Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fertilizer Friday: Last One for August

I don't know where the week went.  For that matter, I don't know where the summer went, either.  I remember being a little kid and trying to be patient while waiting for something special like my birthday or for the clock when I was back in grade school to hit 3 PM and time seemed to stand still.  Mom always said time would go faster as I grew older.  Mom was right.  It just zips by, doesn't it?

What probably had me so confused as to where the time went this week in particular was the fact that Carl was able to take a half-day vacation on Tuesday and all day Wednesday.  This was great; we managed to get some work done on the stone walls, but both of us are goofed up as to what day we're on.  It sort of feels like it should be Tuesday, but over at Tootsie's she's celebrating Fertilizer Friday!

I want to show pretty pictures of all the stuff still blooming, but first I want to show you the progress on the rock removal and rebuilding project.  It's not pretty, but here goes:  We had limbed up all those dead spruce branches last Saturday and then on Monday evening Joel and his girlfriend, Allison, worked on moving more of the rocks out from the Formal Garden to the....uh.......I don't have a name for where the rocks went.

Well, that poses a problem, doesn't it?  And another problem is we don't want or need another area to weed, good gracious no, we're trying to downsize, so if I put a name on this area, will I have to maintain it?  The weird thing is, if I don't name it, then we will all have problems knowing where in the yard something is located, such as, "Where is the green shovel?" or "Has anyone seen the lawn mower?" or "When was the last time anyone saw Grandma Lucille?"

"Go look in the Quarry," or "Did you check the Woodland Bed?"

Of course the best case scenario would be not to leave shovels, power tools or elderly people out in the weather but always put them away in the barn when we are done working with them, but we are terribly forgetful and drop things here and there. (Before you call the authorities, I hasten to add we do not keep the Elusive Lucille in the barn.  She drives her Buick down here and goes to her nice, warm home when she gets sick of working in the garden.)
There's Mom aka The Elusive Lucille, cutting down the daylily stalks this afternoon and no, she did not realize I had a camera or one of two things would have happened: I'd be taking pictures of her quickly retreating back or she'd throw her trowel at me.
 Anyway, ok, a name for where the rocks are going.....  Well, the trees we limbed up are blue spruce; botanical name being Picea Pungens due to their poky needles.  The good botanists who named them were right about that; I've been picking very sharp, dead needles out of my knee caps (even through my knee pads) several times over the last week.  Carl suggested we call it the 'Cathedral of Pines'  Well, that's a bit too classy for me (and not to be a nit-picker, but they're not pine trees.) Our naming system around here is very descriptive; we have the Pachyberm (named because it looks like an elephant burial mound) and the Something Else Bed ( named because I had spare rocks and needed something else to do with them) the River Bed (because it's crooked and winds around like a river) well, you get the idea. 
So, let's see, it's a grove of spruce trees and there's rocks.  Ok, until something better comes along I'm dubbing this newest piece o' work,  The Rock Grove.  There, that's done.  Took me much less time to name it something than it's taking us to throw the rocks in place, didn't it?

But anyhow, back to our saga, there we were, on Tuesday afternoon, working in the Rock Grove when we noticed it was getting very dark out.  We could hear thunder rumbling in the distance but being in the spruce trees, we really couldn't see much of the sky and the thunder was so distant, we really didn't worry about it.  But then the emergency storm sirens went off in Seymour and then three miles east of us another siren went that's when we decided maybe we should take a look-see.  I went out into the field on the other side of the Rock Grove and here's the view: 

Well, now, I was really surprised: that's a Serious Sky if I've ever seen one.  Time to batten the hatches or at least locate the green shovel, the lawn mower and the Elusive Lucille (not necessarily in that order) and get them all to their Place of Safety.  That done, in direct defiance of what the meteorologists would have us do, Carl and I leaped into the Oldsmobile and with me driving, headed out to see if we could capture some lightning photos.  (Joel was not home, so someone had to carry on the tradition for him).  No luck on the lightning, but Carl did get a nice shot of scary clouds as I drove to try to get around the end of the storm:

There was a report of a weak tornado with this storm which stayed about ten miles to the north of us. The storm uprooted some trees and did some damage to buildings where it was the worst.  We gained 3/4 of an inch of rain from another quick storm that passed through, the first rain we've had since the beginning of August.  We appreciated every drop of it, too, though when we got caught in the rain on the way home, I was down to 15 mph since the rain was just pounding.

That was the end of Tuesday's work. 
Wednesday dawned bright and sunny, time to get back to throwing rocks around again.  But then we encountered technical difficulties; some of the rocks were much too big for Joel's tractor, so we had to switch to the 574 but the forklift teeth were too far apart to pick up the round stones we're working with so Carl is going to weld up something new for the forklift.  In the meantime we worked with the rocks Joel and Allison had retrieved earlier since some of them are small enough we can use the hand cart.

Nearing sunset Thursday night, here's as far as we've gotten with the job.  And to make matters worse, we really don't know what we're doing with these rocks.  There's no rhyme or reason to it, just a random wall plopped where the sun don't shine.  Nothing grows in the Rock Grove, it's too dark.  And I hope it stays that way, yes, we did limb up a lot of branches but they were all dead limbs, so hopefully it's still dark enough in there that nothing wants to grow except moss on the granite. 
The funny-looking orange patches are from the sun setting to the west casting the last light of the day into the area. 
It is interesting how the garden looks different from this direction, these are views we haven't seen in over twenty years.
So, there you have it, the progress so far on the Rock Grove.

Now, it's time for the Fertilizer Friday part of this post, let's see, what's still blooming?  Well, lots of  annuals:

The Surprise Lilies are shocking everyone with their abrupt appearance.

I was really glad to see their blooms since I moved over 200 of them last fall and had hoped I didn't get them planted too late.  Did I ever tell you how these came to be in our garden?  Years ago we were at our local landfill where we always poked around looking for rocks for walls and I came upon a pile of huge bulbs.  Someone had apparently dug them up and dumped them.  I didn't know what they were but they looked interesting, so me being me, I yelled for Joel and Dave (yes, we took the boys to the dump when they were little, weren't we good parents?) and they helped load them into two five gallon pails.  I brought them home and happily planted the big bulbs all over the place and then promptly forgot I had.  In the spring, these huge strap-like leaves came up and we were all excited, wow, what's the flower going to look like if the leaves are that big?!  And then, nothing happened.  No flower.  I was really sad and figured that was why their previous owners had tossed them out.  Who needs a bunch of green leaves with no flowers?  Stupid bulbs.  Phooey, that was a waste of time.  But then in August these bizarre stems started popping up all over the place and I was confused again....what in the world are these things?  Then when they bloomed, oh, I was hooked and overjoyed we'd brought them home from the dump.
Lycoris Squamigera---weird name, weird plant, beautiful flower.
Moving on, have you ever been in a Big Box Store and gotten hooked on the bulbs and tubers they often tempt you with in those flashy colored cardboard boxes?  You tell yourself, "Self, you know as a gardener that these bulbs are going to be all dried up and inferior and probably not even the same color (or species) pictured on the box," but there's still snow on the ground outside and the picture is so impossibly pretty and you cave in and buy the silly box of dried up roots anyway?  Ok, so maybe I'm the only one to do such silly things, but I took a chance on a box of 'Pink Miniature Dahlias' (that's the name on the box) and boy, they were really tiny and shriveled up, but I stuck them in the ground anyway and gave them their last rites.  They really looked dead.  But I was wrong.
I had forgotten all about them until they popped up in June and even though some bug or other is having a field day chewing on them and they're planted in too much shade, they are making me smile and I don't even know their name.  Apparently they impressed Joel, too, who took some much better pictures of them than I did.
Let's see what else caught Joel's eye last night:
Rudbeckias......still going strong, and now the ornamental grasses are starting to really do their thing, too.  All summer long the grasses are a presence, but I think fall and winter is their best season, especially when the shadows get long in the evening.
Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'
The rest of the flowers in the River Bed are in shadow, but the grasses light up the background. 
 .And the foreground.
The grasses really stand out in the sunlight, don't they?

The trumpet vine is still tooting along really well.  It can be invasive, sending up shoots from the roots, but I'll put up with it's enthusiasm as long as it flowers for months on end the way it does.
Coneflowers looking a bit tired, but the butterflies aren't offended.

Love the seedheads on the 'Jester' millet.
Echinacea 'Virgin' stuffed in between a 'Sunkist' arborvitae and a Weeping Norway Spruce.
Joel can make even the lowly petunia look great.  Why does everyone pick on petunias?  C'mon now, they are still blooming, aren't they?  Any plant that puts out as many blooms as they do gets my respect.
'Little Bunny' miscanthus showing off in the sun.
Silver grass just starting to show the silver.

Who'd think a spiderweb could look so much like a flower?  

Well, this was way too long of a post, I got carried away again.
Time to call it a night.

Don't forget to visit Tootsie  and see gorgeous gardens from all over the world!


Tufa Girl said...

First, be sure to tell Joel that Allison is a "keeper" - working out in the gardens with you all.

Love the grasses in the setting sunlight.

A million years from now archeologists will come up to your quarry gardens and wonder if a glacier dropped off all those ginormous rocks. I am constantly amazed at your willpower and stamina.

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Instead of Rock Grove, how about the "Spruced Up Garden." Since they are spruces that you limbed up and you are adding rocks to spruce up the area. Just a thought. Like Tufa Girl, I was thinking the same thing...that Allison IS a keeper. Wow! The grasses are so beautiful in the evening light -- just glowing :-) So I guess the silo house is on hold for now?? Just kidding :-)

Carol said...

I'm always blown away with your garden photos and the amount of work you put into your garden is amazing!!! It shows too :) Your post are never too long.

Alison said...

Your grasses are just beautiful, the way they glow. I really need to study how you've used them.

You get some scary storms there! Those first few pictures are pretty dramatic. I agree with everyone else, Allison is most definitely a keeper, for helping you guys out in the garden.

I do the same thing bout the bulbs in the big box stores. I'm glad yours turned out so pretty!

Sue said...

I've bought those bulbs at the big box store and never got much out of them. Maybe I should have just taken them to your house. How pretty!
Have a great weekend, Karen!

Tina said...

What a beautiful garden :) The last shot I like most. Thanks for stopping by :)

El Gaucho said...

I love the line of rocks through the dark woods, it looks great, even if you do say it's supposed to be haphazard and there's no rhyme or reason to it. Maybe once the rocks get all moss-covered you'll like them more. The moss covered rocks just look really neat to me, and such a contrast to everything else in the garden that's bathed in sunlight.

Beth said...

Karen, Everything is still looking good! I love, love, love the riverbed - stunning header photo. The pachyberm is looking great too. The dahlias and surprise lilies are pretty and I enjoyed your story about how you got them. You have a great sense of humor, and a great garden too!
Hugs, Beth

Shyrlene said...

Karen - THAT is some serious garden work you all do!! Your Rock Grove reminds me (very, very fondly) of the 'rock fence' that meandered through our yard in Brookfield, WI. I was in high school at the time and had NO appreciation for it's beauty or my Mom's garden skills -- I was such a "teenager"! :-o

HolleyGarden said...

How wonderful that you mom comes over to garden! That is so fabulous - for her as well as for you. And I love your pink dahlias! They make me smile, too. Your garden is absolutely fabulous. But you make me tired just telling about moving all those rocks! I think I'm going to really like your Rock Grove. That shade gives it a mysterious quality.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, WOW!! I'm blown away by your stunning garden. It is beautiful. You Dahlia looks very much like 'Sir Alf Ramsey'


Rosemary said...

Karen So glad Lucille was one of the items taken to safety, those were nasty looking skies. Then you and Carl storm chasing.... Not enough to do? Your pictures capture perfectly the look of late summer garden with the shadows and grasses, in just a week the look of the garden has so changed... Saving those bulbs what good fortune, smart lady....
I look forward to your next tale...