Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Butterflies, ID help, butterfly weed, fruit and harvests

Temperatures are reaching the 90s for a second straight day. I'm finding the heat and high humidity oppressive, but it's not stopping the butterflies from frolicking around!
ID me please! This is a free plant my son brought home a few weeks ago for Earth Day. I was wondering if anyone knew what type of tree it is and how tall it could get. My guess it's a pine...of some sort....
A close-up of the tips of the branches. Can someone ID me please?
I have had a lot of difficulty germinating the Asclepias syriaca (Common milkweed) seed that I bought on eBay. Only one of the first batch I planted germinated. That would be the one I have in a large container by itself. I decided to take my chances and use the paper towel method on the few remaining seeds. I dampened a paper towel, tossed the seeds onto the paper, and placed it inside a Ziploc bag in a window with bright, primarily indirect light. Another one germinated after about a week and a half. I carefully removed this one from the paper towel (it came right off) and planted it with the taproot covered in a small peat pot with potting soil.
Carmine Jewel Bush Cherry from Gurneys that I received last week. Self-pollinating.
Daily mixed shelling pea and strawberry harvest.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued here. Sitting here daydreaming about getting a white, seedless grape vine....and a dwarf, self-pollinating sweet cherry.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bumblebee on bolting Golden Acre cabbage flowers.My bed of Yukon Gold and Red Norland potatoes. There are two Mucho Nacho jalapeno and two Fat N' Sassy pepper plants in the bed. Yesterday I added more straw mulch around the growing potatoes to keep them from turning green. Then I added even more straw around the strawberry plants to keep the berries away from the soil.
I purchased seed for Common Milkweed. Asclepias syriaca. Only one of them germinated. I hope it not only survives, but thrives and multiplies.Nepeta Walkers Low. It may be low but it sure isn't petite. This ONE plant that I added last summer is at least 4 feet wide. This is after I used a shovel to slice off a large chunk to plant out front. The bumblebees are absolutely loving it!Yesterday I placed some clothespins on the dwarf fruit trees I planted in the fall. It may not be attractive, but it will help with maintaining wide angles for the scaffolds. This is my dwarf Golden Delicious apple tree.I found apple aphid clusters on the new foliage of this apple tree. Their buddy, an ant, was hanging out with them. I didn't want to dig out the hose and haul it around the house to blast them off with water. I couldn't find my spray bottle either. What to do? Improvise. My kids' squirt guns came in handy. Not as good as a hose, but it slowly worked.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Right now it is pouring AGAIN. While there was a bit of a break this morning, I ran out to see what was in bloom. This is what I saw. Alexander Fleming peony. It is supposed to be fragrant, but I guess the wet weather is interfering with that.
Felix Crousse
Felix Crousse up close
William Baffin climbing roses starting to open up.
Golden Zest rose. Lemon-scented! Although not with all the rain.
Jacob Kline monarda. Just added last fall. Initially there were 3 plants but one died. The two remaining are really taking off. I can see how these would get a bit pushy in the garden.
"Climbing" the wall on a trellis is Brite Eyes rose. To the left of it is a Double Knockout rose.
Brite Eyes up close.
Maynight Salvia with a Navaho blackberry flower that just opened.
The rain isn't all bad. Everything is getting pretty lush.

Strawberry Rot

It has been raining daily for about a week and a half. The extremely wet weather has begun to take its toll on the garden. Today I went out to check on the ripening Earliglow strawberries. What I found was this. Some looked alright. Just under-ripe, but with more rains in the forecast...But as you can see of the berries are showing signs of rot. From what I could find online, it looks like these have leather rot directly related to the wet weather. The berries aren't getting a chance to dry off from day to day. We've had very little sunshine between the back to back storms. Heavy straw mulching is supposed to help prevent this condition, but the daily downpours are winning this battle.
Now with a few more days of rain still left in the forecast, I'm really worried about the other strawberries out there. Where is the sunshine?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rain. Rain. Go Away.

How do clouds hold all this moisture? I mean, seriously! All this rain has me a bit worried. I've noticed that my Earliglow strawberries have started to blush. It has rained non-stop for a week and doesn't look like it will stop until Sunday. These might be some pretty bland berries. :( The peonies are getting ready to open. Here's Felix Crousse. I'm hoping he'll hold out for 2 or 3 more days so he doesn't get battered by the storms.
A sole, dwarf cosmos flower. Like a mini ray of sunshine on a dreary day.
The Golden Acre cabbage is in bloom. Very pretty in person. The heaviest storms beat it down a bit. It would actually be quite ornamental planted in a group. I'm hoping to get free seed for next season.
Pink Champagne clematis.
The same clematis with the birdhouse I made. I decided that this would be a nice spot for a lucky bird family. I hope they agree and someone moves in soon!
Now I will go look at the garden through the window. Wishing that the rain will stop. Happy gardening!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How is it still raining?

Monday, May 9, 2011

I received the most lovely present ever yesterday from my son. His teacher had them make decorative baskets and gave each kid a flower to bring home. Here's my lovely, pink snapdragon.For Mother's Day my husband took the kids out for a few hours. I built these two birdhouses. I would starve if this was what I did for a living, but they should hold up for a few seasons.Red Zeppelin and Copra onions in the back right. Mixed shelling peas planted along the front edge of the bed. The first blossom arose two days ago.
Asclepias incarnata- Two shoots emerging. These were just planted in the fall. I'm getting ready for the monarchs! Oh, and ignore the weeds in the background. :)
Patriot blueberry in bloom. Much more tough than Blueray and Chandler so far.
Pink Champagne clematis

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Latest Additions

My father-in-law said last season, "Have you seen the begonias they have now?" So, as a surprise, I bought him a gorgeous Nonstop Yellow Tuberous Begonia at Jake's Greenhouse. I loved it so much that I bought myself one as well. A bright plant for my shaded back porch. I will definitely save the tubers at the end of the season, so I can have these beauties again next year.While I was there I bought an Imperial Blue Sedum that was on sale. I thought it would contrast nicely with all the green foliage around it.
Last night I planted all my new Elephant Bush from Lowes in the top of this strawberry pot. Then I filled in all the pockets with the babies I snapped off a Hens and Chicks that I got a few weeks ago. My other strawberry planter is filled with the remaining Hens and Chicks.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It finally happened. At 11:26am I saw my first hummer of the season!!!! A male ruby throat!!! He took a long drink and flew away. He popped up again at noon on the button for another drink. What a wonderful morning!!!