Thursday, June 30, 2011

Late June in the garden

Welcome! Before today's garden tour, would you like a slice of lemon icebox pie?

I admire the color and texture of the astilbes.

Nigella has interesting texture too.

I have two patches of nigella in the garden. So far, just a few blooms...but when they all come on, how lovely it will be!

This is what is commonly known as "ditch lily." I really find them quite lovely, despite the fact they are common. This is one of several plants growing in my garden that were gifts from my mother-in-law: from her garden, to mine.

The pink portaluca are stunners too.

A bouquet for the table on my deck

These are called rain lilies, or fairy lilies. I was only getting a few blooms at a time, while my neighbor has profuse blooms. I thought perhaps repotting was in order, so I did that today. There were many little bulblets - now I have two pots of rain lilies. I also moved them to a spot that is shadier. My neighbor's sit on her shaded deck and they bloom profusely. We'll see what happens. Gardening is sometimes an experiment.

Art in the garden

To make one of your own, glue a cup to a saucer using construction adhesive. We used "Loc Tite."  Glue a 1/2" copper plumbing cap on the bottom of the saucer. Let dry well. Place on a 5/8" painted dowel. Voila!

I'm in love with daylilies.

Did you know that daylilies (hemerocallis) are not true lilies? They have tubers, whereas true lilies have bulbs.

I'm so happy that the daylilies have begun to bloom. Stella d' Oro has been blooming for a week or two and some of my others have just begun.

You may ask, what are the names of those stunners in the two photos above? Well, sorry, but if I knew, I'd have told you....bad gardener!!! Did not label some of the plants in my garden!!!

Lupine, another of my favorite flowers.

Many gardeners tell me they have trouble growing lupine. Here are a few tips:
1) Lupine is a short-lived perennial. Thus, if you want to keep lupines going, plant a few every year.
2) Lupines don't like being moved. (But I still have done it when necessary.)
3) Put a little peat in the planting hole.
4) Don't let lupines go to seed; if you do, you'll get "babies," but the adult plant may well die. Therefore, I'm in favor of clipping the flower before it begins to go to seed.

Another pretty daylily. This one is 'Double River' and there's a story behind it. In 2010, we went on a Master Gardener bus tour to Cedar Rapids. One of the gardeners was generous and gifted us with starts of hemerocallis from her garden. Ron and I were the last ones off the bus and there were several left. We received and gladly planted 'Double River', 'Happy Apple', 'Autumn Minaret' and a couple of others that I cannot remember the name of (but they ARE labelled in the garden). Now, as if that wasn't enough, this gardener, Wanda Lunn, gifted me with a start of 'Strawberry Candy' this year - I'd told her I admired it and she dug up and mailed me a piece - then, when I sent her some cash to cover her postage - she purchased a membership in the Iowa Regional Lily Society for me, with the $ I'd sent her. Now is that generosity, or what!

A delicate white rose in the Moon Garden

A partial view of my Moon Garden.

A washtub full of Sweet Potato vine

Other bloggers have praised this one; now it's my turn: what a great bloomer!  Supertunia 'Vista Bubblegum'

More garden art

I'm going to have a lot of spaghetti squash this year!
And, I AM going to fry up some blossoms too.

Rudbeckia: Unknown variety

Rudbeckia 'Indian Summer'
1995 AAS winner

Rudbeckia 'Prairie Sun'
2003 AAS winner

Rudbeckia Vine 'Lemon-a-peel'

Now about that pie....

Linking with Tootsie at Tootsie Time for Fertilizer Friday. Be sure to stop over and see the amazing gardens - you know, one could say this is PEAK garden season in North America...but then again, that all depends upon what you plant!

Warm Regards,

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beauty in the Garden

Welcome, blogging friends!
Come walk with me through the gardens.
Echinacea 'Big Sky'
Purchased and planted just a year ago,

Now thriving

More orange in the garden: Butterfly weed

The yucca is blooming.
The flower stem is over 5' tall!

I've always liked hollyhocks.
This year, they are afflicted with "rust."
Must be due to our very wet spring.

Pentas, celosia and a white duck

We've been blessed with a lot of blueberries to eat recently. Fortunately, they do not all ripen at once. I like to eat them as I pick them, or on cereal. I do believe I'll make a pie, too. Mmmmm!

This 'Endless Summer' mophead hydrangea will be blue.

Hydrangea 'Incrediball' is just one year old and has quite a few blooms already.

View from above - lush and green with a few pops of color

I have a number of hemerocallis in the gardens, but only 'Stella d' Oro is blooming so far. Look at the number of buds on this plant!

Beebalm - I love the smell of its leaves.

I have at least three different rudbeckia varieties in my garden.
This one is certainly colorful.

Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker)

I really love this area of the garden; there's a lot going on here...purple larkspur, 'Big Sky' echinacea, verbena bonariensis, hydrangeas, rhubarb, cleome, campanula, glads, blueberries, roses, clematis...

Ok, here's a puzzler. I planted one elephant ear bulb here and two plants sprung up. I planted another elephant ear bulb a foot or so away, and FOUR plants came up!  How can this be?

Tortie the beautiful
Why must you rest in my bed of nigella?
Does it make a soft bed for you?

A double-decker beebalm
Just a happy occurrence, not a special cultivar!

I just can't believe how pretty this little native is.

I will be linking to Bloomin' Tuesday at Ms Green Thumb Jean's.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Big Oak Tree - Reprise with a Summer Photo

I'd like to introduce you to our city's oldest resident: this white oak tree, which has been estimated at anywhere from 100 - 300 years old. Not only is this tree old, it is also large. It is listed in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Iowa Big Tree Program - a program designed to locate and give special recognition to the largest tree of various species in our state. According to the 2003 Iowa Big Tree List, this tree has a circumference of 15 feet (at 4 1/2 feet above ground level), a height of 75 feet and a crown spread of 80 feet. *Update: latest circumference measurement at 4 feet above ground level: 20 feet, 10 inches.

There is something else unique about this tree. Notice its' location - it is on an island, in the center of a city street! (Note: our home is the white house with the pillars.)

Years ago, this property was not a housing development. It was a dairy farm. When housing was being built, trees were cut down, but not this one. They built the street around it.

Here's a close-up of a large branch. I thought the bark looked interesting.

Perhaps you noticed the picnic table on the far end of the island. This was once a focus of neighborhood activity: Bible studies, block parties, picnics...

For many years, resident Elmer Lynn has cared for the island. In addition, he has gathered as many as three garbage containers of acorns and dozens of bags of leaves that fall each autumn. A few years ago, a high tension power line that passed through the tree's branches set a large limb on fire. Elmer Lynn and other neighbors managed to put out the fire with a hose. 

Lynn, who has Cherokee Indian heritage, named the grassy patch surrounding the tree Cherokee Island. 

This is a photo of an award presented to Lynn for his efforts.

This tree is a precious asset to our community, and a joy to have in our neighborhood.

Here's a shot of the tree in its' full glory this summer.

Linking to Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time.

Warm Regards,



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