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annuala: (mindpalace)
The weather here is still hot, and though the nights are cooler, there's no sign of frost yet. This is a good thing, because I'm still discovering things in the garden.

First of all, the unidentifiables. I've used Google Image search and haven't come up with any matches that allow me to identify these. If anyone knows what these are, I'd be grateful for the information:

Unidentified pink flower

What is this?

Unidentified yellow flower

I have a feeling I should know that last one, but can't figure it out. The middle one resembles a blanket flower, but only superficially.

Google Image search did help with the identities of the following:







I've also got a fine crop of pink and red-and-white poppies. It wasn't till well after they started blooming that I realized what I had.



Elsewhere, plants are going to seed, including the poppies. The forget-me-nots are pretty much done; the herbs are going to flower, mostly because I can't keep up with the blossoms. Normally I cut them off, to keep the herbs sweet, but this year, I've just given up. The roses are still going strong, and there are massive red hips already hanging from the branches. Mostly I'm having to weed a little and water a lot more; it's been quite dry the last couple of weeks. But I'm already enjoying the fruits of my labours: I've had two of my home-grown tomatoes so far, and they've been delicious. :-)
annuala: (Default)
No photos, I'm afraid; there's very little to photograph out there now.

Today I harvested the tomatoes. All of them. I had to--it's getting colder, and it's a minor miracle that we haven't experienced a frost here yet. So all the tomatoes had to be brought in. They'll ripen in due course. Some of them are absolutely huge. I'm going to have to look up some tomato recipes...

I cut up the plants themselves to use as mulch/fertilizer. If nothing else, it should protect the mint I planted this year.

Everything is going dormant, slowly. The rose bush still has some blooms on top; a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a single cluster of white near the top of one of the snowball bushes. The cosmos, calendula, rudbeckia, and California poppies are still going strong, though. And the herbs are still bright and tasty, though perhaps the chives are a bit old now.

I've got some bulbs on order: tulips, more bluebells (I am ever hopeful), and lily-of-the-valley. The ornamental allium never did bloom, I'm afraid, though that little patch of ground did for a while smell like a Devonshire spring. Maybe next year.

And that is the song of the gardener: Maybe next year... :-)
annuala: (Default)
Yes, I'm still gardening... though I'll admit I haven't actually stepped foot into the ankle-high grass that passes for our lawn for a while now, not since Julieanne and I picked ALL THE TOMATOES! a week or so ago. But it's time to get the place ready for the winter, so today I toddled out there armed with a spade and various sharp implements.

First, I relocated one of my two hostas to the southwest corner of the deck. It was in with the astilbe, but I suspect it was getting crowded out by those monsters, as it didn't bloom this year, whilst its mate in the northwest corner did bloom. So I carefully lifted it and transplanted it. It looks happier already.

Then I removed the tomato cages from the herb garden, uprooted the tomato plants, and chopped them up for mulch. I was surprised to discover that my mint had extended trailers all the way across the bed to the lavender. I guess that (probably apocryphal) English gardener wasn't kidding when he advised her ladyship, "Plant the mint and then stand back, madam." Definitely an invasive species!

Next, I tackled the hydrangea again, this time to give it more shape and take out some of the weird branches that were poking randomly through the top. Now it's got more of an umbrella shape, and is a wee bit shorter. I also had to take some new sucker-type growth from the main trunk, because it was interfering with the plants in the bed below.

Speaking of which, everything in that bed seems to be going into a second bloom period. The California poppies, the marigolds, the little purple things, even the big splashy pink things are all blooming again. And the poppies seem bigger this time around. That really surprised me; I didn't expect any of them to bloom again, but the poppies especially. I mean, it's right there in the name: California poppy. When I think "California," I think warm. (This despite the fact that the only part of California I've visited is San Francisco, the climate of which is strangely similar to my native clime, at least in summer.)

The cosmos are going crazy, too. I had no idea their bloom period lasted this long; I don't recall it being so long the last time I grew them. Though perhaps this is a different, hardier cultivar. They're ridiculously tall; I know they can get up to 6' in ideal conditions, but there's no danger of finding those here. Still, they're at least 4', which would make them taller than Julieanne.

Lastly, I had a go at the viburnums. They're simply too tall now, and Mom asked me to cut them down to size. I thought I could get at them from the deck (they're really too tall), but my grasp exceeded my reach in this case, and I ended up going below. Difficult, I will freely admit. Branches tangled in my hair (that's the last time I go in without a hat), and I got a bit of bark or something in my eye (ditto, safety glasses). But in the end, I prevailed. The viburnums are now considerably shorter, and I've even opened them up, so more sunlight will filter down. Hopefully, that will lead to less tangling of branches.

All of that took roughly two hours. I didn't attempt the Rosebush from Hell (TM), because that's going to be an all-day, all-out-war situation. I've got three days in a row off next week; at least one of those should be sunny, and pleasant enough to spend time in the garden.
annuala: (Default)
So I planted a packet of random seeds this spring. From that packet, I have California poppies and cosmos (one of which has started to bloom, yay!). I also have things I haven't identified. So I put it to you, O F-list: what the heck are these?

The first contender is a yellow daisy-like bloom with a protruding centre and dentate foliage:

Unknown yellow flower

Unknown yellow

Unknown yellow

The second is a blowsy pink-and-white confection, also with a protruding centre, with fuzzy foliage and buds:


Unknown plant

Any ideas?
annuala: ('ello)
Some shots of the most recent bloomers:

I have no idea what this flower is.Edit: According to the lovely [personal profile] ariandar, below is a California poppy.




Pink and yellow




Jun. 19th, 2012 03:27 pm
annuala: ('ello)
I promised peony photos, so here they are:



Also? Some bonus columbine photos. These ones are a more pastel variety than the others:

Pink columbine

Pink and yellow
annuala: (Default)
Well, there were blooms earlier, with the daffodils and the crocuses, but now it's June, and the summer blooms are starting to come out. Like the roses:

The first rose of summer

And the columbine:


The columbine plants haven't looked that healthy in a couple of years.

And of course, there's the rhododendron:


It's got so many blossoms on it, it looks like a giant green and pink powder-puff. And they're still not all open!

Here's a bonus shot, of a bee making the most of the blossoms:

annuala: ('ello)
This has been a week for gardening. I've spent probably close to seven hours all told out there since Sunday, which is way more than I usually put in during the run of a week. Edging has been reset, seeds and bulbs have been planted, soil has been enriched, weeds pulled, grass trimmed. It all actually looks rather nice.

The bad news regards my tulips. They've not bloomed, and they don't look to be doing so at all this year. The foliage right now looks as it does after the bloom period. I don't know what I've done wrong. Usually, they come up, bloom, and everything is fine. The daffodils have been spectacular; ditto the hyacinths. But the tulips have just... died. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with the division work I did last fall. I hope not. I mean, the leaves did come up, there are just no blooms and no prospect of blooms.

But that's the only truly bad news. The beebalm is coming along wonderfully, even more strongly than in years past; the same, surprisingly, goes for the columbine, which I thought was finally done. I'm going to see if I can divide those plants this year.

I only have two bluebells. I had a half-dozen last year. I suspect it's the cats. Even if it's not, I suspect them. The bluebells haven't bloomed yet, either, but they look more promising.

I put liatris bulbs where the bachelor's buttons were last year, and some in with the daylilies. We'll see how they come along. Liatris were supposed to go in where the daylilies are, but Vesey's sent me the wrong bulbs. Whatever. The lilies are nice.

Speaking of lilies, the ones by the north side of the house are coming along nicely. They don't seem to have been terribly affected by the division work I did on them, apart from there being rather more of them now. I expect they'll bloom nicely come July.

The lilac looks absolutely amazing. No flowers yet--I probably won't see my first lilac flowers until next year or the year after. But it's as tall as Julieanne, so coming on to four feet, I'd say, and just bristling with leaves.

The rhododendron is once again bigger than it was last year, and it has sprouted two babies by the roots. It'll be another week or two before it blooms, but I'm sure it'll be as spectacular as always.

The herb garden has a new addition. I planted some mint, at long last. I understand it has a tendency to take over. I'll just let it battle it out with the current champion, marjoram. Holy Hannah, that stuff can grow! It's pushing out the thyme. The lavender isn't affected by it (at least not yet), because the thyme stands between it and the marjoram. What's affected my lavender has been my own stupidity. Earlier this spring, I thought the tangle of dead branches looked unsightly, so I trimmed it back. Big mistake. Apparently, lavender is more like a shrub in that the leaves and such go dead, but the woody bits are actually alive all winter, just dormant. *facepalm* I do have little bits of green popping out on it now, but I've probably put its growth back a year or two.

The Rosebush from Hell (TM) is thriving, of course, and I've yet to trim it into submission. I need to get hold of a pair of hedge trimmers to really tackle it, but I'm thinking that if I don't, I'll just go at it with my little bypass pruners. The Rosa Mundi bush... well, it got mowed over last fall. I have no idea if it's going to come back, but I'm tending the little nub of wood as if I expect it will. Fingers crossed.

I did a lot of work on the hydrangea last fall and this spring. I've trimmed off most of the lower branches, so now it looks more like a tree and less like a mound of leaves. Underneath there is a huge bare patch--well, it's bare now that I've dug out all the weeds. I put black earth and composted sheep manure in there to condition the soil, and then scattered seeds throughout. I bought a mix of seeds that are supposed to attract butterflies, a combination of annuals, perennials, and biennials. I can't wait to see how this turns out.

The hostas are up and looking good. The astilbes seem to have spread; I may have to move the hostas from that bed, if it looks like the astilbes are going to choke them out. I put lily-of-the-valley under the sundeck as well, but the soil there is just so much clay. I added composted sheep manure today, so we'll see what comes of that. I hope they take; I'd love some of those lovely little flowers in the garden.

But the jewels of the garden this year--at least so far--promise to be the peonies. They're finally, after three years, going to flower! I can't say how excited I am about this. This is what gardening is all about: patience. Gardeners have to be patient. Not every plant does its thing the first or even the second year after planting. Peonies take a few years to really set their roots down; same with lilacs. But once they're in, they're in for life. As soon as they bloom, I promise there will be photos. Oh, yes, there will be photos!


May. 14th, 2012 01:33 pm
annuala: (Default)
Another day off, another two and a half hours in the garden. Ow. But I've managed to get all the prep work for next weekend done. All I need now is the compost and such... oh, and the plants. Yeah, remember how I'd started a bunch of seeds way back in March? They're all dead. Every single one. I only had about nine of the little peat pots sprout, and now every single seedling is dead. Including my much-desired tomato plants. *sighs* No idea what went wrong. Probably it was keeping them in the bedroom that did it; there's likely not enough sun there. But they simply couldn't stay in the living room with all those children.

However, I have dug out every single weed I could find as best I could. Can I just say that burdocks are the most vile things ever? They're impossible to dig out once they've set roots. I would dig down by one, and dig, and dig... hit a rock... dig the rock out... keep digging for the root... it never ended! I swear, burdock roots go straight through the molten core of the planet and spawn other burdock plants on the other side.

And if anyone is ever looking for a foolproof way to keep cats out of the flower beds, here's my tip: bamboo kebob skewers. Plunk them in the soil, pointy end up, fairly close together. Cats can't get round them.

I'm also repurposing some old concrete blocks from Dad's old shop's foundation into planters. My cousin showed me photos via Facebook. You take three blocks, the sort that look like a blocky number 8, put two at right angles to each other and the third on top of the angle itself. It's actually reasonably attractive, especially once you get plants in. And unlike the wooden planters we've had for years, the concrete isn't going to rot. I need to level off the ground where I'm putting them, though, so they don't tip and injure a small child. The planters will be set up where the wooden ones are now, by the steps leading up to the sundeck, and should be fairly well out of the way there, so the kids won't stumble over them or crack their heads or anything.

I can say that right now, my daffodils and hyacinths are blooming and making the bees very happy. The tulips are slow to come on, but by the end of the month, they should be blooming too. I'm not holding out much hope for the bluebells, though. I've managed to spot only two plants coming up. I blame the rotten cats; I didn't realize the buggers were getting in under the viburnums and... well, using my bluebell bed as an outdoor privy. Had I, there'd have been a bamboo palisade there long since.
annuala: (Default)
It's late April, and the garden has begun to bloom. The daphne actually started blooming in late March, and its purple blooms are being pushed aside by the green leaves coming out now. The crocuses were up, and doing well, until we had three days of torrential rain over the weekend. It's been terribly dry, and we needed the rain, but it was the difference between using a sprinkler and using a bucket: the crocuses were flattened. The early-blooming daffodils, the little Jetfire ones, are on the verge of opening up; another day or two ought to do it, especially if we get more sun. (It's been another rainy day today, though.)

Right now, though, the glory of the garden is... well, glory-of-the-snow:



Glory-of-the-snow II
annuala: (Default)
Spring. It's more than a week away from the vernal equinox, but there are signs... I saw half a dozen robins yesterday, and several more today... four deer on a neighbouring lawn... and these:



New tulip bed

The top one is daffodil shoots, while the other two are tulip shoots. Hard to see, I know--if you go over to the original Flickr posting, you can see the notes I put in to mark them. :-)
annuala: (tulips)
High summer... we've had high temps and humidity for the last week or so, but it broke yesterday, and today it's overcast but blessedly dry (though the forecast calls for showers, the moisture isn't hanging in the air). Mind you, what's tough on the people is pretty good for the plants...



Tiger lily


Fluffy astilbe



annuala: (tulips)
We've had spectacular downpours in the last 24 hours. I woke up early yesterday morning to the sound of rain bucketing down and thought, "Well, so much for my three miles today," but by the time I'd actually got up, it was over; by afternoon the sun was out. Then last night about 10:20, I drove home with lightning flashing all about. When I reached the ferry, the rain had started, and by the time I drove onto the ferry (which was sitting there waiting for me--glee!), it was bucketing down again. That lasted for less than a quarter of an hour, because by the time I pulled into my own driveway, it was all over.

So this morning, which dawned bright and sunny, I had a quick wander round the garden. So far the bamboo skewers seem to be stymieing the cats--at least I didn't see any dug-up areas in the tulip bed. And there's no ant movement near the rosebush, which is promising.

If the blossoms are anything to go by, I'm going to have an awful lot of tomatoes. I hope they don't ripen all at once, or I could be in trouble... or making a helluva lot of fresh salsa!

And I have bachelor's buttons! Yay! I know, I know, I did plant them, but I wasn't sure anything was going to come up in that bed, because once again, the cats were into it, but I do have several bachelor's buttons up, and one blooming. I haven't seen those since I was a wee girlie and gardening with my dad's mum. :-)
annuala: (tulips)
... through my garden. Ugh! There's a nest--hill, colony, whatever--right next to my little rosebush. I think that might be the cause of its distress; the ants could be undermining the root structure with their evil colony-building ways. I'm averse to chemicals in my garden, so I've turned to the old standby, cornstarch. I've heard that ants can't digest the stuff, but they eat it and it swells up in their stomachs or something. In any case, I sprinkled a couple of tablespoons over the rosebush and the anthill. We'll see if that cuts down on the ant population.

Also in the garden, I think I've hit upon a solution for keeping the cats out of the new tulip bed: bamboo. No, I haven't planted any; I took a bunch of kabob skewers--probably close to 100 of them--and stuck them in the bed, pointy end up. Cats don't like trying to do their business in a closely planted flowerbed, which in my garden is all of them except that one. I planted the skewers in a reasonably close formation and varied the angles of the points, so they're not all completely upright. Fingers crossed, it'll be a good deterrent. Honestly, I don't want to hurt the cats--I might not be a cat person, but I'm not cruel, either. I shall report back on the effectiveness of bamboo kabob skewers in keeping unwanted felines out of the garden.

Elsewhere, the forget-me-nots have begun to flower, which pleases me no end. I do love those little blue blooms. They're really the only true blue flowers in my garden. The lilies are looking to be an absolutely marvellous display in a week or so. And the astilbe are starting to bloom! I've got a pink one--I had no idea one of them was pink until it started to flower. Last year, only the red one flowered. The day-lilies are coming along slowly, but they promise to be better than last year.

And my tomatoes are flowering, and you know what that means... tomatoes in a few weeks! *drools at the thought*
annuala: (tulips)
Well, I missed the tulips by being away in England. When I got home, they were done--very done. They actually looked as if they didn't really bloom at all, had been struck down by some sort of blight. Maybe it was the slugs. Last week, I actually took up and divided the bulbs, replanting them in the torn-up area that until recently supported the forsythia. My mother took a dislike to the poor shrub and had it removed. On the bright side, I didn't have to dig a new bed to take the tulips; on the other hand, I was stuck trying to remove about 20 years' worth of forsythia roots from the ground. Ugh.

The Rosebush from Hell (TM) is blooming; I'm going to take my uncle's hedge trimmers to it in the fall, make it more manageable in size. Something's happened to my little rosebush, though; it looks as if there are only a couple of living branches on it now, only a few leaves. I'm not sure why it's like that.

I returned to find that the marjoram had taken over the herb garden. I had to remove great chunks of it in order to put in three tomato plants. Nice to know that I can grow herbs, though. I'm thinking about adding some mint at some point, but that could be dangerous. And if Mom takes out the hydrangea bush, which she's hinted at doing, I might fill the space with lavender. It'd be nice to have more room for lavender.

The lilies are coming along nicely, as are the coreopsis. The pansies and petunias in the planter boxes with the geraniums are doing well. One geranium is doing well, too. The other--not so much. No idea why. It's not even hinting that it's going to bloom.

The rhododendron is in full fluffy bloom, as are the snowball bushes, much to my surprise--the snowballs looked as if they'd got some sort of blight, as well, with the blossoms turning brown before they even opened. But they've proven me wrong, thankfully.

And underneath the snowballs, I found a lovely treat when I arrived home from England:


I didn't see any bluebells in England--they were all done--but I have English bluebells in my garden right now!
annuala: (Default)
Whee! I finally got out into the garden, properly! Weeds were pulled, soil was cultivated, old growth cut down or pulled out... oh, it's lovely!

It looks like my hyacinths are spreading; I swear I didn't have that many last year, and they seem to be in different places. The smaller Jetfire daffodils I had last year are getting ready to bloom; they're smaller than the original ones I have, and they're fragrant, so I'm looking forward to that.

I appear to have a small squadron of peonies coming up. There's a little clump of red shoots or buds poking above the soil, with a few others scattered around the bed. And the daylilies or whatever they are around the old crab-apple stump seem to have spread, as well.

I have great hopes for the bluebells. Their little shoots look far sturdier than they have in past years. Could I actually see blossoms this year? I hope so! I may have managed to get the burdocks out from underneath the snowball bushes, but I'm not sure. I think I got the taproot out, but it came out awfully easily. I'll reserve judgement (and celebration) until later in the season.

The columbine are coming back, but it looks like I may have just the one plant this year. :-( I've got beebalm in that bed now, though, so that will help fill in the blanks.

As for the herb garden, I'm pleased to say the marjoram and thyme appear to have overwintered all right. The chives are already coming up well, despite the cats using the planter for a toilet. Wretched beasts. Anyone have any tips on keeping the cats out? The rubber snakes worked on Bean for a while, but apparently Digger is too dumb to be afraid of snakes, and Bean's learned from him.

On a final non-gardening note, I cast my ballot in the federal election today, during the advanced polls. Everyone else in the house was going, so I thought, hey, why not? It's not like I needed more time to decide who to vote for.
annuala: (Default)
First of the season! And look--there's snow! :-p

There's a reason these are called "Glory of the Snow".

I suppose traditionally, crocuses appear while there's still snow on the ground.

Crocuses in the snow
annuala: (Default)
I've been keeping an eye on things, naturally. Since I last posted, the daffodils and tulips have emerged more, though they're nowhere near blooming yet. However, in the last few days, the lawn has erupted with crocuses. I noticed three purple buds poking up above the grass a couple of days ago, which was remarkable on its own, because they didn't come up at all last year. (Maybe they're biennials?) This morning, I counted a dozen and a half purple, blue, yellow/white buds, and almost half of those had opened fully by the time I strolled down to get the mail around noon.

There are some interesting things coming up with the tulips, as well. I'm not entirely certain, but I think I'm seeing my dear old Glory of the Snows at the back of the bed, though the buds are so tightly furled as to look like hyacinths. And the bluebells are looking promising: more spears than I've seen before, bigger, too, despite the children tramping around the yard and setting up playhouses in their bed. I'm crossing my fingers and praying I get some actual blossoms this year.

The lilac is budding out--just leaves, I'm pretty certain. It's not been in place long enough for flowers, just four years; usually it takes five years for a lilac to really settle in and start blooming.

The Rosebush from Hell (TM) is still leafless, and the mere sight of it makes my pruning fingers itch. I'm determined to get that monster down to size this year! My wee Rosamundi bush isn't growing nearly as fast, which is both a blessing and a curse.

The chives survived the winter and are already poking lovely green spears above the mass of last year's dead growth. I mulched most of the herbs in the garden last year, in hopes that at least one variety would overwinter; none of the slips I took inside rooted, unfortunately, so we were without fresh herbs all winter. I think it's still a bit too early for most of them, though; even my lovely, hardy lavender is looking winter-weary and drab.

One success from last year: you may remember that I repotted one of my geraniums and brought it indoors to overwinter. I took two slips from it and tried to root them. One took nicely, while the other didn't, but the one that did is growing fast and sprouting all kinds of leaves. I half expect it to start blooming before I can get it planted outside!

I'm hoping that the weather on Friday, my next day off, will be fine; I'd love to get out there and tidy up the winter's damage.


annuala: (Default)

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