Six on Saturday – September 8, 2018 – Fall on the Way

It doesn’t feel like fall yet. Our weather has been hot and humid. Stepping outside is like stepping into a sauna, but my husband is talking about moving firewood to the deck — when it cools off. He’s not into the gardens so much, but a fire everynight though the fall and winter is his thing. He takes total responsibility for ordering and stacking wood. We are always a cord and a half ahead so we have really nice, dry oak to burn. Coming from a house with five fireplaces, I am thrilled we are down to one.

  1. This was the week one of the river birches was removed. There is a flowering cherry, a small maple and a crepe myrtle that will fill in a lot of that area. I need to spend some time sitting and looking before I jump in and plant anything. The people who removed the tree also ground the stump. I need to dig some soil into the grindings and let it sit for a bit.
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Before

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After removal of river birch

2. Black-tailed Swallowtail. I have been watching the three chrysalis that I found. One hatched before I noticed. Another is taking forever which seems very odd. I think it’s dead.  And the third isn’t doing anything yet. Lots of black swallowtails are flying in the garden so I guess the birds didn’t get all the caterpillars. The fuzzy photo below is one that sat briefly on some foliage. One of its wings was deformed so I wondered if it had just hatched and wasn’t totally unfolded yet or was at the end of its life span.

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3. My Beauty Berry (Callicarpa) is beginning to turn purple. Some rubeckia have grown through making a nice diplay. When I googled Beauty Berry to get the scientific name, I also saw a link for Beauty Berry jelly. I don’t have enough berries to make jelly but it never would have occured to me to do so. The color would have said POISON to me.IMG_7262

4. Along my morning walk a Blackberry lily is seeding. I wonder if I could successfully grow this from seeds. The spring flowers are red orange.

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5. Figs from a friend were made into fig jam. I used the jam recipe in the SureJell package but substituted one cup of brown sugar for one of the cups of white sugar and added some vanilla. It is much better than my fig jam from last year. I made notes in my Bell Canning book from forty years ago.

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6. A stop at a local nursery where all shrubs were 40% off meant I brought three Heller’s Japanese Hollys and three Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ home.  This wasn’t as impulsive as it sounds. I had been there earlier in the week and didn’t buy anything.

I don’t know where they will go yet, but probably in the area where the river birch came out.  I can stick the pots in the area and move them around to see what I like. There some abelias that don’t get so tall that I also have my eye on. If they are still there when things go to 50% off, I may get a couple.IMG_7281

That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – September 1, 2018 – Dominoes

I’m in a hurry this morning. And all because I want to put a small freezer in our garage. That required getting some electrical work done. And the freezer would displace one of two tall filing cabinets. I could use that second one in my office, I thought. To ready the garage for the work, things had to be moved away from the wall. Everything is now piled in the middle of the garage but the electrical work has been completed. Finding a small freezer is not so easy.

And in order to put the filing cabinet into my office I needed to reconfigure the furniture. That involved moving a ceiling height bookcase full of ten years worth of stuff that needs to be sorted and pitched. And what was on top and underneath of another table. All of that is now in my dining room. I discovered that the place I wanted to put the bookcase is where an old HVAC outlet is. It’s ancient and stuck out from the wall so I removed it and placed a cover on the floor. Not as easy as that sounds, but it is ready for a piece of baseboard. All this had to be done before I could think about moving the bookcase — just to see if I liked it in the new position. That will happen this morning. Hence the hurry with my Six on Saturday.

  1. Last fall I left Elephant ear tubers in the ground near the garage to see if they would survive the winter temperatures. They were very slow to come up in the spring, but look at the size. I will no longer spend time digging and story the tubers. These are the leaves I made my cement leaf castings from last year.

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2. The wheelbarrow is planted with mint so it won’t escape. I put one coleus plant in the front and some leftover sunpatiens in a pot next to it. Added some drip irrigation. Now I can hardly find the mint. I really do love chartreuse in my garden. The nesting box in the upper left corner hosted two hatchings of Carolina wrens this summer.

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3. This photo is just because it was so pretty this morning. We got some much needed rain last night.

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4. Two window boxes from the front of the house. I thought I had killed one of the plants by putting soapy water on it. Then I read a post by Tony Tomeo (one of the SoSers) who showed a plant with a mildew problem. He said it spread quickly. It looked very similar to the leaves on my Sunpatiens, so I took out two of the boxes that looked like they had been effected and cut the stems back. They are coming back and in a week will go back where they were. We still have two months of warmish weather so they’ll fill in. Thanks, Tony!

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5. The dry spell has done in at least five of my azaleas. The drip irrigation just wasn’t enough. I like the white repleat bloomer which seems to have survived just fine so will try to find more of those. The plants that look dead may come back from the roots but I don’t want to wait that long.

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6. I could only find three chrysalis that the black swallowtail caterpillars made. I guess the birds ate the rest. I must have had at least thirty caterpillars. Will this be a butterfly this fall or not until next year? If next year, should I try and put them in a more protected place?

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Now back to sorting out my garage and office. The garden will have to wait.

Six on Saturday – Now I know Why… August 18, 2018

Welcome to six photos from my garden this week. Walking around to take SoS photos gets me to notice things I would otherwise miss.

  1. Now I know why I didn’t pull out (I almost did) the bronze fennel. This morning there were three black swallowtail caterpillars munching on the lacy foliage. I had been watching the parsley and almost missed them.

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2. I stuck some Joe Pye weed cuttings in a pot a month ago. Some have rooted. They are destined to an area where I took out some large old Joe Pye plants last fall. That turned out to be a mistake. Joe Pye didn’t mind being in that soggy bed by the shed. So these will get planted there. There is a cultivar that doesn’t get as tall which I need to source. I typically cut back the wild Joe Pye to half to keep it in check.

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3. The fragrant hostas are blooming. Can anyone tell me what the blue flowered plant is? It self seeds and can get aggressive in this bed, but I like the blue spikes at the same time this hosta blooms.IMG_7079

4. Monarda “Grand Marshall” has finally bloomed. I bought three plants from a catalog in the spring and when they came the plants were so pathetic I knew I couldn’t put them in the ground. They survived and thrived in the pot and will get planted out next spring. Grand Marshall is not as tall as the other monarda I have in the garden and is not supposed to be as susceptible to mildew. I love the color.

5. The load of chips arrived. What we get depends on what the crews are cutting. This time it was a huge pile of red cedar. You see the fan my husband set up to cool himself off when he was loading the wheel barrow. It wasn’t that hot, but very humid. Typical Maryland summer weather. I like the contrast of the cedar chips on other paths in the garden. It will weather, but for the moment it’s pretty and fragrant. I lifted the slate and then replaced it once the chips were down. It’s a little wobbly to start but will settle.

 

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6.  A task for next week. I had taken metal hoops from a couple of half wine barrels that rotted away. I put down some landscape cloth beneath them and filled them with driveway gravel. They are sinking into the ground and I need to get the gravel up before it gets lost. I’ll cover this path with cedar chips. To the right front in this photo is the variagated liriope that the rabbits like to snack on. I have that same liriope in other parts of the garden and they don’t bother it. Perhaps these small clumps are closer to their den which I suspect is under the shed.

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.