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!
The 2017 garden seeds have arrived in the stores, the winter clothes are all on clearance and summer ones have replaced them on the racks. We've had lots of icy driving lately, but last Friday we were gifted with a warm and sunny day -- almost 50 degrees according to our outside thermometer. In Wisconsin, a 50 degree day is a sure signal to to put your shorts on!
And I've been dreaming about dirt. I miss the smell of the dirt, the feel of the dirt, the warm breeze, and the sound of the birds. I long to simply dig in the dirt, void of any thoughts whatsoever; just the experience of being in the now. It's truly my therapy, and about this time of year I miss it very much.
There's a raft of research-based articles out there substantiating garden therapy and healing gardens. Digging in the dirt has been proven to lower your heart rate, improve your mood, and reduce stress.
So there are six more weeks until spring, and I'm patiently/impatiently waiting. I need my therapy!
Pictured: Daylily 'Dream Candy' (just keeping the 'dream' theme)
If you don't grow 'Bela Lugosi,' you need to! No drama whatsoever with this beauty! Just day after day of beautiful big 6" blooms. For a dark purple daylily, it is incredibly sunfast and mine grows in 100% sun. The fans multiplied quickly and in 2016 it bloomed steadily from July 4th through August 8th. The deep purple color of the flowers really pop with the complementary vibrant green foliage. In this photo you can see the velvety texture of the blooms.
Bela grows 33" tall and was introduced in 1995. Curt Hanson's no-fuss daylilies (that I have) grow wonderfully in my Wisconsin garden. Bela Lugosi is a multiple award winner and received an Award of Merit in 2001, an Honorable Mention in 1998, and the Lenington All American Award in 2007. The Lenington is awarded annually to one daylily voted the best performer over a wide geographic area.
Another plus -- Bela's been around for a while, so you can probably purchase this stunning plant for around $10.00 or less! Caution: Sometimes big box garden/landscape center plants are tissue-cultured and you may be getting a lesser plant. Consider directly purchasing a division from a daylily vendor.
Blog on tissue-culture- 12/15/15
Aside from lots of frigid temperatures, icy roads and sometimes scary driving, winter can be a really good thing. Here's why:
Year after year, this old-school daylily never quite makes it to my cull list. When I even think about it, 'Wild One' puts on such a show that any thoughts of removal completely vanish. In 2016 it was stellar, blooming from June 24-August 15; a solid eight weeks! The look is slightly different from day-to-day. Some days the red/orange edge is more prominent than others, depending on weather conditions. Wild One takes a few years to establish, so be patient with it. My plant performs best when planted in full sun (and I'm talking all day long sun - not just 6 hours).
This 34" dormant daylily was hybridized by Allen Wild (Gilbert Wild's son) and registered in 1978. The blooms are large (7.25") and diamond-dusted. Back in the day, it won two American Hemerocallis Awards: a Junior Citation in 1979 and an Honorable Mention in 1985. Doesn't every daylily enthusiast have at least one Wild daylily in their collection?
Here's a critter I always prefer to see outside instead of inside! I recently read an article about winter mice that referred to them as "tender perennials." (I had never thought of them in quite that way...) Since mice don't hibernate in the winter, they are very active outside, searching for just about anything they can find to eat. The snow cover helps them stay warm when the temperature drops, so they tunnel under the snow and make nests of leaves, animal fur and shredded foliage. After the snow we had last Tuesday, teeny mice tunnels were clearly visible in our yard.
Predators closely watch those tunnels. While working by the kitchen sink one morning I was witness to a large red-tailed hawk that swooped down and snatched a mouse from underneath the snow. The hawk soared upward with the tiny mouse squirming in its claws. A total National Geographic moment. It happened so fast I could hardly believe it!
To deter mice from making nests around the perimeter of our house we removed all of our evergreen plants. In the fall, we also trim any dead plant foliage down to about an inch or two away from the ground and compost all the remains. This really helps, and it seems to keep the bunny nests away, too.
Inside the house is another story. Ever since our cat of 17 years (Small Fry) passed on we can't help but feel at a disadvantage when it comes to mice. 'The Fry' was our vigilant sentry who would alert us immediately if she sensed any mouse activity. No mice so far; fingers crossed.
Mouse photo from creative commons.org; taken by George Shuklin and posted by Duncan Hull
Mouse tunnel photo was taken in our yard last week
Here is another of my morphing daylilies -- this one is aptly named "Transformer." As you can see from the first photo, it starts the day out looking quite red and rapidly changes to the second photo's yellow-orange. The change is usually complete by about 10 am.
Transformer is a 2007 Gossard daylily, hybridized in Ohio. It's a dormant, midseason bloomer that grows 38" tall and has a 6" bloom. Transformer is categorized as a UFO Crispate daylily. This means it shows both unusual form, plus has at least three petals or sepals that are crispate (which means pinched, twisted, or quilled). Check out the American Hemerocallis Society Dictionary for more detailed information on this categorization.
What a fun daylily! It's like you are getting two different flowers for the price of one!
We are a Klean Kanteen family and have been for many years. As you can see, we have a variety of different sizes, colors, and styles. These insulated, stainless steel bottles are perfect for use while gardening, driving, or even just watching TV. ('Insulated' is the key word -- because there are non-insulated varieties available.) Even on super hot days, they are amazing at keeping water cold. You can fill them with ice in the morning, and the next day you may still find ice inside! They also keep coffee warm for about 6 hours. Plus, they are very easy to wash.
We have great-tasting well water at home; way better than the water at my work (that I can smell before I can taste). So I take my Klean Kanteen with me to work every day. I like the idea of being eco-friendly. Klean Kanteens are a part of my everyday life that I couldn't be without.
Yesterday, as I plugged my laptop into the outlet by our dining room window, I was startled to see this little stinker foraging for food up close and personal. As you can see, the deer aren't shy around here! But the good news is that although she has been eating foliage around the tomato cage, she hasn't bothered the new daylily planting inside the tomato cage. And that makes me happy, despite the fact that my flower beds look like 'tomato cage-land' during the winter. Ya just do what cha gotta do!
if it's about
my backyard and garden, I LOVE to talk about it!