Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June." - L. M. Montgomery

Pink was the color of my mid-June garden.

I buy these and move them around trying to find a site they like.  My soil is gummy clay and they don't care for it overwinter.  This year I've put them on a slope hoping the drainage will be better. 

Lots of clematis blooming.

Heirloom rose Paul Neyron.  Love the big, pink cabbages.

More of Griffin Buck's Country Dancer

First bloom on hybrid tea Nearly Wild.

Another first bloom on hybrid tea Double Delight.  This rose is the most delicious strawberries and cream color.  The sun causes the blooms to redden so the longer the bloom remains on the plant, the darker it becomes.

This spring Max Frei began blooming early in May and shows no sign of stopping.  It is the most well behaved geranium, making a neat mound and covering itself in bloom.  

Tempest is obsessed with hunting chipmunks in the flower beds.  He catches field mice but the chipmunks and squirrels have eluded him so far.  I've lost several garden plants to frantic chipmunk chases.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer. ~ Paula Poundstone

On Saturday mornings we lay on the flower garden bedspread and watch Cesar Millan on TV.  It's currently our favorite show, comedy, drama, action, adventure, and a handsome cast of four legged characters.  There is always a happy ending, we can't ask for more than that. 

Cats are the ultimate narcissists. You can tell this because of all the time they spend on personal grooming. Dogs aren't like this. A dog's idea of personal grooming is to roll on a dead fish. ~James Gorman


Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. ~Jeff Valdez

A friend gave me these campanula.  She says they spread quickly.  I hope that's a good thing:)

My feathered garden insecticide.

Little brown jugs how I love thee.

My start came from my father's garden.  This Canadian ginger is happy growing in dark, dry places where other  plants have failed me. There are many varieties, the American ginger has smaller leaves and the growth is not as dense.  It would be nice to add the American variety to my garden but I can't find it locally.  The Japanese have ginger societies like we have hosta societies here.  

My Japanese tree lilac is a magnate for pollinating insects.  All those  dark specks are some type of pollinating bee or wasp.  Sometimes, butterflies will also visit the blooms and in the winter, cardinals eat the seeds.  The fragrance is intense, I like it although some people don't.  This tree is just outside my bedroom window so the fragrance perfumes the bedroom on June evenings.

The house plants have been sent to summer camp.  Some are complaining about all the rain but that's summer camp for you, you just have to rough it no matter what.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

For most of the history of our species we were helpless to understand how nature works. We took every storm, drought, illness and comet personally. We created myths and spirits in an attempt to explain the patterns of nature. ~ Ann Druyan

The peonies follow the iris and usually mark the Memorial Day weekend.  This year they are  over
two weeks late.  The cool weather has thrown them off their schedule.  Usually we have a doozy of a storm including hail and strong winds just as the peonies open.  Again the pattern is broken because the rains have been gentle and without hail.  It’s never good luck to criticize mother nature but it’s been especially pleasant this year not to find the newly opened peonies beaten to the ground and covered with mud.

The backdoor garden has a pasture fence for a backdrop.

June is Rose Month

Griffin Buck's Country Dancer is, in my opinion, one of the finest roses for the upper midwest.  Absolutely hardy with no cane damage from our sub zero winters.  CD doesn't seem to suffer from blackspot or other fungal diseases.  This year it's a 7 foot tall climber completely covered in pink roses.  Most years it doesn't get this tall but it has outdone itself this spring.

Once we start deliberately messing with the climate systems, we could inadvertently shift rainfall patterns (climate models have shown that rainfall in the Amazon might be particularly vulnerable), causing collapse of ecosystems, drought, famine, and more.
Jeff Goodell

Above is an heirloom gallica rose.  Absolutely winter hardy and disease free, but gallicas have the annoying habit of suckering all over the garden.  It would be best controlled with a lawn mower.  They have no disease and no fragrance but they do have that wonderful cabbage rose shape.  

Below is a Meidiland shrub rose bred to be a groundcover.  I couldn't dedicate enough real estate to this rose to make it groundcover so it's now a climber.  It suffers a lot of winter dieback but regains size quickly.  No disease.

Pretty poppy seedpods.

Below two petunias that caught my eye this week while shopping for a garden hose.  

The first one is a PW hybrid Pretty Much Picasso.  I think it's the cutest thing.  There is some discussion about the smell of this petunia and  while potting it I did  search for the source of the smell with pooper scooper in hand.  Then I read the comments on Dave's Garden.  It seems to only be offensive on hot, sunny days.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A garden is the place millions of people go to touch the earth, to smell flowers - to use some of that fabled human brainpower in the cause of better participating with natural processes in the place they call home. It serves as an art project, an organic produce market, a spiritual practice, a pharmacy. It offers ongoing lessons in ecology, biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology. Gardening imparts an organic perspective on the passage of time. It bestows on its practitioners a genuine sense of admiration for the plants, the soil, the sun, the water. - Jim Nollman

Northern Illinois has been in some degree of drought for several years.  Of the last ten years, three have been severe droughts.  My garden is changing.  Except for new plants and transplants, I don't water.  I've lost some plants but most survive.  Empty spots are now being filled with prairie plants or drought tolerant plants.  Annuals in pots do get watered and tomatoes are pampered but the rest of the garden must adjust to a natural water supply.  These drought years have been very stressful for me, I worry about loosing trees and shrubs as well as garden perennials.  The garden looked dry and sear most summers.  Now I realize we all must adjust to the "new" weather patterns.  Some states, California to name the worst, are running out of water to drink.  Things might get much worse for all of us.  

Now comes the spring of 2015 which is bringing a much improved rain pattern.   It's been many years since  we've had a wetter or a cooler spring.     The garden and I love this weather.  The forecasters say we may have an  El Nino in the making to thank for this, so bless you little child and please come back often.

I have a lot of blue in my garden right now.  

A garden isn't meant to be useful.  It's for joy.-   Rumer Godden

 Replaced some Penstemon lost to  drought or a bitter cold winter.

Basket of annuals with a halo of sun behind.

Spent the day mulching, transplanting and potting annuals.  Took a break and sat during a brief moment of sunshine between the gathering storm clouds. I watch the birds.  Always busy moving, gathering, defending, building. Do you ever wonder if they are happy or just going about their lives on a pre-programed auto pilot.  We will never know if  they are enjoying the spring as much as we are. 

We've been blessed with more rain than usual this spring.  Beautiful storm clouds roll across the field  just north of the house.