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!

 

Pansy Parade and Pudding Report

After months (I am not exaggerating) of Noah mowing down every single pansy bloom, and me almost killing the pansies with my “treatments”–pepper, “Boundary” repellant for dogs, and Bitter Apple spray,– I decided to try feeding Noah some baby carrots every night in his supper. The little dogs get them every night. But Noah started urping them, and I had stopped giving them to him. I don’t know if its a coincidence, or its really a cure, but since I started feeding him the carrots again, he has stopped eating the pansies, and now all his “pruning” has rewarded me with the best crop of pansies I’ve ever had! Each little plant is like a bush full of flowers. Is there a better way to spend $3 than on a six-pack of pansies?

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And the pudding report. Remember I mentioned that chocolate sweet potato pudding? Well, first I tried it substituting pumpkin for sweet potatoes. Because it turned out I didn’t have any sweet potatoes. I could still taste the pumpkin, so I didn’t like that too much. I did like that it was nice and thick. So a couple days later I got sweet potatoes at the store and tried again. I added a little more cocoa powder. It was good, but for me it was not worthy. The calories come out to between 170 and 200 per serving the way I figured it. You could divide it into smaller servings if you wanted. The thing about it is, that whole recipe is very healthy, so if you liked it, it would really be a good one to keep in the rotation. For me, I’d rather eat two walnut-stuffed dates.

Aerial Views(?) and Magic Bullet Question

Well, after Lori requested an aerial view of my garden, I went out and did my best by standing on the top rung of the ladder! I don’t know if these pictures show any more than the ground view photos, but here they are.

This picture shows the shade garden and the sun garden. You can see where the stone “courtyard” ends kind of abruptly, and you can see a stack of stones next to the sun garden. We are going to extend the stones, but keep them farther apart, kind of like a path? Also, you might notice the ever present hose in this picture. I have two hoses, and I am the opposite of obsessive compulsive about them. I’m not about to wind them up after each use when I am just going to have to drag them out to water again. Oh, and you can see the new house color and the old house color in this pic! J. the contractor just paints the outside of each room as he finishes the inside.

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Moving just a little to the right you can see the new planter bed next to the sun garden. And you can also see the dogwood tree surrounded by stones. Those two clumps that look like bushes are just oaks that have been cut down. They keep trying to grow back. The stump grinder is coming with the tree guy in July. I can’t wait!

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One more view. Kinda got all three gardens in this shot.

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In this next shot, I was in the same place, but turned to the left so you can see the front area of the garden. We are going to move that atlas cedar somewhere, and probably take down a couple of the little oaks, and then that will be the next place we’ll build a planter bed.

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And here I moved to the front, outside of the fence (that is a deer fence. Not pretty, but quite practical : ) ) I really like the way MLG terraced this area. It was all his idea. I just provided the bricks. If you look close, you can see the other hose laying out there. That front planter looks a little bare, but there is a lot going on under the surface : )

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And a gratuitous Miss Bess shot. She is not that photogenic, so when I saw her looking particularly pensive, I grabbed my camera to try to get a good shot. If you’re trying to figure out what is going on in the background like I was, its just stuff–had to move everything out of my bedroom and closet in preparation for the work that’s going to be done there next week!

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And for those of you with Magic Bullet experience, I have a question. I had a Magic Bullet for a couple of years, and used it frequently. It worked great, and it didn’t really wear out, but I wanted a new one, so got one on sale after Christmas. It had an extra blade, and even more cups to use. But one day I had a bunch of ice in there, and basically what happened was that the top and the base both spun around, but were not engaged, so they actually wore some of their gears off. (The gears look like they are made out of rubber or plastic.) So I was still able to use two of the blades. But now the same thing has happened to all three of them, so the machine is completely useless. My question is: have you had anything like this happen, and if so, has Magic Bullet been responsive when you called about a problem? I will call them tomorrow, but its not worth it to me to argue with them about who was at fault. The Magic Bullet is really really convenient for making my protein shakes and smoothies, so I want to replace it one way or the other.

Garden Doings

Lori’s weekly “What’s Blooming” posts always inspire me to go back out into the garden to see what IS blooming in my yard. I keep saying there’s not much going on, but brother, when you go out looking, its surprising what you’ll find!

Here’s the view that I see when I look out my window. You can see the shade garden in the foreground, and then the newer sun garden behind it, and then you can barely see the newest raised bed behind that. MLG was over bright and early this morning to finish that job!

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And here it is. Its actually kind of hard to get a good view of this bed. I love all the angles he put into it (which made it a lot more work.) And I love the 2X6’s that he topped it with, so I can sit on it! You can see there’s one little black oak in the middle of it. For now we’re going to leave that in (its hard for either of us to cut down a tree.) But in July the tree guy is coming back, and he’s a little more ruthless with the trees. Oh, and you can see the “doggie room” back there. One of those things I should paint. We’ll see…

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And look what visited us! I always have one or two little frogs each spring, but I’ve never had such a pretty one!

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Here’s the Henry Lauder Walking Stick. I mostly took a pic of the pretty flower in front of it. I can’t remember what they are called. I just thought they were petunias, but they are a perennial–lucky for me!

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I took a picture from below looking up at the Japanese Lantern bush. Its a little unsightly this year, but its a profuse bloomer. Must investigate how to prune this one.

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And that most special plant, the star jasmine that was rescued from the dump pile last year! I thought it was dead, so threw it over the side of the hill, and MLG told me it was trying to grow! Its one of the plants I’ve had as long as I lived here, so its a little sentimental.

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Here’s the bed by the front fence. It gets plenty of sun, so I planted a row of green beans today, and a row of dwarf sunflowers in the back. The pansies look so pretty in between Noah mowing them down…

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And at the end of the row, I had just enough room for one zucchini plant. Oh, and there’s one tomato that I planted a bit ago. I also planted some giant sunflower seeds and some basil seeds.

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Here’s some cheater plants. I bought them in full bloom from the nursery–a group of delphiniums, and a pot of foxgloves. I am going to plant them in the new bed with the pink rosebush my friends gave me. Won’t that be pretty next year?

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And if you can believe it, while I was out taking these pics, what should flutter by, but this huge butterfly!! I tried my best to get a good close-up, but between his fluttering wings, Noah’s interference, and my inexperience, this was the best I got.

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I love this little herb planter. It just has mostly lemon thyme, with a Greek oregano and a chocolate mint mixed in for good measure. Those vines growing up the fence are really weeds, but they bloom and look like morning glories, so I let them go. And that red thing behind the fence? That would be my car : )

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Haha, under the “What month is it???” category, I have a couple of pots of chrysanthemums blooming!

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And these are, I think, a type of delphinium. Such a beautiful brilliant blue, but the plant itself is very rangy. Maybe next year they will be a stronger plant. I am learning to be a little more patient in the garden (as evidenced by all the “next year” comments.)

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And one last look at the new bed. I am going to stain the top railing (yes, I actually stained the sides already!) and then we will fill it with dirt and get to planting! That rangy bush in the front (flowering almond) is right next to the bed, and we are MLG is going to move it to a better location.

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Wow, I guess there is a bit of action going on in the garden. I am enjoying learning more about planting, and what goes where, and perennials and seeds and whatnot. Its a hobby I loved when I was a kid and its so fun to be able to dig in the ground again.