Six on Saturday – Helicopter Wars Begin – April 27, 2019

The husband and I sat on the deck the other night with glasses of wine looking at the millions of helicopter seeds on our large maple trees. The Helicopter Wars are about to begin. The seeds swirl as the float down to lodge themselves in my garden beds, tucked into places I can’t see, waiting to germinate. We had some strong winds last night and the ground is littered this morning, The worst part is that the winged warriors insert themselves into the small crevices between our deck boards. They have to be removed with a putty knife. I do go out with the blower every couple of days. That helps some. But there’s no point in doing much until they are all off the trees. Once that happens we’ll spend time on our butts  getting the deck ready to be cleaned. It’s a yearly chore that I grouse about, but I wouldn’t trade it for my old maples.

Here are my Six on Saturday.

  1. Clematis Abalene is just opening. Hosta Frances Williams is spreading its leaves among the ferns against a backdrop of azaleas.

2. This week I had our handman guy come and put up one new lattice for me. Our wonderful neighbors have parked a boat in their backyard. It will soon go into the water, but after we took down the river birch clump last fall I knew one more lattice was needed in that area. The river birch stump is where I am planning a “feature” made from metal hoops I rescued from rotten barrels. Note: the lattice is level, it’s the boat behind that’s not.

The other lattice is next to the shed. I had white plastic lattices on either side but they required cleaning with a bleach solution every spring so both have been replaced with wood. Another chore now off my list. These will weather to silver gray. I gathered up the climbing rose and tied it together with twine so it wouldn’t be damaged while the new lattice went in. It is now tied to the new lattice. (no photo)

3. This shrub is in the front of the replaced lattice by the shed. It was here when we moved and has always been an evergreen place holder. It was under water most of the winter and is looking very bad. However the limbs are still pliable which tells me it may come back. I am going to cut it back by a third and see if it comes back.

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4. This is happening in one of my raised beds. A yellow mullein I raised from seed last year is getting ready to bloom. I didn’t realize it was a biennial. It better be spectacular or it won’t have been worth the wait. The other photo is an opening allium Schubertii that makes a huge head. I used to have many more but the squirrels must have dined on them.

5. A year ago a friend and I talked about trying gardening in a straw bale. She got two bales and planted an herb garden in hers. The other bale has lived in the back of her truck – out in the weather – since then. I didn’t have any way to get it to my house and I guess she didn’t need her truck until this week. The bale is well rotted and now I have to figure out what to plant in it.

In front of the orange flowers (what are these? they come back every year) are some yellow potatoes. Clearly I never get all of them out of the ground because a few come back every spring. I was wondering if I could lift them out and plant them in the bale. Anyone have any suggestions?

Oh, and the old wheelbarrow I painted purple is no more. It was settling into the ground so I pulled it out and the husband took it apart for me. I had two knockout roses that I’d stuck in another area of the garden where they didn’t get enough sun and put them in that area.

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6. Seedlings I started on a heat mat inside have been put in larger pots and are now living outside in a sheltered area until they can be put in the raised beds. The blue bucket  is full of cuttings of red twig dogwood that I’m rooting to fill in the swampy area of the bed that was under water all winter. The red twigs that were there didn’t seem to mind the wet conditions.

That’s my Six on Saturday. The garden is looking lovely. I am astonished that a month ago I was wondering if anything had come through the winter. This 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 – Dog Days of Summer -August 11, 2018

Hot and humid  dog days here. Typical Eastern Shore summer weather. Occasional thunder storms may bring rain or just spectacular lightening in the night sky.  The garden work never ends. A load of mulching chips is now in the driveway. We will start moving it a few loads at a time in the cool of the mornings. It’s hard to believe that September is just around the corner.

Here are my six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

  1. Naked ladies (Belladonna Amaryllis) – I can never remember where this clump of bulbs is, but in August they appear and bloom. This year I found a stray one and moved it to its sisters. Google tells me that there is foliage that disappears before the flowers appear, but I don’t remember seeing that. I’ll put some flags by this clump so I can plant something low around them to hide the stems. These ladies do look undressed.

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2. I saved some seeds from zinnias in a Community Garden bed (not mine) last fall. This is my reward.

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3. The liriope (Liriope muscari) is beginning to bloom although it is becoming something of a nuisance as seedlings are appearing in the gravel drive.

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4. Tomatoes continue in my Community Garden bed. When I picked this morning I realized the strange yellow/white tomatoes were from the Shah plants I started. I tasted one and wasn’t seduced. I’ll throw them into the sauce pot but I wouldn’t can a kettle of just white tomatoes as I suspect they don’t have as much acid as the red ones. The chewed tomatoes were on a plant at home. Squirrels! The eggplant in a pot keeps producing.

5.  A fresh flush of ferns in an area where they all died back when we didn’t have any rain for six weeks. The hosta is a Francis Williams. Still no significant slug damage on the hostas this year which is miraculous considering how wet it has been in between the weeks of no rain. Might it be those fireplace ashes I spread around the hosta? The ashes have not deterred deer in another section, however.

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6. This is an early morning  photo of St. Michaels harbor, a ten minute walk from my house. On the right is the Maritime Museum, a world class facility that is keeping Chesapeake Bay history and waterman culture alive as well as rescuing and rebuilding some of the boats used by the watermen. Every time I go I am astounded that our little town has this jewel. A friend of mine is in charge of the gardens at the museum. He has recreated gardens from different time periods, including what would have been a typical garden at the small home of a freed slave. I’ll take some photos and share them.

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That’s my six for this Saturday. I hope you’ve enjoyed what I have to share in my garden on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Six on Saturday – May 5, 2018

Spring/Summer has arrived on the mid-shore. Temperatures by the end of the week were in the high 80’s. I think we had five days of Spring. The gardens are popping now with azaleas and bearded iris. We always called them flags when I was growing up. I am going to use these posts to try and find — and possibly remember — the scientific names of some of my plants.

  1. Solomon Seal was planted several places around my garden last year. I marked the spots with a small landscape flag because I was given roots and needed to remember where I had planted them. These little plastic flags are available by the bunch at my local hardware store. You can see two splotches of pink in the upper right corner of the photo. I use these a lot for things that come up late or things I am watching. Supposedly the little bell shaped flowers on Solomon Seal are fragrant, but I’d have to lie on the ground to get a whiff.  I believe this is Polygonatum odoratum variegatum although photos from plant sources show two bells instead of one.

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2. New varieties of azaleas bloom every day. Lots of hostas emerging and the slugs have not attacked them….yet. You can see a pink flag where another Solomon Seal is emerging.

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3. One of my favorite hostas is Frances Williams. (Hosta sieboldiana ‘Frances Williams’) I bought a tiny plant thirty years ago at a stand by the side of the road and carried a clump it to our new house eleven years ago. It is suscepitble to sun scald and the slugs think I plant it just for them. For now it looks lovely.

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4. A repeat blooming yellow bearded iris (species – Iris germanica) was the first to open in the garden. I am a sucker for pops of yellow. Just behind the iris are some of those allium schubertii I planted last fall. Most are coming up, but not all of them have buds. Odd. At the top of the photo is soldago or golden rod. More yellow in the late summer garden against large clumps of miscanthus Morning Light. The wire cage is to protect a fall aster from the bunnies.

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5. The azaleas got thru the winter just fine but my one rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense ‘Roseum Elegans’) did not fare so well. It set lots of buds, but decided December was a fine time to bloom. So there are not many blooms and some are deformed because the bud began to open too early and then it got really cold. This was the best bloom I could find.

We have lots of pines in our area and the yellow pollen coats our cars, plants and eddies in the parking lots. You can see it on the rhodo leaves.

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6. The river birch (Betula nigra) in the middle of the picture below is leafing out. I top mine every two years so they stay in scale with my garden and take on a more weeping form. I didn’t do enough research when I planted them. They can grow to 70 feet which would be fine for a two story house but not next to my one story rancher. The tree on the left with the reddish leaves is a flowering cherry that is getting ready to bloom. It’s gorgeous briefly. The small leafed maple near the deck is from a 6″ seedling that someone gave me. I put it in a small pot, then a larger one, and finally in the garden about four years ago. I don’t want it to get much larger.

Seeing this view of the garden gives me pleasure. It doesn’t show the barren plot on the right, near the shed, that sorely needs my attention and is not, at the moment, a pleasure to look at. I’m in contemplative mode about that bed, thinking about what I should do with it. For the moment it is not under water.IMG_6036

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