Asiatic & Day Lilies on Parade

It's blooming time for the lilies.
And, they are as pretty as floats in a parade.....


Rubdeckia Marks the End of June

It's the end of June. The vegetable garden is growing well. A few weeks ago, a friend told me about epsom salt. It must be one of those old time gardening tricks. She heard about it from a co-worker and it worked for her so she was happy to share the secret.

Always one to try a garden trick at least once, I sprinkled epsom salt around the watermelon, beans, peppers, cucumbers and a couple of potted cherry tomatoes a day before it rained. Seriously, it made the plants double in size overnight. It's the magnesium sulfate.

So, my secret out, nothing else is new except a few cabbage worms; some of the corn was knocked over by a recent thunderstorm, and weeds. The usual things to contend with in Zone 5.

The cabbage worms were removed by hand. The corn should right itself. As for the weeds, I will be pulling them out as soon as I finish this post. Because of that soaking rain, the ground is soft. I like to pull weeds a day or so after a good rain because they come out easily, root and all.

The daylilies, tiger lilies, shasta daisies, rubdeckia, bee balm, yarrow and cone flowers, are dominating the perennial beds right now.

Hot days ahead now that the rubdeckia is blooming. Good swimming weather. Which is where I will be when the weeding gets to me!


They Follow the Sun

I love sunflowers simply because I love flowers and the color yellow.
When I was a child, the yellow crayon in my box of Crayolas was always a nub. I used to trade my blue or red for yellow. My suns were always big and the crayon on the paper was heavy to the point of being tacky. I just couldn't get enough of the color.
So of course, big, yellow sunflowers are planted in my garden. Some flowers, like the one pictured above, are volunteers from the bird feeders.
Sunflowers come in an assortment of colors and sizes. They are easy to grow and require no care. When the flower is spent, I dry out the seed heads, trim them down and hang them off the fence for the birds to peck at. Finches especially love the seed heads.
That their cheery yellow faces
follow the yellow sun as it travels
through the sky is, for me,
double the magic.

Yarrow the Color of Wine

Like the golden yellow and white,
the wine-colored yarrow is now in bloom.
For more on yarrow in zone 5,


A Field of My Own

A large portion of the perennial bed bordering the backyard fence
resembles a wild field. The effect is intentional.
The 'unkempt' appearance reminds me of the fields that grew
behind my childhood home near Lake Erie.

Ironically, it takes work to keep
the bed looking like a carefree field!
If left untended, the daisies and yarrow overtake everything else.

A Garden Climber

Clematis, also known as virgin's bower, is a climbing plant with an extremely diverse genus. Clematis comes in white, purple, pink, red and variations of these colors.

The clematis which grows in my garden is deciduous. Some clematis are evergreen. For the cool temperate species, the blooming starts in June. Its leaves drop in the fall. To keep the plant tidy, prune after blooming.

Hardy to Zone 5, my clematis grows in full sun and moist soil. It is doing even better this year now that the bittersweet has been pruned back to half its size.

One note of caution: All parts of the clematis are poisonous.


Sweet Peas & Early Spring Veggies

The sweet peas I planted in late March are almost ready for picking. I tried a pod over the weekend while planting some marigold starts around the edges of this small spring vegetable garden. The peas aren't full size yet but the pod and peas are very sweet. Also in this garden are loose leaf lettuce, parsley, green onions, and carrots all planted with the peas. I've been harvesting the lettuce for almost two weeks. I'm hoping the weather does not get hot and stay hot because then the lettuce will keep producing instead of bolting. The red bomb radishes have all been harvested and small green pepper starts went in their place.

All of the seeds in this garden are from Burpee and all are from older seed lots. Knock on wood, I've had mostly success with these older seeds. This year, I was looking to save money where ever possible, so I used up what I had on hand.


Iris is Greek for Rainbow

The bearded iris in my rock garden are showy and easy care. A very happy combination!

Here's a closeup of one of the pinks (missing is its bottom petal which I broke off in trying to photograph the inner beard - my bad!).

Iris like full sun and well-drained soil. Iris should be separated every four or five years. I have never separated the cluster of purple and pink irises at the center of the rock garden. The rhizomes and blooms are healthy and not in need of thinning.

The only drawback to the cultivated bearded iris is that it blooms for around two weeks and then you have to wait another 50 for the show to return!


Pansies & a Touch of Whimsy

This is one of the three pots I filled with pansies for my smaller deck. I like to sit out in the early morning on the weekends or after work during the week.

Placing a piece of whimsy here and there is sheer indulgence. I get pleasure from looking at my creations, deadheading the flowers, giving them a drink.

All within an arms reach of my chair where I can keep an eye on the cats - especially Noll - as they too enjoy the gardens and catnip standing within their reach.

A Rainbow in the Orchard

Monday, I came home from work just in time. A strong storm blew in from the southwest - heavy rains came down in angled sheets, high winds blew, leaves flew everywhere. It would have made for some treacherous driving.

My husband wasn't so lucky...or was he?

By the time he came home 20 minutes later, this is what greeted him in our backyard:
A perfect calm and a low rainbow.
As if nothing had happened.