Thursday, July 30, 2009

Moon Vine Asserts Itself

Apparently not happy to leave interaction with the Joe Pye Weed to the Morning Glory that shares its climbing stalks, the Moon Vine is now also firmly making its presence known. Joe Pye, BTW, is doing very well this year. Having suffered from the drought the past two years, its blooms are abundant and vibrant this summer, its leaves are green, and it's about 5 feet tall. The Moon Vine looked a bit tattered when I took its picture this morning -- rain and snails are no doubt responsible for that.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Morning Glory & Joe Pye Weed in Mid-Summer Garden

The Morning Glory started out climbing up a set of poles that were already accommodating a Moon Vine. I thought it would be an interesting combination -- the white Moon Vine and the blue Morning Glory. "Mother Nature" dictated otherwise. First of all, the Morning Glory was a pinkish lavender, and then it turns out that it likes its other neighbor, the Joe Pye Weed, more than it likes the Moon Vine. It must be the color attraction!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lanier Community Gardens

My favorite picture of the garden on July 20, 2009. This morning, did it open?

Community Gardening

Community Gardening is all the rage everywhere in the country - and a good thing, too!

Last night, I visited the Lanier Community Gardens in Buford, and attended a presentation by Patty Golden, about fall vegetables -- lessons I intend to apply to my own garden, starting in just a few weeks. Lesson # 1: it's currently too hot and too dry to seed beans, peas, cauliflower and other vegetables directly into the garden; better to start them in pots/trays in a shaded area and transplant them into the garden when the temperature cools a bit and we've had some rain again.

The photograph is a collage of about a dozen pictures I took last night of the many 20x20 plots that comprise the garden, where vegetables and flowers happily grow together. Lanier, Patty told us, is the first community garden established on Gwinnett County property. Much in the news lately have been plans of the City of Suwanee to start a community garden. A representative from that community was in last night's audience; she told me they have received 88 applications for plots -- a clear indication of the popularity of community gardening.

Kudos to all who participate!


This is 'Robert Poore' (bottom picture) - very pretty, has been in my garden for about 3 years. Two other varieties have been added more recently. In the center is a tall Phlox I purchased from Carolina Wild at a garden expo last year, and the top picture is of a shorter Phlox that came from somewhere else [I've got to keep better notes . . . ., but at least I planted the shorter one closer to the front of the border than the taller ones . . . :-)]. Each has a slightly different color and each complements the other two very well.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thwarted Plan, Good Outcome

Even though I am not fond of "rules" when it comes to gardening, I do recognize that having a plan before one starts planting is a very good idea. I did have a plan last March. I had some empty space between a gorgeous Rose of Sharon and a field of mint, and decided to put some Shasta Daisy, Rudbeckia and Coreopsis there.

So far, so good - the planting went well.

The idea, in March, was that the daisies, with their white flowers and golden centers would nicely complement the all-yellow Coreopsis and the yellow flowers with brown/black centers of the Rudbeckia.

Two things went wrong.

First, the rabbits ate the Coreopsis. And I mean DEVOUR! There was in a short space in time nothing left of them - no trace even that they had ever existed.

Second, I had not bothered to look at the blooming calendar, so it completely escaped me that the Shasta Daisy blooms in May (they were spectacular!) and the Rudbeckia blooms in July. Oh, well!

In any event, the Rose of Sharon is in bloom now also and if I may say so . . . it and the Rudbeckia look good together, with the Lamb's Ear in the picture also.

So, the moral of this story is . . . . gardening is fun -- missteps and all -- and if you get too serious about it, it's probably a good time to look for something else to do.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"THE" Hydrangea of the decade?

"Dr. A" (Allan M. Armitage, Ph.D.) was waxing poetic about the Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' this morning at the Open House at the UGA trial gardens, and for good reason; it is a gorgeous plant, it grows in the sun (hurrah!) and it blooms profusely. What's not to like?

Oh, those orange things? Visitors to the gardens this morning were all given three small plastic flags, to stick in the plants we liked the best. Dr. A and his students will count the flags (probably more than 300 by the time the Open House ended), making note of which plans received the most, and this will become the topic of a speech he is to give in Ohio on Wednesday. Perhaps he will also blog about it.

My three flags went to the Petunia 'Easy Wave Burgundy Star', the Begonia 'Solenia Salmon Coral' (I noticed that the 'Apricot' variety had received more), and a small tree labeled "Osmothamus", that had a pine-like appearance and was topped by white flowers reminiscent of a Yarrow (Yarrow having become pretty much my favorite perennial this year). It may well have been the only vote (flag) the poor thing got!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Black Widow

Do you have Black Widow spiders in your garden? I do, and have had for years. They live their lives and I live mine and I hope "the twain shall never meet" . . .

This one spun a web between a dish garden and two containers on my patio, all of which have overhanging edges; I think she spends most of her time under the 'lip' of the dish garden. She startled me, the first morning I saw her, but since then I have to tease her a bit from time to time. Early in the morning, when I am outside to size up my garden (wondering what the rabbits and the snails have attacked the previous night), I sprinkle a drop of water on her web and she comes out, thinking (that is, if spiders "think" . . .), I suppose, that a prey has shown up. The other morning, I was quick enough to take her picture before, disappointed, she went into hiding again.

Judging by the carcases on the pavement, she is not missing many meals.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cleome - Third Time's the Charm

After my first two efforts to have Cleome in my landscape ended in failure, I swore I would not give this plant another chance. But, Miriam Park Gruwell convinced me otherwise, so here we are again - and so far, so good! Seed pods are already forming and I am going to collect the seeds for next year. If that works, Cleome may become a permanent feature in my garden. Who knew? I may have to amend my habit of giving a plant two chances in my garden, but not a third.

Cleome, also called Spider Flower, attracts hummingbirds and is a tough plant that, I have been told, tolerates hot, dry weather (but I am suspicious that it was the drought of 2007 and 2008 that led to the failures I experienced) - of which we have had plenty since early June. This year, outdoor watering restrictions have been relaxed, and that, perhaps, has done the trick for the Cleome in my garden!

Canna - Beyond Gas Stations and Trailer Parks

A well-known Southern gardener is font of telling the story of her experience with Canna lilies. When she first expressed an interest in them, she was discouraged by people who told her that "they only grown at gas stations and in trailer parks". She did not listen to them, and neither am I. Who would not be impressed by such a stately plant, with such a beautiful flower.

Happily, it seems that Cannas have become quite popular in recent years. Even at the Hoschton Farmers' Market, where garden plants have, the past two months, generally sold for $3 or less, the Cannas demand a price of $10 or more.

If you don't have at least one in your garden already, make a plan to add one next year.

Plants in Containers

This year, many of my plants are doing better in pots on the patio than in my landscape. Of a new Lavender, I put two in a border, which are doing poorly, and one in a pot (front, left center), which is doing very well. Ditto the common Salvia (annual), whose red spikes have almost disappeared from my landscape (too many hungry snails!). Also in this picture, starting to the left of the Lavender, Creeping Jenny, a/k/a Moneywort, Parsley, Alternanthera Gail's Choice, Coneflower, with a large Sedum behind it, Alberta Spruce and a brand new tomato, not yet on the market: "Tomaccio". Look for it next year.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Moon Vine

A purchase from the Hoschton Farmers' Market, about two months ago, this Moon Vine is happy to have some stalks for support. A Morning Glory is climbing up on the other side, but has not yet bloomed.

I've also just changed the blog title's background, to show off the Lavender (being visited by a bee) and an unnamed Daylily now blooming in my garden. The 90+ degree weather of the past few weeks has not been good for any of my plants, but overall, since we have more relaxed watering restrictions this year than we had in 2008, no complaints!