Last year on July 2nd I already had 74 daylilies blooming in my garden. Today there are only 16. Huge disparity! I know the calendar says it's summer, but the cold spring weather has really slowed things down. There may not be many daylilies showing their faces, but here are some photos of what is blooming in my yard right now.
Pictured: Asiatic lily 'Centerfold', Hosta 'Inniswood' (love the crepe texture on the leaves!), Annual double pink and white petunias, Orange Asiatic lily 'Tiny Skyline', Gold/Brown Rudbeckia (NoID), Asiatic lily 'Pink Pixie', Asiatic lily 'Mapira', Asiatic Lily 'Peach' (NoID), Asiatic lily 'Adelina', Clematis 'Jackmanii', Martha's Pink Astilbe (NoID), and a token daylily (one of the 16 that are blooming) 'Eyes on the Prize'.
'Bluegrass Music' is a relatively recent arrival to my garden, but I've grown it long enough to know that it's staying! This daylily is a great performer and each bloom looks exactly like this photo. I have it planted in a terraced rock area where it enjoys a southern exposure. In 2016 it started blooming on June 21st, but bloom will be considerably later this year due to the cool weather we've had this spring. (It was only 48 degrees this morning! Where's my winter coat?)
Bluegrass Music is a Grace-Smith daylily, introduced in 2005. It is a semi-evergreen tetraploid that grows 28 inches tall. Bluegrass Music won an Honorable Mention award in 2010. This award acknowledges performance that goes beyond the local or regional level. Although the flowers are only four inches in size, the amount of blooms it produces (bud count=26-30) provides a beautiful display.
June is full of anticipation and impatience for me. I feel like a little child waiting for Christmas to come. Countless daylily scapes have appeared, and after a year of being patient I'm looking forward to bloom time. My job right now is to spray deer repellent so the scapes remain in existence. And wait...
Pictured: 'Schnickel Fritz' on June 16th with no less than 30 scapes ready-to-go; I counted.
Not what you thought, right? My garden vogue is certainly not haute couture. It is utilitarian attire that makes gardening easier for me.
The gnats have been swarming like crazy lately. You can see clouds of them in the air. If you've ever had a mouthful of gnats or had them fly up your nose, this netted cap may not be as funny as you think! Mosquitoes can also be nasty on hot and humid evenings. Laugh if you will, but guess what? I no longer care what anyone thinks. (Although I must admit that 20 years ago I wouldn't have been caught dead in this hat!) Ultimately, bugs NOT in my mouth = happy.
Netted hats come in quite a wide variety of styles. They can cost anywhere from $1.50 to about $40.00. Mine is the penny-pinching $3.95 variety. It does the job, and keeps all those extra calories out of my mouth. A must-have.
Note: I also use 'Buggins,' a plant-based gnat repellent spray that you can pick up just about anywhere for about $5.00. It is safe to use on children ages one year and older. Buggins smells good too.
I've been kind of obsessed with lupines lately. And there is (of course) a story:
At my office, Vonnie is the resident plant whisperer. She has this mystical ability to convince ANY plant to grow and thrive, be it inside or out. She created a perennial garden by the front office entrance to greet visitors with bright colors and greenery. In this garden Vonnie planted some beautiful hybrid lupines. I have watched these plants grow and bloom like crazy. One of them has blooms that remind me of candy corn! If the spent blooms are cut off, they keep on blooming for well over a month. Lupines do not like hot temperatures and grow best in northern climates. They are toxic if ingested and may cause some discomfort, but I seriously doubt that any office visitors will feel the need to eat these beauties. Lupines do best in soil that is not amended and, well, kind of crappy. Isn't that every gardener's dream? Another plus is the early bloom in a spring garden where not much else is going on.
Lupines have never been on my radar -- until now. I decided that I *needed* a hybrid lupine of my own. So over lunch hour last week, I bought one to try out. I went with the two-tone lemon variety named 'Gallery Yellow.' And I may have to (gasp) move a daylily for it to have a spot.
In addition to the beautiful hybrid lupines, there are also wild lupines. Every year in Mercer, Wisconsin there is an annual Lupine Junefest to celebrate the lupine bloom. Mercer is in northern Wisconsin - not too far from the upper peninsula of Michigan. I know about this Festival only because I have friends who rented a cabin to go fishing in Mercer during that time. Here is a photo they took last year at a random roadside with an iPhone. They said that many roadsides in the vicinity of Mercer look just like this -- lupines as far as you can see. Amazing!
The tall irises have finally started blooming in Wisconsin. A few years back I made a trade for an iris I wanted badly (Batik - shown in the background). Much to my surprise, in the middle of the now established clump, a completely different white iris with purple edging popped up. Note how unusual the top view is. It is gorgeous; a definite keeper. Life can surprise you in small and unexpected ways. So call me grateful!
Tulips never fare well in my garden. Between the deer, rabbits, and moles I don't see much of them. So I have developed a bad case of tulip-envy. And I have *extreme* tulip-envy for my friend Mary's flowers. She puts me to shame. Every year she grows the most gorgeous bounty of tulip varieties. She has dozens of varieties so blooms last for well over a month. This year I talked Mary into sharing a few of her tulip photos so you could enjoy them too. These photos are just a small sampling of what grows in her yard - more or less a snapshot of what was blooming last week.
Mary's tulips were purchased on a budget, quite inexpensively; most of them from big-box stores. She was very pleased with her bang-for-the-buck. From year-to-year she fertilizes her tulips with bulb booster granules to keep them blooming robustly.
These Pasque flowers grow happily in my front garden. They are a harbinger of spring and begin blooming early -- at the same time as my daffodils. Attractive fuzzy heads of seeds follow, so these flowers continue to look good for many weeks. The fuzzies on the plant help insulate it. Like tulips, Pasque flowers close up towards evening, so I posted an open and closed photo. Also note: Deer will not touch these.
Pasque flower is a tundra plant that grows in the northwestern U.S. all the way to northern Alaska. In fact, it has been the state flower of South Dakota since 1903, where it grows wild. Pasque flowers were used as a medicine by native Americans for centuries.
The plants propagate by reseeding themselves. Every spring I find mini-Pasque flowers growing in locations that I didn't plant it, but by no means is it invasive. The new plants are random and few. It grows about 8-12" tall in my yard. Pasque flowers are ideal for sunny rock gardens, crevice gardens, and any spot that is very well drained. I got my original plant from my friend Sally many years ago and continue to enjoy it every April and May.
Since yesterday was Earth Day, I thought I'd share some summer scenes.
Daylilies pictured: "Persian Ruby," "Lady Neva," "Coral Majority," and "House of Orange"; Zinnia: "Profusion Orange"; and Echinacea: "Pink Double Delight"
Our annual dump truck delivery of mulch arrived earlier in the week. Years ago when we were 'mulching rookies,' we had free mulch dumped at our house from the local township. Free is always good, but the mulch was quite chunky and there were often many large branches, and hunks of wood in it. Once there was even a shredded up shoe! We ended up spending quite a bit of time separating the usable mulch from the unusable mulch. Time is money, right? The amount we pay for our mulch is worth every penny. We always order 'natural' and make sure it is double-ground. Going through the shredder twice makes it fluffy and easy to handle. Now, as I weed I can immediately apply the mulch. I like to put down at least 4" on my flower beds.
Reasons I like mulch:
Time to get busy...the weeds are calling.
Road trip! And you can probably tell from the first photo what I liked the best. Ange and I drove down Highway 33 towards Ontario, WI, right through Amish country. I bet we passed by 20-30 Amish farms. It was a gorgeous spring day and many farmers and horses were out plowing the fields. Quite a few carriages were on the highway, as well.
Our destination was Trail's End, which is an Amish-owned salvage yard and farm. (I have heard it referred to as "the Amish Wal-Mart.") It is located a mile or two before you get to Ontario on Little Ridge Road. Ange and I were looking for some cast iron antique parts to re-purpose a TV stand. Upon arrival we were overwhelmed with the sheer volume of STUFF. And it was everywhere. We literally didn't know which way to go first. There were even semi trailers parked in the fields that were filled with junk! Believe me when I say we have never seen *anything* quite like this.
I asked the Amish gentleman who owns the place where all the stuff came from. He said he has friends who just drop the junk off when they no longer need it. It's a win-win. His friends get rid of their junk and he sells it. And sell it he does...there was a steady stream of buyers. We came home with the back of our SUV filled with salvage. Ange's 'To-Do' list just grew larger.
What a great place to find antique whimsy for your flower garden! There were dozens of plows, milk cans, cider presses, sausage stuffers, pulleys, planters, an assortment of wheels, and every garden tool under the sun. I bought an antique cast iron 'rotary tiller sunflower spike wheel' (pictured) to put in my daylily garden. Ange is going to mount it on a cast-iron pole for me. We thought the prices were very reasonable.
Ange and I enjoyed four hours of unadulterated FUN climbing over piles and piles of junk and making discoveries. Even after four hours, we didn't see it all. I'm confident in saying that we'll be going back in the future!
I may be just one person, who grows just one garden, but my chemical-free yard does make a difference.
My flower garden:
Pictured: A tiny visitor sitting on a day-old bloom of 'Techny Peace'
Last fall I transplanted this gorgeous daylily to my backyard so I could appreciate it up close. "Pursuit of Pleasure" will provide you with an 'oooh-ahhh' moment every time you see it. Orange has always been one of my favorite daylily colors (except roadside orange, that is). Last summer Pursuit of Pleasure bloomed from July 10th through August 16th in my garden. It is sunfast, doubles close to 99% of the time, and consistently looks just like this photo. Can it get any better than this?
Pursuit of Pleasure was hybridized by David Kirchhoff, and registered in 2008. It grows about 28" tall and has showy 6" blooms. Registration statistics show a bud count of 31 to 35. Pursuit of Pleasure won the Georgia Doubles Appreciation Award in 2011.
Love, love, love this daylily! Not only do I love the curls, but the green throat is also striking. My photo shows just how prolific it is. In 2016 Heavenly Curls bloomed from June 29 to July 29, with dozens of blooms open every day. It grows about 27" tall and never flops over, even with the large 7" blooms. I have it planted in a prominent spot in my front yard, and it never disappoints me. During peak season, this clump is breathtaking! Visitors never fail to notice it.
Hybridized by Jamie Gossard in Ohio, Heavenly Curls is categorized as an Unusual Form (UFO) Cascade/Crispate/and Spatulate. It is a dormant diploid, so it grows wonderfully in my Wisconsin garden. Heavenly Curls won an Honorable Mention Award in 2005. This award is a stamp of approval for good performance that goes beyond the regional level.
In my world, this daylily is a wow!
If you grow daylilies, you can take the madness a step further and collect plants with specific topic-related names to comprise a theme garden. To date, there are 83,487 registered/reserved cultivars, so finding a theme is quite easy.
For instance you could choose:
Once you've decided on a theme, then comes the fun part -- finding the daylily vendors and buying the plants.
Pictured: "Tholian Web" (2004) You could add this daylily to your 'Sci-Fi' garden, since its name originates from an episode of Star Trek entitled 'The Tholian Web' that was aired in 1968.
Last weekend (February 18-19) was, yet again, unseasonably warm in Wisconsin -- over 60 degrees! This gave me an opportunity to check out all my plants and see how they fared over the winter. As I walked around the yard, I had to tread carefully to avoid deer droppings. Gross!
After some online reading regarding how to collect and dispose of the droppings before mowing season starts, I learned that deer feces can carry dangerous strains of E.coli. So, worse than finding droppings in your yard or flower garden would be finding them in your vegetable garden, or say strawberry patch. Food-related outbreaks of E.coli have definitely been linked to deer droppings. (As if the deer ticks aren't bad enough!)
Deer waste should be handled carefully. Try to remove as many droppings as possible, using a shovel to bury it elsewhere, and be sure to disinfect your shovel before you use it for any other tasks.
It's hard to believe this cute little fawn can cause such dire problems. I'm getting out the deer deterrent, and ALWAYS wearing gloves!
Fawn photo from pixabay.com Creative Commons-public domain photo.
When I watched HGTV (Home and *Garden* Television) it was the gardening and landscaping shows that I liked the best. Over the years, the 'G' in HGTV has all but vanished! No more "The City Gardener," "A Gardener's Diary," "Curb Appeal," "Urban Outsiders" and other used-to-be's. I miss the valuable ideas and tips I learned from these shows. When I drive around in just about any neighborhood, gardening and landscaping is very much alive and well. So just call me puzzled. Where are the gardening shows?
HGTV needs a new, more correct identity acronym; something like RETV (Real Estate TV).
I took this photo at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The shrubs were enormous, but the statue was epic!
if it's about
my backyard and garden, I LOVE to talk about it!