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 – 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 – Six on the Fly – July 6, 2019

It’s hot and muggy. I was out by 6 a.m. using muriatic acid to clean up the motar repair job I did on the front brick walk. It looks pretty good, if I do say so. Another job off the “to do” list for this summer. I was in the house by 8 after patrolling flower beds for baby maple trees and picking up sticks that those glorious old maples throw down every time the wind blows.

Here are my quick six this morning.

  1. Diminutive hostas around a seating area are in bloom. They proliferate like crazy and need to be thinned. My dad made these Adirondack chairs for my first house in 1965. They have been mended with screws and Bondo and the original cedar painted, but they still offer a quiet place to watch the garden.

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2. I found this box turtle in the drive and put him in a flower bed where I hope he/she will snack on slugs. When I showed the picture to my husband he asked, “What are the letters painted on the shell?” They are just normal box turtle markings but I did think the same thing when I picked it up.

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3. The zuchinni plant in a big pot succumbed to borers. It went in the trash this morning. I thought I could outwit the borers by using a pot. Every year I say I’m giving up on squash and every year I try again. An  example of “hope over experience” but I’m pretty sure there is some stupidity involved.

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4. The packet of striped zinnias seeds that I planted has now put out a pink and white bloom. Another seed saver flower.

5. A yoga pal brought bags of elephant ear tubers to class one morning. I threw some in a big landscape pot and they are thriving in the shade of a big maple.

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6.  A view along the side of the garage. The hosta in the foreground needs to be divided as do many in the garden. A chore for fall when the humidity is lower. The monarda are still giving a pop of color although the leaves are getting mildewed.

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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 – Hot, Hot, Hot – June 29, 2019

Summer temperatures are finally here. In the mid-nineties most days. No rain for a week but I’m not complaining…yet. I’ve been pressure washing the house a side a day with the  loan of equipment from my neighbor. I’m wet by the time I finish, but with the heat I don’t mind. There’s lots of color in the garden this time of year and I enjoy my early morning walk to check on everything. Saw the first Japanese beetle last week so will start carrying a container of soapy water on my walks around the garden to drown them in.  Easier than squishing the beetles.

  1. This clematis just keeps blooming when the others have stopped.  I lost the tag for this one when the lattice was replace but I thought it was Arabella. When I googled clematis Arabella it said it was non-vining. This doesn’t get very tall but I have tucked it into the lattice and it seems happy. I’m sticking with Arabella.

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2. The Vitex tree (aka Chaste tree) at the end of the driveway is now in full bloom. I didn’t get around to cutting it back this spring so it is now taller than I want it to be. It blooms on new wood so will need to be trimmed aggressively next spring.

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3. I planted a packet of zinnia seeds that I found in my seed box. This first bloom has wonky petals but I love the color.  Some other zinnias I planted from seed are too tall and get floppy. Next year I’ll pay more attention to plant height but I will certainly save seed from this beauty.

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4. Getting more sun with last year’s removal of a river birch has benefited this clump of purple coneflower.

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5. I have shasta daisies several places in the garden. They are descendents of a clump at the house when we moved here 13 years ago. There wasn’t much here. The daisies were planted in a small circle in the middle of the backyard ringed with a variety of odd stones the family must have brought home from trips.

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6. Coreopsis Moonbeam spreads and I now have it multiple places in the garden and in some pots. If sheared back by a third, it will bloom again late summer and fall. Wikipedia tells me: “Coreopsis verticillata is a North American species of tickseed in the sunflower family.” I am a sucker for anything with yellow flowers. I love the pop in shaded parts of my garden.

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That’s six from my hot summer garden. #lovemygarden. The SoS meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – Hello Summer – June 22, 2019

We’ve been having intermitent rains so the lawn and gardens are lush. The weekend is predicted to be dry so we may get the grass mowed. Here are my six on the second day of summer.

  1. The monarda is in bloom. This one was called Raspberry Wine. It is prone to mildew but I love the color of the blooms.

2.  I experimented with agapantha last winter. Some were in the ground and some were in a pot outside. The potted plant froze to mush and went into the compost. The plants in the ground froze to the ground but came back and I have three stalks getting ready to bloom.

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3. My self-seeding cleomes are beginning to bloom in a garden in front of the house. Some are still growing in the gravel drive next to this bed and may get transplanted if I find the time. The volunteers required thinning and moving some to bare areas. I love that these come back every year.

4.  Some vegetables in large pots are thriving. Several baby zuchinnis are visible as are Tiren paste tomatoes — a new variety I raised from seed. I have one whole bed at the local community garden devoted to tomatoes. Last year’s crop was a bust so I am hoping for a better yield this year. I always lose my zuchinni’s to borers so maybe the plant in a pot will fare better.

5. I have seven pots of red twig dogwoods growing roots for fall planting in my “wet” garden. They had been rooting in water since I cut the dogwoods back in March.

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6. A flowering stalk on a Bottlebrush Buckeye. This one is going to be planted in my friend and writing partner’s garden. It will colonize and I have no room for it.

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That’s my six on this first Saturday of the summer. #lovemygarden. The SoS meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.  I learn something every week from the gardeners who participate.