A look back on the garden, part III

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Hi there! Don’t mind me, in this third part post, I’m just walking down memory lane where I look back on the garden from July and August, and boy was there a lot going on! Some plants, like my sweet pea, took a while to get started, but once they did, they really took off. I grew three different types of sunflowers this year. What was nice about the different varieties was 1. how completely different they looked and 2. how they all bloomed at different times. This meant that I was able to enjoy sunflowers from summer into fall. These two months saw a lot of growth in the pumpkin / squash category, too. And let’s not forget that July is notable for harvesting lavender and garlic. Let’s get started!

Collage of flowers from the garden in July: pumpkin flowers, peony, hosta, poppy, sunflowers, iris and eggs.

This first collage is from the beginning of July, and the yellow Itoh (hybrid) peony ‘Hillary’, on the bottom, just made the cutoff. I only had one delicate flower, and its color was quite lemony, a first for my garden. It was planted two years ago, so it should have more blooms in 2022. The other ‘end of the season’ peony was my Sarah Bernhardt variety. I’ve had this plant quite a few years so I get lots of big, beautiful, and scented, flowers. If you like peony, I’d definitely recommend this variety. Also during this time, the pumpkin and squash plants started to progress up the pumpkin arch. While they never made it all the way up, I did in fact, gets lots of pumpkins and squash – we’re still eating the squash!

To add some ‘interest’ along the hedge in the new garden, this year I added a bunch of planters filled with hosta. Most of the plants I’d had already, either in containers or in the ground. But I did purchase a couple of new ones as well, which are in the smaller pots, and they bloomed in July. The hosta flowers are not as nice as the leaves, if you ask me, as I think the leaves are the real attraction. These iris, as every year, were the very last of my four varieties to bloom.

While some flowers were finishing up for the season, it was at this stage that the first of the sunflowers started to bloom. They were mid-height – they were supposed to be 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, but were more in the area of 3 feet (.9 meter) tall – and had only one flower per plant. This would be my least favorite sunflower because of the single flower. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like them, though. 🙂 At the top of the collage is a double poppy that thankfully shows up in the garden every year. And finally, I have a picture of three very different eggs, representing the 3 new variety of chickens that joined my hens this spring.

July collage of flowers: coleus, poppies, sweet pea, pumpkin flower, apples, Maple tree

Apple update: the pretty blossoms are now cute little apples! Another picture of the double poppies, because they are absolutely beautiful. I’ve also included a ‘yucky’ picture in here, too: it is my maple tree with a powdery mildew. We haven’t seen this before, and there isn’t really anything you can do for it, except at the end of the season to clear away the leaves (and not add them to the compost). Fingers crossed that it has a better season in 2022. The picture of the sweet pea is the first cutting of the season. I know this because it is such a small posy, and by the end of the season they were big bouquets.

The middle photo is of my ‘rainbow garden’. In the front, the cream colored David Austin Lichfield roses and yellow potentilla shrub are at their peak. I only learned this year that I could prune the potentilla, which I duly did at the end of the season. I can’t wait to see how it looks in 2022. I have helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ growing in a couple of places in the garden, as it’s a lovely splash of red and golden color (here it is along side my daisies).

I am all about having splashes of color in the garden, no matter if it’s from flower plants or veggie plants. It’s another reason I love to grow pumpkins and squash, I mean, what’s not to love about those big orange flowers? I picked the last photo for the pretty sunset, as the poppies under the birch trees are not quite at their peak.

July collage of flowers including garlic, freesia, peony, lilies, sunflowers, roses, poppies, and pumpkin arch

We’re in mid July here, and that’s when I harvested my garlic. The timing was perfect as we had some dry weather. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in a wet spell and not being able to harvest the garlic in time. I’ve planted about half of that amount for the 2022 season, which will still be more than enough for us. It keeps all winter, in a cool, dry location. Garlic is one of the easiest things to plant, and I highly recommend growing your own. It is so worth it in taste!

You will see through the different collages that I have a lot of containers. Part of that is me trying new flowers, part of it is that we have a deck that suits containers really well, and part of that is that I don’t have a more suitable place in the garden for those flowers. The pink, yellow and white freesia are a perfect example of looking lovely in a container but wouldn’t suit in the garden. So I’m glad for the containers! Funny enough, I filled both my garden and containers with lilies this year. Best decision ever as they are so easy to grow and are perfectly showy.

The birch tree bed was completely taken over by poppies in July. It was quite remarkable as they were 99% one variety (a single flower, lilac color) and I didn’t plant any of them. They come from my compost which apparently doesn’t get hot enough to kill seeds. So whatever I put in the compost, has the potential to come back!

I threw in another picture of the mid-height sunflowers as a progress report, as well as some roses just to remind me that the roses were still going strong. 🙂

End of July collage of flowers: sunflowers, lavender, daisies

We’re now at the end of July. The second variety of sunflowers have started to bloom – and this Claret F1 lasted well into fall, with so many flowers per stem. The colors were from chocolate to yellow and burnt orange / burnt red, with medium sized flowers, and they grew pretty tall (well over my head!).

I was a bit late in harvesting my lavender this year, but that didn’t stop me from making some fresh wreaths (pictures in the next picture). The clematis, ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’ is a pretty raspberry/wine color, but doesn’t really like the amount of wind that we have. It looks ok, but isn’t ideal in our yard, unfortunately.

The lychnis Coronaria rose campion has really pretty fuchsia pink flowers, although the evening sunlight in the picture doesn’t show that very well. Those flowers will actually spread like wildfire, so unless you want them everywhere, you have to pull them out as soon as they show up in their new spots (they are easy to pull out).

Of course I had to throw in another pumpkin arch update!

July collage of flowers: roses, sweet pea, lavender wreaths, blueberries

We’re finishing up July with blueberries! We had a great ‘little’ harvest this year, of several little bowls of blueberries. This was the first year that we covered the shrubs with netting and that worked great for keeping the birds away. I also spread out our plants that were crowded together previously, and fed them more than I typically would, which paid off. I’m excited for the 2022 season, as we learned a lot last season.

Finally, a picture of the chickens! We added three new varieties in March, but I only took video of them in the beginning, so I had no pictures to share earlier. We have a Bluebell (she’s gray), a Maran (with stripes), and a Daisy Belle (the largest of all of them and quite pretty with green shimmers in her black feathers). The Bluebell is quite friendly and likes to sit on my lap when I’m in the yard with them.

I made these two fresh lavender wreaths (as opposed to dried lavender). The bottom one I made first, and the one above was made second – I think I get better over the course of the season! The Celosia, the top right picture, I grew from seed. They were easy to grow, and dry really well, so I might grow them again.

More roses – of course!

August collage of flowers: helenium, pumpkins, hydrangea, gladiolas, lilies,

I told you it was a lot of flowers! These pictures are from August. This is another another batch of helenium flowers. These are next to my ‘Teasing Georgia’ yellow David Austin roses, as I think the colors go nicely together. The other flowers are: ‘Magic Star’ lilies, gladiolas ‘Pink Parrot’, hydrangea Selma, clematis ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’, and some more poppies. This sunflower is the first of the dwarf sunflowers to bloom. Next to the two small pumpkins is a picture of Liatris spictata Kobold, which is such an unusual flower for my garden – so I love it!

August collage of flowers: incrediball hydrangea, vanilla fraise hydrangea, coleus, lilies, agapanthus, calla lilies, sweet pea, Russian sage, pumpkin arch

So I found myself picking flowers for this collage that we’ve seen before. But it is interesting to me to see how much they grow and fill out and change colors during the season! The Incrediball hydrangea (bottom right) was moved in early spring 2021, but seems to have settled in well. This plant takes a lot of water, and I have still not figured out the perfect balance of getting that right. It doesn’t help that it is just out of reach of our hose, either. I’ll keep at it until we get it right! It’s not too far from the paniculata hydrangea Vanilla Fraise, actually – which is just starting to turn pink in this picture. The paniculata has not had any water issues, thankfully.

The coleus was my pride and joy this summer as I grew it from seed and it just looked so spectacular! Also, it was planted as a reminder of my dear former neighbor and friend Betty, who always grew them.

See the single, purple agapanthus flower? That didn’t do great in a container for me. Turns out the few that I had in the garden weren’t very happy either, but I had them in a somewhat shady area. So I’ve moved all of them into a new – sunny – spot in the garden and I can’t wait to see if that does the trick (along with extra feed).

Look at the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘little spire’)! I had some growing in partial shade and it wasn’t very happy. This guy, in full sun, is just shouting out with joy! I’m glad the space is large enough for it. These potted pink Calla lilies looked really well and bloomed for weeks.

Of course I’ve included another update on the pumpkin arch!

end of August collage of flowers

We’re wrapping up August with this collage. I rarely mention the wild fennel that I grow, but it is very pretty. The flowers are yellow and dainty. I enjoy watching the birds as they try and balance on the stems while eating the seeds in the winter. The plant isn’t just for birds, as it is edible for our consumption, too. The other plant not mentioned often enough: globe artichokes. I’ve used some in this flower arrangement – they look like purple thistle. The globe artichokes were arranged with roses, sunflowers and helenium.

The paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ hydrangea has turned pink by this stage. It’s around this time that you can cut the flowers to easily dry them. The Red Kuri squash look orange at this point in their growth, but as they mature, they will turn a more burnt orange/red. This view of the pumpkin arch shows us two Red Kuri squash, which are still orange, growing up the fencing.

The red apple tree is an eating apple tree, while our second tree is a cooking apple tree. I know I’m biased but, the red apples are incredibly tasty! I enjoyed eating our supply of apples right up until Christmas. I should have cooked and frozen some, to keep them longer. That will be something I’ll try in 2022, if we get a good crop.

The top picture is of some of my lilies – both pink and white. The white ones are in the garden, while these pink ones are in a container. They’re just so easy to grow, why wouldn’t you want that beauty and fabulous scent?

And finally, the sunflowers: the neat line of dwarf sunflowers bloomed in a perfect line. Not only that, they also then continued to bloom multiple flowers on their stems. The burnt red and yellow sunflowers were tall and floppy, grew all over the place, and were absolutely lovely in their uniqueness.

Phew! Are you still reading? You’re amazing! That was a really long post. I’m kind of impressed (and surprised!) with all of the flowers that I grow. Although I of course know all that I grow, it is only looking at them in this monthly review format that I really appreciate all that I have. And I really do appreciate them! I appreciate them so much that I created a new bed, in order to plant more flowers! 🙂

Thanks so much for stopping by. Let me know what you think!
Part IV will finish out the year.

In Peace,
Dana

Harvesting Garlic & a Clematis’ improved health

Freshly dug garlic.

Freshly dug garlic (Cristo).

Some things in the garden seem to grow fairly easily.  Garlic is one of those things!  We’ve grown garlic the past two years and have been very happy to have done so.

Garlic in June.

Garlic (Cristo) in June.

They don’t require special attention, really, and like well drained, fertile soil.  I watered them when we had quite dry weather so the soil wouldn’t dry out, but that was it.  They are ready for harvest when the greens die back.  Then I hang them in our back room to dry out completely.  This year I am planning on planting some in the winter, too.  I think it is more typical to grow it then.  That will be my first attempt at winter gardening!

Freshly dug garlic.

Freshly dug garlic.

I was pretty happy with the quality of the soil as I was digging up the garlic.  We’ll be adding our compost to the beds as we continue to harvest the different vegetables, and fruit. It really does help the soil!  As for quality of soil, I have another story to tell.

Garlic & Geraniums

Garlic & Geraniums

Cristo garlic.

Cristo garlic.

My obelisk a few months ago.

My clematis starting to climb the obelisk a few months ago.

Back in March I posted about an obelisk which I set up for my clematis.  (You can read about it here: https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/my-showy-hellebores-an-obelisk-and-a-chocolate-pudding-recipe/ ) My clematis, ‘Bagatelle’ (Dorothy Walton), had one single flower last year!  We had moved it the year before as it was in a terrible position.  Fearing wilt after all of the rain we had last year, we needed to do something.  The soil in which it was planted really needed some extra attention. We dug it up and added compost, aerated the soil, fed it, and hoped for the best.  The difference in the plant this year is amazing.

Late blooming clematis early in the season.

My clematis early in the season.

This was the first flower this season. It has really thin petals (they get bigger as it develops).

Clematis after some rain.

Clematis (‘Bagatelle’ Dorothy Walton) after some rain.

Clematis in full glory!

Clematis in full glory!

There are a few different types of clematis. Mine is a late season variety.  So in February I will be pruning it back to about 12 inches from the ground, just above an old leaf joint.  That way I will continue to have flowers all along the plant, and not just at the top.

The obelisk is getting covered!

The obelisk is getting covered!

The plant climbed up the obelisk, and then right back down again! I’ve seen plenty of clematis that would have taken over this little obelisk!  But for now, this one will work for us.

'Bagatelle' Dorothy Walton Clematis

The flowers of the ‘Bagatelle’ Dorothy Walton Clematis face the morning sun.

I took this picture yesterday. There are still new blooms!

I took this picture yesterday. There are still new blooms!

Now that the clematis is doing so well, I’m thinking of getting another one. 🙂

Which is your favorite variety of clematis?
Dana

Family, Friends, and Flowers.

A "heart" for family & friends!

A “heart” for family & friends!

There’s really nothing like going home.  Little things bring back fond memories: could be a special smile from your brother, a hug from your parents, or simply seeing your old home.  I thoroughly enjoyed a lovely visit back home this spring.  I have my original home where I grew up, and where my parents still live.  But I also have my adopted second home where I lived for ten years after getting married.   I was able to visit both homes this trip, which was just wonderful!

My brother and I were home for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.

My brother and I were home for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

The people in my life are simply amazing.  I had so much fun being with my family.  It is logistically difficult for all of us to get together, so the fact that we were all together was awesome.   Given that we were celebrating my parents’ 50th Wedding anniversary made the time together that much more special.

The six grandkids were so good.  As always, my brother was their favorite Uncle, deservedly so as he is incredibly silly with them!  Everyone had a good time.  And then, too quickly, it was time to leave…

Two very special people in my life!  At 92 Monsignor still has a wonderful sense of humor, and incredible words of wisdom.

Two very special people in my life! At 92 Monsignor still has a wonderful sense of humor, and incredible words of wisdom.  And Lisa, well, she’s one of those really good friends who always knows what I need to hear!

But I left the family to move on to seeing my friends.  Most of these friends I met through play groups when my kids were small, or through our church’s women’s group.  And all these years later we are still as close as ever.  Well, except for the fact that I live across the ocean!  There is something incredibly special about friends who really care about you, and who’ve been with you through the ups and downs of life.  I’m blessed to have met and befriended so many wonderful, unique, and talented women.    And most of them have beautiful gardens, too! 🙂

At 85 years, both Betty and Harold are doing great!  You should see their garden (you will, pictures further in the post)!  We miss our former neighbors for the gems they are.

At 85 years, both Betty and Harold are doing great! You should see their garden (you will, pictures further in the post)! We miss our former neighbors for the gems they are.

"Home".

My childhood home.

There’s no wonder that I have a love of flowers.  My parents always had flowers in the yard, lots of annuals, but even more of pachysandra!  I can remember my mom planting the morning glories and marigolds along the pool fence every year.  She would save the seeds from the marigolds, too.   Mom has a very natural looking garden, where things even grow in nooks and crannies along paths.   She is still adding to the garden every year, which is fun to watch!

The morning glories have been replaced with lovely Clematis.

The morning glories have been replaced with lovely Clematis.

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But some things  are nice to stay the same.

But some things are nice to stay the same.

Our front yard has something rather unusual: a flower Ferris wheel!  More than 50 years ago, my grandfather (on my mom’s side of the family) made this flower Ferris wheel for my grandmother for Mother’s Day.  It is made from large old wagon wheels, and piping, with wooden flower boxes.   Years later, my grandmother gave it to my mother, and it has been in their front yard ever since.  The boxes have been replaced, and it has been painted, but everything else is exactly how my grandfather made it.  I love seeing it freshly painted and filled with flowers when I come home!

My mother's flower Ferris Wheel.

My mother’s flower Ferris Wheel.

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The flower Ferris Wheel and maple tree.  The last of the old trees in the yard.

The flower Ferris Wheel and maple tree. The last of the old trees in the yard.

The bird bath has always been a part of the garden.

The bird bath has always been a part of the garden.

We had some rain, too.

We had some rain, too.

I clicked away during all of my visits with friends and family.  I tried to capture as much as I could with my camera.  I love looking at the pictures of friends.  I’m bummed that I didn’t get pictures of everyone!

Gorgeous Iris in Robin B's garden!

Gorgeous Iris in Robyn’s garden!

Betty and Harold's beautiful back garden.

Betty and Harold’s beautiful back garden.

The sailboat that Harold made (garage Blacksmith!) for one of Betty's flower show competitions!  It is beautiful in the garden.

The sailboat that Harold made (garage Blacksmith!) for one of Betty’s flower show competitions! It is beautiful in the garden.

Hellebores & Hostas.

Hellebores & Hostas.

Betty's ruffled pansies.

Betty’s ruffled pansies.

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Peonies!

Peonies!

I did get quite a few pictures of flowers and gardens!  There are so many different varieties of Hostas!  I need to create some shade in my garden to plant these beauties.

Ellen's figurines were too cute!

Ellen’s figurines were too cute!

I have to say I really liked Elaine's garden ornament, too!

I have to say I really liked Elaine’s garden ornament, too!

I love Ellen's beautiful front walk.

I love Ellen’s beautiful front walk.

A collection of hosta.

A collection of hosta.

A beautiful weeping birch and welcoming bench at Lisa's!

A beautiful weeping birch and welcoming bench at Lisa’s!

A lovely collection of hosta among the rocks.

A lovely collection of hosta among the rocks.

Judi and Lennie have created something so peaceful and beautiful in their back yard!

Judi and Lennie have created something so peaceful and beautiful in their back yard!

More of Judi and Lennie's garden.

More of Judi and Lennie’s garden.

A bird's eye view!

A bird’s eye view!

What I enjoy is seeing gardens which are created and tended to by someone who really cares about bringing beauty to all of us.  That is what it is all about, right?  Creating something beautiful, and sharing it.    Just like our friendships.

Robyn's beautiful front garden.

Robyn’s beautiful front garden.

Here’s to all of the beautiful flowers in your life!  Both the human kind and the botanical kind!

Dana