Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My Veggies

My husband built these raised beds (good job!) I buy cheap umbrellas from a discount store to use as shade for my lettuce and other tenders. They work well because I can put them up and down as needed. Squash and Zucchini are behind vines at far end. Fence trellis and potted willows are an experiment to hide view of horrible neighbors and their big trampoline, dog poop, dead grass, weeds and a zillion screaming kids. The remainder of our backyard is in shade.
Herbs do well along south exposure and brick wall (very hot!) That's where I was able to overwinter Rosemary. Morning glories will one day (I'm waiting...) climb on trellis.

With everyone showing such beautiful photos of their veggie bounty, I thought I'd better get on the bandwagon. Not that I have much of a bounty yet. But we are enjoying a nice variety of greens on a salad every evening. Other veggies that we have:

Peppers (my husband loves these). Tomato plants - 2: Actually have a couple of blossoms. Who knows, may have a tomato by labor day! Cucumbers, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Spinach - not doing well. Also Cilantro, Parsley, Basil, Onions, Oregano, Rosemary, different Thymes (especially lemon!) Culinary sage and Dill.

Guess that covers most of it. My husband built these beautiful raised beds. I think he did a great job and I sure do enjoy them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'm a Proud Mama...

I can't believe it! And I really need to crow about this. I finally have a bloom (at least the beginning of one) on my Endless Summer Hydrangea. I have spent practically the national debt trying to grow hydrangeas. I've seen them (not often) in my city and have tried everything and everyplace I could think of to grow them. I had finally decided that I would just have to buy a large plant every year and treat it as an annual. But still I'm challenged. This cute little darling is now appearing. It has been in this location (east-facing) for three... yes, that's 3 years and is finally showing signs of life. Last year it didn't bloom at all. Now it is about 10" tall. I have babied it, I have talked nicely to it, I have cussed it, and at last!!! I even planted a companion (coneflower) in front of it to block out the hot afternoon sun, and Sweet Woodruff around it's base to keep in in moisture and give it company. Guess I'll have to hold a shower tonight... heavy rains are expected. Last night (middle) we had a very strange lightning display to the north and east. The whole room kept exploding like flashbulbs. It was really kind of frightening. Some rain, but thank goodness no hail. Hope we are as lucky tonight.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Salute to Salvias

Purple Rain

May Night

Blue Cloud

Royal Crimson Distinction


Rose Queen

Unknown - Sky Blue

I think this is Caradonna

I noticed this weekend that several of my salvias will soon need to be cut back so that they may bloom again before fall. Doesn't seem possible it's that time already. Seems just yesterday that I was marveling at their beginning spring blooms. It got me to thinking how much I appreciate salvias. Along with many other sages, they are quite a mainstay in my garden. They are very dependable and hardy, as well as beautiful and make great water-wise or Xeric additions to the garden.
So, everyday I watch them, tell them how beautiful they have been this year, and dread the day soon when I will have to cut them back. They will appreciate it, however, so they don't have to fall down during the July monsoons which may or may not be with us this year.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Room For Roses...

Sharifa Asma



Melody Parfume

DA Evelyn (my husband found on sale for something like $5)

My Mom's Rose, Nancy Reagan - new this year

Yellow Dream Rose with Feverfew

I have a small, but intimate, bed of roses. I love pulling in the driveway and having their beautiful faces greet me. So far, this has been a good year for them. They loved the wet, cold, spring and I watched them closely for any signs of blackspot.

My goal this year was to rid them of the thrips that almost ruined them last year. The spring had started out hot and dry last year and they really took hold. I was determined to get rid of them, and whether or not it was my effort (hope it was) or Mother Nature's, I'm pleased to report that I see very little sign of thrips this year. Last fall, before I put them to bed, I removed most of the surface soil, then placed newspapers on the ground around each rose. Then, I piled lots of clean compost mixed with a little manure, with a heavy top dressing of mulch for the winter. Then I prayed... a LOT!

This spring when I uncovered some of the soil and mulch, I used Bayers 2 in 1 systemic, being pretty generous. As each bud began to appear I sprayed with Safer Rose Insect product. Later I added a new fertilizer I found at the nursery...Peace of Mind Organic (boy, did I ever need that). I had lost two new roses because of the harsh winter, and two of the older ones are recovering. But I've had some beautiful blooms this first flush, with.... get it.... NO THRIPS! Hooray! A rosarian I'm not, but I sure do love my roses.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

So... Summer Arrives at Last!

Lamb's Ear, Paprika Yarrow and Salvia Blue Cloud

This Salvia Blue Cloud is HUGE this year!

Paprika Yarrow and Salvia May Night

After a cold, wet, Spring.... Summer arrived today in all it's blazing glory. Just in time, I say. It feels good to be warm and all of the plants are rejoycing in their new found warmth. I can't belive how tall many things are this year, after all the moisture we've had. It certainly made and difference, and I am enjoying the process of seeing how my "friends" are all reacting. Of course, I'll be complaining about the heat any day now. But maybe not. I think a bit of a cool-down is on the way. Here are some photos I took today of my plants rejoycing!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

This Place is For The Birds...

My "Critter Corner"

This was my inspiration. I love the branch that weaves everything together.

This is my backyard retreat (taken last year).

Last year, while on a Xeriscape tour I fell in love with this bird house fence. I love birds and I collect bird houses, so this year I thought.... why not try my hand at this?? While I prefer the more natural look of the tour fence, my fence is white and my bird houses are colorful, so I decided to work with that. Besides, this corner is VERY dark and shady (it's my secret retreat... sh... don't tell) and needed some color to add some life. I name all my gardens, and this was "Pooky's Garden," named after a dear cat whose ashes are there. Although it will always be that to me, I've decided to name it my "Critter Corner," since I place all sorts of little animals and hokey things around in it. A House and Beautiful display it ain't, but it gives me great pleasure and brings a smile to my eyes. I love to sit here and relax and solve all my problems. (If only.)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Now Blooming June 15th

The "main attraction," starring right now, is this combination in one of my "strips." The stars are the May Night Salvia and Pink Poppy. Co-starring Snow in Summer and Corsican Violas. Also appearing: Penstemon Elfin Pink and Wisely Pink Sun Rose. The red is a young annual Salvia and a small Poppy.

Here are my top "Favorites" in bloom now. Roses are just beginning their first flush. I still have some white Bleeding Hearts and a couple periwinkle blue Iris. Blue Flax is also still blooming brightly every morning and many of my Penstemons are beginning to awaken. Husker Red looks like it will be particularly beautiful this year. Salvia Rose Queen is also beginning to look nice. And.... FINALLY I was able to have the first salad from my lettuce. What a treat! Even had a couple leaves of spinach. Cilantro doing well. So is Rosemary which, I'm proud to say, I was able to keep over winter.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Poppy for my gardening friends

I haven't had my computer on for two days, so am behind in my posting (not to mention gardening). My father is 91 and is trying to still live by himself with the help of hospice care. I'm trying my best to honor his last wishes and make his remaining days as independent as possible for him, which is what he wants most. Wouldn't we all? But the last several days have been very challenging.

Today I took the whole day to myself to redo one of the gardens in my back yard. It felt great, and even though every bone in my body hurts, it's a good hurt. I will post some photos when it is more "camera ready," as we used to say in the graphic design world.

I want to thank all of the wonderful people who have left such kind comments on my blog. It brightens a difficult day to find a comment waiting me and I wish I could sit down and have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with each of you. Gardeners are such a soulful lot... It's good to know there are other people who face the same challenges and share the same excitement that a few plants and a little dirt adds to one's life. I did take time to take a few photos and offer this one in honor of my fellow friends and gardeners. Thank you so much.

Friday, June 8, 2007

My Favorite Local Nurseries

This is Hillside Gardens, and as the name implies,
is on a hillside at the site of an old landfill. They hold many events and weddings here, and it is so peaceful to meander around.

Good Earth Garden Center

Not a garden center... new fountain
which will rotate water when operational.
I'll take another photo when it is.

We've had damaging winds for three days in a row. Last night the temp got down to 37. The lowest since 1906. I covered up some veggies but all the flowers did fine. Terrible wind chill today. I had to wear a jacket and fleece vest, and the wind stung my eyes. I'm telling myself it's a good thing...

that we haven't had to water the lawn yet this year.
that the city now has more than enough water and is able to sell some to the farm canals.
It's a good thing to be able to work outside without breaking a sweat.
that everything is so lush and green.
that we have not had a damaging hail storm right where I live (knock on wood).
that we don't experience tornados, hurricanes, and floods like other parts of the country.
that we are not troubled by too many bugs and pests.

So, to celebrate all these good things, and because I'm going crazy from the wind and caregiver stress, I decided to treat myself to a leisurely stroll through a couple of my favorite nursiers (and yes... I did pick up a few things along the way).

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

An Advantage of Hail??

Look what I found at Ace Hardware today! I got 144 plants for $12 because of hail damage. I'll nurse them back to health and they will be great for some of my shade gardens.

Today we are having hot, desiccating winds that sap every bit of moisture from the foliage. The ground beneath them is damp to the touch, but the plants look like you haven't watered them for a month! A good day to stay inside and get caught up on some office work.

Monday, June 4, 2007

I'm Just Wild About.....Color!

Yikes! Am I ever into bright colors this year. Must be all the dark, gloomy days are getting to me. I had already decided to use more cobalt blue this year, and on an impulse while plant shopping, saw the chartreuse planter. Looks like I have a theme now. Had to protect them from hail yesterday and I just made it before it really started coming down.

This is killing me, but I promised my aching body (arthritic knees, etc) another day of rest before doing more gardening. Did water exercises this morning, and I plan be more diligent with them. It's hell getting old. I used to hike all summer in Rocky Mountain National Park, play tennis, ski, take exercise classes, and run a busy boarding kennel.

Here come those black clouds again. Better get things covered.