Thursday, July 31, 2014

Don't Give Up

I seem to have a theme going this week...

When I first moved here I planted several Asian Lilies.

They all got decimated by Asian Lily Beetles. My neighbors told me you have to use pesticides in order to have Lilies.

I won't use pesticides.

So several of the lilies died, others got dug up and replaced but a few ended up lost and ignored behind other plantings.

They're still getting eaten

But not as bad and for the past two years I've gotten blooms.

So maybe I should plant a few more, tucked in between other plants where, if the beetles eat them back no one (but me) will notice.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


This little guy is growing right in front of the garage door. Every time we go somewhere we drive over her. Obviously the wheel doesn't run her over but she can't get too large because she's hit the undercarriage. She doesn't care. She's an annual. She gets one chance to reproduce and dammit, she's going to give it her best shot.

Determination, indeed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tomato Update

My tomatoes are doing very well. I'm picking (and eating) daily.

My favorite variety this year is called Sunchocola (from Burpee). Delicious flavor and unusual dark "chocolate" color.

Most of my varieties have produced at least SOME fruit, a few are not yet ripe.

Soon I'll have to start freezing some for the winter (gosh, darn, fresh from the vine, frozen tomatoes do great in chili and spaghetti sauce and soups all winter).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Science Sunday

[Because The Husband is probably tired of me yelling this at the TV]

Morgan Freeman Picture
(image from IMDb)

"Humans only use 10% of their Brains"


If Humans only used part of their brains than problems that physically damage the brain, like strokes and Alzheimer's, wouldn't be such a big deal.

Why would our brains be so large if we only needed something 10% of the size? The brain uses 20 - 25% of the body's energy ( Wouldn't evolution have chosen to use that energy to make us stronger or faster to get away from predators? Or to fly? I'd like to be able to fly. [Then I wouldn't have to deal with the TSA]

I think Tree Lobsters summed it up best:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

To-Do list for late summer

I have a few problem areas that need new plants once the weather cools off enough to plant again...

This is the end of the Hell Strip by the driveway. The problem here is that the woman who plows our driveway also plows up anything I plant here. Since our driveway was badly torn up by her plow last winter we're thinking of getting a snow blower and doing our own driveway so I might be able to plant something there again. Or I could just put annuals there.

This spot just needs another lavender to go with the two on either side that I space as far apart as the label recommended. I guess the label was designed for people who like spaces between their plants. That would not be me.

I have a nice Helenium Mardi Gras that ended up behind some larger plants. The "grass" area needs to be pulled back about a foot when I install the brick border that I'm slowly putting around all my gardens.

This may look full but it's mostly "wild" violets. I let them act as a ground cover in part because they are easy to remove and they'll keep down more difficult weeds. I had a nice patch of Perovskia [Russian sage] here that died back last winter. The question is do I try again? It seems to do well in this area and I'm not sure why it died back...

This area is particularly problematic. You can't tell but it's full of tree roots and nothing likes to grow there. Even the "wild" violets are stunted looking. Some Liatris has volunteered for the area and I may let it take over (in fact I may spread seeds when my other plants go to seed this fall).

This one is an easy solution. My Campanula Pink Octopus has spread very well and it will fit nicely into this narrow space between my Aster October Skies and the sidewalk and they bloom at different times of the year. [The Aster name may be Symphyotrichium depending on who you ask. I'm going with Aster because it's easier to spell]

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pollinator Party Friday

It's peak summer and my garden is full of...


and Predators...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Favorite Plant of the Week AND Favorite Native Plant of the Month - Liatris Spicata

My favorite plant in the garden this week is Liatris spicata. The variety I bought years ago is Kobold.

The first  year or two it was a bit leggy and floppy but it's become a nice thick, strong clump.

It does spread in the garden but the seedlings are easy to remove if you catch them early.

And the native pollinators love it.

Zones: 3 to 8
Height: In my yard it's 2 to 3 feet (taller than the label claims)
Spread: about 1 foot, although if it reseeds right by the parent plant you can end up with a cluster of plants wider than this
Sun: Full to mostly full sun. In part shade they do tend to be floppier but they still bloom
Water: I don't water mine at all
Bloom period: July and August

Danger Garden hosts the Favorite Plant in The Garden Meme
Clay and Limestone hosts Wildflower Wednesday.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pot Party Friday!

I like using potted plants in the garden. I'm pretty happy with how mine have worked out this year.

Unfortunately I prefer large pots but I live in an area with freezing winters and there is a limit to what I can carry. I have two of these. They are plastic and were cheap so if they freeze and crack during the winter it's not a big deal. I like the way they look but I may need to do something different next year - the palms are getting sunburned.

My driveway is just a little bit wider than it needs to be. Not wide enough for two cars but definitely room for a car and a motorcycle to park side by side.

We don't have a motorcycle.

So I potted up a variety of herbs and lined the driveway. I've done this for the past few years but I'm finally starting to feel like it's getting "there." I like the large number of different sized pots and the different textures and colors of plants.

Well, maybe it could use a few more pots next year...

Lastly, the front porch pots. I have two of these, one on each side of the front door. I wish I could take credit for the mix of plants but I bought them as a pot grouping from White Flower Farm

I'm just starting to experiment with mixing plants in pots. I've seen plenty of bad combinations, where one plant outgrows everything else. This combination is growing together nicely.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

More Peru Pictures

And, finally, he's the round of of the best photos that didn't fit into any of my earlier narratives.

Let's start with plants.

Two different types of Heliconia.

This is some weird, but tasty, fruit called the Granadilla.

A nice, bright red dragonfly, photographed high in the tree canopy.

An unidentified insect, possibly in the assassin bug group.

And finally, for Sarah. I told you I'd think about you while I was in Peru.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Foliage Follow Up July 2014

While the flowers are all orange there is still some gorgeous foliage to be found this month here on The Edge.

I bought two gorgeously dark Cimicifuga [Actea] simplex Brunette and planted them in a partly shady area - this one kept some dark pigment and developed these complexly colored leaves. The other one is mostly green (bleh). They're supposed to get big, which is good since they're in a shrub border with lots of Viburnums.

I'm not sure if this Panicum  is Heavy Metal or Cloud Nine. I bought both and can't really tell the difference in my garden. Still, it's nice and [very important] it's dog-resistant. Even when My Little Predator tried to dig it up to get at something hiding deep inside the plant.

Ah, Physiocarpus opulifolius Diablo [ninebark]. Go ahead, tempt me, you sexy thing!

What's mid-summer with Hostas? I'm a fan of the jumbo sized leaves on these two: Guacamole (on top) and DamnIForgotToRecordTheName (on bottom).

Sambucus [elderberry] Black Lace

And a surprise appearance by Baptisia australis. Not normally known for their foliage they do form a nice shrub sized clump during the summer. Unless it pours down rain. In which case they flop over like drama queens.

This is Gaura lindheimeri Guadi Red. I bought it to bring some more dark pink genes into the gene pool of the volunteer reproducing Gaura in my yard. It hasn't bloomed yet but I really like the colors in the foliage.

Ferns are always good for foliage photos. Lady in Red on top and Ostrich on bottom (note the dots on the underside of Ostrich's leaves? Those are the spore producing structures)

 And let's end this month with a close up of a very nice Canna leaf (possibly Tropicanna). 

Thanks to Pam at Digging for this meme

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Garden Blogger Bloom Day July 2014

My garden is in full summer form right now and the native pollinators are HAPPY! As am I.

The Echinacea purpura wild type has gotten established and is blooming well.
I also planted a couple of different colored Echinacea but they aren't doing quite as good. This is consistent with what I've heard from others - the fancy hybrids just limp along and die out while the species does fantastically well.

Likewise, my Liatris spicata Kobold has gotten established. The first year it flopped over really bad but now it's producing strong flower stems. And it's spread around a little. I'm ok with that. I'm ending up with a garden that has a few different plants that do well and have spread around so that they look like I deliberately repeated them. THEY are making ME look like I know what I'm doing.

This is Rudbeckia hirta Cappuccino. I bought several types of Rudbeckia when I first moved in. I didn't realize they were self - seeding annuals at the time. Cappuccino is the only one that's come back. Just goes to show you can't always trust what you read on the label. Perennial, my a$$

Veronica spicata Red Fox (I think, either that or Eveline, I planted both and can't remember which one went where and did NOT do a good job of record keeping - Bad Gardener!)

And Friend.

Monarda fromaneighborii

Our winter was warm until the end then it got cold. Because of this many people's hydrangeas had started to come out of winter mode too early and got nipped back to the ground. This Hydrangea mislabeledus (labeled as Lady in Red) is planted close to the house so it was protected and is blooming just fine, thank you.

The Helenium Mardi Gras is not looking as good as last year but I still like the flowers. It accidentally ended up too far back in the bed and needs to be moved in the fall. Remind me to go out and stick a label on it while it's in bloom and I can remember where it is.

I moved several of these Coreopsis verticallata Zagreb to the Hell Strip. So far they're doing well. This is the remainder of the clump. I like how it contrasts with the Hyssopus officinalis. I just have to keep the Zagreb in check. It has delusions of taking over the world [with a name like Zagreb of course it thinks it's an Evil Genius]

I like daisies [Leucanthemum Becky], although the white color doesn't go well with the rest of my bright summer garden. Or my bright, colorful house, or my messy, mud-covered life. 
I do not have to be consistent if I don't want to be and you can't make me.

Thou Shalt Not Pass. Also know as I need to find a better way to stake up the Gaura. I have several varieties: whites, pale pinks, bright pinks and the offspring of them. It's another plant that volunteers to move about the garden and create a sense of repetition. I just wish the middle and dark tones pinks survived as well as the pale pinks...

I bought a collection of Petunia called "Blueberry Muffin". I have to say I really, really like the result in that thin wedge of dirt between the front landing and the fireplace. 

Finally, last week's plant of the week - Asclepias tuberosa, friend to gardeners who want summer color, friend to those of us who don't like to water the garden, friend to Monarch Butterflies, and friend to lots and lots of bees.

I support native pollinators.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams for this meme.