Resurfacing Before The Year’s End…

Well, it appears I have fallen off the earth and disappeared completely these last few months.  First my job got so busy that it kept me from having time to keep up with the blog.  Then I lost the job and kept myself VERY busy, knitting, canning, pickling, rescuing some cats, reading about raising goats, and – of course – gardening!

Although I must find a new job soon, I have been enjoying every single second of my “temporary retirement,” as I’m calling it, and I’m grateful to have a wonderful husband who has been willing to work some extra shifts so that I could take these last couple of months to reconnect with so many of the things I love and to do things that make me happy.  It’s been a wonderful, magical vacation.  🙂

Speaking of wonderful, here it is, days before Christmas, and I still have two plants that are blooming in my garden!!!  (the fact that it’s this warm in December is scary, but nevertheless – I appreciate the flowers.)

Here is a stubborn coneflower that went through a little revival in fall and has refused to quit.  It’s holding onto that last flower and its color as long as it can, I guess!

Here’s another one that just won’t quit – Pineapple Sage.  It has long since lost its full, lush foliage and now looks really straggly and spindly, but those lovely red flowers make up for it.

I’ve been keeping my eye out for seeds, as I definitely want to grow this one again next year – such a lovely aroma and a beautiful, easy plant. Not a single seed has appeared thus far. My friend Bev suggested it might be a sterile cross and that I should attempt a branch cutting.  I had tried that a couple of months ago with no success, but Bev gave me some instructions and tips that I’m going to follow in hopes I can get it to take this time!  It’s a keeper for sure.

 

By the way, those straw-covered pots in the background are full of garlic, which I planted in late October and which is already starting to come up!  No!!!  I thought it wasn’t supposed to come up until next spring…I guess it’s just been too oddly warm here?  We’ll see what happens!  In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the remaining blooms of the coneflower and pineapple sage while I get ready for THIS beauty to open:

 

It’s a Hellebore that I bought and planted a little over a year ago…looks like it’s getting ready to open up!

Just in time for Christmas!  I suppose that’s why they are sometimes called Lenten or Christmas Roses, huh?

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Garden Bloom Day – June 15, 2011

I had family visiting this week, so I’ve missed Wordless Wednesday and I’m a day late with my Garden Bloom Day photos!

Lots of things are blooming in the yard right now, especially on the west side of the yard in the border along the garage wall.  That area receives the most sun and the plants there seem happy.

Things are moving along on the east side of the yard in the border along the fence, but it’s shadier there so some things are slow to grow and bloom.  This our first June in the new apartment / yard, so it’s interesting to look around and see where things are NOT happening.  I’ll need to think about what things I can add to that East side fence line under the Privet trees for next year.  It would be nice to have SOMETHING blooming there in June, and right now there is nothing.

On to the things that ARE blooming!

This is Astilbe, ‘Peach Blossom’ – in the shade garden along the side of the house.  I’m not sure if it’s a shorter variety of Astilbe or if it’s just small because this is its first year…or maybe it’s too much shade?  Right now the plant is about 2′ tall.

the lavender plant I put in last fall has really filled out this year and is spreading out. It’s been in various stages of blooming for nearly 6 weeks now, and it smells terrific.
here’s a close up
This is Lilium, ‘Blackout’ I was expecting it to be a much darker maroon – nearly black according to the photo on Easy To Grow Bulbs, where I ordered it, however I am absolutely in LOVE with this color and I’m very happy with this Lily! I bought 3 bulbs and planted them in 3 different areas of the yard, so their blooming will be a little staggered – perfect. You’ll have to bear with me posting several pictures of this beauty – I’m a little over the moon about it!

If this Lily multiplies over the years you might hear my squeals of delight from miles away.
Day Lilies are also blooming. These came with the property. Earlier this spring I dug some up and transplanted them around to various parts of the yard.
I’m not usually a fan of the color orange, but these are just delightful.
Not the best shot, but this is the border along the garage wall. The sunniest spot in the yard, this border also benefits from being so close to the wall for protection from wind and a little extra heat off the building.  Everything is starting to get a bit more shade now as the fig trees are filling out…hopefully it won’t be too much shade a month or two from now!
This border includes: sweet basil, parsley, cilantro, bay leaves, Thai basil, lemon verbena, a 3-foot tall young lilac, foam flower, lavender, a “mystery” tomato, heliotrope, violets, lambs ears, Dusty Miller, a climbing rose, cosmos, day lilies, the Asiatic ‘Blackout’ lily, and a few weeds. 😉 Plus some begonias back on the steps in the shade.

Not yet blooming, but the Annabelle hydrangea is really filling out…
Since this is our first Spring/Summer in the yard, I thought it would help me to have an idea of how large this baby gets, how quickly it grows/spreads, etc. When we moved here at the end of last summer this hydrangea was about 4 feet tall and nearly as wide and was blooming its socks off. I divided it in the fall and gave a large division to my friend Bev in PA, where it seems to be doing well. Clearly, this hydrangea didn’t mind being divided one bit. In fact, I think it might be happier.

I’m not so sure the tree peony that I planted next to it this Spring is as happy and I hope it won’t end up getting crowded out by this enormous hydrangea!  You can just see the tip of the tree peony in the left side of the photo.

That potted plant on our portable makeshift “backyard coffee table” (a wooden half barrel with a granite slab on top) is a “mystery” clematis that came as a surprise gift from my friend Bev over the weekend, and I am SO excited.  We think it may be Autumn Clematis.  Whatever it is, it is most welcome here.  Clematis is one of my all-time favorite flowers.  Hopefully this time next year – or who knows, maybe even this fall! – I’ll be posting photos of IT blooming.

Pretty Sweet Peas

Last fall my friend Bev gave me some seeds for ‘Cupani’ and ‘King Tut’ Sweet Peas.

Sadly, only a few of the ‘Cupani’ seeds germinated for me, and they are taking their “sweet” old time growing up along the fence.

In the meantime, the ‘King Tut’ Sweet Peas have taken off and just bloomed a few days ago.  They are a shorter variety, but wow – what a unique and gorgeous color!  I just love blues in the garden, and these are so delicate and lovely…

I am so grateful for those seeds, Bev!  What a gorgeous pea!  These little lovelies are growing in a pot and climbing up a few bamboo sticks.  Very, very sweet indeed.

What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

Hmmm…the Morning Glory seedling I brought home looked nice and healthy. I planted it in good soil with some added compost and it got plenty of rain these past two weeks. The site has good drainage and a fence to climb. The other things planted in that same area – Thunbergia (Black-Eyed Susan vine), Cupani Sweet Peas, and Vinca – are all doing quite well.

What’s the story, Morning Glory? Not happy? Being eaten? What can I do to save you?

Here’s the sorry state of this sad little plant, which now has holes in the leaves and looks a bit tattered and torn:

I hope it makes it. We’re really hoping to have some climbing color on that fence this summer!

A Sneak Peek at the Mystery Rose

Not long ago I posted about our “Mystery Rose,” which was either planted by the previous tenants or by the landlord.  We don’t know how long ago it was planted, and I wasn’t even sure it was going to make it.  When we moved in last August it did not look well – lots of old, dead wood and canes and not much growth.

I went to town with the pruners, hacking some down to nearly the ground and leaving other canes there in case I was somehow screwing up – I figured if I’m doing something wrong then maybe it will only affect half the plant and I’ll at least be able to see what results I get from my pruning.

The rose seemed very  happy to have been pruned and has a lush show of green leaves now and – TWENTY SEVEN buds!

Until two days ago we had no idea what color they would be or what to expect at all.   Then I saw this:

I would have put my money on someone choosing a color that contrasted with the red concrete garage wall behind the rose, but not so – it’s nearly the same color!

There are many buds getting ready to open, and I still don’t know exactly what these climbing roses will look like as they pop, but we now know what color to expect!  I might not have chosen this color myself, but hey – I’m just happy to have a healthy rose bush climbing away out there – it’s nearly 7 feet tall and still climbing higher.   The dark green foliage will really set off the bright red/fuchsia blooms.

Two days ago there were only two buds that looked like this:

This morning there were a dozen!  It’s very exciting!  I wonder if they will have any scent?   We will know very soon.

I have since noticed that many of the neighbors on our block have the same color rose out in pots in front of their house – only one light yellow rose among all these bright reds.  Is it an old Italian thing?  Did someone give cuttings to all the neighbors?

Actually,  it looks like it might be a similar color to the  rose that Mimi rescued last year over at Gardening in The Boroughs of New York.  (look at her last photo with the bud just appearing.)

Mimi, we’ll have to compare these climbers when they bloom!