Some Fun

Sunflowers!

These are the short sunflowers:

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All the posts are to help the “bush” beans in front of the sunflowers.

And a close-up:

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They are so fluffy and pretty! And I grew them from seeds!

And the mammoth sunflowers. Really, does it count as a flower when it is so high you can barely see it? I think these must be over 9 feet tall!

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I grew these from seed too! Do you know they only give you about 6 seeds in a packet? What’s up with that? So, of the seeds I planted, only 3 1/2 of them grew.

Close-up:

DSCN1886Kinda cool how the volunteer morning glory vine climbed up the sunflower stalk!

Look up, and have a lovely sunny week!

Up Close in the Garden

We finally had a break in the weather, and this morning it was downright cool! Felt lovely. As I inspected the garden, I was inspired to grab my camera and try out the close up lens.

Lantana love (exactly how many pictures can one person take of Lantana?)

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A different bloom on the same plant:

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And a bloom from a different lantana:

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Petunia love. I love this petunia so much. It doesn’t photograph as beautiful as it is in person. The blossoms are extra large and have a heavier look than most petunias. And then of course, there’s the whole “its apple blossom colored” thing going on.

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I love that they’ve been able to add yellow to the petunias. We had a few drops of rain this morning!

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Moss rose. One of the few blooms on the plant. The Queen thinks they are a delicacy.

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Geranium!

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Squash blossom! These are soooo huge and sooo vibrant. I guess the little ants like them too.

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The Japanese lantern plant.

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And SQUEEEE!!!! I have a rose bush, and it actually bloomed!!
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Garden Vignettes

I just love these little flower vignettes when I am inspecting the garden. So many of them include surprises–that just increases the joy! The nasturtium are volunteers from last year.

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I planted the pale yellow petunia and the blue lobelia, but the deep magenta petunia was a volunteer hybrid too.

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More petunia volunteers next to the salvia.

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What’s wrong with this picture? That little volunteer pansy that survived, despite the heat and the crowded planting, and Noah’s pansy munching. Delightful!

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All the colors of nature go so well together!

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A new plant–gallardia. I like the solid yellow color of this one. Reminds me of cone flowers–maybe I’ll have better luck with them. You can see I got a few ground covers there. I’ve got a couple of places that aren’t so good for the flowers–I’m hoping the ground covers will take off.

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The volunteer morning glory. It is absolutely this brilliant in real life. Next to a white petunia that I actually planted, and a volunteer marigold.

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Here is a view of my green beans and one of the tomato plants. I am getting just enough vegetables to enjoy something for dinner almost every night.

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The honeysuckle is holding its own against the humongous cherry tomato plant!

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And the morning glory that I planted gives me a few pretty blooms every morning. This vine REALLY likes full sun. Next year it needs to go someplace else.

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And that’s what’s happening in the garden this week!

 

Early Morning in the Garden

This is the shade garden. You can see where we moved the smaller Japanese Maple out and I replaced it with a pot of coleus and a fast growing hanging plant.

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My oldest lace-leaf Japanese Maple is doing very well this year.

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I went outside the fence to get this pic–I like the fringed daisies with the blue delphinium (they are a type of delphinium–not as showy as the big ones, but they have a beautiful blue color.)

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Volunteer sunflower. And the great plant hunter there in the background.

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A close-up of the honeysuckle. I’m so happy that this vine is doing well this year. Last year it got over-whelmed by the tomato forest and the deer.DSCN1679

I like these little vignettes of volunteer petunias. Oh, and see that lantern there? I got a set of 8 of those from Costco, and at night I look out my bedroom window and it looks like a fairyland out there!
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The phlox plant (thanks for the I.D.!) is doing extremely well. Now what? Am I supposed to divide it next spring? Oh, you can see a good view of the dog room there. The latest thing I talked to J. the contractor about is using my old window air conditioner to install in their room. Oh brother. What I won’t do for those dogs. But practically speaking, then I don’t have to worry about leaving them out there when I travel and we are having a heat wave.

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My “pesky” lantana is doing very well. One reader (I think from Australia) mentioned that they were considered a pest plant over there. I can understand that. But here they die every winter, so they are just an annual. And I love them. I have three of them this year. Oh, and that is my little basil forest in the back there.

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St. Francis and the front of the shade garden. There is another variety of lantana.

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So we moved a couple of the Japanese maples, and now there is a whole curved row of them. It looks better in person.

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This is the time of year that I get weary of the endless watering. I told MLG “no more gardens for now!” Our next project is just a little stone work, and then we are going to talk about putting in a drip watering system.

And that’s what’s happening in the garden right now. I have harvested 5 cherry tomatoes, 4 green beans, and a few zucchini (a miracle considering Sophie demolished an entire zucchini plant single-handedly.) I’m hopeful to be enjoying a few more fresh vegetables in the near future!

Stuff in the Garden

First, an overview of the sun garden. Its a rather messy jungle this year. A lot of the petunias were volunteers, which I am enjoying a LOT. But some of the plants just look messy–either I need to move some of these plants to other locations or just delete them. Feel free to chime in with advice and/or opinions.

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Next: what is this plant? I waited and waited for it to bloom. It was a nice sturdy looking plant, but took forever to bloom. I’m not sure why I bought it last year. Could it have been another color and then reverted to white this year??

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Close-up of the blooms:

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I love this petunia–appropriately named “Apple Blossoms.”

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The squash blossoms always amaze and surprise me–so huge and beautiful in the early morning. They almost look like a daylily!

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Speaking of which–look at what surprised me!

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I am loving these fringed daisies! I bought two 4 inch plants last fall, and they are already pretty big bushes!

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A new plant! I need to get something for it to climb on. I was told it will die at first frost. My plan, if I am so organized, is to pot it up and take it to my mom’s house in the bay area for the winter.

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And, I got another of my favorites–a morning glory. Lets hope it does a little better than last year’s plant, which refused to bloom most of the summer.

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What are these plants called? I like them when I see them other places. But in my garden they are messy and unruly.

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Caught in the act!

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“What??? I was just SNIFFING them!”

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And that’s what’s happening in the garden this week. If you are a gardener, be sure to spend some time just enjoying your blooms. I find that I spend a LOT of time looking down at the dirt–does it need more water? does it need to be broken up? are there too many weeds? And then I remember to stop and look up. Ahhh. That’s what a garden is all about!

NOT in the Garden

Across the road (its still my property) there is a place where MLG and I dump all the weeds and rocks that we don’t need in the garden. Oh, and J. the contractor also dumped a ton of dirt and rock over there when he was putting in the foundation for the studio. Its actually made a nice little turn-out over there on that side of the road. And last week, as I went over there with yet another bucket of weeds, I spotted something different.

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These are the things that always amaze me. I pamper my garden plants with water and fertilizer and tilling the soil. I watch them carefully, and agonize if they get knocked over or eaten on by bugs (or squashed by big-dog-feet.)

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And here, with nothing but our junk soil, rocks, and weeds, a lone sunflower grows tall and strong.

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God will always be a better gardener than me.

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Hallelujah!

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In the Garden

What’s going on in the garden today? Some hard work, that’s what’s been going on! MLG was here bright and early this morning, and I had an extra hard job in mind for him. In addition, he brought with him a truckload of soil to fill the rest of the new bed. Yay, guess who went to the nursery this afternoon? : )

But first, let me tell you what we worked on. Besides the Japanese Maples that I still have in the big pots, I have an Atlas Cedar. I’ve had it for probably as long as I’ve lived here. Its kind of a sentimental plant, because when I was a kid, some very good friends of my parents had one growing in their courtyard, and I always thought it was so neat, kinda like a BIG bonsai. Anyway, last year we put the Cedar into a very tall pot. As soon as we got it in there, I knew I didn’t like it, but it had been so hard for MLG that I just left it. Well this year I noticed one time that it was flooded–kind of unusual for me, but its very dangerous for the trees. They don’t do well in that condition. When I went away last week, my neighbor watered my plants, and sure enough, I came back and it was flooded again. So I tipped it over to get some of the water out, but this time the whole pot fell over! And there was no way I could get it back up by myself. I knew we had to transplant it. After MLG got here, we talked over several options, and decided to switch pots with a little lace leaf Japanese Maple that also wasn’t doing too well. MLG got both of them out of the pots, which was a HUGE feat, and then I went to work re-potting them. I put a good layer of rocks in the bottom of both of them to help with drainage, and then I removed the ground cover from the tops of both of them. Turns out the grass I had with the little J.M. might have been choking it and taking all the nutrients away from it, and maybe the same with the Cedar. We moved the Japanese Maple from its location in the shade garden, and now there is a nice line of 4 of the maples along the path to the doggie room.

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The cedar looks so much better in the new pot. As soon as the tree guy comes and takes down a few more trees, we will move it about 10 or 15 feet to its (hopefully) permanent location.

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I told MLG that one of these days he was going to come over and I was going to say, “oh, just a little light clean-up will do.” But I think he likes working hard. He cleaned up this corner of the yard for me, and made a little platform for this maple to keep it level, and also to use up some leftover bricks and pavers (he’s trying his hardest to neaten me up.)

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This morning while we worked, I noticed the birds were extra active and happy. I guess its a combo of cooler weather and bird feeders that are filled once again… so this afternoon when I went out to take pictures, what a treat it was that a whole bunch of birds chose that moment to come down and take a communal bath! It was so fun to hear them splashing in the water.

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Some new blooms–this was a bee balm that I bought this year. I’m trying to buy more perennials to fill the garden. I love this bloom, and I hope the plant will get as big as they say it will.

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And the hydrangea that we transplanted last year finally got a bloom on it! So exciting. This was a pitiful little plant when we put it in the ground.

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This shows the front bed that you’ve already seen, but to the side you can see my little row of green beans starting to sprout, and that row of little plants in the back are dwarf sunflower! Its so fun to plant seeds and actually see them come up.

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Cherry tomatoes are starting to sprout already.

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And the squash had its first blossoms open this morning!

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And that’s the view from the garden today. No more big plans for this year. We’re going to work on just straightening up a few areas. And I’m going to work on trying to keep everything watered on schedule!