Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Moonflower Blooms!

'Moonflowers have rich green, heart-shaped foliage with pure white blossoms that are a full 5-6 inches across. Their buds open quickly in the late afternoon and bloom all night long until touched by the morning sun, when they close. The fluted, funnel like flowers glow in the moonlight and fill warm summer evenings with a wonderful fragrance.They bloom abundantly throughout the summer and attract butterflies to the garden.' (excerpt from tag on the plant I bought)

I have waited all summer to see this lovely bloom glowing in the moonlight. I have waited all summer to smell the wonderful fragrance wafting over our patio.

A couple of days ago, I saw buds and thought my wait was almost over. Now, it seems, I will have to wait until next year.

This is my 'moonflower' plant blooming. Blue-not white. Blooms in the morning and is gone by noon.

The blooms are very pretty-stunning in fact.

And the plant is covered with them. There are dozens more buds so I will have new blooms for days. But it is Not a moonflower. It must be a type of morning glory. I will enjoy it-really I will.
But next year, I want a moonflower!
Rose and I had a girls afternoon out this week. A good chance to catch up with each other and do one of our favorite things. We went to the Idea Garden at the U of I. This was our 3rd visit with the first being early-we remember it being cold and no plants blooming yet. The 2nd visit was on a very hot day, but lots of blooms and green plants. This visit, the sun was shinning and there was a nice cool breeze so we were able to take our time and really look. The seasonality of the planting is wonderful. If only I could plan a garden to always have something in bloom.

The rose garden was looking very nice-the Japanese beetles have all but gone and the roses are putting on a final show. I didn't get the name of this one, but it had a lovely spicy fragrance as well as being gorgeous.

Cherry Parfait, a delightful name for this beauty!

I loved the foliage of these cannas. The contrast between the dark leaves and the variegated or striped green and white was beautiful. Only after looking at the picture did I realize one of the cannas was blooming.

On the outside of the cannas, orange profusion zinnias look like a carpet of green and orange!

The frog topiary has filled out and looks lovely surrounded by pink wave petunias.

Of course being at the U of I, I had to take a picture of the 'new' color of impatiens. I wonder if this variety will be available to buy next year?

These were planted en mass as a broad border. They really are a great color-and not quite a double but more than a single. The flowers were really large for impatiens. Maybe 2-3" across.

I fell in love with this plant! I had never seen it before, but that evening reading some of my favorite posts I saw it on Joey's blog.

This plant stood about 3' tall and was covered in pink blooms that looked to me sort of like a snapdragon. I think they are supposed to resemble a turtle's head though. I was impressed with how green the leaves still were and how fresh looking the flowers were for this late in the season. This plant is now on my wish list!
We are planning on going back at least once more to see the fall offerings. Will be sure to take more pictures to share.
Hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend and Happy Gardening!

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Late August Garden

Today, I thought I would post a little of this and some of that. There are no new flowers as of yet. The summer ones are fading and the fall ones have not quite appeared. My beds are very dry and needing a good rain badly. I have been watering my containers, but am hesitating to water anywhere else. Were I to water, some might come back for a few days, although I know most of them are on the up comimg fall decline. So I am in a quandary as to what to do.

While outside the other evening watering the containers, I saw this giant of a fly siting on the wet patio stone near my outside faucet. I know it's hard to tell from the picture, but he's at least an inch long. Is this what they call a deer fly? Should go to What's That Bug and find out.

A new butterfly this week. A lovely brown velvet looking one with blue and white spots at the bottom of his wings. Not quite a swallow tail, but more tail than a lot of butterflies. Another one to look up. What book do you recommend for identifying butterflies and moths?

The garden is full of Painted Ladys. and the white cabbage butterfly.

But this one is yellow with a pale brown edging. Again, I don't know it's name, but am enjoying watching their type. They seem to like the yellow flowers best. Maybe, they are harder for predators to see on yellow.

I said I had no new flowers yet, and that is true. But just look at what finally has buds! My moon flower is loaded with them.

I took these pictures at night because the ones I took during the day just didn't show the buds very well. The whole top of this plant is covered with buds. A pay back maybe for having to wait so long for blooms?

Betty Prior is still putting out a few blooms. I'm not sure which type of rose I like best. The hybrids can be spectacular but have little scent. The old fashioned singles are lovely and not very showy, but make up for that with a wonderful smell. This one has a slightly spicy fragrance.

Believe it or not, I still have a day lily blooming. This is one of the purple d'oro's. The color has faded some from when she first began to bloom, but I think her still very attractive. And she seems to be blooming just as long as her yellow counterpart. I wonder if there are other colors in the d'oro line?

I have showed the pink cosmos and now I have a deep pink almost purple one blooming. These were some I started indoors way back and I have been very happy with the results. They were easy to start, transplanted well and have provided another flower for the bees and butterflies to enjoy. I am planning on starting more next year.

This mystery plant has been identified. After much googling(a verb now?) I found a site that says it is grain sorghum. How it got into my flower bed is any one's guess, but I'll bet it had to do with birds and what they are best at-pooping!

While life has calmed down some since the departure of the grand girls, it is still keeping me very busy. I thought as you aged things slowed down! Our son-in-law graduated from a MABAS on Friday evening. It is an extensive 6 mo. course requiring attendance 2 night a week for advanced firefighting techniques. He is a volunteer fire fighter in the small town they live in, and when the opportunity to do this presented itself, he committed himself whole heartedly. JOB WELL DONE, J.! We are very proud of him.
We attended a wedding on Saturday at a small town over by Springfield, IL. It was held in a small but lovely Catholic Church. Someone or some group have taken very good care of this 100year old church and the landscaping was beautiful. Huge maple leaf hydrangeas formed the backdrop for lovely old fashioned shrub roses. Double rose of sharon bushes lined the front sidewalk and were alternating colors of pinks and whites. I know- I should have taken pictures!
Last week and this week, I am working an extra day. While that may not sound like much to many of you 5day a week workers, I am still adjusting to working after 10 years of not. And to top it all off, hubby brought home a big box of Michigan peaches last Friday. We have eaten several fresh and now I need to find time to freeze them. Won't they taste wonderful in cobblers this winter?! Ah well, when winter comes there will be time to rest.
Have a great gardening week!

***I apologize for the spacing, blooger is doing it's own thing again today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Look what I found today! Caterpillars on my butterfly weed. I was so excited. Now I wonder what butterfly they will become?

This butterfly weed is one that I started indoors from seed. Several of them lived after I transplanted them in to the garden, but this is the only one that bloomed this year. I am hoping they survive the winter and come back strong next year. Just in case, I plan to start more next spring.

I have had a lot of 'painted ladies' in the gardens this year. They seem to love the giant zinnias as well as the butterfly bush. Definitely going to plant more zinnias next year. I started most of them indoors, but did direct sow some. They all grew at about the same rate. I am thinking of starting a few for containers and just sowing the rest directly in the gardens. That way I will have more room to start other plants inside.

The sum and substance hosta has put up flower scapes tall enough to be seen from behind the cone flowers. This is the first year they have really done well. The plants are about 4 years old and they are finally living up to their description of being huge.

This area of the garden is still looking very pretty and I am pleased that it is lasting. A lot of the other areas are looking piteous(not sure if that is a real word, but it describes the areas well!)

Does anyone know what this plant is? When I finally noticed it wasn't a flower, I thought corn stalk. But no...

... this is a corn stalk. And yes, it is growing next to the house. It may be Indian Corn from some fall decorations last year. The squirrels found the corn and there went my decorations. It will be fun to see what the ear looks like when ripe-if I get to it before the squirrels.
Have a happy gardening week end!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Quiet House

The house is quiet. Too quiet after 10 days of giggly girls, 'Hannah Montana' and 'Sponge Bob Square Pants' on the TV, doing crafts, baking, working in the flower beds, chasing butterflies and going places. I miss my girls.

Our one big adventure was to the Indianapolis Zoo. Pictured below are 5 of the 7 granddaughters and my soon-to-be-step granddaughter and grandson. We had a wonderful day of sunny cool weather and lots of animals. The Indy Zoo is really a nice experience. They have 5 areas of wildlife including the Ocean, the Plains, the Dessert, Africa, and the Forrest. Each area has animals in a natural habitat with lots of educational materials about them. I think the kids enjoyed the Ocean the best. They got to 'pet a shark' and there was a dolphin show. Although a little on the pricey side if you bought food and drink inside, we took a picnic lunch to have in their very clean picnic area. I think we will make this a yearly summer visit.

The girls and I got a lot of enjoyment out of watching the finches at the sunflowers. They had never seen so many bright yellow birds in one place before and learned to be very still and quiet so the birds would stay. We even noticed them getting the seeds out and bringing them to the 'table' to break open. Most of the big sunflowers have been picked bare but there are still several smaller ones for them to enjoy.

Not much new blooming in the gardens now. In fact, I can see a real winding down of all the summer flowers. Except, that is, the zinnias. This is profusion cherry and I have been so pleased with it that I am going to look for more colors next year and do a border of them.

Some of the ones I started from seed-still looking very fresh and putting out more buds. I seem to have a lot of lavender and pinks. I swear, even though those are my favorite colors, I planted mixed colors.

Occasionally, I find some oranges and some reds. I have started to save seed heads from all the colors and have a feeling I will plant many more next year.

There have been so many beautiful Clematis shown on posts these last few months and I have drooled over them all. Mine finally bloomed-1 bloom! It is pretty, but hardly worth the effort and the space it takes up. I have moved this one(name unknown) a couple of times trying to find a happy home for it. This is it's 3rd year in this spot, but only grew to about 2' tall. I may leave it one more year, but am going to get a couple of new ones next year. Maybe then I will have some good bloomers.

I have enjoyed reading all the wonderful posts these last few days and have missed not posting. But I wouldn't have given up my time with the girls for anything. I miss my girls...

Have a great gardening time!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What in the World? or Mystery in the Garden!

***Update- after searching thru 70 some pages of pictures on What's That Bug, we have narrowed the bug down to some kind of toothpick grasshopper.

This is granddaughter week at our house. The 3 we usually only get once a month are spending 10 glorious days with us. * Along with them, we have had 1 or 2 others here spending the day and night also. I can't begin to explain how wonderful it is to have them here long enough to just be together and do ordinary things. Oh, we have done some special things, too, like spending the day at the Indianapolis Zoo. We have spent a day swimming and will do a day of shopping for school necessities. But the ordinary things are what I hope they remember most.

We have spent a lot of time in the gardens. They have helped me water and deadhead. I have told them names of plants and flowers. We have looked for and found butterflies and bees. And have even taken some pictures. This evening as we were doing our walk about the garden we found a very unusual insect. "Mama, what is it!?" I didn't have the answer-sadly, Mamas don't know everything.

So , I told them we would take pictures and put it on my blog and ask. Surely someone out there in blog land has seen this creature and will know what it is.

It's about 5" long and a very bright green. At first we thought it was a leaf stuck to the patio chair. It did not seem bothered by our presence or the flash of the camera.

We did get it to crawl onto a stake so we could get a better side view.
Any ideas? Please!

They wanted me to show this picture as well. It is another Queen Elizabeth rose. Beside the newly bloomed one are 2 who have suffered at the jaws of the Japanese Beetle. "Why do they like roses, Mama?" Another question I couldn't answer. And I was wrong about them leaving. They are still here-maybe not in as great a numbers-but they are still doing damage.
I wish you all as much fun sharing your gardens as I have had this week!

* one day, I will go into more detail about these 3 granddaughters, but for now-just know we are thrilled to have them whenever we can.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Note to Self!

To: self

Subject: Tutorial on photography

Step 1: find subject

Step 2: frame subject in center

Step 2: frame subject in center with wings open

Step 2: frame subject in center with wings open

Step 2: frame subject in center with wings open

Step 3: frame subject in center with wings open (close enough!)
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Surprises and Thank Heavens The Move is Over!

It has been a long couple of weeks! Between working, packing, moving, unpacking, making phone calls, meeting with lawyers and fixing meals-I am pooped!

The good news is my Dad is now in his new apartment and for the most part settled in. We had lots of help the day of the move, mostly hubby's side. Two of his brothers volunteered and of course our daughter and some of the grand girls. Our 2 son-in-laws had to work so they missed all the fun. We made it in one trip with 2 trailers, a couple of pick ups and of course a couple of cars. The men did most of the heavy lifting and we girls sorted and put away. I had almost everything packed before hand and that was a big factor in being able to do the move in one day. All workers were treated to a spaghetti supper at our house-who had the energy to go out. I had planned ahead and made the sauce the day before so it was fairly easy to throw together a salad and slice some Italian bread while the spaghetti was cooking. By 8:00 that evening, all but 2 granddaughters had gone home and I could finally put my feet up. This week we(my Dad and I) have been finishing sorting and putting away and finding things that were lost. Today, I took him to a bank that is much closer and got his new account started, called Social Security and changed where his check would be deposited, called Dish TV and set up a time for them to put up his new satellite, and paid bills for the month. I think we are done!

Do you remember my post about the Japanese Beetles eating my sunflowers? Well, an apology is due them. They weren't the culprits in this case.

With apologies to Mary and Cheryl for the quality of my pictures, I'll show you what has been eating the sunflowers. So please bear with the horrible pictures-they were taken through a window, and try to imagine my delight. I have gold finches by the dozens! They are eating the seed.

This one is sitting on one of the leaves. Enlarging the pictures does seem to help.

Another one deciding if the coast is clear.

They are such fun to watch trying to get the seed. They flutter their wings trying to stay in one place long enough to eat.

And they even hang upside down to get their lunch!

Some of the sunflowers have very few seeds left on them. But that's okay. I am enjoying the finches!

The beetles seem to be leaving, although it's a little early. Queen Elizabeth has bloomed without them destroying her bud.

A new climber this year Golden Showers, has finally bloomed. I didn't expect too much from this and a couple other roses I planted this year. They were very small and probably not #1 grade. These were some I ordered on line from Direct Buy Gardens. I don't think I will order any more from them. The plants were all small, they arrived way to early and some of them were not in a survivable state. I could have gotten them replaced, but figured I had learned a good lesson. Order from a well known reliable source.

I know I have shown this before, but I am so thrilled to have one in bloom. It is the Butterfly Weed, I started from seed March 30. 5 of the 8 I planted lived to be transplanted outside and so far all of them are doing well. I am hoping they winter over and come back next year.

My Moon Flower Vine, is certainly vining! It just keeps sending out runners and they are growing on the sunflowers now. Long ago, it out grew the lightning rod I planted it on. My question is, When does it bloom?

My zinnias are so pretty and I am really enjoying the groupings of them I planted. I intended to plant even more next year. The cutting bed is coming along a little slow, but that is my fault. When I made the new bed, the leaves weren't out on the trees yet, and so I have it in the shade. This is a green one-not sure if I like it or not. It's different, though.

And finally,the last oriental lily bloom. I am going to move these this fall. They are in an area I don't see every day and these deserve to be seen and enjoyed.
I have so enjoyed reading your posts- taking a few minutes each evening when I get off work. I still feel connected at least by doing that. They brighten my mood and make me smile. Thank you!
Have a great gardening week.