Six on Saturday – July 7, 2018 – Rain Dance Visualization

I am writing this on Friday morning, obsessively checking the weather channel radar map to see if the predicted 80% chance of rain is going to get to us. Sometimes it just doesn’t transit across the Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Shore. The ground is cracking and I will lose plants if we don’t get significant rain soon. I can’t water enough to keep up. The gardens are looking sad with a few exceptions. Note: it is now almost 7pm and the rain has just skirted around us. My rain dance visualization had no effect. Tomorrow I will haul hoses.

Here’s my six. Only photos that don’t show the desolation…

  1. This small tree is a Vitex or chaste tree. I prune mine to keep it from getting too tall. It’s glorious for a couple of weeks. A native of the Mediterranean area, it doesn’t mind our summer dry spells.Pruning the suckers on the bottom is on the “to do” list, although they do hide a wonky stem that was the result of someone, who shall remain nameless, backing over the plant when it was small.

vitex chaste berry

2. A couple of years ago I had a wheelbarrow that I didn’t know how to dispose of. So I painted it purple, put potting soil in it and planted it with mint.  I learned my lesson about the invasive quality of mint years ago as a newbie gardener. Now it only goes in elevated pots or containers as the roots will escape through drainage holes. This spring I replaced the soil in the barrow, replanted rooted cuttings and put a chartreuse coleus in the front (because I had been at a nursery and couldn’t help myself). The pot on the right side has left over SunPatiens from planting the window boxes in the front of the house.

I put a drip irrigation hose in the mint which is keeping it fresh, but you can see the drooping yellow jasmine by the fence. I need to run some drip to it.

IMG_6710

3. The cleome that were tiny two weeks ago are going to town despite the drought. The window boxes are planted with SunPatiens which do well given the late afternoon sun on the front of the house. I have drip irrigation in the boxes.

IMG_6706

4. This is heliopsis Burning Heart. I ordered it last spring and it was puny looking when it came. I’ve parked it in one of the raised beds so I could keep an eye on it.

IMG_6707

5. Tomatoes are coming on. These are Shah, a white variety, which I’ve never grown before. The seeds were included with other seeds I’d ordered. Shah’s leaves are different as you can see below the tomatoes. There is also a Sungold in this pot. The leaves of that variety look like traditional tomato leaves.

IMG_6717

6. The photo below shows what happens when you wait too late to prune. I had already cut back the red twig dogwood once but it was over powering the avocado sculpture so I cut it back again. A couple of days of temperatures in the high 90’s with blistering sun and this sun scald is the result. Tony Tomeo wrote a great blog post about summer heat and plants.

IMG_6716

I hope you enjoy my Six on Saturday for this week. The 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 – June 30, 2018 Ditch Lilies Mean Summer Is Here

Summer is here. We are hot and dry. The first six cubic yards of mulch has been put down. I promptly ordered another six yards. I don’t mulch every year and I want this effort to last for awhile. We’ll take our time spreading it in the cool early morning hours. The front of the house looks dressed up now.

Lots of things are blooming now in the garden and it’s hard to choose just six. I noticed some deer damage on a couple of hostas and sprayed Deer-Away. The squirrels are busy digging up my tulip bulbs. They really went to town after I put down the mulch. Why is that?  I wonder if I will have any tulips next spring.

I am not seeing many bees in the garden. That has me worried. The first two cukes were picked two days ago and we’ve started eating beans from the garden. The sugar snap peas haven’t produced well this year and will get pulled soon to make room for another crop of something.

Here are my Six on Saturday.

  1. I always called these common orange day lilies Ditch Lilies because they filled the ditches along the sides of the roads in the rolling hills of Maryland (on the western side of the Chesapeake Bay) where I used to live. When I googled Ditch Lily it seems that is one of the names they are known by so I have to get over thinking I made that up. On a walk one day I saw a double so I dug it up and brought it home where it thrived. When we moved I carried some of the tuberous roots with me and now have a whole section blooming near Shasta daisies in some very inhospitable soil. When the ditch lilies bloom I know summer is here.

IMG_6670       IMG_6675

2. This Raspberry Wine monarda was brought from a reading garden I helped install at our local library. (Those of us who weed that garden feel entitled to bring home extras.) It is a lovely berry red and the bumbles like it. It grows about 4 feet tall but is prone to mildew. Behind the monarda are elephant ear leaves from tubers I left in the ground last winter. These are the leaves that I made cement castings from last summer. Leaving them in the ground was an experiment. Now I know I don’t have to dig and store the roots over the winter.

IMG_6665

3. In the front of the house the cleome have been thinned and mulched and are beginning to bloom. It will grow 24 – 36″ tall and blooms all summer. The tallest can be cut back and will send out blooming side shoots. I’ve mulched very heavily so I’m wondering if this will inhibit the cleome’s self-seeding. I need to edge the beds, but that may or may not get done. Getting mulch down before the hottest summer weather was the priority. I understand commercial landscapers have a motorized tool for edging. Maybe I can find one at a tool rental company. It would look more finished if it was edged.

IMG_6619

4. A seating area overlooking the azaleas is ringed with a small hosta that has lovely purple flowers. It spreads even in this dry area of my garden which only gets occasional watering. Surprisingly I have seen little slug damage to my hostas this year. Maybe those ashes from the fireplace (that Fred, the French gardener, suggested) helped.

The white blooms are on a variagated leaf hosta. I just had to include the lovely photo. It makes me want to be a painter. Maybe in my next life…

IMG_6623   IMG_6624

IMG_6629

5. Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is native to our area. I have several clumps that the Monarchs will soon be visiting.

IMG_6649

6.  Northern Sea Oats can easily become invasive. I am very careful to cut the seed stalks back before they ripen and fall, but I’m considering removing them because it’s another gardening chore I have to remember to do. I certainly do love they way they wave in the breeze and they are lovely in flower arrangements.

IMG_6655

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

 

 

Did You Meet Your Goals?

My husband often asks me this question over dinner. I usually have to think because I always have a “to do” list in my head, but it’s frequently not very focused. Not yesterday. I had two specific things I wanted to get done. Weed a front flower bed so the self-seeding cleome could be seen and fix the leak in the second drip irrigation system. Oh, and help my husband mow the lawn. Lots of rain was expected and much of our yard becomes too wet to mow.

drip irrigation

This was the area on the drip irrigation tubing where the squirrel had dinner. I had to cut a piece out which wasn’t a hard repair. It was getting the small drip line settled into the hole above my hand. Three tries and several tiny connectors lost in the creeping Jenny, and the the leak was fixed. I still have to put the lines back in my azalea garden, but fixing the leak was at the top of my priority list. Two days ago I programed the timer and put it on the hose bib so if it ever stops raining I can actually turn the system on and forget about it for the summer.

The Amish Paste and Sun Gold cherry tomatoes I grew from seed are blooming. We just need some warm weather now.

tomatoes blooming

The other thing on my list was to weed the bed where my cleome self-seed. This involved being on my knees and pulling tiny weeds to uncover the sprouting cleome. I was so happy to have that job completed. I put some mulch around the edges and now that area looks a thousand times better. Notice the window boxes are in. Not impressive yet, but they will be. Putting drip irrigation in those boxes was one of the best gardening investments I made. The front of the house gets the afternoon sun and by the end of the summer I used to have to water the boxes twice a day.

weeded flower bed

The little green plants on the grass side of the bed are the cleome seedlings. Once they are a little larger, I’ll thin them. The wet and finally warm weather has the mosquitoes hatching. When it dries out I’ll do some spaying so we can enjoy our deck.

The most labor intensive outdoor gardening chores will soon be completed and I can get back to writing. At this time of year it’s just an hour here and there, but once it gets really hot and humid, I want to be inside after ten in the morning.

More photos to come. #lovemygarden