Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More thoughts on editing.

As I stroll around with the third cup of coffee of the day, taking a break from cleaning the mess in the basement, I'm making notes of plants I really like and want to keep. Daylilies, mostly brown and crispy now, will remain. Of course, the large clumps of stargazers will still be there next year. I may divide some this summer once the blooms fade. The fragrance is heady and thick today.

I watered a bit on Monday, and noticed the first buds of the Zuni crape myrtle. This one is supposed to be a small tree, about 12' tall when mature.

Helenium mixes well with my favorites. Instead of flopping like the Black Eyed Susans do, they've remained upright and proud. I'll divide these and move them around to add more color to rather blah areas.

I want more coneflowers too. Lots more coneflowers. And a few more coneflowers.

Agastache comes in several varieties already in my garden. I'd like to actually see some of the new ones that I wintersowed, but they're still tiny. Some haven't grown at all since I planted them out months ago.

At least it rained last night and this morning. The weatherguy says we got about 1/4", but I know there was more that fell in my yard. It's actually drizzling now. This afternoon and during the evening, we've got more chances for storms. Bring it on. The naked rain dance worked.

It's 77 degrees. The high today might reach the mid-80s. What a relief.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Coreopsis Full Moon

I purchased a single plant of Coreopsis "Full Moon" in late 2008. The next spring, I divided it into 12 new plants. In late 2009, I divided several of those plants into new plants. I imagine I have nearly 3 dozen healthy, blooming plants right now scattered through the yard. Even with no supplemental water, only rain, they're doing well.

In the rose garden

Near the mailbox

In the perennial bed

I'm taking notes this summer. I'm going to do some editing this fall. Plants that wilt constantly, flop excessively, or just can't take the heat and/or humidity of our summers are dead to me. Some literally, others figuratively until I pull them out this fall. The shastas are done. They've never been one of my favorites. They need too much water, too much cleanup, they flop all over the place, and are just unsightly this time of year. I haven't bothered to deadhead them at all. The goldfinches are doing a great job of that. If I keep them, I'll move them to an out of the way spot like the gully. They can just sprawl til their heart's content.

Great performers include all the varieties of Coreopsis, Echinacea, Veronica, a few salvias, and cosmos. I wonder how many kinds of plants it actually takes to create a cottage garden? The white swan echinacea will be divided and moved to various parts of the yard next spring. I'm really happy with this plant. I'll use it where I wanted the white shasta daisies.

Follow-up: The swallowtail larvae have made themselves at home.

Starting about 1pm, we've got a 40-60% chance of rain in the forecast. I've been watering a little, here and there. I can't possibly keep up with all that needs water. Some things have passed on from this world. Others seem to be on their last limbs. The Japanese Beetles aren't even thriving in this heat. If the rains don't arrive today, I'll spend most of my evening trying to keep the remaining shrubs alive. Even the privet is giving up and shedding leaves. I didn't want to have to do this, but it's time...the rain dance.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Black Swallotail Larvae

While watering the herb racks at the store this morning, I spotted a few of these guys munching on our dill and parsley. They were doing some major damage, so I picked them off and brought them home.

I put them around the base of my Queen Anne's Lace. I found several in my own yard last year, but none this year.

With so many, they'll devour this plant in just a few days.

At least I'll see a few butterflies from this.

It's 82 degrees. The high again will reach the mid 90s. Another chance of rain in the forecast this afternoon. Maybe today.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Stargazers, Hibiscus, Coneflowers, and a Boat

It's 88 degrees. The yard has been mowed. The smell of fresh cut grass hangs in the air, mingling with the scent of the stargazers.

Pinks and reds have replaced the blues and purples of spring. Orange and yellow dot the landscape.

I've got them all over the yard. I'll buy more next spring. I missed my chance this year.

The hot pink Luna has joined the fray.

Turn of the Century is starting to get on my nerves. It's very floppy. This is the third year I've grown this plant and it just refuses to stand up. Maybe it needs more sun. The blooms are still worth it.

With a day off, and a high of 97 in the forecast with no rain, I'm heading to the lake. The parents brought it up yesterday. The challenge of photographing becomes more difficult. Do I want to show the firewood pile, or the big pink and cerulean boat parked in the driveway? What about the red of the truck. I think it clashes. Who cares? It's a boat. And yes, it will pull it out of the water at the end of the day, thank you very much.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


It must have rained last night. The grass is wet. A small puddle of water was seen on the neighbor's stone patio across the street. The weather guy says it was less than .03". I'll take what I can get. The humidity stands at 94%. It's just 73 degrees.

As I walked the yard this morning, I realized that I've been neglecting the gardens for several weeks now. It's too hot in the afternoon to do much. I thought I saw a hummingbird yesterday, but it turned out to be a mosquito. They swarm me whenever I walk outside. My welts have bites. The yard will just have to manage on its own. The grass will be mowed eventually. Maybe.

Photos taken this morning show the moisture that hangs in the air.

The forecast calls for more afternoon or evening showers with a high of 93. Tomorrow will be awful at 97 degrees. Summer is really here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Number Three.

The grinder is flipped upside down, vibrating the house, top to bottom.

Some of my favorites

It's that time of year. I love stargazers. The colors and the fragrance are everything I enjoy about flowers. A bouquet will be brought inside tomorrow to scent the house.

Luna Red is really putting on a show.

From either side, the huge blooms are spectacular this year.

Zinnias. Finally something other than pink.

Last night, Carla stopped by and we talked. We went to pay a visit to a guy that has admired my yard. I asked her to see if he would share a few blue agave pups from his huge specimen in the front yard. I dug two and potted them just before dark. I plan to move the snowball bush near the succulent bed and install one of these in its place. His survived the winter just fine, even as temperatures dipped to 11 degrees and stayed below freezing for 2 weeks.

Oh, what I wouldn't give for just a little of that cold now. It's 82 degrees. The high today will again reach the mid to upper 90s. A 30% chance of storms this evening repeats for the next 4 days.

Thursday, June 24, 2010



I still need to find 7 knobs for the lower cabinet doors. $1.12 each for the handles.

Misty Morning.

Last night's rain gave us three-quarters of an inch. The yard, as expected, was refreshed this morning. People seem nicer. Heat and lack of rain makes the customers grouchy. More is expected tonight and Friday.

The Stargazers are cracking. This year, they're almost 5' tall.

The centerpiece of the Crape Myrtle bed is blooming.

It's a hot pink.

The wall of butterfly bushes have grown in completely to block the backyard.

You have to turn the corner before you can see back here. It's filling in nicely. The meadow, not so much. As usual, click to embiggen.

It's 82 degrees, sunny, and muggy. The high today is forecast to reach the upper 90s. Someone mentioned 100 degrees at the store. In any case, it's going to be hot.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Storm.

It's raining. There was only a 30% chance today, not really enough to mention. But a cloud formed and brought its friends. The storm is moving Southeast, slowly. The rain should last until about 10pm. I am thankful. The garden should be refreshed in the morning.

Big Flowers.

In my garden, there are a few plants that produce huge blooms all summer long. I like to mix them with the smaller blooms like coneflowers, rudbeckia, and daisies. Near the street this morning, two such cases caught my eye.

Luna Hibiscus.

Datura inoxia.

Brugmansia is another large flowering plant, but hardly a bud is to be found yet. Maybe if we get some rain this weekend, they will form.

It's 72 degrees. The air feels different today, less sticky, less humid. The sun is just starting to peek over the trees out back. We'll reach the mid 90s again. No rain.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Three Years.

Today is my anniversary. I've been in this house three years, today. Maybe it's the long days of sanding plaster, painting trim, digging holes, and spreading manure, but it seems like a really long time ago. It feels like home.

2:05pm - There is talk of setting a record here for the most days above 90 in the month of June. I remember the year I moved into this house. We were over 100 that July for 19 consecutive days. Coldest winter in a long time, longest heat wave in decades, something weird is happening this year. Thank goodness the AC is working again.

Castor Beans don't mind the heat.

The Malva Zebrina is blooming in spite of the Japanese Beetles.

Joe Pye Weed has buds.

And from the street, the house is less visible each day as the blooms take center stage.

It's 91 degrees. No rain expected. The potager was watered for an hour with the sprinkler this morning before work. It's hot out there.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I like it.

Sunday evening, I pulled the first two countertops from the forms. They aren't perfect. Nothing in this house is. I'm okay with that. I really like the look and feel of them.

The small holes created by air pockets will be filled with Portland cement before sealing them. There aren't many. The majority are in the center of the larger of the two countertops. I need to adjust my technique for the remaining piece. It's the largest at 102" long.

It's 72 degrees. The high today will again reach into the mid/upper 90s as we officially roll into summer. I need to spend a couple hours this morning watering a few things in the backyard. The potager and the grasses I planted last week are in dire need of rain. I've lost one squash plant. I believe the wind storm was to blame.

10:04am - The watering has been done. I'll do more tomorrow morning. I'm going to have to do a rain dance soon. It won't be pretty. It's 79 degrees, clear, and sunny. Humid is an understatement.

The first Yvonne's salvia blooms of the year. It reached 57" tall by the end of 2009.

The first hibiscus bloom. I think I grew this one from seed.

Milkweed. Wintersown in 2008/9. I hope to create lots more from cuttings in a few weeks.

A combination I like.