Six on Saturday – September 14, 2019 – Wildlife among the Flowers

I often wonder if women gardeners have an unconscious link to paleolithic times when women were the food gatherers and constantly scanned the landscape for edibles. I always seem to be looking down when I wander my gardens. And this week I found a baby box turtle in the grass at the edge of a garden bed. I’ve seen lots of box turtles over the years but never a baby. I carefully put it back in a section of the garden with dense foliage to give it cover from birds.

We have had no rain for weeks. I am still hauling the hoses around.

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2.  I scrubbed out the Jan Kirsch avocado and emptied those two bags of soil. Actually I just dumped the soil. At least I’m not looking at the plastic bags any more. While taking photos this morning I noticed a tree limb on one of the big maples that seems to be hanging lower over our neighbors yard. It may need to be taken down before it falls down.

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3.  Geraniums on the deck seem to know cold weather is coming. They are putting on a show.

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4. Solidago (goldenrod) is just coming into bloom. I have no idea which cultivar this is. I’m sure the original plant came from a Green Thumb sale at the Woman’s Club of St. Michaels.

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5.  The neon green of Solomon Seal is vibrant against the epimedium. Transplanting the Solomon Seal is still on the to-do list.

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6.  The space where the raised beds were is now ready for seeding. I plan to water the area for several days before broadcasting seed. The soil is just too dry at this point to support grass seedlings. I have moved quite a few azaleas and divided hostas. There are still things in pots that may go in the ground or on the compost heap. My goal is to make the garden less maintenance intensive.

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That’s my Six on Saturday as we head toward fall. The meme was started by The Propagator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.  

#lovemygarden

Six on Saturday – Garden Chores – September 7, 2019

I had hoped for some of the rain bands from Hurricane Dorian to give us much needed rain, but only a sprinkle came to our neighborhood. I count my blessings, however, as the news of the destruction in the Bahamas is horrific. How do you begin life again with only the clothes on your back?

My romantic suspense novel manuscript went to the proofer on September 1 and she has begun. I will have it back by the end of the month. Next step is to finally decide on the title so I can assign an ISBN and work with Laura Ambler on cover designs.

Work in the garden continues as we get the area where the raised beds were ready for seeding. Digging the beds was a project. They were full of tree roots. Then I humped barrow loads of soil to low spots in the lawn and other areas of the garden that could use some extra soil.  My husband thought the wood from the beds might be used in the fireplace, but decided it was too dirty. Good decision, Roger! It will go out, a little at a time, in the trash. 

2. Sedum Autumn Joy is showing color. In the foreground is a neon pink sedum. In front of the black bench are two bags of soil that were supposed to be put under the flagstones under the bench. A year later I still haven’t managed to get that job done. Embarrassing! And scrubbing out the avocado with bleach is on the list, too.

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3. Cutting back a shrub in my backyard us on the list but this gorgeous spider will delay the job. “The spider species Argiope aurantia is commonly known as the yellow garden spider, black and yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, writing spider, zigzag spider, corn spider, or McKinley spider. It is common to the contiguous United States, Hawaii, southern Canada, Mexico, and Central America.” I think the zigzag must refer to the unusual part of the web.

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4.  Hyacinth beans are still blooming and producing seeds. These are from plants given to me by a friend who died several years ago. I think of her often when I am in my garden.  They won’t get cut back until after the first frost.

5. Another big chore on the list is to divide the grasses. You can see they are bare in the middle although they looked fine until recently.

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6.  A black swallowtail caterpillar. This photo was taken before I dug out the bronze fennel in one of the raised beds scheduled for demo. I carefully took the caterpillar to a clump of milkweed.

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That’s my Six on Saturday chore list as we head toward fall. There are lots of chores on the list for this week The meme was started by The Propagator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.  

#lovemygarden

Six on Saturday – Demo in the Garden – August 24, 2019

This morning felt like fall. We had much needed rain yesterday and at 6 a.m. today the temperature was 65 degrees. I opened the windows in the house, donned my gardening clothes (including my preferred long sleeve turtleneck) and was in the yard by seven. I’m sure we will have more warm or hot days before fall temperatures really settle in, but working outside this morning was a treat after the soaring temps and humidity a week ago.

I’d been thinking about removing one or two of my four raised beds. They are ten years old and the pine boards we used are rotting out.  Ten years ago the beds got more sun but our big old maples are now bigger and the beds more shaded. Those trees also send  roots into the beds requiring hand digging each one in the spring. For the last two years I did not dig the beds and plants in the beds suffered so I finally decided to remove all four. I’ll keep my two productive beds at the St. Michaels Community Garden.

My husband helped with the first two on Thursday, but this morning headed off to Urgent Care with a swollen, extremely painful knuckle. He was out of commission.

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Never underestimate a determined woman with a six foot metal pry bar. I scrapped my plan to divide some hostas and had the rest of those beds demolished before the husband got back with his diagnosis of an infected insect bite and two prescriptions. We will spread that soil and seed it with grass this fall. Some of the drip irrigation can be salvaged but alot of what had been in those beds is now in the trash.

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2. In another part of the garden I found a few liriope spicata begining to bloom.

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3. These hostas were in this location when we bought our house. I have transplanted them to many other places in the garden. The white flowers are beautifully fragrant. These two trees make a frame for the lovely cinnamon colored trunks of a crepe myrtle.

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4. Spirea is sporting a second flush of blooms after being cut back in mid July. These plants were also here when we bought the house. I think they are Anthony Waterer.

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5.  After being totally non-productive all summer, an eggplant in a large container has produced four fruits. I can’t imagine they will all mature as they are so clustered.

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6. The blue flower in this photo came from the garden of my friend Mary Jo K. It might be a lobelia. Mary Jo reads my blog, so she’ll let me know.  The plant was originally in a bed thirty feet way. Not sure how it got across the garden but I thought it was gorgeous with the yellow rudbeckia.

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That’s my Six on Satruday as we head toward fall. The meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.  

#lovemygarden

 

Six on Saturday – Naked Ladies in My Garden – August 10, 2019

Here are six photos from my garden this morning. We had some much needed rain on Wednesday this week, but the gardens are still dry. If this trend continues I will need to rethink what I plant in my garden beds.

  1. The Naked Lady lilies that I despaired about last week have sprouted up like magic and are blooming. The second photo shows more stalks that are just coming up.

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2. Tall helenium are blooming in the midst of a bed of yellow rudbeckia.

3. The butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) seed pods are like a candelabra and are beginning to open. They are self-seeding in my poor soil so I will have many more pollinator attracting plants next year.

4. At long last a baby eggplant. Everyone else I know has been harvesting for weeks. I have two plants and they are not producing this year. Unlike last year when I had a bumper crop off two plants.

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5. Verbena among the rudbeckia.

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6. I saw two black swallowtail cattapillars on the fennel this morning. Last year there were more.

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That’s my six for this week as we head toward fall. The meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.  

#lovemygarden

Six on Saturday – Beginning Some Fall Chores – August 3, 2019

The last kettle of tomato sauce is simmering on the stove and I am beginning to pull up tomato plants. This morning I cut back the basil which had gone to seed and hope it will  provide me with some new leaves. In the front of the house I cut back cleome. They will put out blooming sides shoots. I also cut back the Knock-out roses which should give me a flush of new blooms in a couple of weeks. We had some welcome rain on Friday, but we need more.

On a writing note, the third novel in my Caribbean series will go to the proofer at the end of this month. It’s been a long haul, but I’m happy with my paranormal romance set in the Caribbean. Just FYI… it’s not a bodice ripper. It should be available on Amazon sometime this fall. 

  1. The striped zinnia’s I raised from seed have only given me an orange/red and a white/pink. I’ve had a photo of the orange/red before but couldn’t resist showing it again. I will definitely save seeds from these two.

2. Joe Pye is begining to bloom. It seems to be later than in other people’s gardens, but I am just glad to have it back. Two years ago I dug most of it out. Not sure now why I did that, but at the time it seemed like a good idea. Now I’ve put back smaller plants and will have to wait for them to get to be a good size.

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3. Beauty Berry is setting seeds. They will turn a vivid violet in late summer. The drought has been problematic for them and even with watering I wondered if they would set seeds.

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4. Coleus and impatiens in the front window boxes are thriving. I’ve had to cut the coleus back twice or we wouldn’t be able to see out of the windows. Next year I’ll see if I can get seeds for a variety that doesn’t get so tall. I do like the color of this coleus with the Sunpatiens that tolerate the late afternoon sun of my drip irrigated window boxes.

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5. This is the area (marked by flags) where my naked lady lilies should be coming up. No sign of anything yet. I saw one in a neighbor’s garden on my morning walk so I’m wondering what’s going on. I think I have to be patient — not my long suit.

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6. Sedum Autumn Joy will be glorious in a month.

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That’s my six for this week as we head toward fall. The meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in. 

#lovemygarden

Six on Saturday – Summer Garden – July 27, 2019

We are having a short respite from the extremely hot temperatures, but the rain that deluged most of the east coast on Tuesday mostly bypassed us. The gardens are dry and I am still on hose duty.  We are puppy sitting this week for a friend and loving every minute. Boca (a teacup Pomeranian) is “helping” me in the garden in the mornings.

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2.  This is what the ground looks like in the garden.

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3.  The tomatoes like the heat. In an effort to outwit the squirrels, I’m bringing them into the garage to finish ripening. Every morning I find the ones that need to be used and either make a pot of sauce or cut them up and freeze them.

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4.  A chore I need to get done: These pretty sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)   will self-seed like crazy if I don’t cut them back. They are lovely filler in arrangements or just by themselves in a vase.

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5.  When this Schubertii allium dried, the stalk was hollow so I stuck it on a bamboo stake. Even my raised beds with drip irrigation are pathetic in this heat. The beans are not doing well.

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6. Borrowed landscape. A spectacular crepe myrtle two doors down. But it has been too hot to be outside to enjoy it except in the early morning.

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That’s my quick six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in. #lovemygarden

Six on Saturday – Dragging in the Garden – July 20, 2019

It’s been really hot. Temps in the high 90’s and today predicted to be 100 with a heat index of 115 Farenheit. And no rain in sight so I am dragging hoses around the yard trying to keep my gardens watered until we get some rain.

  1. I must admit I was tempted to take a seat on the bench this morning and cool off.IMG_9194

2.  Rudbeckia are blooming — and taking over this bed. In the fall I need to seriously thin this patch.

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3. Limelight hydrangea with an Arabella clematis that just keeps blooming.

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4. The hoops removed from rotted half wine barrels have been repurposed into a sculpture perched on the stump of a clump of river birch removed last year. The heaps of chips are from the huge load we got a week ago. They were not great chips as they had alot of leaves in them. Next time I’ll remember to get them earlier in the season before the trees leaf out.

I got them all moved around the yard but didn’t have the energy to spread them.  But we can pull the car closer to the garage now.  I can do a little spreading early each morning. The photo was post watering.

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5. I moved this crepe myrtle to another part of the yard several years ago. Apparently I didn’t get all the roots as it is now putting on a show with the other crepe myrtles that have begun blooming. Once established crepe myrtles don’t seem to mind the hot humid weather on the Eastern Shore.

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6. A baby pumpkin. Why do I keep doing planting squash that just provide a banquet for borers? There is probably a therapy group for people like me. Borers Anonymous anyone?

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That’s my quick six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in. #lovemygarden