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if it weren’t for my insistent friend ms. slotharium, i’d probably never get this post up. i know, i’ve been a really bad garden blogger lately, but i just haven’t been able to spend (i.e. distract myself) for a minute longer at the computer as this is the time of year to be outside in texas! surely you understand, so i won’t waste anymore time giving excuses. besides, it’s the bloom day before the garden bloggers meetup in asheville, so i really need to post something or else the powers that be might not let me participate.
here’s the prettiest blooming thing in the garden, bespeckled with the day’s constant drizzle. it sure makes me smile.
no time to post photos of each individual blooming plant right now, so here’s the larger view what the front yarden is looking like. a little wild, yes, but over the past couple of months it’s been host to dozens of metamorphosing butterflies, color shifting anoles and even a few molting snakes seeking refuge.
moving along towards the back yarden, here’s a little project mr. grwhryrpltd put together to support our enthusiastic grapevine.
speaking of bounty, we’ve been harvesting plums the past few mornings from the front garden. they’re so tasty. i’m going to attempt to make plum jam this evening.
oh right… we were heading to the back garden. here’s what it looks like with somewhat frequent rains (every 10 days or so).
i’ve limbed up the sunflower’s leaves as they grow to support the tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers growing underneath them. the upper leaves should provide a bit of shade to get the veg through the heat of the day as well. the patch of sunflowers in front of the raised bed was a little experiment to see how big they’d get under competition from bermuda and st. augustine grass. they doubled in height after the last rain.
did i mention we’ve been visited by critters lately? here’s a few of the highlights.
scare ya? ha! only a gardener would pull a (confirmed dead) snake out of sedges to see just how long it was – 10 wine bottle width’s worth. i wonder how many more might be sneaking around.
now, onto the critters for more gentle souls…
on the domestic critter front, the kitties have been, well, kitties. i’ve been playing nurse to puma for the past several weeks as she got into an altercation requiring surgery. while healing from that (with plastic cone collar on, of course) she went downhill fast due to another mysterious reason (stroke? aneurysm? tumor?), to the point we thought we were going to lose her. it’s a looong story, but she’s doing fine now and we’re so glad she’s still with us! dude and max did their best to avoid her, lest they catch what she had.
how’s that for an update? i could go on, but i’ve got some things to tend to before taking off for asheville. looking forward to catching up with the garden blogging community while there; and for those of you not going, oh how i wish you were! i probably won’t blog from there, but check out my twitter/instagram feed for pictorial updates enroute.
when you can grow your own?
while i did support the floral industry for yesterday’s big event, i had to supplement the arrangement that arrived on our doorstep with a few of these fresh beauties from the garden. there… that’s better.
my sweetie was particularly lucky. not only did i make him cheddar-beer-mustard pull apart bread (which was good even for someone who can’t stand mustard…), but the sweater i’ve been knitting him on/off for the past three years is finally DONE!
i hope cupid was good to you. happy belated valentine’s day everyone, and happy bloom day.
here’s a quick pictorial view of what’s blooming in the gardens at grwhrypltd. at first glance you wouldn’t think we’ve been in the midst of an historic drought with wildfires raging all around us, but believe me, we have. and before you think we’re some of “those people” that water all the time, please think again. we’ve subscribed to the “voluntary” landscape water restrictions of twice weekly since we first found out about them, over two years ago. i’m amazed they haven’t been made mandatory for our fair city yet. so see, some things can survive such extreme conditions. afternoon shade definitely helps.
happy bloom day everyone. head over to may dreams gardens to see what else has survived this summer’s weather conundrums.
it’s august 15th, and bloom day is almost done and over. kind of like most of the perennials in my garden right now due to the heat that we’re all tired of talking and reading about. i’d tend to them, but i’ve been at the computer waaaaay too much lately, working on yet another volunteer project that wouldn’t pass my perfectionist tendencies with any mercy other than my time. so in light of that, i’ll post a few brief images from my garden, so as to not appear that i’ve forgotten about my garden blogger friends. i’ll really miss seeing you all at the garden writer’s association annual symposium in indy next week, as i seriously contemplated attending it after our trip to seattle. instead, i’m heading to the mountains with my honey for a while, where the only thing i’ll plug in is my camera’s battery charger to a hand-hewn log wall. i hear the views are breath-taking up there. i hope to share them with you when i return.
happy bloom day. go unplug yourself and enjoy life outdoors for a while. there’s good stuff out there.
so as not to give the impression that nothing is blooming in our garden right now, here’s the view from our back porch. consider this a subsequent garden blogger’s bloom day post. in spite of the drought, life surrounds us and we are glad.
p.s. we received a whopping one-tenth an inch of rain yesterday evening. the blue buckets in the left of the image above have about two inches of yellow-green rainwater in them, as the rain conveyed the roof’s accumulation of dust and pollen along with it. guess we’ll consider that solution a fertilizer treatment for the non-edible container plants.
this is as close as we’ve gotten to rain lately, but not a drop has fallen from the sky. for several weeks, temps have been in the high 90′s to low 100′s, with heat indices well over 100. plants in the yard & garden are starting to show the effect of a slow-bake oven.
now, i realize plants deal with stress in their own special way. many of these plants are just going into a summer dormancy period, sending whatever water and nutrients they receive to their roots and other storage structures. i expect many of them (well, some of them anyway) to come back whenever the temps decline and it rains again. i’ll patiently wait with my umbrella turned upside down. as for the critters, if they want to belly up to our botanical bar, so be it. i won’t be applying chemicals to prevent them from the feast.
speaking of chemicals, that brings me to a touchy subject that recently came to my attention: Imprelis, a pre-emergent herbicide used to treat broadleaf turf grass weeds (dandelion, plantain, clover, ground ivy & wood violet) is now showing injury & damage to the root systems of trees and shrubs (mostly conifers) across the midwest. since it’s a pre-emergent herbicide, the chemical remains persistent in the soil profile for a longer period of time. since it’s a systemic herbicide, the chemical translocates to stems and needle tissues causing browning, twisted growth and needle drop. mind you, these symptoms were NOT the intended effect nor the intended target. a statement from DuPont to its customers was distributed here, along with a guide for how to managed stressed trees here. stressed trees, huh? obviously, this product was not tested to the fullest extent prior to release for the commercial trade, and that’s a damned, irresponsible shame. in this day and age? really?? really!!!
allow me to take you to my parent’s garden in southeast michigan for some personal proof. my mom’s just sent the one picture on the right so far, but yes, there’s more.
a recent new york times article was published about this debacle. one of the landscape service companies mentioned is the very one my parents use (Underwood’s), and they’ve since been out to the farm to “document” the damage. the disappointing thing (among many issues surrounding this unfortunate event) is that my mom found out about it by just happening to mention the browning of her trees while at another retail nursery earlier this summer. the landscape service company didn’t contact her about it – she called them. only to find out that they knew about it, and had been applying a “neutralizing” chemical to try to lessen the potency of the chemical on the trees’ roots. for full disclosure, i’m a former member of the michigan nursery and landscape association, and don’t really hold anything against the landscape company itself, as i’m sure they were applying the herbicide as instructed on the label, but come on people – open & transparent communication is essential for sensitive issues like this! not only between the chemical manufacturers and the landscape trade, but between the landscape service companies and their customers. good thing my mom was home when they came to survey her property last week, as she was able to point out more *potentially* damaged specimens they might’ve overlooked. Pseudotsuga menziesii (douglas fir), Picea glauca var. densata (black hills spruce), Picea sylvestris (scotch pine), Chamaecyparis obtusa nana (dwarf hinoki cypress), Cercidiphyllum japonicum (katsura), Syringa sp. (lilac shrubs)… i’m pensively waiting along with my parents to see what else Imprelis affects – hopefully nothing else, but it doesn’t sound promising. even if the landscape company is able to replace the trees, as mentioned in the article, they won’t be able to replace the same size & stature of tree (or shrub), nor the personal attachments we have to those particular specimens. family and friends gifted and helped plant many of those trees, some of which are all we have left to remember them by. we even buried cherished members of our pet family under their branches. pardon me for the idiom, but that’s obviously adding insult to injury. and i haven’t even told you about all the Fraxinus (ash) trees they’ve lost to the emerald ash borer, EAB. guess i’ll save that for another post.
my alma mater, michigan state university, has published a fact sheet on Imprelis herbicide injury here, and articles on the issue here, here, here and here. i’ll continue to follow this issue, and will keep you posted as i learn more.
happy bloom day everyone! sorry for the bummer of a post, but i’m really looking forward to some fun & inspiration in seattle during the garden blogger’s fling next week. i’ll happily bring an umbrella.
as summer solstice approaches, colors in the garden are starting to turn up a notch.
yellow has transitioned to orange and red, indicating the heat we’ve all been feeling and have yet to brace ourselves for. Canna ‘Wyoming,’ that i originally purchased in 2010 from old house gardens and have since transplanted to two other garden locations, is holding strong – even if its torn foliage is still recovering from an early may hail storm that covered the ground with ice. however, now that i read their website announcement indicating they aren’t currently selling cannas, i hope this stellar focal point hasn’t acquired a canna virus… i was just wondering the other day why the typically bronzed maroon leaves were so green lately… oh dear. i will have to look further into this.
Hemerocallis ‘Vanilla Fluff’ was also divided and transplanted earlier this spring, and seems to be establishing itself well, in spite of the high salt content irrigation water that its foliage appears to despise. Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (big muhly grass) doesn’t seem to mind.
even the sunflowers have increased their temperature. this here is Helianthus ‘Velvet Queen.’ i like the contrast its petals make against the blue trellis, painted in rustoleum’s ‘night tide.’
the Scadoxus (blood lily) firework show wasn’t as impressive as i’d hope this spring, as many of the bulbs sent up their foliage first, indicating they wouldn’t flower. perhaps i need to cut the flower heads off sooner, so their bulbs can get all the energy they need for next year’s blooms. puma, you’ve got some work to do. get to it.
while admiring the lone blood lily, i came across a serpentine garden visitor, who must appreciate the cool shade of Sisyrinchium (blue-eyed grass) and ornamental kale. not sure what kind of snake this is, perhaps a texas brown snake, Storeria dekayi texana? if so, s/he is completely harmless and “a gardener’s friend.” carry on my friend.
up front, the Eupatoriadelphus purpureus (joe pye weed) is just starting to flower, surrounded by the ever blooming Knock Out rose. in front of it, Punica granatum ‘Red Silk,’ is preparing one hell of a pomegranate harvest. cheers to that!
the ‘Belinda’s Dream’ rose, while small from its spring planting as a six-inch pot, is already loaded with full, geometric blooms. quite pretty up close.
another cooling color combo is Salvia x fruiticosa ‘Newe Ya’ar’ (silver leaf sage) and Salvia guaranitica ‘Black & Blue.’ i was surprised that ‘Black & Blue’ came back on it’s own from last year’s annual planting. perhaps the nearby shrubby mound of
evergreen eversilver ‘Newe Ya’ar’ protected it though winter.
while also cool in color, the garlic scapes are turning out to provide their own delectable heat. these bulbils came from the fourth garlic harvest of the year, and we enjoyed them and a few of their cloves with dinner last night. needless to say, fresh garden grown garlic is THE BEST! i can still taste the fire on the back of my tongue… more garlic coverage to follow.
happy belated bloom day everyone. go see what other garden bloggers are up to over at may dreams gardens. next month we’re meeting up in seattle for the garden blogger’s fling… and i’m very much looking forward it.
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gbbd greetings from michigan! I’m writing this from the road and testing the WordPress app on my phone. Looks like the first blooms of the year are just emerging around here… and lucky me, I get two springs this year!
Happy bloom day!
amidst the crazy, incredulous and scary things going on these days, nature keeps sending us promises:
see hundreds of other bloom day offerings at may dreams gardens.