Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hot Pink and Surprises Abound

I'm joining up with everybody at  Bloomin Tuesday  and Fertilizer Friday so take a tour and then head over to Jean's blog and Tootsie Time's blog to see all of the wonderful posts there!   (Sorry for the excessive length of this post - I was only going to post a few pics and apparently didn't know when to quit)

I have neglected my garden for a week and the guilt was overwhelming.  The school year had ended so in celebration of everyone in my household (three teens and my husband) having the entire summer off - everyone except for me that is - I took vacation time last week.  Yes, the whole week to go nowhere!  It was supposed to be a week of self indulgence, ignoring househould chores to laze by the pool reading books and basically doing what I wanted.  (Yes, I hear you laughing).  In reality it ended up being a frenzy of cookouts for family, hosting of pool parties and bonfires for the masses of teens,  followed by the successive days of recovery needed to recuperate from all of that 'doing whatever I wanted'.    Reality bites.  On a positive note, I was not at work confined to a cubicle with windows that do not open (why, I say, why?!? Corporate America can be so cruel) and the weather was positively gorgeous.   My daughter passed her driving test on Thursday, so I have officially retired from taxi duty and have been promoted to massive debilitating worry duty instead.  On Friday,  all of the kids left for vacations with their 'other parents' and hubby and I fell to the couch in bliss, not believing the absolute quiet and ensuing peacefulness. 

I have finally worked up the energy to get out to my poor neglected babies to spread some love.  After being completely ignored for a week, they have rewarded me ten times over.

Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria) has exploded everywhere - it is one of my favorites.  I just wish it wasn't biennial.  I didn't have any blooming last year (they were in the growing phase so they just hung around doing their best "I look kind of like Lamb's Ears" impression) and I missed them terribly.  This year I started many from seed and stuck them around the border of the veggie garden so that I won't miss out on their spectacular blooms next year.  They self sow like crazy - I started with 8 plants and now have at least 60, and had to donate at least that many to the compost pile.  I know it sounds like they are terrible invasive little things, but they are small and beautiful and so striking and so easy to pull up.  You will see them everywhere in my pics - and yes, I know you aren't supposed to plant them near red because they clash.  Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn   :-)   I love them and want them everywhere and I think they are just fine with red.  The hummingbirds think they are just fine too so they are staying.
Lavendar 'Blue Scent' and Coreopsis 'Early Sunrise' are spectacular this year: The Coreopsis on the left is at least 3 feet high and the two plants (incredibly those are just two plants in the picture below) have absolutely hidden the Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun' in between  :

Shasta Daisy 'Snow Lady' is an absolute favorite.  The biggest clump is 3 ft around and about 2 feet high.  It blooms prolifically for a long time.  The foliage is very pretty also - full and not floppy at all.  Around it are Rose Campion, Speedwell  (Veronica spicata) 'Red Fox', Speedwell (Veronica spicata) 'Sunny Border Blue', Knockout Rose 'Radrazz' and oriental lily (I can't remember what kind):
Gaillardia, Rudbeckia and this surprise tall Shasta Daisy are blooming; there is also Rose Campion and Lavendar in the background:
Monarda 'Jacob Cline' is blooming (early - I don't normally see Monarda, Rudbeckia or Echinacea blooming in my gardens until July):
Check out this 'menage a trois' (get your minds out of the gutter folks).  I did not plant any of these here but ended up with a self-sowed Rudbeckia, Echinacea and Monarda in the same exact spot.  The Echinacea and Rubeckia have not quite bloomed yet (and I know it is hard to see with the Rose Campion glaring it's hot-pinkness behind them):
The Delphiniums are as stunning as always.  How can you not love these?  All of mine came from Graceful Gardens (I highly recommend them - very nice selection of delphs and beautiful healthy plants that bloom the first year.  
Delphinium 'New Millenium' (the first one to bloom - the others have tons of buds):
Delphinium 'Magic Fountains' (bottom pic also has Peachleaf Bellflower, still blooming like crazy, and Rose Campion):

Clematis 'Jackmanii' is blooming like mad (these are actually a darker purple than the color the camera captured):

Clematis Perle D'Azur was a big surprise. I had forgotten that I had planted it with Clematis 'Betty Corning'.  'Betty' is winding down and Perle took over where Betty left off (Betty Corning blooms all summer for some but it never has for me) And surprise!  More Rose Campion in the background... and foreground):

And as always, the parting shots are the standard overall garden pics:

And just for fun, here are a few pictures of our yard when we first bought our poor landscape deprived house 12 years ago.

See that garden above? This is what is used to look like:

This was our backyard - all of those pine trees are gone and this is where the pool, fence and gardens are.  The old horse shed is still there, hiding all of our pool & garden equipment:
This is the same view we have now:
A new deck and partway through clearing:
This is what it looks like now:

Side of house 'Before':

And 'After' (you can use that rotton old telephone pole as a reference to where everything was.  Or where 'nothing' was):

Happy Gardening everyone!  Thanks so much for stopping by

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mother Nature Has a Sense of Humor....

I posted earlier today in my excitement that it was finally a sunny day.  It was even sunny at 4:00!  (Mother Nature loves to blow in a rain shower at 3:55 because she knows I will be making a mad dash to my car to get home to my gardens.)  Unfortunately, we had a fashion emergency in our household... my teenage daughter has to dress up to present for her final exam tomorrow (classic teenage planning ahead move... 5 minutes ahead that is.  Anyone out there with a teen will completely understand).  After inhaling a quick dinner (thank you hubby!), we sprinted to the stores (literally 1 minute from where I work.  How cruel is that?!?)  In record time we found everything she needed, walked out of the store to a black sky.  Before we even made it out of the parking lot, downpour.  HaHa Mother Nature, aren't you hilarious.  I think she read my blog post earlier, saw how overconfidant I was about the sunshine and decided to teach me a lesson.  (Some days it's all you can do not to give her the 'You're #1!' hand signal).  She was kind enough to stop the rain by the time we got home so I could run out and get some shots for Bloomin' Tuesday.  I just discovered Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day so will join in there also.   Again, the mosquitos were ferocious.  When I finished, I made a quick call to the Red Cross to see if they could set up an emergency blood drive for me. 

And the Garden Tour begins now!

Containers on the deck with Lobelia, Geranium (was supposed to be pink - turns out they were red!):

Hanging baskets under the deck (there are 8) with Calibrochoa and Euphorbia:

This one is for my gardening twin Diane  :)  Lychnis Coronaria (Rose Campion):
Yellow Loosestrife (circle flower) and Delphinium Chinensis 'Blue Butterfly':
Lychnis Coronaria and Peachleaf Bellflower:
Delphinium 'Magic Fountains', Foxglove and KnockOut Rose Radrazz:
Asiatic Lily (I don't remember what kind):
Overviews of the side garden.  The Dianthus 'Ideal Mix' needs to be deadheaded badly:

Climbing Rose (I think it might be 'Blaze').  It is apparently very happy here - it has never had so many blooms in the 7/8 years that I've had it.  Two pics, one from each side of the fence:

Back bed behind the pool fence.  I finally got it weeded and edged, but still no mulch yet.  Six KnockOut Roses are planted here (three Radrazz and three Double Pink).  I'm hoping that they someday grow large enough to become a sort-of rose hedge.  Right now it's a bit messy because it started off as my 'I have no clue where to plant this so I'll stick it out back here' bed:

Clematis 'Jackmanii' is starting to bloom on front railing:
More KnockOut Rose 'Radrazz', Salvia 'May Night' in the back, Salvia 'East Frieland' in the front and Sedum 'Autumn Joy' in the middle:
Lavender 'Blue Scent' and Gaillardia 'Goblin'; Coreopsis grandiflora is ready to bloom any day:
White Foxglove (all of the foxgloves in the yard are seedlings from eight plants I had two years ago):

Happy Gardening!  Don't forgot to visit MsGreenThumbJean's blog and Carol's May Dreams Gardens blog