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.

Six on Saturday – Quick Pics – June 15, 2019

I’m in a hurry this morning, so here are six quick pictures from the garden. It’s been cooler than normal for June and no rain for the last few days so great to be out in the garden. But first a trip to the hardware store for more bags of potting soil. The redtwig dogwoods I’ve had rooting in a bucket for months are ready to be potted.

  1. Several of my daylilies are beginning to bloom.

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2. The hostas are sending up blooming stalks. This is from some variety with huge leaves, but I have no idea what its name is. I had to stoop to get the bloom which was under a leaf.

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3. A clump of butterfly weed. Lots of baby seedlings coming up around it. This photo was from yesterday afternoon and the sun was on the blooms which is why some of them look yellow.

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4. Bell flowers come back every year. This campanula was given to me by a friend and I don’t know the cultivar.

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5. Staking this sweet hollyhock is on the list of gardening chores for today. It was all in bud last week.

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6. The day lilies I call ditch lilies are blooming. A favorite of mine, they often grow in the ditches on the sides of roads. Others call them tiger lilies.

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That’s my quick pics for today. #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 – Pop, Pop, Pop – April 20, 2019

Every day this week something has popped in the garden. We had more rain, but this time it dried fairly quickly.  It’s still squishy in parts of the garden, but getting out is possible. We had some strong wind gusts with the recent rain. No trees down, but lots of litter to pick up.

  1. The flowering cherry is in full bloom. Last year if it bloomed, I missed it. Maybe the photo will get me out to handle the stones that got thrown on this area last fall as well as the two bags of soil that are meant to go under the two big pavers the black bench sits on. That’s a job I’ll need help with.

    2.  The azaleas that made it through the winter have started popping this week. I’ll have azaleas blooming until the end of June.

3. The chokeberry is starting to bloom. I and the birds will be rewarded with red berries in the fall.

4.  The hostas have shot up, some leafing out. Now I can see where the fireplace ashes can be spread.  Ashes deter slugs.

5. The epimedium is blooming, though you have to get close to see how beautiful the coloration of the leaves is.

6.  Two weeks ago when I was cleaning out leaves I couldn’t tell where the ferns were. I knew where the Solomon Seal was because I had stuck a pink landscape flag close by. I have to be careful where I walk. Some perennials are just beginning to emerge.

That’s my Six on Saturday, photos of my garden as plants pop daily.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 – Rescue Operation – March 9, 2019

A couple of weeks ago I asked if any of my friends had orchid plants they were going to throw away. If so,  I would love to see if I could make them bloom again. The following week I came home from my 7 a.m. yoga class with a plant. This is what I got from Paulette, my yoga instructor.

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This phalaenopsis orchid had one purple bloom when I got it. There was no tag as to the original parentage so if I succeed in resurrecting this plant it will be called Paulette Purple.

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I could tell there was a new plant (a keiki — Hawaiian for baby) which had grown on a previous blooming stem. It had long aerial roots and Paulette told me it had two blooms this year.  Usually keikis are removed way before they get this big. I was uncertain about the two 18″ aerial roots. Fortunately there were a number of useful videos on Youtube. I ordered some orchid potting supplies. Special potting mix, plastic orchid pots with special drainage slots, and some New Zealand sphagnum moss.

The supplies arrived this week and on potting day the first thing I did was to soak some of the new potting mixture so it would be wet when I used it. (A tip from one of those helpful videos.)

I cleaned and sterilized my cutting tool with alcohol (another tip) and cut off the keiki. The photo shows it perched on a bowl in my kitchen sink but doesn’t really show the two long  roots. I sprayed the roots with warm water to hydrate them. You don’t want to break the roots and these needed to be bent around and around to go into the pot. When I am transpanting ordinary plants I often root prune. This was not recommended for orchids and after hydrating the roots they bent easily.

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Below is the potted keiki. If it lives it will be genetically identical to the mother.

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I also repotted the original plant with new potting mix. The three leaves look sad, but maybe it will send up some new growth from the crown.

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Behind the repotted orchid is the one with white flowers that I’ve been bragging about. As soon as it’s finished blooming I will repot it as well. It will take months before I know if my rescue operation has been successful, but I’m a patient gardener.

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This is what I hope for next year but with purple flowers.

That’s my Six on Saturday, photos this week of an orchid rescue operation. 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 – Squelching in the Garden – March 2, 1019

I am not a shoe fashionista. I have almost as many pairs of boots as I do shoes. Last night it rained. Again! So this morning I was either going to squelch through my yard in search of pictures for my Six on Saturday, or abandon the effort. I put on a warm coat and hat and picked up my camera. In the garage the decision was about which boots to wear. Clearly the Sloggers were too low. My chicken boots might have done, but I didn’t want mud splashed on my pants. The choice was the bright orange boots that come almost to my knees. They are the tallest I own. If it keeps raining I may have to invest in waders.

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2. We have standing water in places where we’ve never had it before.

3. I found these little puff balls (the size of golf balls) growing on mulch by the raised beds. A poke with my finger released a cloud of spores.

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4.  The invasive Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) along the lot line in the back of the property is beginning to leaf out. If I won the lottery I would take them all out and replace them with something else, but they do provide a green barrier between us and the neighbors in the back. I suspect these specimens are fifty years old. They have large trunks.

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5. Finally I see some daffodils with bloom buds. There are other clumps with leaves but no evidence yet of blooms.

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6. In the garage I found an amarylis bulb that needs to be planted. I can’t be bothered to try and force them inside in the winter, but I plant them outside late spring and they usually bloom. This one will have to go in a pot. It’s too wet to plant it in the ground. A friend gave it to me in January. It had been coated in red wax. I peeled the wax off and threw it in a box  under a table in the garage where it has remained. I only spotted it when I was pulling off my orange boots.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, photos in my garden once a 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 – Buds on the Solstice – December 22, 2018

Friday, December 21, 2018: the rain stopped and the skies cleared so I put on my chicken boots and wandered  through the standing water in my garden. I wondered what I would find on the shortest day of the year. It turned out there were lots of signs of spring even though it’s months away. Some of these are clearly flower buds (rhododendron) but some may be leaf buds.

  1. There are buds on the rhododendron Roseum Elegans. Some buds flowered in our late warm fall, but there should be some blooms in the spring.

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2. I wouldn’t have noticed the purple hues of the lilac buds if I wasn’t out taking a close look at twigs.

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3. A flower bud on the “Kleims Hardy” gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides). The shrub didn’t look so good in the fall, but the leaves are now a healthy green.

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4. Viburnum Kern’s Pink. I don’t know if these are flower or leaf buds.

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5. I had a hard time finding buds on the azaleas. But I didn’t know until I saw the photo that the leaves have tiny hairs. Does someone know what their purpose is?

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6. Apical bud of a Bottle Brush Buckeye (Aesculus Parviflora) that I pulled from the ground near a colony at our local library reading garden. I help take care of this garden so have some gleaning privileges. The twig is about a foot tall and I have it in a “nursery” bed. If it survives the winter I’ll need to find a good place for it as it gets quite large.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. There’s always something interesting in the garden if you just stop to look. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – Shirley’s Magic Wreath Machine – December 1, 2018

This is a repost of a blog from last year. Nothing happening in the garden except waiting for it to dry out enough that leaves can be gathered and mulched. We had our first killing frost last week. This weekend I will be in Indiana for that state’s premier of The Santa Diaries, a Christmas play Laura Ambler and I wrote for the Avalon Theatre in Easton in 2012. We are excited to see the interpretation of the Sugar Creek Players.

From December 2017: As my blog readers know, I’ve been involved in planning meetings for the St. Michaels Woman’s Club garden group, Green Thumb. This year my task was to coordinate an annual wreath making event. Shirley Windsor of Seasonal Flowers comes to the St. Michaels Woman’s Club clubhouse with her magic wreath making machine and all participants go home with a beautiful wreath.

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Each year Laura Ambler, my writing partner,  allows me to cut greens from her property.  And each year she gets a wreath I make. I took this one to her office and she hung it on the front door. It would be way to big for my front door. Some years I make a big one and a smaller one for myself.

These wreaths take a lot of material and we all bring our own bags of greens. And we share. Each large wreath needs 18 bundles of greens (each with 10-12 stems). A small wreath takes 14. The ends of the bundles are wrapped with a rubber band. Each bundle is inserted between two prongs on the wreath frame and when Shirley presses on the foot lever, the two prongs are pushed flat over the end of the bundle. You can see the lever on the bottom of this photo. It’s really quite amazing. I found this company online with what looks like the guts of Shirley’s machine.

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The workshop is messy and we had put down tarps the day before. I had to be in Annapolis so my friend Carol and her husband Jim got all the tarps down and taped and the tables set up. I was so grateful for their help.

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Making bundles takes time, but everyone goes home with a wreath they can be proud of and every single one is different and beautiful.

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This was Leslye’s first wreath. Spectacular!

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Jennifer’s first wreath. She told me she was going to highlight the magnolia leaves with some gold paint. She was one of the last ones to get her bundles put on a frame and the rest of us were sweeping up and removing tarps around her. The clubhouse had to be left spotless as a crew setting up for the Christmas in St. Michaels’ Gingerbread House Contest was coming in early the follwing day. The preview party was Saturday night. There is lots to do in St. Michaels this time of year.

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Christmas in St. Michaels is in its 36th year and raises money for charities in the Bay Hundred area. It’s a spectacular event and the result in a year-long planning effort. It starts next Saturday with the best small-town Christmas parade in America.