Friday, June 28, 2013

Late June in my Garden

June is a big month for blooms in the flower garden. Above you can see some fine blossoms on a couple of new coneflowers (Echinacea) I planted out front after the big laurel bushes were removed.
 Remember my experiment to overwinter the two hibiscus plants? I cut them way back and they even had the odd flower while in their winter exile in the downstairs guest room. My plan is to have a red white and blue show on the front porch for July 4th. The white comes from a white petunia I planted in a tub a week or so back (but forgot to photograph for you) that sits against the wall of the porch. And at the bottom of the front steps I have a row of blue ageratum - well, until I can keep the rabbit from making them the main course each time they come by.
These are backed up by a volunteer white coneflower and some blue salvia.

 Out in the back garden some blue stokesia (stokes aster) are having their 15 minutes of fame along with some white yarrow.
On the deck there is the usual angst about what to do with the cherry tomato plant which has already outgrown the  8' high tomato cage and has hit the underside of the rain gutter. With the arrival of the summer sudden storm season I have already applied the tie down and chair brace system.
 Further round by the rear patio the volunteer garden is doing well with a few tomato plants and lots of dill. I planted a bunch of basil seedlings which were overgrown and lanky in the pot when I got them too late at the garden center. This season I tried to be quite ruthless in pulling out the volunteer tomato seedlings and there are now just four. I'll be interested to see how this experiment works out - as well as seeing just what type of tomato plants I get this year.
On the side garden I have this archway which has one very determined clematis plant growing on it. This is the highest it has ever grown but the result is the flowers are all on the top side and I can't even see them.
 Below the deck the astilbe are in bloom. For protection from that darn rabbit I planted one tomato plant in behind and you can see how well it is growing.
Speaking of that be truthful there are at least three although it has been a few weeks since I last saw even one of them. But look carefully and you can see it is still here. When planted originally this garden plot looked beautiful with yellow heliopsis, blue Russian sage and a few white coneflowers. Over the years the rabbits have taken out most all of the heliopsis (if you click on the photo I think there might be one or two remaining) and the sage has been overwhelmed but the echinacea/coneflowers really liked the spot and have been joined by some pink cousins. The yellow finches really love this garden. To the right are blue New England asters which have their bloom time in mid Fall.
The hummingbird is an avid visitor - look carefully to the right side of the feeder.
 A couple of mornings this week I was out before 7am taking a walk and saw this pair of fawns. This photo taken right here after they trailed their mother across my back garden. Oh, aren't they lovely I thought - but within an hour I found that the deer had the same thought about the petunia plants in pots on the driveway. The difference is that I did not eat the deer whereas they, yes, they ate my petunias.

The bird family that had taken up the lease on the birdhouse towards the rear have raised their family and left the premises. No more watching the constant feeding at the birdhouse while I sat at the dinner table each night.
And to close out here is a shot around dusk this evening. See how that tomato is peeking above the handrail of the deck? It is a new variety and I am hoping it will do well right there in the garden bed as I am getting weary about having to expend so much effort to tie down the plants in pots on the deck.

Hope you enjoyed the stroll around my garden!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

To do this week in my garden

It seems that this garden season I am out and about visiting garden centers with much more result than planting out what I carry home. So this weekend, when I have nothing scheduled to take me away from home, I really must make progress on my "to do" list for the garden.

 This tomato suffered a series of unfortunate events including having the main stem knocked sideways and nearly severed. I know I really should have just thrown it out but it had been growing so well and already had blossoms on it. With help from a second pair of hands we took three toothpicks and created a splint on the main stem and bound it up with a tie. Now I will have to watch it carefully - so far it seems happy enough and has made more growth and even, as you can see if you peer closely, is developing fruit.
 This poor thing was purchased at the same time but is still waiting to find a permanent spot in the garden. The leaves are an unhealthy green but it has three fruit on it and is hanging in there so it has a high priority on the weekend "to do" list to get it into a better location.
 Ah yes, the gardenia. I have been hoping for a while to be able to have a white camellia in my garden. That flower was a symbol of the women's suffrage movement in New Zealand and I am currently working on a quilt project based on that topic and I have chosen to use the colors adopted by the New Zealand women. But getting back to the garden subject at hand, both camellias and gardenias are apparently pretty fussy to grow in my area. While looking for a camellia I found this new type of gardenia labelled as a frost hardy one and thought I would give it a try. But finding a spot for it in the garden has proven challenging what with it needing morning sun, shelter and certain soil requirements. I have at last found a spot just next to the deck and it can hopefully get planted this weekend. Maybe it will like the spot and thrive or maybe it will be a one season wonder. But for sure it is not going to be happy staying in the pot on the driveway all summer long.
 This is the reason I have been growing tomatoes in pots on the deck for several years. Yes, I garden with deer. But this was a delightful view on Friday, mid afternoon. There was a pair of fawns frolicking and playing in the back garden. This one in particular ran back and forth outside the window leaping in the air and seeming to have a grand time before heading out to the front and across the road. I think it was looking for the other fawn; that one tended to stay near the edge of the garden and retreated into the trees in back when I went out with my camera in the hope I might be able to get a photo. I think one of these must have been the very tiny fawn I encountered in late May and talked about in a posting then so I was very happy to see them still around despite the damage deer do to the garden.
 This week the astilbe seem to be the star bloomers in my garden.
 The lace cap hydrangeas cannot seem to figure out if the soil is acid or alkaline as the flowers are a mix of blue and pink.
 Here's a general shot of a corner of the back garden. The astilbe are out here too as well as the white yarrow. And the ever present orange flag to mark where mole bait has been set out. We just cannot seem to get rid of these critters.

And a final shot to show you the enthusiastic hummingbird who arrived this week. As I stepped off the deck looking for the deer I was buzzed by a hummer. The next day my tree service people stopped by to spray certain trees for undesirable summer bugs and as this crepe myrtle tree was one of the candidates for spraying I took down the feeder temporarily. Once the spray had dried I went back out to hang the feeder and as I was standing there putting water in the ant trap the hummer came right up and hung there like a helicopter as if to say, hurry up, I need to come in for refueling. This is one bold hummer as it flys quite close even as I pass by. This is a new arrival although I have had another one coming to the feeder for several weeks now.

Well, sitting here at the keyboard is not making any progress on the "to do" list so I better post this and get on outside.

Oh, in case you don't realize, you can click on a photo and it will enlarge it so you can see the detail better - I think it is a left click.