I do love triangular plantings, don't you?

 I have a fairly large Golden Privet in my rockwall garden.  I really don't like digging them up from there and moving them just when they are getting big enough to make a statement, but if I buy one, it will be way too small.
So today I decided to dig it out.  About noon, I checked the weather channel and it appeared that I had a good hour before it would rain. 

 Never trust the weather channel. 

It began raining within fifteen minutes after I got outside. I decided to stay out and at least get the daylilies removed (2 wheelbarrow loads). Since I was already wet, I thought I may as well  get the hole dug and filled with water. I bet the neighbors wondered why I was hauling out the hose while it was raining. :)   I was probably out in the rain for about 25 minutes.

I was thoroughly soaked when I came inside!

The rain stopped after about 45 minutes and I went right back out (still in my wet clothes) to finish the planting.

Here it is all finished. The Golden Privet is not as tall as the one on your right, but I think it will catch up in a short time.
From this angle, both of them ended up behind a tree.  I did not even plan that, but I  like that symmetry.

A few days ago I cut down the Lamb's Ear because  it was already flopping.
I really do not like floppy plants. As soon as they begin to fall over, I cut them back almost to the ground. 

I am amazed by all that is blooming so early.

In a normal year, I would not have any of these lilies blooming until about July 4.

This  year everything is at least two weeks early. 

 By the end of July I won't have anything left to bloom! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Please Sit a Spell and Enjoy My New Peony

I bought this one in a gallon container full of buds two years ago. After planting all the buds dried up. There was no bloom last  year either. So when I saw 4 big luscious buds this year, I was thrilled.  The label said it was a red peony, but I think this is more like hot pink.
It is nothing special, but I like it because it is the first one I have that is not white. I just wish I knew the true color before I planted it next to red/orange lilies. 
This area also has red dwarf lilies. My plan was to have an all red and orange area.
I don't like the hot pink here, but it's staying. After waiting two years for a flower, I am not about to move that peony!

I always find the fuzzy buds of my Tango lilies interesting.  When I first planted them, I thought maybe they had a disease. I was totallly surprised to find that this fuzz is normal and does not hurt the flower at all. Now I like the fuzz just because it's different than all the other lily buds.
Of all the Asiatic lilies I have grown, I find the Tango series to be the most interesting.  You will see their gorgeous flowers soon.

Remember the woodland garden that I was removing all the daylilies from on Saturday?  Well, I am happy to report that I accomplished my goal and did get all the daylilies removed on Sat/Sun, except for one little clump of yellow ones that I want to transplant elsewhere.  I also left some Sedum Autumn Joy that I want to move.
I am very happy with the work we accomplished on Father's Day weekend despite all the rain on Sunday.

You may remember that my one goal for the weekend was to clean the paths of pine needles. 

Early Saturday morning I was moving the Smoke Bushes and I looked up and saw DH raking the paths.  I wondered what he was up to and then I smiled when I realized that he had read my blog post and came out to clean all the paths for me.  What a sweetheart!

The pink lilies are the Manhattans that I moved last summer while they were in full bloom.  I bought them two summers ago thinking they were dwarf.  When they were not, I had to find a new spot for tall lilies. They survived the move just fine.
Right behind them you can see the Smoke Bush I moved on Saturday.  It has had no problems since the move. The leaves did not even wilt! I am taking that as a good sign of its success potential.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Aqua Paint-a-thon

I had to make a quick run to Ace Hardware Saturday afternoon to get some spray paint to match the gallon of aqua paint I have been using for all my garden/deck accessories.  Brushes are OK for the big stuff, but sometimes a girl just needs the ease of  a spray can.

 I found a pretty good color match and turned these chairs from this...
to this in a matter of minutes.

Once I get a can of paint in my hand, I go nuts.  It does not matter to me if the container is already planted. I just cover the foliage and start spraying.
I had a  number of aqua items before, but now I have at least twice as many scattered around the deck and gardens.

 Couldn't resist making some of the wine cork herb markers that I have been seeing all over the net.

I still have more chairs to paint, but we got a lot of rain Sunday, so everything was too wet. 

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