Monday, June 28, 2010

Storms but no rain

We keep getting threatening skies, roiling clouds and thunderstorm warnings, but they pass by and we get no rain.  Just under 2/10ths of an inch yesterday.  Today, hot sticky and humid.

The shasta daisies are all blooming now.  A second bloom on the geums has started.  The orange milkweed is finally filling in and the drumstick alliums are opening up.

Gardens are looking good:

In the new garden along the west walk, the Ceanothus americanus plants ae blooming.  They'll get  much bigger, I think, in future years.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nice Wet Rain

We got almost half an inch of rain last night, much needed. Today is sunny and summery.  It will be humid and in the 80s, but everything looks so refreshed.

I finally cut back all the penstemon stalks, and the wild look of the garden on that side is much tamer.

Spread another 9 bags of mulch in spots that needed it.  Added some to the back berm where several of the tiny bare root twigs from Arbor Day are sprouting.

Daylilies are starting to bloom, so far no deer damage.

The compact bee balm (Monarda) is starting to bloom a deep pink.  I moved it all to the edge of the dry creek bed.

Something is eating the petals off the coneflowers.  Not the foliage, not the stalks, just the petals.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Watered today

Sunny, breezy, hot, 80s.  Summery.

Filled the hummingbird feeders yesterday.  We're definitely getting visitors at both feeders.

Watered today, we haven't had rain since the 13th, six days ago.  I want to make sure all the new plants, including the big new black gum in front, get water.  Also watered the newly planted trees on the hot slope of the back hill, they were pretty dry.

Yesterday I finished planting all the new stuff: Hydrangea Presioza in the Birch Garden, Rhus aromatica at the back of the Birch Garden and under one birch, some more Physostegia and some Helianthemums.  I put the Kent Beauty oreganos in containers.  I added two more Woodlanders Zenobias under the Sourwood tree.

Monday, June 14, 2010

June Gloom

For days it's been gray, overcast, rainy and gloomy.  70s, sometimes cooler, but heavy wet feeling.

Bartlett came Friday and showed me the spruce by the front door had pine weevil.
The solution was to cut off the leader and wait for a new leader to develop.  I later found that one of the Norway spruces on the back hill also had curvy top branches, so I cut that back... hated to do it to such a little tree.

Strawberries are not producing and the leaves look bug eaten.. Not slugs, though.  I put beer out overnight near them, and nothing.  I repotted them into plastic bowls.  I think the problem with no fruit is that I overwatered during flowering (hard not to do in the strawberry jars).  Not sure what's eating the leaves.
Also something (rabbits) is eating the Japanese forest grass, Hakonechloa.  All three by the front door are gone, and one on the west walk is chomped.

Yesterday I fertilized the buckeyes.  They were looking yellow like they did last year.  They're putting on good growth.

I spread lime under the redbuds... the new little variegated one, the Oklahoma redbud, and the unknown one out in the back meadow.  That one is really leaping to life this year with lots of new leaves and growth, but still had no flowers this spring.  Will it ever?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Garden Chores

Cloudy and gray today, quite cool for a change, in the low 60s, with rain coming.

Changed the hummingbird feeders today.

Deadheaded all of the May Night salvia, and the garden looks a lot neater now.  Moved the remaining Monarda bee balm from the Birch Garden where it was hidden in the middle, to the edge of the dry creek bed.

Ordered 16 plants from LazyS, they were having a sale if you bought enough to fill one large box (16 quart plants).  Got Kent's Beauty oregano to fill the rosemary pot, I really like the way it looks.

Also got a new hydrangea serrata, quite small, called Preziosa, and it has very red blooms!  That will go in the hole in the Birch Garden left by my missing Whirling Butterflies gaura.

Ordered two more zenobias to plant en masse with the other one around the sourwood.

Got several Rhus aromatica, low growing sumac that should act as a groundcover under the birch trees or in the back of the Birch Garden... fillers, groundcovers, with good foliage and great fall color.
From Fine Gardening
2 feet tall and up to 8 feet wide.  Small yellow flowers in midspring and gorgeous orange-red leaves in fall. Though it has an open, branching habit, weed growth is not  a problem.  For the best fall color, grow  in full sun—though plants are tolerant of partial shade. 

‘Gro-low’ needs plenty of room to spread out. But if its vigorous growth gets out of hand or it becomes untidy, cut it back hard in the spring. 

---Yikes...  I have three planted along the back edge of the Birch Garden way too close together.  Next spring move the middle one!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

More Humidity

Again with the muggy humid weather, very stormy, thunderstorms are rolling in this afternoon.  It's only in the 70s, but drippy wet.

We spread more mulch around the birches and under the new aruncus by the creek bed.  Sticky wet work.

The bright yellow sundrops are in bloom in both Meadow's Edge and the Birch Garden.  They've filled in nicely.  Some got nibbled by deer in the Birch garden.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hot again, Humid again

90s, very muggy and oppressive.  High clouds, not as sunny as yesterday.

I'm so discouraged, every task in the garden this year has been like working in mid summer: hot, sticky, unpleasant.  It's hard to enjoy doing any work being soaking wet.

Jim helped me spread the 10 bags of mulch I got yesterday, and it finally covered the back strip.  But now I need more to put under the birches and in a few spots in the gardens!
Eventually this back strip will fill in and the buckeyes will spread and shade the ground.  There's an awful lot of bare earth and mulch right now... should I get some kind of groundcover to fill in under the trees and the buckeyes for now?  It would make more sense than trying to keep this much area weed free and mulched until the trees and shrubs grow enough.

I really like how the white baptisia looks above the other plants in the Birch Garden, especially the pinky penstemon.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

More mulch!

Muggy and very humid, with rain and storms in the afternoon.

I spread 9 bags of mulch this morning, and it didn't go very far along the back strip under the Austrian pines and buckeyes.  Had to go back to get more!

The pink snapdragons that I thought were too bubblegummy last year look good against the deep purple sage and with the nepeta planted now where the mint used to be.

And check out the pink penstemon, a very hot pink!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thyme in bloom

80s today, and into the low 90s.  Sunny and breezy.

I spread 9 bags of mulch, 18 cubic feet, then had to go back to Moscarillo's for 9 more bags!  Many areas need a good cover.

The spreading thyme under the roses is blooming, covered in tiny little white flowers.  Very nice.  The thyme did exactly what I wanted and spread over the little curve of the bank here at the top of the pavers, stabilizing the high edge of the garden, and softening the look as it meets the pavers.

I cut some of the odd colored baptisia flowers and brought them inside.  They're lovely in a vase!

Wild colors abound in the Birch Garden.  Too crazy?  I dunno. 

Meanwhile, Meadow's Edge has become muted, the camassias are gone, and a lot of greenery has filled in.  The deep purple amsonias Blue Ice are nice, and the groundcover sedums are a pop of yellow, but toward the middle and back there's no color.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June begins

Humid, foggy, damp and gray, in the 70s.

Changed the hummingbird feeders today.

Got 9 bags of mulch, I really need to cover up the bare dirt in places.  Might need more.  Too humid to spread it today, and I'd like to wait for some rain so the ground is soft and wet when I spread it.

Thunderstorms rolled in late, we got 6 tenths of an inch of heavy downpours.