Saturday, April 21, 2012

Homage to Monty Python

Spring is the time where we check on the life of all our emerging plant material.  Some make it, some don't do quite so well.  I was SURE this Amsonia hubrechtii was dead.  Have another one about ten feet away that is in bloom.   This was a plant for which  I ordered a replacement in my winnings from John's contest.  (more to follow on the goodies from that order)

The Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead! [a man puts a body on the cart, unaware of the fact that the man is actually alive]
Large Man with Dead Body: Here's one.
The Dead Collector: That'll be ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. [hands the collector his money] There's your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead!
The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not.
The Dead Collector: He isn't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm getting better.

True to the Monty Python scene, he wasn't dead! Or she wasn't dead...or IT wasn't dead.  I was planting some newly arrived plants on Thursday and on my hands and knees right next to this 'dead' Amsonia.   Look what I saw--- new growth, tiny but it was there!!
Luckily I have plenty of room for my new this one will stay put and it will fill in -- eventually.

I have been known to have a laissez faire  (and here) attitude with many of my plants.  Wait and see, not eager to pull, or cut, something out that isn't going gangbusters.   When you wait, sometimes you are rewarded with new growth.  The Gaillardia below was almost given up on.  I yanked on it a few times...but it did not yield.   I am pleased to say it is full of new growth.

Here, you can see it better --

The one next to it has been blooming.  Funny how one is doing well and the next one is slow to emerge from dormancy.

Some plants have had a rough time because of underground critters (voles?) and some have had to struggle with their foliage being eaten by all sorts of caterpillars.   Poor Osmanthus fragrans, much of its new growth is gone, eaten to a nub.

See this interesting leaf munchers/suckers I found in the garden this week......

Love the colors and design on this was on my Fothergilla.  Almost looks like  little penguins.
Here is a full view.  I do not claim to know the names of all these crawling critters, just find them interesting.

Another one, what a "hair-do"!

Some are colorful, some have all sorts of bristles and antenna, and some are really tiny.

Some of the usual suspects were also finding good eating in my garden.  Aphids and slugs.

Finally, while looking at the new growth on the Pieris japonica 'Cavatine', a Daddy longlegs....tried to get him to go eat the aphids.

Moral of the story...Monty's not quite dead.

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Five Things Every Garden(er) Needs

Pass-along Peony from a neighbor in Virginia
A few weeks ago there was a gardening supplement in the local paper.  One article had a main topic as "Five things every garden needs."  When I heard the topic I thought I would ask some gardeners what THEY had as their five.  

I asked the question on Facebook's page "Soiled Again", a page that is billed as a 'Common ground for gardeners'.  I had a number of responses.  Many gave serious answers, others were rather funny.  One said , "Her and four burly guys".  Had a neighbor come see my garden today and seeing my bales of pinestraw sitting along the garden by the water, said that I needed to borrow her yard guy (her husband!).  I will get to spreading them (maybe tomorrow).  

Pretty Columbine from seeds from Lona 
Some answers were tool oriented; wheelbarrows, tomato cages, pruners, rain barrel, compost bin, fencing to keep critters out, shovels, and a soaker hose.  All great tools to have on hand.   I certainly use many of these tools, it would be hard to garden without them.
Kniphofia from a college roommate of my daughter's
Other answers were more design focused.  Items to be included in a garden to the design-minded gardeners were a focal point, a water feature, a place to sit, good pathways, an open gate, and an ATM! Love the humor.
Bloom on my culinary sage
Beneficials were also on the lists from many of the gardeners.  Worms for healthy soil, bees and other pollinators for all the blooms.  Birds and other critters were to be considered, native plants for food sources and host plants for insects.
Ajuga 'Black Scallop'
Passion, enthusiasm, patience, creativity, joy, flexibility are tools that the gardener should have.
Hibiscus moscheutos 'Kopper King', great foliage color
in addition to the soon to come blooms.
Finally plant material was mentioned.  Conifers for evergreen structure, Cyclamen hederifolium for cute blooms, seeds for sowing, 'Right plant- right place' is the mantra, and water are all included on the list.  
Clematis 'Rebecca' blooming like crazy this year!
One gardener said camera...funny, we ALL are using our cameras in the garden, I feel naked without my camera while in the garden.  The camera can be a tool to track plants from one year to the next or share some of your glorious blooms with others.  
Rosa 'Janet' full of buds already this year.
My five?  Color, fragrance, year round interest, native plants, and colorful foliage.  Those are my five TODAY, ask me tomorrow and I might have other items on the list.  We gardeners are a fickle lot.  Pass-along plants are always welcome.  How many of us have seen a new plant and lusted after it?    This is the case with this plant below.  I saw it in a garden in Virginia, marked the name in my mind and finally added it.
Gladiolus byzantinus, love that color!
Speaking of color, who can resist this glorious thistle?  It is pretty thorny, but it is in the front area by the street where we thought about a yucca or an in the meanwhile, the thistle can be here!  Native plants are welcome.

Look at this pretty bloom!

What would you include for your five?

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Good Karma, Good Luck, Good Mojo....or What?

This past couple weeks have been pretty incredible.  You may have noticed a few give-aways on some blogs lately.  It appears as though I have the magic touch.
The first one I won was from John's blog An Obsessive Neurotic Gardener  where I won a $100 gift certificate to Santa Rosa Gardens.  What a treat!!  I like Santa Rosa Gardens, use them quite often.  I already had a wishlist going on their website, so filling the order didn't take too long.  I now have to wait for my plants to be delivered.  Will share a posting when they arrive.

The ladies at Garden Rant had  'Worms --a love affair',....Amy Stewart's book, The Earth Moved, On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms and a stacking worm bin were being offered.  Yes, out of almost 200 people, I was chosen!!  Today my Worm Factory arrived from Nature's Footprint.  This is a serious worm bin!
I was excited to open it and get my worms shifted over to their new home.   Upon opening the box I found a booklet and a CD with information about setting up your bin.

I will have to take some time to get the new bin set up.  This is great, my bin is full and they need to move to a new container.  This one has a spout at the bottom to harvest the liquids.

This is the single level bin, you add more levels (which are included in the box) as the worms eat up what they have in the lower levels.  After more levels are added, you harvest the castings from the lowest tier.  I will work on setting this up tomorrow.  I am not sure all my worms will fit.  Think I may be a two bin home for a while.

I started feeling pretty good about all these winnings.  I had a bit of a dry spell and this was a flood of great winnings.   We had a concert in Newberry, SC at the Opera House and I wanted to check the availability of an extra ticket for our next concert, Nanci Griffith.  Our youngest is coming home for Spring Break and since Charlie and I had tickets for the show, I was hoping we could get another one for her.  Our tickets are front row, center and I wasn't going to give up THOSE  tickets.  Well, my Mojo must still be working!  I was able to buy one ticket, RIGHT NEXT TO OUR SEATS for her!!  Sweet!   The next morning I went and bought a lottery ticket for the Mega Millions know the one, the BIG ONE.  Well, yes, I won......$3.  I spent $5.  haahahaaa oh well.  Figured I had already reached the trifecta  plants, bin and book, and a great ticket.

Imagine my surprise when I get a message from Julie at Growing Days, you guessed it!  I won Julie's blog give away.  What a great bunch of goodies from her!  Since we live close by and use the same local farmer market, we arranged for me to pick up my plants, seeds, book (the other is on order), and tub this afternoon.  What great looking plants!!!  I was able to get tomatoes and a pepper and a Snail plant, Vigna caracalla.  We will be watching the sun for the next few days to see where the best spot will be for these beauties to get 6 -8 hours of sunlight.

 And here is the tub full of seeds and one of the great books!
I promise to stay away from the next few contests, giving all of you a chance to win.

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Green and White Time of Year

Our first daffodils have faded and the next phase of spring is underway.   I call this phase 'The Green and White' phase.  We have a lot of white blooms and some wonderful variegated foliage plants.  Green and white seems clean and bright.
Physocarpus opulifolius 'Lemon Candy' is a new variety of Ninebark.  The spring foliage is bright yellow.  As they age the leaves turn green.  Right now its interest factor is blooms like this, all over the shrub.   This Ninebark is a small,compact variety, growing to about 3 feet at maturity (or so they is almost there now!)

In the front garden are three new Iberis 'Masterpiece'.   I have looking longingly at others' Candytuft and finally broke down and bought some.  I love the purple buds!  I know these white blooms will be done soon, but they have performed wonderfully this year, expecting lots more from it next year!

Very similar in appearance to the Ninebark are the blooms from the Spiraea vanhouttei.  I planted nine barerooted Spirea in December and to date all nine are doing well.

The white daffodils are now blooming.  Along the hillside by the driveway is a nice clump of Narcissus 'Thalia'.  This white bloom is fragrant-- a nice bonus.

Further up the driveway is a new daffodil.  Narcissus 'Salome' gets whiter as it ages.  The cup is a peachy pink/yellow.

The most recent daffodil to open is another new one, Narcissus 'Snowball'   It is hard to photograph, the head is nodding and with all its ruffles, you can't get a good angle.

Under my Edgeworthia are a couple Athyrium niponicum var. pictum, Japanese painted fern.  I have enough shade under the Edgeworthia during the growing season to give these ferns a nice place to grow.
Also under the Edgeworthia's shade are a couple Ajuga 'Sparkler'.  This is a small, variegated leaf ajuga.  According to the Missouri Botantical Garden site, it tolerates rabbits, good thing!

Up the hill from the ferns and ajuga is a row of Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko' putting on a nice showing of tiny white blooms.

Since this variety of Deutzia is a low grower, there is a  wonderful variegated hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla 'Variegata' planted in back of them.  Aren't these leaves gorgeous?

Echoing the variegated leaves is a row of hostas.  One of the plants with no name... oops.

Aren't these leaves pretty too?  Nice echo of the hydrangea leaves.

In the backyard are a few more green and white plants....Fothergilla 'Mt. Airy' now putting its leaves out while still flowering.

 Emerging through the leaf litter are some of my Japanese Forest  grasses. Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'.  So far it is still tiny...hope it grows leaps and bounds this summer.
A little further down to the water is a Variegated Solomon Seal,  Polygonatum falcatum 'Variegatum' So far only three stems have emerged.  It does have blooms though!!

 Finally, the white little bells of Pieris japonica 'Cavatine'.  Some call it a Lily of the Valley bush, see why?
Do you have a dominate color in your garden right now?

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.