Monday, June 22, 2009

They're Back!!

It's only June-aren't they early this year?! The earliest I could find mention of them on my blog last year was July 7th. That's almost 2 weeks away yet. Not fair!

I am thinking of trying to find some fine mesh bags to tie over my rose buds in an effort to save some of them this year, but have way too many cone flowers for that. So...I will try to pick them off and drop them in a bucket of soapy water when I see them destroying any blooms. Uhg! The scourge of summer!

On a happier note, I was finally able to get a photo of a dragonfly. Admittedly it is not of the quality I have seen on other blogs, but the dragonfly photo has become my humming bird quest. Surely with all I have seen flying around so far this year I will be able to get a better one. For now, though, it makes me smile.

The Asiatic lilies are in full bloom and I have several colors. All of these are unknown varieties and some of them are DIPTs. (Did I Plant These)

I have them in small groupings in most of the beds. They add a bright spot of color to the green and their height takes your eye up and away from the weeds. :)

This is probably my favorite. I love the freckles!

Heavenly Blue has bloomed! I grew this one from seed and planted it at the bottom of the taller part of the deck. I used to have a climbing rose here-in fact have tried 2 years in a row to get one to grow, so there are still wires for it to grow up and along the railing. It has made it to the top and is starting to run along the rail, but this first bloom in near the bottom. I am hoping for great things from this morning glory again this year. I checked back and found I didn't get a bloom last year til the middle of Aug. Of course that one was bound and determined to do nothing but vine for a couple of months while I waited in great anticipation for my first 'moon flower' bloom.

The butterfly weed has come back this year and is blooming joyously. I am so pleased as I have had trouble getting these to grow in my gardens. I was a little doubtful it would survive the winter, but 3 have and I am hoping they are happy enough to stay around for a few years. Last year with only a few blooms it served as a tidbit for several caterpillars. This year I am sure they will enjoy a buffet!

The day lilies have just started to bloom. Stella, a week or so ago and now this unknown. This was the first one I planted a few years back. I love the way the petals are different colors.

And of course, I couldn't do a post with out showing you the latest Martha Stewart Heritage Rose just after a rain.

Summer has come to Central Illinois! Along with all the rain and humidity we are having high 80's and into the 90's temps. The combination makes for some very uncomfortable conditions, and we are under a Heat Advisory until Wednesday eve. Needless to say, I am not out in the garden much-even in the evenings- when the weather is like this. I don't do heat and humidity well. :) But if you are having such weather, be sure to take it easy, drink lots of fluids and keep and eye on the elderly.
Happy gardening! (or air conditioning!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009



The first photo is a super macro(what else is new?) of a very common flower. But I think it looks so different when viewed this close. Any ideas?? It is yarrow- Apple Blossom, a pass along from Rose. When she told me it would spread easily, I had no idea just how easily and fast that meant! :) I love it though and am happy it is happy in my garden.
The 2nd photo is my new coneflower-Sunset. Isn't it gorgeous?! Sadly, it has not found a home yet and is still in it's pot. :( Surely one day soon I will decide on the perfect spot for it.
The last photo is Martha Stewart's Heritage Rose. I know I have shown this before, but it's beauty grabs me from every corner of the garden. I look up and there is that brilliant red calling to me to come take it's picture.

No, we are not to the Ugly yet, but we are getting close. If you have been reading my posts of late, you know how much I have been complaining about weeds. The fact is the weeds were taking over because we have not mulched in a few years. No amount of pulling is keeping up with their rate of growth. I talked my hubby into borrowing a grain truck and on Sat. we went to the recycling place in Urbana and got MULCH!

Hooray! The bed lifts and we don't have to shovel it off.

Wow! That looks like a lot of mulch. Actually it is 8 cu. yds. So I am thinking we will have more than enough to do what we want.

Warning! These next photos may make you physically ill!

This is my most neglected bed. It is out by the driveway to the garage and even though we have a little patio out there, we rarely use it now. I suppose one reason is because it is so weedy.

Another view. Oh, it's disgusting!!

Using a roll of end newsprint paper, I covered the bed after cutting down the weeds. The spots you see on the paper are sprinkles of rain that never amounted to much.

Using the roll of paper worked very well. I started at one end and rolled it out. Much easier than unfolding dozens of newspapers. :)


Now, doesn't that look much better? I am going to get some landscaping stones or bricks to edge it with to help hold in the mulch. And since this picture was taken, I have added a couple of containers of pink impatiens.

We also did the front beds. While they weren't weedy like the other bed, they were starting to show landscape fabric in places. And I didn't put the paper down in these beds. Even though I have blooming containers on the front steps and one on the table and another in the old birdbath, I think a couple more containers set in the mulch would look nice. This area looks pretty in the spring with tulips and daffodils in bloom, but I have little planted for summer interest.
Well, there you have it. The Pretty-Ugly-Pretty of at least part of my garden beds. Now all I have to do is the rest of the gardens. But those beds have lots of plants in them and are going to take a lot of 'hand' mulching. At least with the mulch being here, I can work on it a little at a time. Oh, and thank you hubby for all the effort and help! You are such a sweetheart to put up with my wants for the garden.
Hope your gardens are doing well and I know you don't let yours get as weedy as mine!
Happy gardening. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Strawberries and a Safety Fair-Weekend with the Girls!

I have been wanting do do this post for a couple of days now and finally tonight because of a bad cold and pure tiredness, I took the time to do it. Coming home from work, I had planned on watering, staring to lay down newspapers in the garden in anticipation of putting down mulch this weekend and was going to try to get caught up on laundry. Plans can change in the opening of a door. Once inside the house, I simply had to sit down and rest for a while. Blogger cooperated beautifully and loaded the photos in record time, and if you will forgive a quickly written narrative, we have a lift off-err, a post!

The red bearded tongue is blooming and spreading. It always makes me smile to see it's tiny flowers brightening up a shaded spot. This year there are 4 patches of it. Enough to share with Rose!
We had the granddaughetrs this weekend, 5 of them anyway. I have been promising them we would go strawberry picking and this was a perfect Saturday to do it. Sunny and warm, but not too hot and a little breeze to keep the bugs away. None of the girls have ever done this before and were very excited at the prospect of picking one of their favorite fruits. Each was given their own bucket and the nice owner let us have a whole area to ourselves.

The berries were small, but the patch is very neat and had great straw covered paths to sit on so you could really get into the plants.

This one chose to kneel-that would kill my knees!

The 2 youngest ones really got into picking (and eating!).

And don't they look proud of their pickings!? I picked too, but Papa decided to sit on the sidelines and cheer them on. In about an hour we had 12 pounds. Not bad for beginners.

The strawberries were used in a fresh strawberry pie, strawberry shortcake, eating berries and freezer jam. This one loves to help in the kitchen. We made the jam on Sunday afternoon-2 batches. The girls each took some home with them, but I got to keep a couple of containers.

After berry picking we went to a Safety fair put on by a local clinic. It was held at the county fairgrounds and I was very impressed with all the displays and info. Of course you can't have a fair with out face painting. The girls each chose a different design.

Here they are learning how to wash their hand correctly. The instructor put a solution on their hands and took them into a dark room where he used a black lite to show the bacteria on their hands before washing. He told them to count to 20 3 times or sing Happy Birthday 3 times before rinsing. Back into the dark room to see how well they washed. Actually they did very well with only one little area on the oldest showing any bacteria left.

Another stop was making your own first aid kit. The girls colored bags and went down a line where they got band aids, wipes, gauze, tape, etc. I assure you my granddaughters need these kits! :)

There were firetrucks, ambulances, a life flight helicopter, police cars and and even the bomb squad on the grounds for the kids to see. There were booths on poison control, babysitting, animal safety and many more that we didn't get to. But we did make it to the free hot dogs and chips stand!

Of course we did do this slide several times. And it was enjoyed by all! Papa and I were very impressed with this fair and plan on taking the girls again next year. A great deal of time and effort went into to making this a fun learning experience for kids of all ages. A big thank you to those who made it possible and gave of their time.

A couple of roses are in bloom. This one is a Martha Stewart Heritage rose. I have had her for several years now and she always does well. And I am remembering to fertilize them this year.

A no-name miniature peach colored rose that has been with us for a loooong time.

And this is a new one this year. 'First Promise' looks very promising. Of course being pink gives her an edge with me. :)
I promise I am going out to water now. The promised rain of over an inch is staying well to the south of us and I know my plants are thirsty after several days of warm even hot weather. In fact, it was warm enough on Sunday that I finally turned the AC on!
Hope you are enjoying your gardens. I certainly have been enjoying seeing them on your posts. I have been reading a lot of them, but have not had much time to comment. Up at 4:00 AM, to work at 7:00 and bed before 9:00 PM doesn't seem to leave me much time to do do all I want. Forgive me!!
Happy Gardening!