Monday, June 23, 2008

Not Able To Blog This Week

Hi Everyone!

I'm sorry I'm not going to have a blog this week. Some family problems came up (don't worry, they are being taken care of) and I just didn't have any time to write. I'll be visiting you this week and will write soon. We've got an entire off next week so I'll have no excuses !!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another Walk Through The Gardens !

After seeing what has been happening through out the rest of the Midwest, I feel very sheepish about complaining about a few inches of water in the basement last week. Thousands of people forced to flee their homes with no idea when then will be able to return. Flood waters up to the stop signs. Millions of dollars of destruction. Wildfires out of control. Searing heat and months of drought. Jobs lost. Lives lost. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you are all aware of what has been happening .
So, I will not act like I have some big problems because compared to lots of others, I'm on Easy Street.
Instead of complaining, I'll take you through the gardens again.
My petunia barrels. The one in the fore ground, farthest to the left is a fiberglass half whiskey barrel. Wooden barrels tend to rot after a number of years so Steve thought he'd buy one of the other kinds. They are guaranteed for a very long time but cost twice as much. What made me mad was the fact that if you tap them with anything hard the color immediately scratches off. The color isn't incorporated into the fiberglass, it's painted on and is very easily scratched. What a disappointment. I don't recommend them.
Here are the plants from the hanging basket my daughter, Adeena, gave me for Mother's Day. They fit perfectly in this barrel and I'm hoping that some of the ground cover will take root in the area surrounding the barrel.
This begonia is just so big and bright I had to show it off. It's in the three tiered planter and sort of dominates the entire scene. Next year it'll be in it's own separate pot not trying to steal the show from everyone else.
An update on the Kinsman window boxes. Well, as you can see, the petunias are thriving and the planters are just about covered. I have no idea what these will look like in another month. I just wish I'd been paying attention when I was planting and put a fuchsia petunia in the other box too. Just to balance things out!
A bumble bee enjoying the catmint along the rock wall.
I have a few roses in my gardens. Most are survivors from my neglect, so they are very hardy.
A cabbage rose - Madame Hardy (perfect name). This one smells wonderful - delicate and old fashioned.
A trailing, landscape rose along the rock wall - Iceberg. Super hardy!!
The rest of these roses have names, but I've forgotten or misplaced them.
A little shrub rose I started from seed.
I love this rose because it reminds me of the wild roses that grew around my home when I was a child. This also smells great and even survives in the shade. Isn't the foliage a pretty light green.
I should take better care of this guy! It has such unusual colors.
A wild climbing rose that will take over if you let it. Unfortunately, it has no scent which is odd for a wild rose.
Here is a very unique miniature rose. It is extremely tiny. Look at it in comparison to the straw! The teeny flowers are about an inch high. People are surprised that miniature roses are so hardy - most colors are. That sounds odd, but the mini roses that are within the lavender color range aren't hardy in the North!
Speaking of tiny, here are some more little flowers.
They are dianthus and I think called "Micro Chip".
Below is the entire plant. It's very neat and spreads quite a bit but is easy to keep under control. Isn't it strange that the same plant has different patterned and colored flowers?
Another dianthus paired with the chartreuse feverfew. A surprisingly good color combination.
What an exotic peony! Actually I got this for a few dollars the year before last at the very end of the season. It didn't bloom last year so I didn't know what to anticipate. Needless to say, I'm not disappointed. No scent though.
An early day lily. I love the brick colored brush marks on this.
Here are my Tradescantia. The bottom one is called "Osprey". That blue fuzz and the little yellow balls remind me of something a clown would have pasted on!
Salvia "May Night". Kind of lost among the others....

The bellflowers are just beginning to open. Such a nice blue.
Meadow Rue looks so delicate. The little "hairs" move with the slightest breeze.
Impatiens are one of my most favorite flowers. Here are some of them that are blooming in the window boxes I can see from the living room window. They are very bright!
These two are Accent Star varieties.
These next five are Tempo Butterfly Mix. I do like the little butterfly in the center.
Update on the tomato tree !!! Look how much those plants have grown in just a week! I'm very pleased at how they didn't miss a beat after I'd planted them. You can't see from the picture, but they are blooming. I think I'll remove those flowers so they don't form fruit so soon. Give the plant a chance to build itself up.
Today I finally put the fish out into the pond. There are only 4 fish left now - it was a hard winter for them in the basement. I didn't include any pictures of the pond because it doesn't look too good right now. The petunias I planted around it haven't filled out yet and the water plants look incredibly bad. I don't think the garden center where I bought them knows anything about water plants. The container they were in barely had any water in it. Duh! ! So they have a long way to go before they get on this blog...
I've planted in containers or tossed into the compost bin any stragglers left today so there is only a small flat of impatiens to plant in Steve's Area. The ground is still too wet for planting so next week will have to do. I feel relief that I'm nearly through and now I can concentrate on my daughter's birthday party next weekend. She wants Beef Wellington and a chocolate/pistachio cake. This will be fun and I'll have pictures to show everyone.
A man enjoys the happiness he feels, a woman the happiness
she gives.
Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782)
Bye for now

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weather Or Not! !

Like a lot of people in this country, we are experiencing some bad weather in southeastern Wisconsin. Since yesterday we've had storm after storm come through. There has been hail, tornadoes, lightening, and flooding.

We live on a hill but there is also a hill behind us and the water has rushed down it and soaked around our house. The basement is covered with a couple inches of water and it just keeps coming! I timed the sump pump and it comes on every 10 seconds! We've always had a leaky basement and have everything down there set up accordingly so nothing is ruined. And there have been other times when we've had some flooding, but I can't ever remember the water coming in so fast and for such a long time. The forecast says after tomorrow there will be better weather so I hope we can start drying out here.

The gardens and containers are doing OK and only look a little battered and I picked out the best looking flowers for this blog! I feel bad for Steve. Before the storms came through, he had worked all morning and afternoon weeding and mulching the Daylily Boarder with hemlock woodchips. Yikes! the Border is on the sloping north end of our property and here is what happened after the downpours:

Tomorrow he'll have to fix this.
I found some neat mushrooms that popped up right after the rain.

The first ones look like bread dough that's been left out too long. The others I call Brownie mushrooms and are all over the place.
This is a weird conglomeration of shelf mushroom and a slime mold. Doesn't it look like someone threw up ??!
As I said, I found the best looking flowers to post. Here are some of them:

Double Impatiens and Double Petunias - I started both indoors.

"Baby Duck" Petunias
Next are various Alliums
The Peonies have begun to open!
Isn't the last one fantastic! I had to hold it up for the picture since the rain has knocked them down. I'll take a nice bouquet to work tomorrow - I can enjoy them all day then.
Fancy Poppies that I planted.

Sweet Sweet Williams ! !
These have just begun to open and don't even look real to me.
Siberian and Tall Bearded Iris (still standing!)
Old fashioned fragrant day lily. These were here when we moved in.
Beauty Bush and Lady's Mantle
Once the soil has dried out a bit we've got some things to plant.
Steve bought six Rudbeckias and two of the"Forest Flame" Pieris.
We've never grown Pieris and wondering how they will do here.
When I was at the garden center last week I couldn't resist this Japanese Maple. The one my sister gave me last fall died back to the roots and has a long way to go until it's a "tree" again. But I really liked it so ....
This is called "Garnet" and is very delicate looking.
Here's a neat thing I ordered. It's called the Tomato Tree. There are holes for 3 full size tomato plants and the bag holds 40 quarts of soil! Steve said it looks really bad and he wanted it somewhere were it isn't seen too much. This spot on the west side of the house is perfect. Even though you see a door there I have to explain that we never use it. It's right off of the living room (don't ask me why but the living room has 3 doors that lead to the outside!) And it's on a solid surface next to the hose. I'll let you know when the tomatoes start to arrive!
Even though the weather has been damaging , you could practically swim in the basement, and I hear thunder again, this was a very good weekend.
This is the weather the cuckoo likes,
And so do I;
When showers betumble the chestnut spikes,
And nestlings fly.
Thomas Hardy
"Weathers" - 1922
Bye for now,