Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two Done! ?? to Go!

Finally! I just couldn't wait any longer. I planted two containers today. No, the roof isn't quite done and the patio is still a mess, but container envy got the best of me.

Rose and I went plant shopping, yet again, yesterday. She was looking for a few specifics and I was just getting started. I have had all spring-well winter too- to decide what I wanted to do with most of my pots and barrels, but when it came time to actually put my ideas into action, I froze. So I did what any beginning gardener would do. I went with tried and true.

I love wave petunias and they have always done very well in the barrels. This is one variety that does what it promises. Waves and waves of blooms, no dead heading, and very little care needed. Earlier this year when we attended the seminars at the garden center I found these wire baskets that sit on a raised ring. I had envisioned putting them in the barrels with something cascading down among the lower level plants. I sorta did that. The first one has pink waves in the top and
Supertunia 'Boudeaux' in the bottom with vinca. By the way, the vinca is some that comes up every year from a long ago plant that escaped a container. In fact, I give a lot of it away each year and pull it up where it grows unwanted.

This one has pink wave in the bottom along with the vinca and purple wave in the top. I am not sure these are totally done. I may plant something white in each... we'll just have to see.

I do have a rose in bloom. This is a miniature we planted many years ago and I don't remember the name. I almost missed it. It's in a small bed around a light pole and I have cone flowers there. Well, you know how well cone flowers reseed. When I saw a small dot of orange, I investigated thinking it was trash from the roof. We are now minus a few cone flowers!

An Iris! Besides having container envy, I have had iris envy. Mine must be a later variety. I have this pale purple and a white, but so far this is the only bloom. Several buds though. Speaking of iris, I am going to get into my mother-in-law's patch this fall. She has some of the really old fashioned ones-purples, yellows, and that kind of bronze one. She has offered in the past and I never took her up. But now with her in the nursing home, it seems important that I keep some of her flowers going. Maybe even to hand down to the next generation.

And now for a roof update. The shingles are all on and they are working on replacing soffits. I would think tomorrow, if the rain holds off. But surely by Monday! Of course it will take a day to pick up the mess. Is getting a new roof always this messy? The final job will be taking a magnet that's on wheels around the yard and driveway to pick up all those nails that seem to appear with any type of home improvement.

The other news- I think we have the Internet problem fixed! It seems I was put on the south west signal and with the trees now in full leaf I wasn't picking it up. Of course the main reason is that I am south east of the tower(or what ever it is). So the nice repair man changed it.
Well, I am rambling, I know. So I will close by wishing you a wonderful weekend of gardening or what ever you chose. Us-we get to mow and rake and them mow again!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pity Party and Bad Connections!

My dry spell between postings is partially self imposed and partially due to trouble with my Internet connection. I have been down for a while now with some family issues that I can't seem to resolve. I know that it will all work out eventually and have just been having a pity party for myself. Since Thursday last week, my Internet connection has been sporadic at best. Finally, I have been promised a visit from the technician tomorrow and I hope that will help.

The roof is progressing, even though rain and a holiday have caused some delay. There have been some pluses along the way. One is having our lightening rods taken down to facilitate the removal of the shingles. There are 3 of them and they were attached to the roof with copper cable run through the bottoms and down each side of the house. I have always liked the look of them on the roof and maybe they did protect us as we have never had lightning strike the house.
The glass ball sits on a pointed copper piece and that sits in a metal frame that is attached to the roof. The bottom of the cooper tube was then connected to copper cable.

Once down, I decided to use them in the gardens rather than put them back up.

The 2 with the glass balls still intact will be used as obelisks and will have clematis growing up them. The one without the ball I'm not sure about where it will end up. I do know they will all stay in the garden as part of the history that goes with the house.

The painted daisy is in full bloom and I am really enjoying the bright color.

These dark centered cloverleafs are a bulb of unknown name that came as a bonus with an order for plants earlier this spring. They were simply named 'exotic bulbs'. So I am watching them with anticipation.

The 'sum and substance' hosta that I received as a birthday gift from Rose a couple of years ago, is really starting to live up to it's name. We had seen one of these at a garden in the Chicago area and both fell in love with the huge leaves.

I have trimmed my lilacs-the taller one a lot. I know the 1/3 rule, but decided if I had to do without blooms next year, so be it. It was just getting away from me and the blooms were almost too high to enjoy this year.
I have embraced weeding about as much as I can stand and am going to mulch heavily to keep them at bay. Of course that will have to wait until the roof is done. As will the container planting. So still much to do in the gardens, but with things on hold for a few days yet, I will just enjoy what is there. Don't forget to enjoy your gardens in this busy season.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More Perennials!

Well the mystery has been solved. The plant below is one I asked about a while back. From the leaves it was thought to be a fern leaf tanzy. But after blooming, it was decided not to be. While plant browsing this week, I came upon one in bloom-the exact same color even. It is a Tanacetum, or 'painted daisy'. The color was not mentioned as they were mixed in the pot. So I have written it's name in my garden journal, crossing out the tanzy. This is one of those DIPT plants and even after finding out it's name have no recollection of buying or planting.

Rose and I got in one more plant shopping excursion this week with me supposedly only looking again. With the work on the roof still in progress, I was not ready to start planting any annuals.
But as Carol has said, if you see a plant that just reaches out and grabs you, you should go ahead and buy it. I saw two. This one is Artemisia schmidtiana, 'silver mound'.

This one Sedum rupestre, 'Angelina'. Isn't it beautiful now?! And in the fall it gets a reddish tint to the tips of the leaves.

Those I planted this afternoon along with a couple of pass-along plants from Rose. A yarrow, which she warned me would spread, and a ground cover which I have already forgotten the name of.
Do Cats like Yarrow?

While planting those, I happen to walk down by the 'climbing tree'. I have several hostas planted around the base. Evidently this past weekend was hard on a couple of them...I have a feeling this is where the girls came down out of the tree. Hopefully they will come back at least some. In the meantime, I guess the girls and I are going to have a talk about not stepping on plants-please!

As I mentioned earlier, the work on the roof continues. They have found a several places where water has damaged the plywood and are having to replace it. Also, they are replacing most of our soffits-more water damage. Hopefully, by this time next week all will be done and I can show the finished project. And get my containers planted!

I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend. I wish you sun, fun, family and friends!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Getting Back to Normal? Decidedly Not!

Back home and trying to get back on a schedule. Easier said than done! My trip was long with lots of driving, appointments to keep and a strange city where even having a map didn't seem to help much. The good news is I accomplished what I went to do and made it home safely late on Friday night.

This was our weekend with the granddaughters and that means 2 full days of family, food, and fun. With help from my daughter that went well, also. Monday, I took a few hours for mental health(catching up on gardening blogs!) before getting back to 'real life'... errands, laundry, house cleaning.

This morning, the roofing contractors came at 7:30. Who knew they would start that early?! What should have been a fairly routine job of taking the old roof off turned into "the sheeting is in pretty bad shape...we are going to have to replace it all." So there goes my garden budget! This is a job long over due and we knew we might run into some problems, but why does everything seem to be so complicated these days?! :)

Now, I understood there would be some mess involved with the new roof, but seeing shingles on my budding iris gave me the shivers. They do have tarps down and are trying to be neat, so hopefully little real damage will be done.

These next pictures show why it is good to have a big sister. She will pull a low hanging branch down for you.

Let you get a good hold on it.

Turn it loose slowly.

And up into the air you fly!

Since this is supposed to be a gardening blog, I thought I'd include at least one picture of it. I never knew the name of this plant but earlier someone told me they thought it was a fern-leaf tansy. I like the color and am hoping it will spread. I would like to have enough one day to divide it.

And finally, I wanted to show you what we grow here in the prairie land. Corn! Field after field of it is coming up. I always get a thrill out of seeing the straight rows of green coming up and enjoy watching week to week seeing how quickly it grows. I thought I would do a weekly picture so you could follow the growth also. The soybeans are yet to be planted and I will post pictures of them when they emerge and start growing.
It is good to be back! I am wanting to get busy in the gardens as soon as I can. Time spent puttering with plants can calm a weary soul. I wish you calm time.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Doves and DIPT!

Yes Momma Dove is still sitting! Are those eggs ever going to hatch? I worried about the nest in the winds we had yesterday, but all seems well.

Speaking of the wind... it was a nasty cold rainy windy day here on Mother's Day. Our yard and the front(north) side of our house looks like someone went through the trees with leaf chopper. Bunches of battered leaves are laying everywhere. Bits of leaves are now stuck on windows and siding. Poor trees really took a beating!

My last stand of tulips. I don't remember planting these...but I surely did as they are a full 2 weeks behind the rest of them, and are a different color. There must be a term for garden forgetfulness-DIPT? That sounds good The DIPT syndrome. Did I Plant This?

The wisteria is making up for no blooms last year. The frost came just as the buds were about to open. Another of my 'to do ' projects is to get this trained on a better and higher trellis.

The lily of the valley is blooming. I love the fragrance of these tiny treasures.

MIL's poppies were saved from most of the wind. The are on the south side of the house with huge concrete steps blocking the westerly winds.

I hope you take time each day to enjoy the wonders of spring!

* a family matter has me gone most of this week and this weekend we have the granddaughters so I will not be posting for a while. I am going to try to keep up with reading though-I might go into withdrawal if not!

Friday, May 9, 2008

4th Grade Class Trip!

Today was class trip day! My 10 year old 4th grade granddaughter, Nikki(the goat below) invited me to go along to Rockome Gardens. I was in 'charge' of the 4 girls below, and they were very polite and well behaved. Although it was a cloudy-damp-cool day, the rain held off and we really did have a fun time.Rockome is so called because it has rocks. In 1939, a man hired locals to haul rocks of all kinds, shapes and sizes to his garden where he built fences, fountains, buildings, walled gardens and just about anything else you could think of. He finally open it to the public and later sold it to an Amish family who operated the park for years. Under new ownership last year, the gardens are starting to be added to and have some much needed maintenance done.

This is a very low keyed theme park who's attractions run from buggy rides to watching a blacksmith shoe horses. Small enough to see in a few hours, it is also a very safe place to let kids be kids. They rang old school bells, payed tic-tac-toe with a chicken and fed baby goats. They and I enjoyed seeing the rocks made into different structures, walking through a typical Amish home, and eating freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

There are some gardens as they name implies, and while most of the plants have been newly planted, you can see the 'bones' are there.

I loved the sunken garden area. It was full of hanging ferns as well as woodland ferns planted around the center patio.

In the middle of the park is a raised mound that has three waterfalls coming down the sides. You can take a rock path to the top which has a wooden deck and view most of the area.

My 'girls'- who were all calling me Mama by the end of the day.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New Blooms, and This and That!

It feels more like summer than spring here today. The temperatures were in the low 80's. But the sun was out ,the breeze was gentle, and to sit in the shade and sip a cool drink was heaven.

I have been embracing the weeds, but they are gaining ground! I am still trying to find places for plants, the ones I've bought and the seedlings I have left. And I am watering every evening. With the horrific winds of late and the hot sun, they've really needed the water. I'm already getting tired of that chore. Maybe, hopefully, it will rain soon. I've begun to wonder if I haven't tried to do too much too soon in the gardens. But then I see something new bloom, or a newly planted plant get new growth and I am thrilled. I will do what I can, when I can, and in the end it will all work out.

My new bloom... Wisteria!

The dove is still sitting on the nest in the wisteria.(if you enlarge you can see her better)

I know you are probably getting tired of my lilacs, but indulge me a few more pictures, please. These next three are at my mother-in-laws. I think I will try to get starts of them this fall.

Did you know there are over a 1,000 varieties and they can live for hundreds of years? Originally from Europe, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had lilacs in their gardens.

Another bouquet with all 5 kinds. .. her 3 and my 2.

A bouquet of fragrant lilacs is heaven!

Look what else is just beginning to bloom at MIL's. Poppies!

I had to hold this one up to get it's face. They look like crepe paper flowers.

I hope you enjoy this time in your gardens.