Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July 2016 Garden Walk: Part One

Well, the bus trip garden tour is history.  I'm happy to report everything went smoothly even though we didn't quite manage to eradicate all the weeds.  Last weekend was the perfect timing for touring; the garden was outdoing itself with bloom power.

I'm not a fan of morning garden walks as a rule, the light is too harsh, the dew makes the lawn all wet, and ok, the main reason I dislike morning garden walks?   I'm not a Morning Person.  

 I'd held off mowing the backyard for almost two weeks due to the mini-drought we'd been experiencing in an attempt to help the grass survive.  But on Friday the lawn had to be mowed for the big event and my luck brought us a steady drizzle at the same time.  What a mess the lawn was after I was done; clumps of wet grass plops were all over the place. 

I wanted all the daylilies deadheaded on Friday night so only fresh blooms would await the visitors.  When I snap off a fresh daylily flower I always feel a bit like Morticia Addams cutting off all those pesky rose blooms so she can display her vase of thorny stems.  But the task is much more pleasant when the flower is fresh before it turns into a Mush Mummy overnight.    

Carl and I had the entire garden deadheaded but Mother Nature had the last laugh and the temperatures dropped to fifty degrees overnight, causing the daylily blooms to only half open by morning. The day before the garden was a riot of color; the day of the walk, not so much.  Hey, we tried.

Carl and I weeded and mulched, Joel came home earlier in the week and hauled the stone pallets away from Castle Aaargh for us and bush-hogged the ditches, I weed whacked and fussed with all the little details.  Finally at 9:30PM on Friday night, we called it quits.  

It is what it is. Or rather, it was what it was.  

Something like that.

We staggered into the house for supper at 10PM and surveyed the wreckage we live in.  Most of our tours involve sharing the stained glass lamps with people.  Of course, this is entirely up to us, we could have kept quiet about the lamps, but what's the difference, in for a penny, in for a pound at this point.  However, I was so tired the thought of cleaning the house was pure torture.  We opted to get some sleep and deal with the housework in the morning.  I was zonked out by midnight.

6AM and the alarm clock was hollering; oh, I groaned, is it morning already?  Up we got, Carl started putting all of his tools away, I was doing dishes, vacuuming and dusting all at once in the curious GADS way I have of cleaning.  We made a passable job of the house and hoped for the best.

Joel came home to help around 8AM, emptying the rain barrel, watering my plants, rolling up hoses, putting out statuary I forgot about, picking up tools, helping wherever he was needed.  Ann came to help too, working with Carl, swoeing and raking the gravel driveway of weeds, tidying and straightening.  

Two hours goes by in a snap when you're running in high gear, it's as if the clock is playing tricks on you.  I checked the time, yikes! 8:25AM, bus will be here in five minutes, time to change my clothes, run a comb through my hair and find a matching pair of shoes.  

"The bus is here!" Carl yelled through the back door.

"Ok!" I hollered back.

I walked out to the end of the driveway and when the door magically opened I boarded the bus.  The pleasant group leader in charge handed me the microphone.  

As I was fiddling around with the mike one of the front seat passengers told me, "When the bus pulled up to the driveway, you should have heard all the ooohs and ahhhs, it sounded like we were at a fireworks display."  

I hoped that meant they liked what they saw.....

"Good Morning!  So nice of you to come to visit us!  My name is Karen and along with my husband Carl and our son, Joel and friend Ann, welcome to our garden."

I gave them an abbreviated history of the farm and life in general here and then I said, "We have a tour route we normally follow when we have tours.   There are four of us available to lead you through in small groups if you'd like.  If you'd rather go through the gardens on your own, that's fine, but this is a big place and it's easy to miss parts of it.  I realize we only have ninety minutes, but we'll do our best to cover everything as efficiently as possible.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask any one of us.  Enjoy your tour!"

So, dear reader, disembark from the bus with the tour group and let's head on through our garden 'marvel', shall we?  

Following are a ton of pictures I took on Monday morning at 8AM of the way the visitors saw the garden.  (Or at least my version of what I hoped they saw.  Note how harsh the lighting is.  And I got wet feet during the photography, too.)  

I try to put myself in the position of the visitors, let's see how I do.

Pulling up to the driveway, the view from our field driveway to the east.

 The bus is getting closer to the house, gliding past the black walnuts.
 Looks like a hosta bed over there.

 Getting closer to the house now, that's a lot of ditch.
 More hostas, more stones, and some weird blue Tardig thing.
 The bus is slowing down now, hmmm, that's a lot of rocks.
 There, you've arrived at the driveway.  (The wheelbarrow wasn't there on Saturday.)
 Ok, let's get off the bus, there's a bunch of marigolds around the mailbox.

Here you are, milling around in the driveway, waiting for the rest of the bus to disembark and wondering which group you'll be in for the tour.

 What are the rusty metal things on the end of the driveway?

Tree grates, one of the tour guides says.  Tree grates?  Oh, yes, I get it now, laid out flat on the ground instead of standing up.

Good, a place to sit while the rest of the crowd gets sorted out.
Pink as far as the eye can see, all the Supertunia Vista Bubblegum petunias doing their thing in the light shade planters one more time.  
 Carl says he's getting sick of the pink.  I reminded him last year the planters were purple, in honor of Abby and Joel's wedding.
(See, last year it was Supertunia 'Bordeaux'.  I don't always do pink.  Well, ok, most of the time I do.)

Frank the Urn is displaying his usual (ok, pink!) color combination but this is more coral pink than last year.  Never mind, the guests wouldn't know that.
My mother painted some more garden lanterns for me, this one at the entrance to the front garden bed.

I'm really glad Carl agreed to placing two of the refurbished garden benches near the end of the driveway.  They have come in very handy for our guests the last two years.  I find myself sitting on them on my way back from the mailbox almost every day, too.  

Ok, we've got our groups and off we go, through the front bed.  Follow along, please.

Hem. 'Persian Ruby' one of my favorite daylilies

My favorite daylily of all time, Hemerocallis 'Joel'

 The 'Bubblegums' in the ground are off to a slow start this year, and I've lost better than half of my cuttings.  I probably didn't water them enough after planting.  The remaining ones look pretty good, so we'll see how they do later on in the season.

 Ok, finally through the front bed, now rounding the corner to the Pachyberm.
There are a few questions along the way, mostly about how long it takes to weed the garden and if the rocks are naturally occurring here.

Celosia 'Fresh Look Red' is starting to show some color.
Carl and I limbed up the dwarf river birch 'Fox Valley' this year.  We were on the fence about leaving it to the ground or exposing the trunk, but once the branches are cut off, well, you know how that goes.  Can't glue 'em back on.  So far, we're liking the change.
Now we can see the bark.  (And plant some hostas underneath so I don't have to climb under the tree for grass trimming.)
Pachyberm and the plants living there:

And the view from the top of the Pachyberm:

One of the most asked about trees was 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' Korean fir.

 Finally leaving the Pachyberm behind, one last look:
Some more of my mother's artwork, freshly done this spring.
Echinacea 'Pixie Meadow Brite'

Traipsing past the front of the house, heading back to the driveway.

The most asked about plant of all time here (and do you think I can remember it's name half the time??)  
Now I have it: Euphorbia 'First Blush'.  In the spring the foliage is tinged with pink highlights, in the summer, it goes to light green and white.

This is usually a full-sun plant, but this one does very well in a lot of shade for some reason.  (I've been too lazy to move it.)
 Approaching the porch.
 I wonder if the owners eat their meals out there?  (No, the owners don't.  But should.)

Finally, we're back in the driveway.

There's Ernie, looking good.
And the ball fountain, a Carl Creation, followed by lots of pink.  Lots and lots.

All right, time to head through the 'Mom painted' garden gate to the backyard.

A new petunia for me this year (no, it's not pink) is 'Starry Sky'.
Because of the morning shadows, it is difficult to see the urn by the garage, but I have the new petunia planted in several different urns around the garden.  My greenhouse owner friend Brenda had only a few this year, but kindly gave me one plant to try so I made six cuttings for the garden.
 I really love the color patterns that emerge.
Along the garage this year are my seedlings of 'Double Hot Cherry' zinnia, marigold 'Alumia Vanilla Cream', salvia 'Summer Jewel White' and calla lilies.
 Our shallow antique urn is filled with portulaca in three colors.

Carl's titanium planter is sporting a deep red geranium, 'Snowstorm' bacopa with a footing of 'Amazon Mist' carex.  The carex overwintered from last summer which was almost too good to be true; I love the color and texture.  There are four 'Silver Falls' dichondra tucked in the pot too, but they're off to a slow start.

In front of the gazebo (with the little statue we bought when Joel was a little boy and one of my cherished Mother's Day rocks from him) are more of the cherry zinnias intermixed with 'Fresh Look Yellow' celosia and 'Moonsong' and 'Inca' marigolds with a few self-seeded white ageratum and the carex.

The Riverbed:

Ye Olde Pan Fountain, yes, it needed cleaning.  

Trumpet vine, blooming and showing some trunk (and it's age.)

Random views of the backyard:

 A 'new to me' Supertunia, 'Flamingo' I'm trying out in the urns by the dome, delicate flowers, much smaller than 'Bubblegum' but bigger than calibrochoa.  I bought it late in the season on clearance and it had been overwatered badly at the big box store, but so far, the flower power has been amazing.  This is one to watch for next year.

'Sombrero' Echinacea, one of my favorites lately.
Ok, I'm going to leave you all milling around in the back yard before we go to the Formal Garden and the Quarry.  This post is getting far too long; next up, Part Two.


Beth said...

So amazingly beautiful! I loved this tour, Karen. I like the Bubblegum petunias too.
You have hemerocallis 'Joel,' wondering if you have phlox 'David?'
You and Carl and the boys have created a place of wonder and beauty. Truly incredible!
Blessings, Beth

Alison said...

So far I haven't noticed a single weed, just a lot of beautiful vistas and lovely flowers. Thanks for giving your readers the tour as well!

Sue said...

Best tour EVER! Thanks, Karen, for sharing your incredible garden with all of us that can't make it in person.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Wow, how neat to see your gardens as one of your tour guests would. I look forward to part two.

It's all lovely ~ FlowerLady

Junebug said...

I sure am enjoying my garden tour and can't wait for it to continue. You guys can't sleep, it is just beautiful!!

Karen said...

Thank you, Beth! Yes, we have 'David' phlox, 'Joel' daylily, 'Abby hosta, 'Carl' sedum (and hosta) and a 'Karin' hosta, too. Now we need an Audrey (in honor of our new little granddaughter!)

Alison, thank you for not seeing any weeds, I'm sending a hug!

Sue, glad you enjoyed the tour! Anytime you're in the area, stop on in!

Rainey, thank you, dear heart.

Junebug, aww, thank you! Glad you enjoyed the tour. :-)

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

Wow, wow, wow. I don't know where to start! It looks like your Lilies and Daylilies were in perfect bloom for the tour. It must be such a relief to get through a major tour -- all that work for a purpose! Very impressive!

Peonies & Magnolias said...

AWESOME!!!!! Everything looks so beautiful and your hard work has paid off, it is gorgeous!!! I really love your Mom's artwork, the ball fountain and titanium planter. I would be inspired to go work in my garden if it wasn't so darn hot and humid again this week. LOL


outlawgardener said...

Your attention to detail in such a huge garden is impressive. I felt your anxiety as your were rushing around, getting ready for the day. Isn't it funny that we want our gardens to appear as if they are no work at all, and appear all put-together and calm when the reality is much more like your description of your hot self after the weed whacking in a previous post. Good for you for being able to muster matching shoes after all that work! Helpful hint - both socks are supposed to be the same color too:) Seriously, your garden is a reflection of the beautiful people you are and your visitors were lucky to have experienced it and your family in person!