Last Sunday the thermometer climbed to the high 80's. It was sunny, breezy, and it felt great to be outside. Ange and I didn't think we'd have many more days like this to complete our "To Do List" before winter weather arrives. So we loaded up our SUV with some heavy-duty garbage bags and shovels and drove to the riding stable down the road. Yep...time to get horse manure. Our neighbors always welcome us to take the manure away and we are happy to get it. Each spring I amend the garden soil with a mix of peat moss and the dried horse manure. The daylilies love it!
Usually when Ange and I gather manure, the horses are all over us wanting some love (or more likely, treats). It's sometimes difficult to shovel unless one of us lures the horses away with grass. This year, for the first time ever, none of the horses were even remotely interested in what we were doing. That is, once they realized we didn't have any food for them. It was easy going -- in no time we had multiple bags filled. We always look for the driest manure available, so it's light for us to shovel and much of the decomposition has already taken place. Once home, we re-filled our vinyl garbage containers with manure, ready-to-go for next spring. Done! Cross that off the list.
Trivia: A 1,000-pound horse produces approximately 40-50 pounds of manure every day. That translates to about eight and a half tons per year! Add bedding to this and the amount of stable waste only grows.
Did my good friend Sandy get tired of me complaining about mums? Probably. I was almost ready to give up on the darn things because they never made it through our winters. I made up my mind that I'd just call them annuals and leave it at that. But one fall, Sandy came over and brought with her a mum division in an ice cream pail. She handed it to me and said, very confidently, "Try this one; it won't die." Well, how right she was! This mum has been growing in my garden ever since, coming up year-after-year. It is seriously 3 feet high and 3-4 feet wide. A monster! Each season it looks prettier than the year before.
This showy pink mum helped me regain my faith in mums. I have since found about 5-6 other varieties that grow reliably and don't seem to mind the crazy climate here in Wisconsin. Thanks Sandy! No more complaining :)
Even though the thermometer dipped into the high 30's a few mornings this week, "First Knight" persisted and continued to re-bloom into October. There are still a couple of buds left on the plant; if the weather cooperates over the next few days, I'll hopefully see them. This Salter daylily has always been a very reliable re-bloomer in my garden.
When I saw First Knight growing in my friend Roger's garden, I had to have it! The flowers have a thick, waxy texture that makes them impervious to sun, wind, rain, whatever. The morning blooms looks quite yellow, but by afternoon they have more of a cream appearance -- and look beautiful both ways. This photo was taken last Sunday, September 27th about 6 pm. My plant grows about 26" tall and has 6" diamond-dusted blooms that are also fragrant.
In 2000, First Knight received an Honorable Mention Award. This is the first official "stamp of approval" by the American Hemerocallis Society where good daylily performance goes beyond the local or regional level. All told, I've had about 8 weeks of bloom from First Knight this season. Love this plant!
if it's about
my backyard and garden, I LOVE to talk about it!