Monthly Archives: July 2014

Attitude Adjustment Hour

This morning I went out into the garden with the camera. My intent was to take a bunch a pictures and write a long post about how certain areas of the garden really bother me at certain times of year. July is especially tough for the Pink Garden and the Dog’s Garden as the former is planted to be stunning in spring when I need the wake up call from spring to get me out working and the later is planted to knock your socks off in Fall so I don’t dwell on the waning gardening season. Right now one needs deadheading and cutting back and the other is pretty but not even shadow of what it will be in a few weeks.

Instead, I found myself snapping photo after photo of loveliness .027002

Could it have been the storms that came through last night ? They seemed to refresh everything after an oppressively  hot day and dry spell.028004

054Could it be the magic created by filtered sunlight back-lighting the garden ?  The softer light was  all the more enjoyable after days of intense summer sun that seemed to sap the life out of me.008013

Could it have been that I am always so smitten  by the birds and the butterflies that are my daily visitors? They were out in large numbers today.040007

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Could it be that around every corner there seemed to be a new combination of blooms or flowers  and art that had yet to be seen this season? Certainly these few caught my eye.010

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036Could it be that  sometimes as a gardener you see  the faded blossoms, the need for division,the weeding yet to be done and loose sight of  the beauty in the seed heads,or  the exuberance and bounty in a such a lush garden ?003048 029

Whatever it was, there was a definite attitude adjustment in the time I wandered around.021

It is dry and  comfortable , with the heat and humidity gone for a few days so I could take my time and really see what was going on out there….043 038 012

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………and it was absolutely delightful.

Don”t worry though if you missed my ranting, I am reasonably certain it is only only the most brief of holidays and will return sooner than you  can blink!

 

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Awesome Annuals

July 15th is no time for  garden Bloggers Bloom Day post. Let’s be serious here and realize that to talk about and photograph all that is bloom here on July 15th would take days and the post would be so long even the most dedicated reader would grow bored, so instead I give you some thoughts on the annuals I am growing here ( and loving) this year.

You have probably heard it said that you start out as a gardener planting annuals and then as you learn more ,switch to growing  perennials and as you age replant yet again  with shrubs. While I agree that it does take some time to mature as a gardener and learn what works best in your yard, , costs the least and maybe requires the least maintenance, I don’t think we as gardeners should ever give up on annual plants.

From a cost standpoint, yes, replanting an entire bed with annuals every year can be pricey. BUT if you take the time at the end of the season to collect seeds from your favorites to plant up next year ,or even just buy inexpensive seed packets,  the cost can be minimized.

From a work standpoint, yes starting loads of plants from seed is not easy and takes some space, but a sunny window will work for some things you want to start early and I have found that annual seeds started outside when the soil temp is warm take off like crazy and catch up or surpass any little annual plants bought at the nursery for $$$ .

This year I started some nasturtiums( Moonlight and Cherries Jubliee) I ordered from Renee’s Seeds inside in a large pot set by the slider in the kitchen in late March , and then started some outdoors when it was warm. Honestly, there is little difference right now. The ones I started in the house are blooming in the pot outside now, but the others are very close to flowering, so the 6 weeks or so or growth the early birds got actually only bought me maybe an extra week of bloom. Note to self…plant them outside when soil is warm and save aggravation of tripping over large pot set on kitchen floor for 6 weeks in the spring.002004

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.And let’s be frank, very few perennial plants can give the sheer volume of bloom annual plants do , and adding just a few in key places in the garden can keep the place looking super swell all season long. I made sure I tucked a few of theses beauties in several garden areas and containers.

Here are a few of my other faves form this year’s garden :

Agrostema githago ‘Milas’  a tall (36 inch) ethereal bloomer that fills the space between other plants beautifully., a must for any cottage gardener, will self seed.agrostema

Sweet peas , my favorite is  ’Cupani but  a new one for me this year  ’Fire and Ice’ may be stealing my heart.  ”Fire and Ice’ has extra large flowers that start out purply- pink and fade gloriously into a denim blue. Add in heavenly  fragrance and we have a real winner here, destined to be replanted every springfire and ice sweet pea005

Petunia exserta; this sweet and rare petunia species gets it’s name from the fact that its’ stamens and stigma are exserted (thrust forward) and it is also this quality that makes it a hummingbird magnet. Most petunia hybrids have little nectar to offer these cute little garden friends, but apparently this one has plenty given the rate at which it is visited. This plant was found in the wild in a small area in Brazil in 2007 and slowly seeds have been collected and sold and now  you can buy the plant from Annies Annuals too. I started mine from seeds graciously sent to me by Nan Ondra of Hayfield . It will do well in a shadier location than most hybrid petunias like.petunia exserta

Cerinthe major purpurascens or Blue Honeywort: This steel blue- foliaged charmer is a great addition to containers and I especially love it with bubble gum pinks, like Supertunia ‘ Vista Bubble Gum’ It has tubular flowers the pollinators enjoy and seeds around which is of great benefit to the cost conscious gardener ( or one who has lots of gardening friends)024

Lanai Peach Verbena is an annual I bought to use in several containers. here it is with a red and white  Nemesia. No matter what is is paired with it looks awesome.DSC_0040

This container has a petunia hybrid ( name long lost) that self seeds every year both  in the pot it was grown in and the ground around it. This year while waiting for it to sprout I threw in lettuce seeds and have been harvesting it every time I walk by on my way from the grill. The lettuce is getting ready to bolt just as the petunias are filling in.lettuce and perunias

Convolvulus tricolor   ‘Blue Ensign’, a morning glory relative, is just starting to bloom in the two containers I planted it in. The seeds cost next to nothing but  these cheery blue flowers are worth a million when they greet me on my morning walk down the walkway to the Pink Garden. This plant is a compact bushy one, not a vine at all, and will bloom until frost. 007 I am posting some other pics I snapped of other annuals knowing that for the most part they are readily available in most garden centers, but it is all in the way you pair them that makes it work. I hope they inspire you to add many annuals to your own garden space !

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