Monday, July 4, 2011

Slowly but Surely

 Things are finally starting to happen around here, flower-wise, anyway.  Stuff is starting to bloom.  We had a very hot weekend so far, at least for us here in Wisconsin.  Now I know many of you have temperatures like this for months on end and all I can say is, "How do you do it?"

I am such a cream puff that after a mere few minutes in the heat and humidity I'm running back to the shade and a tall glass of water. 
 I don't know which clematis this is, but it overwintered and is now scaling the light post out front.  I wrapped the light post with some plastic fencing so it could climb, and from a distance you can barely see it.  What I'm trying to say is it doesn't look this hideous from the road.
 The petunias I have planted in pots on top of the fenceposts are growing very well, and filling in.  Did I ever show you how I keep them on the fenceposts?  Not the greatest picture, but can you see the metal rod drilled into the top of the post?  That rod goes through the bottom drain hole of the pot and skewers it in place on the post. 

 In the picture below, you can just see the top sticking up, after the petunias grow some more it will be invisible.  The only problem with keeping the pots outside is when storms come up.  I always run outside and haul them in if I can.  Wind is hard on these, too because they are up in the air in a not very sheltered area. 
 I have a few random astilbes coming into bloom right now, too.  Some of these were moved from the perennial bed we are trying to downsize.  I'm pretty happy they're blooming despite being transplanted earlier in the spring.
 Here's a picture of the last rock work we did last fall.  I know, it's sad.  This is the Something Else bed, so named because we didn't know what else to do with some leftover rocks.  Two weeks ago we planted Hosta 'Ventricosa' around the bottom of the rocks in an attempt to see if they would keep the weeds down without edging.  They might, it's a big experiment.  The tiny purple blobs are my Wave petunias from seed, I'm envisioning them draping and filling the area with color.  Let's hope it's not a pipe dream.

 This is another plant I wasn't too thrilled with, I think it's called Stokes aster and I planted it from seed in 2010.  The plants overwintered and though the flower itself is lovely, I'm not too thrilled with the two foot tall height and overall scraggly/straggly appearance of this plant.  I pulled out about three quarters of my crop two weeks ago, but left a few here and there on the Pachyberm.

It is a pretty flower if it weren't attached to a gigantic weedy-looking plant.
And wouldn't you know, I had a garden visitor come through this afternoon who just went gaga over the aster!  She was so taken with it that I wished I hadn't pulled it out (I would have dug them out for her and she could have taken a carload home.)  

I think the 'Bubblegum Pink' petunia is the most amazing one I've ever grown.  Ernie the Urn is a big space to fill and a mere three petunias are doing the job nicely.
The waterlilies are all closed up for the night. 
 I love the carpet of white pine needles from the Back Eight.  They are so soft to walk on and keep weeds down quite well.
 The little annual/perennial bed out front isn't doing much yet, it's just been too wet and cold up until today.
 'Alaska' Shasta daisy is finally coming into bloom, I

 More random sampling of what's happening here and there in the gardens.  This is in front of the house.
 I couldn't resist the view of the trees in the water in the Quarry.  The hostas on the lowest level were submerged by the water for too long and don't look very happy.  Now that the water has receded a little, maybe they'll pull out of it.  Doesn't matter, really, I have spares! 
 Just a random rose shot, lit by the setting sun.
 Back to the pond again...I'm all over the place.

 I could say I have thousands of flowers blooming.  (Too bad they're on the little sedum acre plants)  But they're still flowers.  Sedums are amazing little plants, though.  
Every year the yellow 'Skylands' oriental spruce burns in the winter and I make a vow to cover it in the fall, but have I yet?  No.  Maybe this fall.  Maybe.  (No, probably not.) Sheesh, I call myself a gardener.
And maybe with the warmer nights we're having, we'll see some more blooms soon.

The light shade planters are finally starting to bloom, these are Avalanche petunias and 'Jester' millet started in the greenhouse.  I do like the veining and coloration of the pink ones.  They look a lot better than when I planted them as little 3" tall seedlings.
Ok, here's what we've been working on (and not working on) as our Big Project for this summer.  Remember all those rocks we hauled out of the Formal Garden starting in April?  Well, we're not done with that project yet.  Can you imagine?  We had company on Saturday night and they went and looked at our lack of progress and wondered what's taking us so long. 
We do have this section done.  Sort of.  I still have plants to remove though.
Yeah, what IS taking us so long?  For some reason, we're dragging our heels on this job.  The biggest problem earlier in the season was the incessant rain, but now it's dried up and all the standing water is gone.  Now our biggest problem (yes, we are problematic people) is the heat.  The formal garden is sheltered with a capital S. We were placing stone on Friday when the temps were in the 90's and Saturday but nary even a stray breeze infiltrates this garden and wow, were we sweating.  We finally gave up on Saturday afternoon (Ann had stopped in to help, too) and went canoeing.  How's that for avoiding work?
Here is the next section of wall, with only the bottom course laid.  We have transits and all sorts of lovely leveling devices in use.  Now if we could only have central air conditioning down in this garden, we'd be all set.
There's the transit, sitting in the shade, enjoying cooler temps than we are.  We have a whole bunch of pallets on the lawn which are doing a great job of killing the grass, too.  Not to mention tripping graceful me.  I'm forever forgetting there are pallets behind me and always backing into them.
We have 30' done, only another 120' to go...............oh, boy.  And why can't I bring myself to toss out the perennials?  Because they're flowers.  I do have a few takers yet on some of this stuff.  Just can't be wasteful.

Ok, enough on the messy project, here's a view I liked better. 
We have one day left of the weekend to get as much done as possible so we don't keep disappointing our garden visitors.  I've been trying to steer visitors away from the formal mess until it's done.

 The view from the pagoda is much better.  I don't even see any weeds!


Darla said...

Everything is so pretty Karen. I love all of your petunia containers and I am glad that someone else isn't fond of the stokes aster either. Mine is hidden behind a large lacecap hydrangea, lol. YOur something else bed looks great!

Zoey said...

Oh, Karen, your new wall is looking so nice. What a huge job that must be!

I love the idea of covering the pole with plastic chicken grid for the clematis. I have seen your petunias-on-the-fence holder before and it is genius!

I was just looking at Stokes aster yesterday in HDepot. Although the flower was nice, I thought the foliage looked too floppy, so I passed on it. My J.Blue geranium is floppy and I hate that!

Happy 4th of July. I was planning to go to the parade, but now I don't really feel like it. I may just work in the garden as usual.

Randy Emmitt said...


Love the flowering sedium, awesome! The gardens look great as usual. Heat, well let me give you our forecast for the next 7 days highs in the 90s from 92 to 98 degrees, this was about the same as last weeks to, we did have a cool day of 88 for a high.

El Gaucho said...

As always, fantastic pictures. We're on the same weather pattern here in North Dakota, wet and more wet, then very hot and toasty with seemingly no in between days.

Alison said...

Everything is looking so pretty, now that you are starting to get flowers. I've been wondering about all the seedlings that you planted in your hoophouse that you set up in the winter. Have you planted them out now? How are they doing?

I don't blame you for not wanting to work in the garden when it's hot. Your weather reminds me of the weather we used to get in Massachusetts. A long, cold, wet spring, and then within what seemed like one week, it would be hot and dry. I could never keep up with my garden in that weather.

Hope you have a wonderful Fourth!

Larry said...

You're right that we need rain...can't believe how quickly things dried out. I worked in the garden for the first time in three weeks today... about seven hours worth as my back has started to improve a fair amount and covered the rest with pain killers. We spent most of the time pruning trees and taking down a small oak... without extensive pruning, this place would be a jungle in the matter of two year's time. Good to see all the progress you guys are making! Larry

Dandelion and Daisy said...

Your garden is looking beautiful, aa usual. I am always so impressed by how well designed and laid out it is.

Peonies & Magnolias said...

Your garden looks awesome and the new wall is looking great.

I love the pots on your fence posts and I going to have to fix some for my garden.

I took off work Friday for a 4 day weekend and worked in our garden til noon when the heat and humidity ran me in. It was so enjoyable to not be rushed while working in the garden.

Hope you have a great week.


Beth said...

Karen, You have a beautiful garden. I love the quarry pond, the sedum, the Stoke's aster, Vista Bubblegum, your red clematis and the rock wall looks great. I like that Asian looking rock lantern too. Thanks for sharing and I hope to see your garden in person some day.
Blessings, Beth