Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thanks Trevor and Jackie

For the food, the plants, and the great time as always.

I spent the weekend helping to remodel the front of the garage. Last month, we replaced the old sliding doors with a brand new facade. When I left today, it was mostly finished. There's some more painting to be done, a few details, and light fixtures.



In exchange for helping, we went plant shopping. At Home Depot, he picked up some things for his yard. But at Lowe's, we racked up. Seems they had the same problem we did, but with a different nursery. So I got four Osmanthus fragrans about 4' tall for $5 each. $94 worth of plants for $21 including tax. I also got two types of grasses, three containers of yarrow (yellow/orange and red), a wine and roses weigela, a Korean lilac that has already bloomed, a $25 container of bamboo for $1.75, and several other things. I spent the 3 hours driving home trying to figure out where I would put it all. With a few plants looking really haggard after the rains, I'm going to yank a few of those and install some of the new ones.

As a special treat, Jackie brought me a shovel just as I was preparing to leave. There was an offshoot of her Goldflame spirea growing just under the mother plant. I dug it up. Tomorrow after work, I will repot it into a large container and allow it some time to recuperate before subjecting it to next week's 90+ temperatures.

Thanks again. Had a great time. See you again soon.

Friday, May 29, 2009


The weather forecast for today shows sun until about 3pm, then more storms. Yesterday, it rained on and off all day. When I got home from work, I laid down to take a short nap until the storm passed. I woke up at 11pm and it was still coming down. I woke up again at 1am, got something to drink, a snack, and went back to bed listening to the rain. I had some weird dreams I won't go into here, and remember kicking the cat off the bed at one point. She was a very unhappy girl this morning when I finally got out of bed around 6am. I needed the rest. It's been a long week.

The rain has been good for some plants like these tomatoes that are trying to root in midair.

And the brugmansias.

And the pineapple sage that normally blooms in August.

And the squash, beans, and corn are loving it.

But it's taken its toll on the perennials.

I chopped some of them to the ground. If they grow back, so be it. I will not have them falling all over other plants crushing them too.

Finally, the direct sown poppy (Papaver Somniferum) is finally blooming. I think this is "Lauren's Grape"

Off to work in a couple hours. I hope things can dry out a bit before this evening's storms come through. This weekend looks to be nicer with 4 days of sun in the forecast. 5 days of rain follows that though. I didn't realize I moved to Seattle.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fits and spurts

Home for lunch, and I took my camera out into the garden as I do every day. I managed to snap a few pictures before the rain started again. It's been on and off all day. The sun comes out, it rains, the sun comes back out, it rains again. At 75 degrees, this 94% humidity is killing me. The plants seem to love it.

The "orange" hybrid tea rose.

Lemon mint mondara is just starting to bloom. Wintersown, this plant has grown to nearly 4' tall.

Another variety of poppy is starting to crack. I hope it's open by tomorrow morning.

My first real zinnia. Kinda small, isn't it?

And more rain in the forecast through Friday night.

Yesterday I took cuttings from a rose bush in the backyard of a neighbor.

If it reblooms, it's most likely New Dawn. I hope it reblooms this summer. I've never noticed it before, but I don't go gallivanting through this backyard often.

I've also got pineapple sage blooming, Rudbeckia and shastas that are trying, and a huge bud on a direct sown datura.

Back to work.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Here Comes the Rain Again....

The sun keeps trying. The clouds are winning. I didn't get much painting done yesterday. The wood trim is too wet. I'll try again next week.

Out in the garden, the squash are going nuts.

San Marzano tomatoes

Nicotiana, purple. This was supposed to be highly fragrant. Perhaps my nose is broken?

The daylilies are pushing up through the mulch and soil I piled on the in December.

Red coreopsis is falling over under the weight of the rain.

Larkspur "earl gray" is too.

And the rudbeckia.

Today, I'm going to turn my attention to the bed beside the basement door. It was my plan to have datura growing here. I'll transplant some seedlings that sprouted in the white bed from all the seeds I tossed out earlier this year. There are LOTS to choose from. I haven't decided if I will leave the nasturtiums. The four o'clocks will be staying, but perhaps moved around a bit.

Dying datura. Cause: unknown.

That orange hybrid tea rose I planted last's pink. At least that bed is a pink/orange bed. So it can stay.

I've also decided it's past time to finish the rain barrel. It would have been overflowing by now.

Gotta run to the post office. Trading a rooted white brug for pink cuttings.

5:10pm 81 and muggy. Threatening rain all day, but I got the door trim painted with two coats. I stripped all the leaves from the datura and transplanted some seedlings from the back yard. I pulled some weeds and broke the fitting for my rainbarrel. Green fists have large forearms attached. I'll pick up another piece from Lowe's tomorrow. Heavy storms should be rolling in tonight around 7pm.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The house needs attention.

With so many things happening in the garden, I've ignored the house for way too long. Today I plan to caulk the exterior doors I had installed last summer. I'd like to paint the trim and doors themselves, but it's probably too wet for that.

Inside, the hall trim still needs to be painted. The bathroom door has developed issues since the humidity of spring arrived. I've got the original doors downstairs. I may finish stripping the 60 years of paint and rehang them if I have time.

The screen door off the kitchen needs attention too. I'll scrape and sand it this afternoon when the thunderstorms roll in. I want to replace the existing door with a 15-lite metal door, but funds are currently lacking. Perhaps if I hadn't spent so much money on plants.... ;)

It should be a full day of catching up on these minor chores. It's currently cloudy and misting with a temperature of 70 degrees. No gardening today though I will probably pull a few more weeds when I take my morning stroll. Where's my coffee?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

And yes, it's raining. It's a fine misting rain, but enough to make you wish you didn't have to be outside in it for the next 8 hours.

On my morning walk around the yard, I found some new things.

Mister Lincoln has 3 blooms. This is the nicest one.

More Confederate Rose seeds have germinated. Must be all the rain.

Zinnia buds in the direct sown bed next to the potager.

A huge squash bloom. It's well over 4" wide.

After my failed attempt to germinate Eastern Redbud seeds (they can take two years), I saw this one peeking out from under a nandina near the Magnolia tree.

Datura metel has bloomed again. I have a severe slug problem in this area.

Yvonne's salvia, said to reach 4' or more is trying, again, to bloom. I'm just going to let it. Mine are just over 2' tall.

I think my orange (or maybe yellow) brugmansia has formed a "Y". Blooms shouldn't be too many weeks away now. I could be wrong.

Coreopsis "Early Sunrise" blooms just scream out from the front bed on a cloudy day like this.

And finally, when I was sitting on the front porch having my morning coffee, I noticed some commotion in the hanging basket above my head. Yep, what I believe to be Carolina Wrens have built a nest.

66 and cloudy. 60% chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. Better get back to work on that ark. Rain in the forecast through Friday.

2:40pm - 79 and scattered showers with short bursts of really hot sunlight. That's the perfect recipe for severe thunderstorms that are still being talked about at the store and on the radio. Maybe it will hold off until 6pm when I leave for the day. Mister Lincoln is completely open now. Funny what a little sunshine can do.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day is going to be a bust.

I woke up to the sound of some really obnoxious, annoying bird perched on the edge of my windowsill. With the temperatures in the 80s/60s, I sleep with the windows open. This bird, which I cannot identify by sound, was screaming it's little pea sized heart out. Apparently, no one else knew that it was raining. Thanks, buddy.

That heavy band of rain is heading north, right for us. Doing laundry and cleaning up a bit before work this morning. Glad I got everything planted out yesterday. This rain is a slow, steady rain perfect for the garden. Yeah, and it's great for the flower beds too. I'm thinking about corn, squash, beans, tomatoes, and okra at this point. The flowers are on their own.

64 and raining. The gutters are working perfectly after cleaning them.

3:31pm - the rain stopped about noon right after I got to work. It's been mostly sunny for 2 hours. It's muugggggy. I got a squirrel feeder to see if I can keep them away from the potager. I took Sunday's picture this morning during a brief break in the rain. More storms forecast for this evening and tonight.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Welcome Home, Mister Lincoln

I did it again. I bought another hybrid tea rose. I know. They're terribly difficult to grow here in NC with the heat and humidity. But you didn't see or smell the bloom on this thing sitting there on the table. With space at a premium in the perennial bed, something had to go. Sorry barberry. I'm not sure what size you will mature to anyway since I've lost your tag, but your time was up. The barberry was replanted near the birdfeeder in front of the leyland cypress. Mister Lincoln should reach a height of 4-6' and spread 2-4' wide filling in the corner where my red spider zinnias are putting on the most pitiful display I have ever witnessed.

The new rose is planted across the path from the orange on I bought last week. At $4.98 a piece, who can blame me? I've paid more for annuals.

I also paid full price for a Snowball Viburnum, Viburnum opulus 'Sterile'. For $16.98, I got a three foot tall shrub in a 5 gallon pot. I remember seeing this shrub when I was a kid. In Virginia, there's one in Jackie's yard. I consider it an old fashioned plant, but my house is nearly 64 years old.

Then I bought a red Forever & Ever Hydrangea. It was $12.98. I know it will never be truly red in our climate and soil, but there should be lots of dark pink and purple blooms once it settles in. I placed it next to the front steps to the right of the dining room window.

I also bought a $6 clearance rack hydrangea from the Gardeners Confidence Collection. I don't know much about this company, but the plant was in a 3 gallon pot and has lots of new growth on it. It should bloom white with a tinge of blue. I put it opposite the red hydrangea between a gardenia cutting and a tea olive cutting. In the center of the window is a camellia that was cut down right after I moved in. I don't know what color it blooms.

Another full price plant followed me home. For $6.97, I got a climbing hydrangea. See a pattern here? I've seen pictures of this vine online. The picture attached the plant told me where to plant it in my yard.

It's at the base of the chimney now. It should receive about 4 hours of sunlight in the summer. It's evergreen and will give the Confederate Jasmine something to grow into. I didn't take the advice of others telling me to plant it far away from the house. It could reach 80' tall without pruning. I can live with that.

I picked up two clearance rack heucheras too. Both purple, I planted these on the north side of the house in the hosta bed. The elephant ears from Trevor are just starting to leaf out.

It's 75 degrees and muggy. It rained at some point during the day while I was at work 2 miles away. It must have come a nice shower. When I got home with my groceries, the street was still wet and steaming.

With the spring season coming to a close on Tuesday in the garden center, I don't plan to spend any more money on plants. Instead, I will start turning my attention to cuttings and propagation of things in my yard and around the neighborhood. I know I spent too much. I always do. It makes me happy. I can live with that.


The blue house 3 doors up was just put on the market yesterday. It was a rental when I moved into my house. The kids there had lots of parties and neighbors tell me it was a drug den for a while before that. About a year ago, the tenants moved out and it was abandoned. Windows got broken and the house fell into even worse disrepair. Today, the realtor was showing the house to a couple. They were there for more than an hour. I would like to see someone purchase it and fix it up. It's a bungalow style home. The lot is narrow and tight. There's really no yard to speak of. There is a gorgeous yellow broom plant in the front yard. The seed pods will be ripe in another month. ;)