While weeding I discovered four bunnies in a nest next to one of my daylilies. (In the second photo the fourth bunny is hard to see. His head is sticking out on the left, underneath his siblings.) These babies have been growing faster than weeds! I have checked on them every day for a little over a week and each day they grow remarkably larger. At first I could barely see them nestled inside their nest covered up with their mom's fur and some old grass, but now they are so big and wiggling all over that they no longer have cover. We have had some heavy rain and I worried that their nest would get soggy and they would get wet and cold. Ange came to the rescue; he put a little table above their nest so the rain wouldn't beat on them. We made sure there was ample room under the table so their mom could get to them easily in the morning and evening. And honestly, I'm not even sure why I'm so worried about these tiny stinkers -- in no time they will be roaming around my yard devouring all my flowers.
I can't carry on enough about 'Panic in Detroit.' I love this daylily! It's big and in your face -- literally. Last summer in my garden Panic grew almost 50 inches tall. I had to actually reach up to deadhead this guy. Panic in Detroit is one of those plants that you just throw into the ground, give it no special attention and it thrives, but make sure you give it some space. The large eight inch blooms are consistent, have good substance and are very showy (bud count: 21-25). When it's in peak bloom you can't miss this plant in the landscape; your eyes are just drawn to it.
Panic in Detroit is an American Daylily Society award winner having received the Honorable Mention in 2009 and the Award of Merit in 2014. These awards indicate that the cultivar is beautiful, distinctive, performs well, and grows in a wide geographic area. Hybridized in Michigan by Ric Adams in 2002, this dormant tetraploid is also desirable because it's a midseason-late bloomer. My plant bloomed a solid two months - from July 10 to September 12. Yes, really!
After reading the April 19 CNN article about the Connecticut golfer that was attacked by a bobcat on a golf course, you can well imagine how shocked I was to see this bobcat only a few feet from our back door just three days later! In all the years we have lived here I had never seen a bobcat. This one looked like it weighed about 25 pounds. The photos aren't the best, but honestly I'm surprised I was able to get any photos at all. As I watched the bobcat saunter through our yard towards the woods, I noticed a small cat cowering alongside of our house, trying not to be seen. The moment the bobcat disappeared into the woods, the cat high-tailed it back home on turbo boost.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has noted an increased presence of bobcats in western and southwestern Wisconsin. Bobcats eat a diversity of prey including rabbits, squirrels, opossums, and birds. An adult bobcat usually weighs between 20-25 pounds, with some large males weighing up to 40 pounds. Bobcats have pointed ears with ear tufts, short tails about 6-inches long, cheek whiskers and orange/tan to brown fur with irregular black spots or blotches. They are usually most active at twilight around sunset or sunrise.
This bobcat looked very healthy, so clearly it's living the good life in our area. And as much as I enjoyed seeing this wild bobcat up close and personal, I sincerely hope I never see it again.
Bobcat info is from the Wisconsin DNR
Look what appeared on my desk at work last week! After the recent ice, snow and 30 degree weather, this hyacinth was such a pleasant surprise. It assured me that spring is really on the way.
Hyacinth 'Pink Pearl' won the Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society. The blooms are so waxy and perfect, plus the fragrance is amazing! Pink Pearl grows 10-12 inches tall in full sun and is hardy in Zones 2-10. Best of all, hyacinths are easy to grow in well-drained locations, plus they are deer and rabbit resistant. (Sorry Easter Bunny!)
I can't wait to get busy in the garden with my new weeding tool, called a 'Carrot Design Cape Cod Weeder.' It was a Christmas gift from my dear friend, Sharon. She has one just like it and found it very effective at removing dandelions and other weeds, especially those close to the edge of sidewalks. The blade is stainless steel and super heavy-duty.
I had never heard of this garden tool before, and apparently that's not unusual. Cape Cod weeders weren’t known outside of the Cape Cod area until the 1980’s when Snow & Neally of Bangor, Maine began to market them throughout the country. The story about the Cape Cod weeder is that many years ago a woman living on Cape Cod designed this weeding tool. It is a knife-like tool used to slice weeds and loosen difficult soils. It is especially handy when working in tight places. Basically, it’s a curved forged steel blade secured to a wooden handle.
Now all I need is for last Thursday's snow to go away so I can get to work. Watch out weeds!
Information about the Cape Cod Weeder from: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/
What a find this cute little petunia was! Last spring I purchased this annual at the local plant hut from the 75% off clearance table. I had never seen this variety before so I thought I'd give it a try; what did I have to lose? The plant looked a little rough after being on clearance table, but once home I planted it in some amended soil, fertilized, watered, and that made all the difference in the world. It promptly returned the favor by looking fabulous! I gave my Supertunia fertilizer every couple of weeks throughout the summer to keep it blooming in top form.
Supertunia 'Daybreak Charm' has a striking color combination with the greenish-yellow throat surrounded by the vibrant electric pink edges. The flowers are a bit smaller than traditional petunias, but they still put on a great show. Daybreak Charm grows about 10-14" tall and spreads out to about 18-24" wide. Supertunias are very drought-tolerant and they love the hot sun. Mine looked perfect, even during the few summer days when we had temps over 100 degrees. Deadheading is not necessary either! Like most other petunias, by August, you may have to give it a manicure. My Daybreak Charm continued to bloom until the first frost in fall.
You can use Supertunias in the landscape as a groundcover, but they are also great spilling over the edge of a planter or a hanging basket. Note that butterflies love these petunias just as much as I do.
This gem came to me from my sister-in-law Sandy's garden. Sissy Sandy is a red and purple daylily connoisseur. Her lovely garden has dozens of variations of these colors. About six or seven years ago she divided her huge 'Persian Ruby' plant and gave me half. I planted mine in a location where it gets sun until about 3 pm in the afternoon and it is growing quite happily. Hybridized by Dan Trimmer and introduced in 1998, Persian Ruby is one of those no-fuss daylilies that increases well and blooms reliably (bud count: 26-30). The huge, almost eight-inch flowers are gorgeous and consistent. This 30" tall, dormant tetraploid daylily is quite a head-turner at peak bloom. Last year in my Wisconsin garden bloom time was from July 10 through August 8.
And with these good looks, of course this cultivar is a multiple American Daylily Society award winner:
So if you want a daylily that's a 'sure thing,' I think Persian Ruby fits the bill.
On a dreary, 'fake-spring' afternoon I spent some time on my laptop going through photos from last summer. I deleted images I no longer wanted and re-arranged my keepers. I came across photos of this Asiatic lily that I just had to share. 'Suncrest' is such a beautiful lily. It is a hardy grower that I'm confident *anyone* could successfully grow. It grows approximately 3-4 feet tall and thrives in Zones 4 to 9. (I live in Zone 4.) It grows so robustly that I transplanted mine to partial shade to slow it down a bit! What I really like about this lily are the different looks that it presents. The buds are green with a touch of rose. When they first bloom, the flowers look lime-y green with burgundy speckles over a yellow base. As the bloom ages it morphs into a pale yellow color, as you can see in the third photo. At peak bloom it often looks like the plant grows two different color blooms simultaneously.
Suncrest is a Longiflorum-Asiatic (L.A.) Hybrid Lily. L.A. lilies are hybridized for better performance, bigger blooms, and a vase-life that is the longest of any lily. For those with allergies, they are virtually scentless. I purchased my Suncrest at the Saturday State Street Markets in Madison many years ago. As annoying and awkward as it was carrying this lily around in its pot, while trying to maneuver around tons of people at the markets (without whacking them in the head with my plant), it was totally worth it. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
(And yes, the calendar says that it's spring, but I consider it 'fake-spring' until I can actually get outside.)
I saw my first robin last Friday! In fact I saw an entire flock of about 25 robins sitting in a tree by our front yard. Despite the three-plus feet of snow remaining after a week of rain and freezing rain, this gives me hope that warmer weather is just around the corner.
Still, I can't help but worry about these little robins and wondered how they manage in the 30 degree temperatures. Apparently, if food is abundant, robins can thrive in surprisingly cold temperatures if there is not too much snow. In the north, ornamental fruit tees can sustain robins during the cold weather (crabapples, hollies, and mountain ash) in both urban and suburban areas.
We put out some dried cranberries and raisins for them, but unfortunately, the mice got to them before the birds. Robins also like dried blueberries, apple slices, fresh grapes, meal worms, and suet pellets. And for the robin spa experience, they especially enjoy a heated bird bath. Hang in there robins!
I don't keep many hostas in my yard simply because there is not enough shade for them. So I'm very picky as to which ones get to stay. 'Inniswood' is one of my keepers. I love the chartreuse/gold colored leaves with the deep green edges and the thick, crepe texture. My Inniswood gets about 3 hours of sun each morning, consequently it colors-up quite nicely. In deeper shade this hosta would have more green tones. I also like that this hosta is slug resistant and it's a moderate grower that doesn't have to be divided constantly. Huge plus!
Inniswood thrives in Zones 2-9 in just about any type of soil. It's a nice border plant that grows approximately 24" tall. In summertime, I typically cut the flowers stalks off my hostas before they bloom. I like the look of the leaves without the flowers. If you don't cut the stalks, the fallen flowers can stick to the leaves like glue after a rainstorm and make the plant look untidy. In late fall I trim the foliage about 3-4" from the ground. Inniswood is planted close to our house and I don't want any critters calling it home during the winter.
I added a couple of photos so you can see how I pair Inniswood with companion plants in the border. The chartreuse color looks especially nice with the 'Palace Purple' Heuchera (Coral Bells) and the 'Raspberry Splash' Pulmonaria. The ground cover shown is 'Beacon Silver' Dead Nettle.
Butter Pecan is a wonderful, reliable daylily that I have had for quite some time. This fuss-free plant grows like a champ. The first photo was taken in late afternoon when the color had mellowed in the sun; the second photo was taken first thing in the morning when the bloom was more vibrant in color. I think both the AM and PM versions of this daylily are equally pretty.
Hybridized by Gould in 1992, Butter Pecan is a hardy dormant tetraploid. The scapes grow about 32" tall and the large, consistent blooms measure from 6.5 to 7 inches in size. In 2018 Butter Pecan bloomed in my garden from July 16 through August 21.
Butter Pecan was awarded an Honorable Mention in 1999. Established in 1950, the Honorable Mention is the first official 'stamp of approval' by the American Daylily Society, where good performance goes beyond the regional level.
These two photos illustrate why I place protective tomato cages in my flower garden over the winter. On this occasion there happened to be only one deer foraging for food, but it's not unusual to have a herd of them roaming around. This whitetail scrounged up some dried up marigolds, but thankfully the tomato cages kept my precious daylilies safe.
Every year, without fail, I grow Double Red Peony Poppies in my yard. I got a few peony poppy seed pods from a friend's garden about twenty years ago and have been growing them ever since. I love the grey-green foliage and the bright pop of color they provide early in the season, even though they have a somewhat brief bloom time. The flowers measure 4+ inches in diameter and the plants grow about 2-3 ft. tall. Snipping off the flowers will extend the bloom. They are super easy-to-grow annuals. When they are done blooming I simply shake the seeds out of the dried up pods where I want them to grow next year, rough up the dirt a bit, and that's it! Then I remove the dried-up plants from the ground and compost them. It can't get easier than that!
Important: You may want to deadhead most of your poppies after their bloom to keep re-seeding in check. With hundreds of seeds in each pod, they can overpopulate fast. Often the wind can blow the seeds to places in your garden you may not want them.
We've experienced some crazy Wisconsin temperature variances in the past three days (from minus 39 degrees last Thursday to plus 39 degrees on Saturday). The cold weather inspired me to explore the topic of winterscaping. Winterscaping is creating visual interest in your yard or landscaping for enjoyment during the dark and dreary months of the year.
As I watched TV in the evening, I visited numerous websites on my laptop and got lots of ideas for winterscaping. Many gardeners use perennial grasses for visual interest. Shrubs with brightly colored berries or colorful stems are used as well. Some individuals craft seasonal planters to create a bright spot of color. A great variety of lighting can be used in the landscape -- from home-made ice candle holders to large spotlights that accentuate unusual shapes (a Corkscrew Willow , for instance) at night. Different lighting colors can create a variety of moods in the landscape. My sister-in-law, Sandra, placed twinkle lights on a large trellis by her deck. While sitting in her dining room, the trellis lights are very warm and comforting in the evening.
Decorative ice spheres can be created (of any size) and back lit with colorful lights. The spheres can be made by filling a balloon with water, placing it outside, and letting it freeze. The next day the balloon covering can be removed and you have a frozen decorative sphere. This could be a fun project for your kiddos or grands.
At any rate, I'm armed with lots of ideas and I've got a list! Next winter I will be thinking about winterscaping my yard come November instead of February.
'Dipped in Ink' is one of my dependable old-school daylilies. I have grown this plant for quite a few years and it has never disappointed me. Hybridized by the late Howard Reeve in Indiana, this semi-evergreen diploid was introduced in 1998.
Last summer in my Wisconsin garden, this bicolor grew 40" tall and bloomed from July 5th to August 5th. It is categorized as an Unusual Form (UFo) Spatulate. At peak season the large clump was quite showy with nine and one-half inch blooms. It is also worthy to note that Dipped in Ink has two very famous parents: 'Miss Jessie' and 'Kindly Light.'
I'm crazy, right? Why didn't I keep these flowers? Every year I purchase approximately ten to fifteen new daylilies from my wish list. For that to happen I need garden spaces to open up and there's only one way to do that. The decisions are always hard, but there's no way I'm making my gardens any larger.
Here are some of the daylilies I parted company with in 2018 and the reasons why:
Mardi Gras Parade
Garden slip-ups are, without a doubt, one of the easiest topics for me to write about since I have single-handedly made just about every blunder that a gardener possibly could. As I've mentioned in earlier blogs, I did not grow up in a gardening family; my love of perennials came unexpectedly out of left field. Without a mentor I learned to garden by the trial-and-error method. Some of my gardening ideas worked (luck), but many others were an epic fail. It was then that I borrowed books from the library. The gardening books helped me achieve a much better outcome. And why is it that we never read instructions until we screw up or can't figure something out? Human nature, I guess.
Here are a few of the things I've learned (the hard way):
if it's about
my backyard and garden, I LOVE to talk about it!