Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ornamental grasses plus

Blue Oatgrass
Ornamental grasses - they add a special something to the garden.

Fountain Grass

This one co-exists with a few coneflowers throughout...the coneflowers were there first...the grass likes to spread.

Reed Grass

Porcupine Grass

This is a favorite - Northern Sea Oats

Also in the garden today, and just beginning to bloom: Star of Good Hope

There's a new birdhouse in the garden too. The wrens began exploring it the day after it went up, but they've not taken up residence yet.

Look at the insect on the butterfly weed. He matches!

My first zinnia. Next year I start with plants, not seed!

Delicate, frilly Baby's Breath (Gypsophilia, Bristol Fairy) against a rugged piece of driftwood

Always a favorite - Cleome

Salmon-pink geranium and bacopa grace the porch.

I am so-o-o-o- GLAD...

...I planted GLADS this year!

Last but not least, enjoy this summer sunset I photographed last evening. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Tomato Chronicles: What's Working, What's Not? July 27, 2010

It's July 27, and here's my report on what's working and what's not in the tomato realm. This will help me remember which varieties to purchase next spring - what performed best.

First, this was not the year for starting tomatoes from seed. I did so, but due to the extreme weather conditions, the seedlings did poorly.  I ended up buying plants in the following varieties: Black Prince (Russian purple heirloom), Better Boy, Big Boy, Early Girl, Jetstar, Celebrity and Rutgers. Successfully raised from seed: a purple heirloom and a yellow heirloom - variety unknown - I saved seed from two purchased tomatoes last fall; one Celebrity, one Jetstar, one Early Girl and two Mortgage Lifter.

Jetstar gave us our first ripe tomato, followed closely by Celebrity and Black Prince. All were tasty. Black Prince is extremely small and tends toward cracking but is delicious. Jetstar is small - Celebrity just a bit larger. I have several almost ripe Rutgers. They are medium-sized/some might say large but not real large.

Mortgage Lifter has the blight. It did last year, too, but still produced quite a few nice, tasty, large tomatoes. That's why I raised it again this year.

The "Early Girl" I purchased must have been mislabeled. For one thing, no ripe tomatoes yet. For another, the fruits are huge - that is definitely not Early Girl.

These tomato plants are growing very tall and are full of fruit.
I predict that in 3 or 4 weeks, I'll be supplying the neighbors, coworkers, church folks and just about anybody else that wants them - with my overabundance of tomatoes....right now, though, I long for more ripe tomatoes...BLTs....fresh salsa....

Tomatoes, sweet corn, watermelon...the taste of summer.

Monday, July 26, 2010

An Ocean of Yellow

It's everywhere! It's everywhere!

It's in my border beds.

It's along this path in the cottage garden.

There's an ocean of yellow in this area of the cottage garden.

It's Rudbeckia, and it's beautiful...but oceans of it? In 2004 when I began building my garden (remember, this used to be a swimming pool), I planted Rudbeckia - this common perennial variety. Over the years it has increased and increased and increased. It's not what I'd call invasive...invasive is Queen Anne's Lace - Mint - Comfrey...Rudbeckia is just, well, happy.

Here's another large clump. This one is in front of the sweet peas, and intertwined with sage and baptisia. Did I plant it here? Or did the birds? Who knows?

Another sea of that beautiful yellow color, surrounding the panel of picket fence and my distressed chair.

Look closely at the chair. I planted morning glories underneath it and they are beginning to wind their way around it. How lovely it will be when they bloom!

If you come over, I'll be glad to dig you some Rudbeckia. There's plenty to share.

Speaking of sharing, my yarrow has gone to seed already.

I have red.

I have white.
And I also have pink.

If you would like some yarrow seeds, e-mail me with your mailing address.  First come, first served. Just a little piece of my garden, for your garden!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sunday Favorites - Trip to Australia

Trip to Australia

It's time for Sunday Favorites! Be sure to stop over at Chari's lovely blog, Happy to Design, to see the participants' favorite past posts. This is one of my favorites, because it brings back happy memories of one of those "lifetime" trips. I posted this on  March 8, 2010 and I linked my post to Mosaic Monday and Blue Monday.

Please click to enlarge photos.

In 2003, I had the privilege of touring Australian Wonders and the Islands of New Zealand, hosted by Collette Vacations. We began our journey in Melbourne, then proceeded to Cairns and Sydney. Following our time in Australia we journeyed to the South Island of New Zealand.

In the mosaic above, moving clockwise beginning with the photo with the Twelve Apostles National Park sign: 1) Me, standing by the sign; 2) The Twelve Apostles, a fabulous rock formation on the Great Ocean Road; 3)  Amazing rock formation along the Great Ocean Road; 4) Rainforest; 5) Petting Susie at Koala Park near Sydney; 6) Harbor Bridge at Dusk, Sydney Harbor; 7) Sydney Opera House; 8) Rock formation along the Great Ocean Road; 9) center photo: Palm Cove, near Cairns

I have many fond memories of Australia and am so happy that I had the opportunity to visit! It truly was the trip of a lifetime. 

This trip also included time in New Zealand.  Click here to see my New Zealand post.

I want to thank Chari for sponsoring Sunday Favorites.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fertilizer Friday

It's time to see what's blooming - it's Fertilizer Friday, hosted by Tootsie. I love this hemerocallis. It was a gift from a friend's garden this summer.

The tiger lilies are at their peak now. How colorful is the orange, mixed with the pinks and yellows in my garden.

More orange: my butterfly weed. Last year we found a monarch caterpillar on this plant; what a thrill!

Speaking of butterflies...the tiger swallowtail is enjoying the echinacea.

The Blackberry Seed lily reminds me of a toad lily.

This is an old-fashioned plant, Polygonum orientale, also known as Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate. It is an annual that re-seeds. This is my first year growing it.

Star of Good Hope - it's just beginning to bloom. The foliage resembles an amaryllis. I think it might be Clivia, which is a member of the amaryllis family, although I'm not certain. I looked up Star of Good Hope on the internet but didn't find much information.

The Stargazers are stealing the show right now!

Pretty in pink:  common phlox

The white phlox are just starting to bloom.

Porcupine grass

The hydrangeas have been exquisite this year. The blooms are really long-lasting as well as colorful.

I'd like to share a few views of two of my backyard gardens from the deck. I call it a bird's-eye view.  For more photos taken from above, you can go to this post.

This photo and the next one are of my border beds. These are right out the basement (walk-out) door; this small part of the yard is fenced on three sides. Here you can see parts of the west (left in picture) and north sides.

Here is the east side of this small part of the yard. There is a patio and hosta bed just as you walk out the basement door. Peek over the fence and you can see a part of my cottage garden. In the upper left corner of the photo, you can see part of the garden shed, a blue spruce and a part of our raspberry bed.

The cottage garden. When we moved to this property, there was a 16 x 32 foot above ground swimming pool here. It was surrounded by a deck and fence. We enjoyed it for several years, but as the kids grew up it just wasn't quite as much fun. We removed the pool in 2002. By 2003, we had a MAJOR weed patch here.

I began removing the weeds in 2003 and making plans for a cottage garden. Here is the west side of the cottage garden. You can see the fence; on the other side of the fence is the border garden that was shown in the first couple of bird's-eye view photos. Toward the back (north) is my raspberry patch.

There are several more photos and information about the cottage garden here.

Stop over at Tootsie Time to see what's blooming in all the lovely gardens today.


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