Sunday, June 29, 2008

Busy as a Bee Gathering Summertime Pollen!

This has been one of the busiest weeks that I can remember having for a long time! As I have said, I started a part time job on Monday. I work from 4 in the afternoon til midnight. Now... that is taking some adjustment! Tuesday, I had a meeting with my Dad and the prospective buyers of his place, plus went shopping for more comfortable work shoes and some work capris. Wednesday, I worked and cleaned house for this weekend. Thursday, went grocery shopping and worked. Friday, I picked up the 3 granddaughters which we are now getting a couple times a month. Saturday, went to a ball game of the soon to be step-grand kids and then took them plus 6 granddaughters to an afternoon and evening cook out. After giving many, many baths that night, I got to sit and rest and read some of my favorite blogs. Sunday, we had the family over for a cookout. Afterwards, 3 grands went home leaving us with 5. Hubby went to work and the girls and I are finally relaxing, watching movies and eating watermelon. The point to this story is, I survived! Not only survived, but did pretty well. And I loved every minute of it.

The gardens are growing-as are the weeds, and flowers are starting to appear everywhere. And what is not yet blooming has buds near to bursting. The warm weather and the periodic rains have made this an exceptional year for the gardens.

These are the 2 youngest granddaughters posing(actually being little hams) in front of the cone flower bed.

My first day lily bloomed Thursday. It's in the d'oro family, and I think it's called lemon something. I bought this one at a discount grocery store and thinking I would surely remember the name, promptly threw the carton away. An post-menopause moment?

'Queen Elisabeth' also bloomed this week. Not bad for a rose that I was sure was dead only a couple of months ago.

These are some of my sunflowers that are going to help me participate in the "Great Sunflower Project".

This one is a lot farther along than the others for some reason, and a lot taller! It won't be long before I can start recording bee sighting data. If you have sunflowers in your garden you can participate in this project also.

One of the granddaughters found this dragonfly on the ground. While I tell them not to pick up bugs and insects because they might hurt them, in her excitment at finding such a treasure, she forgot. But the strange thing is, it didn't try to get away. We had time to take a couple of pictures before it did fly off. We were all thrilled!
This week should be a little calmer, although the 4th is coming and there is a chance we could have the girls again. One hope is to get in some weeding time as well as just time to enjoy my gardens. My other hope is that your week is filled with time for you to enjoys your gardens!
To all who wished me well at my new job, I thank you for your support-it means a lot to me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

News! and More Blooms!

Life takes many twist and turns, doesn't it? We go merrily along our way thinking we know just what is going to happen next and then surprise, an unexpected comes along. What is this all about, you ask?

Well, I'll tell you. After 10 years of being on disability, a new medicine has come along that has changed my life. Many of you know part of my story and for those that don't...I was diagnosed about 10 years ago with Fibromyalgia. I was happy at the job I was working at and fully intended to work there until I retired. It was not to be. I simply could not continue to work. I spent many years in pain and my world became increasingly smaller. This January, I started a new medicine called 'Lyrica'. And as I have said to anyone who will stand still and listen, it has been a miracle for me. I have worked many hours in my gardens, have been able to do more with my granddaughters, and in general have enjoyed life so much more. All of this is to tell you, I have a job! Granted , it is only part-time , but I feel useful again!

The only down side to all of this is I won't have as much time to garden or blog. I will probably only get to post twice a week. But I intend to visit just as much as before. I can't give up all the friends I have made in blog land. I would miss out on all the great posts you write, and all the wonderful pictures you share. Nope! Not going to give up blogging. Housework...maybe.

You are probably getting tired of seeing my Asiatic lilies, I know. But I just couldn't resist showing some of the new ones that have bloomed.

I wish I had kept name tags for these, but that was before I knew I should-or ever guessed I would be showing them on the Internet.

Still, I am so pleased with these. They are providing spots of color in the gardens during the transition from spring to summer bloomers.

I love the freckles in this one.

This is such a delicate pink.

And a perfectly peachy bloom.

This is from the wildflower seeds I started indoors. Sorry, no clue as to what kind, but it's pinkle(pink-purple) so I love it.

Zinnia's from seed. Pink and purple...notice a theme here?

The butterfly bush is just starting to open-purple. Need you even ask? Now for some butterflies.

My cone flowers(pink, what else!) are looking pretty good. I never did see what was eating them, and they seemed to have moved on, thank goodness. So I have about a zillion getting ready to bloom.
So that's what's blooming in my gardens at the moment. The containers are starting to fill in and the roses are getting ready to bloom. Perennial Phlox are about ready to blossom, and sunflowers should be opening next week. Oh, and I have flower scapes on most of my day lilies. I was beginning to be a little concerned about them, but guess I was trying to rush the season.
Great gardening to you all the rest of the week and have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Garden Walk-2008!

A Garden Walk is a most enjoyable way to spend a sunny summer day. And the walk is even better spent in the company of my life-long best friend who shares the passion for gardening. Rose and I have been excited about this walk for weeks and it did not disappoint. The Walk was sponsored by University of Illinois Extension-Champaign County Master Gardeners. There were 8 gardens on the walk, 6 of which we saw. 2 of them were more or less public gardens and we figured we could see them another time.

At this one we were greeted by lovely vignettes, like this one, placed around the garden and patio. Others had live music-very soothing sounds of a harp and a cello.

We saw some well known flowers such as this climbing rose.

Vining Black-eyed Susan.

Some we didn't know and weren't tagged.

This lupine was absolutely a prefect specimen!

An Oak leaf Hydrangea, which had blooms over a foot long.

These lilies are a little washed out looking due to the bright sun, but were such an unusual pale lemon color with rich brown freckles in the center.

We had no clue what this plant was. It looks a little like saliva but was more of a bush in form and was close to 5 feet tall.

Several people were taking pictures of this plant. It was sitting on top of a raised area but was still a big plant-no one seemed to know it's name.

A butterfly plant in full bloom. I know how hard these are to get started in your garden.

I just love this one. It is about a foot tall, by about that wide. Touching it's leaves and down in the center, it feels as soft as a newborn baby's blanket. It is called 'Hobbit's Foot'. and is a type of saliva.

This tree at the corner of a pergola caught my eye as I have a cousin who is growing one. Hers is not near this size yet-but have hope T. it will get there. This is a 'Staghorn' Sumac.

What could have been an unattractive garage wall was turned into a focal point with the addition of decorative birdhouses and hanging containers of plants.

I have always wanted a rock wall to stick small vining plants in!

Containers abounded in almost all of the gardens. Some were planted and some were used by themselves as focal points. I found that these pots of Caladium bulbs stuck in the shaded ground cover broke up the long expanse of green and provided subtle color for the eye to enjoy.

This low to the ground container was planted with miniature sedums and stood all by itself on the mulch. Sometimes less is better.

And then there were water features!

From gardens that extended into a lake...

where I finally was able to get a picture of one of the zillions of dragonflies,

to this simple, but wonderfully calming, water jar that set off perfectly this small area of plants.

This one pond was in a tiny back yard, but was beautifully landscaped and seem quite the peaceful retreat. There is a hippo in the center.

And they had beautiful water lilies.

A waterfall graced the entry way of this house. But as Rose said there was no place for them to sit and enjoy it's beauty.

Lisa, this is for you! When I saw this chartreuse door, I knew I had to show it. Talk about adding a focal point in an otherwise neutral area. For those of you who don't know, Lisa has a purple garden shed. I think she could paint her doors and windows this color to show case her shed even more.

I would like to acknowledge thanks to all who opened their gardens to us, and to the wonderful people who did so much to help put this show together. It was well appreciated. Now I have a severe case of garden envy! But, back in my world of weeds, needing-mulch, struggling garden, I am satisfied with what I have accomplished. And though mine will never look like the ones we visited, it is my garden and I love it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Baby Birds, Blooms, and Bugs?

Envious of all the beautiful bird photography out there in blog land, I tried my hand with these shots of fledgling robins. Okay, I'll not win any awards, but I enjoyed taking them. And the little guys were so cute. Mama was nearby keeping an eye on them and I am sure she was still feeding them as well. They were fairly cooperative in posing for me, although I think they were more interested in the coming of food. Not really knowing much about birds of this long will it be before they can fly? Don't they have to have some tail feathers first?

Remember the lightening rods we saved when we had the new roof put on?

I planted a 'Moon-flower Vine', Ipomoea Alba, a couple of weeks ago. I wrapped a small tendril around one of the bottom braces hoping it would climb the rod. Well, it did! All the way to the top, round and round, and there are several tendrils now. I am so pleased and will be even more so when it blooms.

Now, I have a problem and am hoping someone out there can help. Something is eating the petals off my coneflowers. Mostly, I have noticed the bud starting to turn color and then the petals are gone before they have had a chance to fully open.

Or, they leave one or two. I have checked the eaten buds and see nothing. They aren't getting them all, it would take an army to eat all the buds that are in the garden! Any ideas?

Admittedly, this is not a great picture, but I was so excited to see these little flowers. These are from seeds I started indoors and are from some that Cheryl sent me. They are 'Cerinthe', major purpurascens. They look a little like our bluebells and are supposed to flower all summer reaching a height of 12"-15". A little bit of England growing in my garden!

As promised, the planter that fits around my patio table umbrella. It is planted with 'blush' impatiens, 'pride' coleus, and pinks. It is starting to fill in and soon will be overflowing -I hope.

One more picture of these Asiatic lilies. This stalk has 12 blooms and buds on it. I have had to put a stake by it to help keep it upright. This one stalk repeatedly has performed like this. Have I said, I am amazed!?

I have a couple of the granddaughters tomorrow and Friday and I am taking them swimming. They will swim, I'll be reading a book. Saturday, Rose and I are going on a 'Master Gardeners' garden walk. I am really excited about this. Next week, I hope to have lots of beautiful garden photos to share. And the great thing is the weather here has moderated. We are back to June weather-highs of near 80, lows in the upper 50's and low humidity. Thank goodness! It's a joy to be outside again.
I hope the rest of your week and the weekend are good gardening weather for you!
*Just a quick note to those of you who feed Zick Dough to your birds. Please read Julie's post about this.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Few New Blooms and Some Repair Work!

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, June -2008 was quite a success! And all of the credit goes to Carol at May Dreams Gardens. I spent most of Sunday afternoon and evening visiting many old friends and along the way made some new acquaintances. It was a wonderful way to spend time on a hot, muggy day. I so enjoy seeing the varied gardens and climes and in the process I am learning so much. I hope you enjoyed seeing all the wonderful flowers and gardens. And thank you to all who visited my post!

I didn't think I had too much more to show this week, but in the gardening world, I have learned never say never. One of my favorite Asiatic Lilies-name unknown-has started to open. This is one of those DIPT ones I mentioned in my last post. Every year this lily produces more bulbs, and I guess it must be the original one, has up to 15 blooms on one stalk. It truly amazes me!

The camera didn't quite catch the color of this one. It is more of a creamy pale yellow than it is white. Maybe in a different light I can capture the truer color.

This one is white and is in with the brightly colored yellow ones. Such a pretty combination...I wish I could take credit for it.

I know I showed Apple Blossom before, but now there are these 3 lovely ones on the same stalk.

Okay, now we get to the heart of this post. I went plant shopping, yet again! And I called Rose to join me. You know to 'enable' me. We met at a nursery in a nearby small town. No sales yet, but some very healthy looking plants. I bought several 'superbenas' in burgundy and deep purple. A 'verbena' lani, upright purple mosaic. I had not seen this one before and fell in love! Also purchased were 'angelface' dresden blue, 'mexican heather' allyson lilac, a cleome-linde armstrong, an Astilbe, and a pink perennial phlox.
But there was a good reason for the new plants, as you can see below.

This poor purple wave petunia in the top of one of the whiskey barrels looks pathetic. It has not grown and is struggling to even survive. It might, by the end of September start to look okay, but I am not willing to wait. I want pretty now.

I replaced it with one of the new superbenas. Looking better already!

Now, we are getting there. Some of the other plants went in to already planted containers as well. The more I looked at them, the more bare they seemed. So I will give them a little while to settle in and fill out and then I will show them to you.

I have been so impressed with photos of the skies on other blogs, that when I looked out my front door late Sunday evening and saw this, I ran for my camera.

We had severe thunderstorm warnings for our area and I was keeping an eye out for hail and damaging winds.

Fortunately, we got only some wind and very little rain. I ended up having to water my plants!
Have a good gardening week!