The iconic Stonehenge either speaks to you or it doesn't. I thought it was awesome -- very eerie and mystical. I enjoyed walking around the perimeter and seeing Stonehenge from all the different vantage points. It has a history dating back 4,500 years! You can't help but wonder what stories these stones could tell over all those years.
Read more about Stonehenge: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/
What better time than February to reminisce about last summer. Looking outside today, these photos hardly seem real! So far this winter we haven't had all that much snow in western Wisconsin (not complaining--just stating a fact). In 2019 our bloom season was a bit shorter than usual because of the excessively cold spring weather and the sudden 85 degree temperatures that followed. Nonetheless, the daylilies did quite well with the abundant rain we had.
Last year's photos will keep me going for the next couple of months as I dream about the upcoming 2020 daylily bloom season.
Daylilies pictured: 'New Series,' 'Firestorm,' 'Heavenly Curls,' ' Patty in Pinstripes,' 'Lotus Position,' 'Shores of Time,' 'Sharky's Revenge,' 'Frances Joiner'
'Heavenly Flight of Angels' is a bit of an oddity in my garden. A good oddity of course! It's always fun to discover the unusual blooms this spider puts out. Every seven-inch flower looks just a little different. Hybridized in 2003 by Jamie Gossard (Ohio), this semi-evergreen diploid grows 39" tall and has a crisp vibrant yellow and lime-green color with white edging. It really stands out in the landscape.
This beautiful daylily is a 2007 award winner (American Daylily Society Honorable Mention). Bloom time in my Wisconsin garden in 2019 was from July 11 thorough August 16. If you want unique, this daylily is a perfect choice.
I'm often glad I live out in the country, because I'd be the first to admit that I can get very distracted while outside gardening. I sometimes find myself just sitting still with my eyes closed so I can hear the birds, feel the wind in my hair, or enjoy the warm sun on my face. If I had close neighbors they'd probably wonder what I was doing.
Weeding, after all, is not the most rewarding garden activity. I can easily be distracted from weeding -- fill that bunny hole, stomp down that mole tunnel, remove the Japanese beetles from my plants, or run to get my camera or phone to capture that perfect photo I can visualize. Some days (or should I say most days) weeding can take way longer than expected.
But I don't think that's a bad thing; it's all part of what we enjoy about the garden experience. And on a positive note...it's great for your well-being.
Pictured: Daylily 'Grey Witch'
If you talk, sing, or play music to your plants, will they respond? Does it help them grow?
I read an interesting article "The Intelligent Plant" written by Michael Pollan and published in The New Yorker. According to the article, plants have the ability to sense and react to the world. For instance, when plants were played a recording of a caterpillar chewing on a leaf, they reacted by secreting a defensive chemical, just as though they were threatened. Pollan also states that plants can sense gravity, the presence of water, and can adjust/shift the direction of growing roots when it senses there is an obstruction (a rock, perhaps).
The Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters explored the possibility that plants respond to sound and/or speech. They set up seven greenhouses, four of which were equipped with stereos playing looped recordings. Two were of negative speech, while two were of positive speech. The fifth greenhouse had classical music playing, while the sixth had heavy death metal. A seventh greenhouse, set up as the control, had no music. The team found that the plants in the four greenhouses with recordings grew faster than the control plants with no music, but the plants in the greenhouses with music grew even faster than the negative and positive speech. Surprisingly, the plants in the greenhouse exposed to heavy death metal music grew the best of all!
Bottom line: Talk and sing to your plants; complain, yell, and scream...just don't give them the silent treatment.
New Yorker article "The Intelligent Plant"
Discovery Mythbusters (Episode #23 aired November 15, 2004)
Pictured: Daylily 'Black Falcon Ritual'
Wow...this year whipped by! Time for me to reminisce about a few of the little things that made up 2019.
Pictured: Homage to one of my favorite 'Life is Good' tee-shirts
Recently I passed by a home that had a ginormous resin cow in the front yard. The homeowner had tied a chain around the cow and wrapped the chain around a tree trunk with a padlock. Cows are big here in Wisconsin! This is yard art at its best!
You've all seen yard whimsy gone wild, yes? It's that yard that has one too many flamingos and somehow crosses the invisible line between tasteful and tacky. It stops you in your tracks to gape at in disbelief. Thoughts I ponder when I see yard whimsy gone wild:
Daylilies never fail to amaze me with all the different types of shapes, colors and sizes that are available. There is truly a daylily for everyone, no matter what your likes and dislikes are. Hybridizers are continually coming up with many unique cultivars as each year passes. Lately, I am particularly fascinated with the striped and spotted daylilies that are becoming popular. Hello wish list...
Pictured are just a few of the variations that grow in my garden.
'Jen Melon' is one of my favorite old-school daylilies that is hardy and fuss-free. I got this melon-yellow daylily as a freebie when I bought another plant, and to be honest I actually liked Jen Melon better than the plant I purchased! This dormant diploid was hybridized in 1987 by Oakes Daylilies in Tennessee. Although registered at 26," my plant grows 32" tall. The thick, waxy blooms are consistently 7" in size and hold up wonderfully in any kind of weather. A midseason-late bloomer, Jen Melon bloomed from July 19 through August 21 in my garden.
This pretty is also an American Daylily Society 2018 Honorable Mention award winner. This award is the first official 'stamp of approval' where good performance goes beyond the regional level.
In Ireland, the people were so friendly and welcoming wherever we went. In addition to traveling through the lush, emerald-green countryside, we visited Waterford, Ireland's oldest city, where the Vikings played a prominent role (see the photo of a restored Viking ship), Jerpoint Park where we saw 12th Century remains from the Lost Town of Newtown Jerpoint, Kilkenny Castle (built in 1195), and the capital and largest city, Dublin.
Everyone told us that the Guinness Storehouse was the place to go in Dublin. That's me relaxing in the Gravity Bar with a 360 degree view of Dublin in the background. The displays on the various floors of the Storehouse were cutting-edge and thoroughly engaged all of your senses. The clock photo below is just one example.
The Glasnevin Cemetery tour in Dublin was surprisingly one of my favorites. The cemetery is 124 acres in size with 1.5 million interments. Our guide was a knowledgeable, animated high school history teacher whose love of Irish history was infectious. It was mind-boggling to see literally thousands and thousands of beautiful, intricately crafted monuments from centuries past. There were cherubs, angels, statues, and Celtic designs for as far as you could see. Just wow...
And what would a trip to Ireland be like without hearing traditional Irish music and watching Irish dancing? We spent an entertaining evening at the Merry Ploughboy Pub in Dublin -- a great time with wonderful music, dancing, and delicious food and drink.
Every season I seem to have one daylily that goes above and beyond in performance with re-bloom and length of bloom. In 2019 it was "Time Stopper." This beauty grew to a height taller than I had ever seen before (58") and it bloomed the longest of any daylily in my garden. Bloom started on June 15 and continued through September 15. Perhaps it was all that rain we had! Time Stopper is a hardy, reliable plant that grows vigorously in a northern climate without any special fuss or care.
To read more about this cultivar's attributes, I previously posted a profile of Time Stopper in 2017:
Most of my 2019 gardening season was spent downsizing. Although these daylilies were hard for me to give up, they now have new homes with friends and family, and I can still visit them. And just so you know, I still have way more daylilies than any one person needs.
The first photo is 'Lies and Lipstick.' The other photos are in alphabetical order: 'Bluegrass Music,' 'Bordeaux Beauty,' 'Dipped in Ink,' 'Dragon's Eye,' 'Double Charm,' 'Elizabeth Salter,' 'Gentle Shepherd,' 'Grecian Gown,' 'Greedy Governor,' 'Heavenly Beginnings,' 'Heaven's Pride,' 'Larry Grace,' 'Lies and Lipstick,' 'May May,' 'Mexican Magic,' 'Miss Jessie,' 'Patty in Pinstripes,' 'Siloam Double Classic,' 'Star of Fantasy,' 'Startle,' 'Wayne Felgar,' and 'Will Return.'
Cardiff is a seaside city in southeast Wales in the UK. Not only is Cardiff the largest city, but it is also the capital of Wales. Several building construction projects were going on in Cardiff during my visit, so the cityscape is in flux.
I had never eaten breakfast in a castle -- well, cross that off my list! I enjoyed a traditional Welsh breakfast in Cardiff Castle while listening to melodic harp and guitar music in addition to Welsh folk songs. I also toured the medieval Gothic Cardiff Castle complex that was built in the 11th century. My second photo shows the 'arrow-loops' or 'arrow-slits' in the castle. They are narrow openings or crosses set inside walls and towers enabling defenders to launch arrows at potential invaders or attackers. It's hard to wrap your head around that concept in 2019...
Cardiff Castle is rented out for parties, weddings and even as a filming location, in addition to the tour revenue. This helps defray the cost of castle upkeep. So I guess you'd call it a "working" castle.
The last photo is of the Cardiff waterfront. While at Cardiff Bay I also saw the Senedd - the National Assembly for Wales, the Wales Millennium Centre, and the Pierhead Building. A carnival was in full-swing at the waterfront, so there was music and activity well into the evening.
'Tantra Boogie' is a rock star! This cultivar is tall, tough, consistent, prolific, and the blooms are girly, twirly, and gorgeous. Wisconsin-bred, this dormant tetraploid daylily thrives in crazy weather extremes. Hybridized by Linda Ball (2010), Tantra Boogie bloomed non-stop last summer in my garden from July 15 to August 14. Tantra is an unusual form-crispate that grows 40" tall and the blooms are between 5-1/2" to 6" in size. During peak season it puts on quite a show. So if you want a fuss-free northern plant Tantra Boogie fills the bill. Plant it anywhere, ignore it, and this is what you get.
Are there any other gardeners out there that dislike black walnut trees as much as I do? We have cut down quite a few black walnut trees on our own property, but are still surrounded by many more of them. Every fall the trees drop black walnuts in our yard and on the road in front of our house. You can hear the loud 'pop, pop, pop, pop' of the shells being crushed as the cars drive over them. It sometimes sounds like a machine gun!
Black Walnut Positives:
Black Walnut Negatives:
Fall transplanting came to an abrupt halt with this weekend's 31 degree weather, harsh winds and snow/rain. I had planned to move a few more daylilies, but I guess at this point I'll call it good for the season. Realistically, this kind of October weather is not uncommon in Wisconsin.
Transplanting this fall was quite a bit easier because I used a new transplanting helper tool that Ange fashioned out of a 4"x4" piece of wood. This tool was especially effective when digging my larger plants to make them easier to handle. If you've ever dug out huge daylily clumps, you know how heavy and unruly they can be!
You can do this by yourself, but it is much easier with two people. When digging out a huge daylily clump with your shovel, you can raise the plant up and wedge this wooden tool underneath the root ball so it is easy to use a claw tool to remove the excess dirt. You can clean the root ball off completely by wedging the tool on all sides the plant. The plant will be considerably lighter, especially if the ground is heavy with moisture after a rainfall. Then the plant is easy to re-locate or move to the dividing table. I'll take any help I can get to make this (sometimes) strenuous job easier.
Pictured: The daylily being transplanted in these photos is 'Woman's Scorn.'
I usually hype annuals and perennials that I like, but today I want to talk about an annual that I think was an epic fail -- Red Double Wave Petunias. I expected that they would bloom profusely like the regular Wave Petunias that I love. Uh...no, far from it! After giving them three months to do something, the Red Double Wave Petunias were dug out and disposed of. Marigolds were planted in their place that are happy, blooming like crazy, and look 100% nicer.
I'm sharing this so you don't have to experience the extreme disappointment that I did. And just so you know, it wasn't only me. My good friend, an avid gardener, also bought these annuals and felt exactly the same way I did. She disposed of her Double Waves as well. Simply put, we would never purchase these again. In fact, we don't want them even if they were free!
if it's about
my backyard and garden, I LOVE to talk about it!