Monday, August 30, 2010

The backyard flower beds continue to thrive and bloom... I did a little bit of weeding here early this evening, I noticed there is a bunch of creeping charlie out in the yard near my watergarden, so I pulled and pulled and pulled a bunch of it up. Darn stuff anyways! Other than that, it's forever dead-heading the petunias {which I've gotten quite fast at!} and water as usual. Well, all except the new rose... Yes! The James Galway... I noticed it leaves were a little yellow this morning as well as a portion of the cane, so we're with-holding a bit of watering from it for a bit. Hopefully, it'll spring right back.... I'm thinking since it wa recently planted, we may have over-saturated it just a bit.
It  has been hot the past several days with temperatures in the low 90's, so I've been trying to take advantage of the mornings and the early evenings to work outdoors. It's simply too crazy to be out there in the heat of the day as all I ever seem to get accomplish is wiping the sweat from my brow. It was about 80-85 degrees here in the side yard when Don and I worked on weeding and removed a bit more sod in one area to widen it. We finished up planting up all but one of the remaining plants left to stick in the ground. This bed is approx. 36' long x 1 1/2' - 2' wide, so weeding it can quickly get away from you, if you don't watch it.

At the far left corner, I've planed my strawberry pot on top of a block to add some visual interest and height, there's a pot of greenery and an asparagus fern at the base. A limelight coleus, one of two in this bed, accents the copper dragonfly candlestand that we've had forever. We purchased it from one of the shoppes up on a trip to Put-In-Bay. Neighboring the coleus, is an drawf evergreen, Taxus {something or other, mentioned in some of my previous posts.}

Another butterfly bush... this one a lot smaller than the Silver Frost that is in the back yard's header bed. If I'm remembering correctly, this one will bloom pink. It was a small pot when I purchased and planted it and has grown nicely here in this end of the part sun/ part shade bed. {Well, that was the idea when I purchased it...} The healthy, little bush-y type shrub is a new addition. Purchased on a trip to Wilson's Garden Center in Newark, Ohio.

Below, is a close-up view... it won't bloom until next Spring, but it was one plant on my "I want wanna those!" list... a Bleeding Heart plant. I think they are just beautiful and I think the red/pink will compliment all the green and the texture of the bed nicely.  Not show in this photo is an astible that I am in the process of trying to rescue! The poor thing got way too much heat and hot sun, so I've been providing it with nice, cool sips of water a bit more frequently than the others. To compound the problem, I've probably thrown in into transplant shock, Yep! I dug a hole and gave it a new permanent home. Hopefully, it will survive and learn to love it here.

A few unexpected potted plants... an asparagus fern and our rosemary, both will require over-wintering indoors, but I love the texture and the scent they add here.

The periwinkle {vincas} still blooming here as well, although, you'll note this little patch didn't do nearly as good as the periwinkle in the backyard's header bed, which receives full sun vs. partial sun which is what this periwinkle receives here. I also that the vegetation of the plant seems so much more vibrant and a richer green.

Newly added today, was the daisies and the aslyssum from a pot. It was either transplant it in the shade soon or toss it... so I stuck in here.  This limelight coleus has amazed from day one of planting it. It took right to the spot and has shone ever since. I love the little boy and puppy figurine, I believe was a yard sale find. Heading on south down the side bed, is the new trellis I recently purchased to help hold the verbena bush up off of the ground. It seems to be taking the trellis relly well and has made a big improvement in the general appearance of the side yard bed. I like it!

This is a section of the side bed that the hubby and I worked on widening just a bit today. It's a subtle change but I think it made a big impact in the way the bed related to the natural surroundings. It seems to be a bit more inviting now, although, this is the best picture to probably show you that. We also need to work on some of the borders for our beds and have been browsing at our options. I'm keep leaning more and more towards the concrete borders for durability once they are sealed and as long as there's adequate drainage below them.

But time will tell....  The plants in this bed have plenty of room to grow and fill in, in a sense, it almost appears a little sparce, but it's a major improvement over the before when there was nothing but grass and more weeds! Speaking of grass and weeds, I worked on this section of the side yard and a good half of the front yard using a metal rake to remove some of the grasses thatch. There were areas that it was so thick, no wonder we've got weeds everywhere. I've added picking up a bag of grass seed to the "Gardening To Do" list.... right up there with purchasing the mulch for this bed and the front yard's plantings. Anyways, see? There's plenty of room between these plantings, they aren't as "squished" in as the photo above makes them appear to be.

Moving further south in the bed, we have the new ground cover, which is establishing itself nicely and already sending out new shoots, Thank you! Here are a few scattered in among what I'm hoping will be a clump of lilyturf. It's growing... slowly. The ruby-colored coleus also took off in this August heat and I think it has been blooming since mid-July....
 more of the new ground cover surrounds it and the additional plantings up a bit further in the bed.

Eventually, I want this end of the bed to have some curves to it... well, it does now, an outward curve up along the outside fence. But I could only come out so far with these plantings for now until we purchase the new sections of fencing and the garden gate for this area.

Thanks for taking the "shady lane" tour with me... I had a great day out here working today!
The serenity that I find while spending time in the garden is often beyond what I could have ever imagined. Everyday, there is almost always something new to discover, and that new discovery always promises to fascinate and amaze me. I love waking up in the early hours of the morning, while the world around sweetly slumbers, peering out the kitchen window and watch as life unfolds out of the darkness. I look forward to my early morning visits, while the dew is still wet on the grass, and it lays like sparkling diamonds across the tops of the flower beds. Sometimes, the periwinkle itself looks like a sea of glistening diamonds, especially in the evenings and in the summer moonlight. But yesterday, it was in the sunlight that I made this beautiful butterfly discovery.  I found it fascinating as I watched it flutter from on bloom on the periwinkle to another, thoroughly enjoying this 90 degree weather and the hot summer sun!

Monday, August 23, 2010

What's happening in the garden...

I have so much to blog about and to share! Not sure exactly where I should start first. Do you want to hear about the Perfume Delight rose that is planted by the rose arbor that is re-blooming! How it smells so good while you are standing here with the sun shining on your face breathing in the rose-scented air? Isn't she a beauty to look at and admire? I had to capture this freshly opening bud before it blooms forth in just a few more hours. You probably wouldn't believe just how much that bud has opened up just since early this morning.

Or I could tell you about the seeds that I collected from the garden this week. There was butterfly bush seeds, some from the salvias, and what I'm hoping are seeds and seed pods from the annual flower, Angelonia that I planted in the watergarden along with the pink and white petunias.

The Pee Gee hydrangea tree is filled with blooms and today is the first day that I have noticed even the hint of pink on any of the panicles. I cannot wait to watch more and more them appear as the weather turns cooler at night and I'm hoping to actually dry some these buds to enjoy inside the studio during the upcoming winter months.

Or perhaps, you'd like to hear about the road trip to Wilson's Garden Center that hubby and I made. We returned with the entire Jeep filled with plants, the aroma was heavenly! How about this gorgeous looking flower? It's a David Austin climbing English rose, named James Galway. I just love his flowers!!!

Or maybe, you'd be surprised to know that I'm slowly working on what I think will work good in the front yard and add some beautiful landscaping. Something along the lines of this gorgeous Caryorteris Blue Mist, a late summer-fall blooming perennial with the most gorgeous cornflower blue flowers you ever did see. I thought the blue would be a nice contrast to the sand {that looks yellow} vinyl siding. I love that I can see this from our living room window and the honey bees seem to really love it!

I, suppose, I could also share the side yard bed that I recently spent the entire day re-working the soil, removing the weeds, re-locating a few plants, and adding a wonderful new ground-cover to help fill the corner area of the border bed. It made quite an improvement and is continuing to grow and thrive.

Or I could tell you about the wonderful day I had planting one of the new plants in the front yard {Blue Mist previously shown}, or how I had a wonderful visit from my godchild, Heaven, who was working on a photography assignment and with whom I spent a wonderful afternoon. I took this candid photo of Heaven while she was intently concentrating on her photography shot. It was interesting to see what she photographed in my garden and so nice to see it from a different perspective.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Never in my wildest dreams...

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities. ~ ~ James Allen

This is a photograph that was taken of our backyard in April of this year. Never in my wildest dreams, did I ever imagine that four months later, this would be the view my eyes would  be soaking in...

{sigh} I've definately been blessed!

Outdoor Lighting...

Menard's also had these solar lights on clearance for $2 a piece... so I grabbed up 5 of the them. I activated them yesterday and stuck them in the watergarden's header bed to charge. Late in the evening, after returning from a visit with my parents, I returned to photographed them. There's actually 3 solar lights in this bed; the 3rd on the right side isn't as bright as it isn't shaded overtop of it, but I like it! The effect is soft and inviting... I may have to return for a few more! Wouldn't those look pretty lining the edges of the side border bed leading into the rear yard, too?

Lilytuft in bloom...

Recent landscaping in the side yard...

I, also, came across some deep shade groundcover on clearance while we were at Menard's. It's Japanese Spurge, a dark evergreen shade-lover that was in 6 pk. pots for $3 each. My mind quickly did the math and when I realized that was 36 perennial plants for .50 cents apiece and I have a shady area in the side border bed that could use a little something to fill in...  I grabbed them up, too. The photograph above was taken before I began working on the bed.... remember, hubby just tilled this up and I planted it not too long ago. Not much, other than planting, watering, and weeding has been done to this area, well, until yesterday when I decided it was time to do some re-work to the entire 2 1/2' x approx. 30' border bed. So, I spaded and removed weeds, loosened up all the soil with my shovel and space before setting out to plant the new groundcover. I took a short break, just long enough for a slice of pizza and a nice, cold Bud Light, and got back at it. Before long, I was hot, tired, and satisfied with this [well, for the time being]:

{Why is is all your hard work doesn't look like much in any photograph?} Oh well. I worked on widening the bed, removing a bit more of the sod starting at this brick, strawberry pot end and working my way down. I made it approximately half way, to the basement window well before finally giving up on that and focusing my attention back to loosening the soil and removing weeds, I gotta get those plants planted, remember?! Don't loose sight of the goal now...

It's hard to photograph this area due to the carport, garage, the house and the hardscaping, so I took a few little close-up shots. The limelight coleus loves it here at this north end of the border bed. There's plenty of shade for most of the day and Mother Nature provides a few hours of the hot afternoon sun. I added an old iron hanging dragonfly birdcage that I should clean up of rust and spray paint some bright contrasting color, but for now it serves its decorative purpose.

Further on down the bed towards the south end, lies this butterfly bush.{ I'm not certain what color/style bush this is but I believe I still have the tag... } anyways, while inspecting before beginning to work on this border bed, I discovered an entire pod had gone seed so I collected them! It's thriving well here in the same conditions as those mentioned above; it's from here to the south end of the bed that the amount of afternoon sunlight changes from full to dappled with shade to a deep shade at the southern most end where I opted to plant the new groundcover.

This is the same border bed, taken from the basement window well onwards to the southern corner. The periwinkle is still in bloom here, along with another limelight coleus. A verbana quietly establishes roots and awaits a small trellis to climb upon, while the lilytuft blooms! I've never grown this stuff before so bear with me and my little discoveries and fascinations as I make these observations, LOL! They excite and enchant me... fill me with anticipation of what's next! Seeing its purple blooms excited me, as I didn't realize that they'd even do that! The ruby-something or other coleus, {how's that description, heh?} continues to thrive, providing some contrast and texture to this end of the bed....... also, scattered in is a hosta, an evergreen taxus, and a magnolia tree!

And, after planting....... They're tall for a groundcover, no? {Ignore the root sticking up outta the ground; I've got to cut it out!} But, talk about "healthy"! These baby's roots system were so rootbound inside the plastic pots that they were spliting the sides, just begging to be planted, so I obliged! :)  I know it doesn't look like much now, but just wait til these little babies grow... I'm hoping they'll establish nicely here, continue to grow, so maybe next summer I can divide and transplant some to other areas in the front yard. For now, I'm content just to watch it grows as I weed and water it.

Also, while at Menard's, we discovered the cutest little 8 ft. sections of 4' dog-earred fencing and a short garden gate in the same style.... so I gotta slow down on the plant purchases for a moment or two to start saving my $$$..... two 8 ft. sections of 4 foot fences $50; and the gate $25; 4x4x8 ft. post; and 2 2x6x8ft. treated lumber boards for another arbor $20.... and plants to plant on both sides......... well, you get the picture.  ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh, mid-August... what can I say, except perhaps, it's been hot, hot, hot! 90 degrees temps., factor in the heat index and the humidity and some days it feels we're being cooked on a slow boil! As far as the garden goes it's been consistantly tackling the weeding and deadheading either in the morning or in the evening because during the day, it's been far too hot to be truly comfortable. In the early mornings, I like to water like crazy! The flowers, though, certainly don't seem to mind... there's been plenty of blooming flowers in the gardens.

While I was inside, {spending my time in the air conditioning!}, my mind was stuck in the garden. Isn't every gardeners??? Always, thinking, wondering, envisioning, planning...... well, I certainly seem to be, so I gave some thoughts to recent garden choices and decisions to be made. I decided to forgo a late summer/early fall planting in the vegetable garden so that I can rip it out early this year, treat and remove all the weeds, hopefully, condition the soil and tarp in preparation of late fall, winter, and spring. I've also been reading and doing a lot of research and consideration to going with raised beds in the vegetables garden, just for a more formal look, and the ease of tackling the weeds, tending to the veggies.

Totally, unplanned, was the purchase of this Pee Gee "Unique" Hydrange tree! Isn't it gorgeous?! Sort of bored this hot afternoon, Don and I decided to venture out to Menard's garden center and when we spotted this for 30%........ well, {the rest they say "is history"}

Looks like a good place to me..... sunny, slighty-acidic well-drained soil, plenty of room to grow up without interference or interfering with anything, and what a wonderful compliment to the two rose bushes who neighbor nearby {there's plenty of room for both rosebushes and the hydrangea to grow and blosssom!}

 And after planting..... don't you just love it when you add something to your garden
and it just looks back at you and says, "I was meant to be."
I do. {Sigh.}

A week ago, heaven gained another angel when my sister-in-law, Melody Miller, lost her one and a half year battle with pancreatic cancer. May you rest in peace, Melody, and sing with the angels while you're tending your roses. You will always be loved and missed.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

‎"~ I am no one special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who's ever lived: I've loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough."
 ~ "The Notebook"

An early morning stroll...

"Come, let's go for an early morning stroll through the garden, shall we?" I just love here so early on these August mornings. It's going to be another hot day, but for now there's still a faint whisper of a chill in the early morning air, as the gentle breeze blows softly against one's skin. But it isn't the weather that brings me here, it's the colors of the garden that draws me so early in the morning hours. It's a special time when the garden offers up a rare glimpse, or a hint, that perhaps, something magical may have occured overnight as  the stars shone in the night sky.

It is the header bed that is one of  the leading stars of the show. The periwinkle simply comes to life within the pre-dawn night. Isn't it beautiful? I love how it "pops" with it's white color  and how its green texture adds a sense of softness to the rocks around the bed's border and then, mimics the brickwork of the watergarden. Notice how the white hues of the periwinkle pulls the white color of the wishing well out from the darkness and out into the light.

The soapbubble gazing ball lies covered with the early morning dew, nestled in amongst the periwinkle that  shines in the pre-dawn light. The light is also captured and contined within the branches and leaves of the silver frost butterfly bush. Beside it, there's a surprise {bush/plant/flower?} growing, and the delphiniums are going dormanant since their long past their bloom. But what cracks me up and brings a smile to my face is my peony bush!!! ROFLOL! This peony is 3 yrs. old but this is the first year out of a pot. When I planted it this spring, it barely reached the top of the chicken wire cage I created to prevent droopy blooms. Well, it didn't bloom, but it certainly seems to love it here... just look how it bushed out! I'm betting there will be a blast of blooms on this beauty next year, but for now we'll just admire its crazy antics and enjoy it in the moonlight.

There's gentle flowing curve to the header bed that invites you further in to explore and look beyond what is visibly there; look closely, there's sure to be some pure magic tucked in here and there!

An angel watches over the Betty Prior rosebush while the Radtkopink double pink knock-out sneaks up to become another rising star in the show. Isn't it beautiful? I'm thinking its time to cut me a fresh rose bouquet soon... swoon! Just look at those long, lovely beautiful stems...

The watergarden is also a profusion of blooms with the angelonia and pink and white petunias continuing to shine, even in the pre-dawn hours of the night's sky! The wishing well makes a beautiful statement although the potted petunias that were planted there haven't faired so well with the past 16 days of 90 degree heat, but here in the moonlight the green and whites come to life.

But it's the magic in the rays of a certain morning light that brings me here. It's a beautiful light that makes everything seem to glow and tell you, "Hello."

It's cool and brief, a fleeting light, lasting only a moment or two before it's gone... like a memory, lying forgotten, until it's waken by the morning light once again.

Monday, August 09, 2010

I love the pink, white, and light purple color combination, especially at sunset and sunrise. There's something magical in that light that's extremely hard to capture with a camera, the peacefulness and tranquility that light provides just seems to seep into every pore into your body possessing you, restoring your soul.

Sunrise in the Garden

Our Garden's Flourishing!

Well, here we are, into the first of week of August, and the garden continues to flourish and bloom! I have to say that I am really impressed, not only with myself and the hubs for all the hard work we've put in, but with the performance that our garden has blessed us with in it's first year! It has been an amazing experience; one that I wouldn't trade for anything else in the world!  I swear I've felt "the heartbeat" of the soil as it lay dormant underneath the green grass and weeds as I worked in preparation of this day. The Knock-out Roses {Double Pink and Betty Prior one shown with the angel statue} continue to self-clean, re-bud, and bloom all over again.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Be Still My Heart...

Isn't it gorgeous??? Looking like a huge soap bubble scattered amongst the vincas with its dream-like quality. Thank you, honey! I love you.