back to work–and not in the garden!

 

Classes start this week, on Thursday, so time in the garden will be severely curtailed from now on. I focused recently on a thorough renovation of the “sandy” garden. It is based on sand, so I have to be careful about letting it get too parched. Only tough, drought-tolerant plants can live there. I weeded, sharpened up the edges, expanded one section, added many loads of old manure, and lastly straightened and widened the central path. That entailed moving some plants, mostly echinacea and rudbeckia. Here are the outside edges, with a nice low rock wall:?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Here is the widened central path:??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Here are some more photos of the back yard, dahlias, glads, and others:?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????As you can see, the cardboard covered with hay has lasted well, and looks nice and neat. Next year, I’ll add compost and mulch and then it can be planted. More dahlias and glads:??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Above is a pretty sprawling false sunflower, and the nice mulched wide paths. At the bottom of the picture is the raised strawberry bed. I scattered cilantro, poppies, and cleome seeds in it a few weeks ago. I don’t know if the flowers will have enough time to flower. But the cilantro is growing nicely:???????????????????????????????

destruction

Yesterday I finally planted the ten delphinium seedlings out in the “square” garden. I had to remove a bunch of phlox and echinacea to make room. “Remove” is a gentle word for a rather violent process, from the echinacea’s point of view–they get dug up and tossed over the side of the bank –I just have too many that self-seed everywhere, and I want some place for the delphinium. It was also a catastrophic process for the ants–several of the spots I picked to plant the seedlings were ant homes, and after digging the hole I saw pure pandemonium–thousands of ants, half of them searching for an enemy to bite and half of them carrying eggs. I felt kind of bad but hopefully most of them managed to rebuild somewhere.

newly planted delphinium

newly planted delphinium

Even more destructive was what happened this morning in the dahlia grove. I planted the tubers too closely together, and they grew into a huge 6-foot-tall hedge, especially the red ones. I ended up removing three of them completely, and pruning the others, then re-staking. I followed advice I read about in a garden magazine and bought 1/2 inch rebar, in 5-foot lengths. (They came in 10-foot lengths, and the guys at the lumber yard kindly cut them in half for me–I bought 10 of them, so now I have 20 5-foot lengths of rebar for dahlia stakes. $3.88 per bar, around $40.00 total–not bad!) Here’s the pile of discarded dahlia:???????????????????????????????And here are some pictures of the newly pruned and staked dahlias:?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????august 22 020I wanted to get this done this morning because the weather was calling for rain today and tonight. We’ve had a dry week, and I know the dahlias will be glad of rain–but I also knew they’d likely fall or break from the inadequate staking I’d used. So I went out planning only to stake them, then realized that they were just too crammed in together.

Other garden pictures from this morning:

First, yet another photo of the daylily “Orange Tremor”. It’s so gorgeous, I can’t walk by it without taking a photo!

orange tremor

orange tremor

The glads are doing their thing, without benefit of proper–or any at all!–staking. My favorite is the pure white ones.

white gladiolus

white gladiolus

Reliable rudbeckia, glowing and bright no matter how dry it gets. They are also enthusiastic self-seeders. There are lots of them in the “sandy” garden, and I didn’t plant any of them there.???????????????????????????????Here is the sandy garden:

???????????????????????????????

The front yard has fewer blooms now, but the phlox are still billowy. Here is a patch of white phlox, with digitalis, a few late red daylilies, and the ubiquitous echinacea:???????????????????????????????The front yard also has volunteer sunflowers and this tall yellow daisy-esque plant. I’ll have to do some research to figure out what it is.

???????????????????????????????Back to syllabi-writing!

(PS: added later: I think these are cutleaf coneflower, Rudbeckia Laciniata, a native plant.)

going apple picking–and the hibiscus bursts onto the scene

Last evening I went out to our woods to pick apples, so David could make applesauce. This farm of 115 acres used to be part of an even bigger farm. Of our acres, David estimates 30 are now hay fields/pasture, and another 30 were long ago planted to apples, in scattered orchards. Some of the trees are very old, and huge. Some are still dominant on sunny grazed hillsides or the edges of pastures, and others now languish in the shade of tall  maples, ash, cherries, poplars, and other hardwoods. Many are younger “children” of those older trees. The variety is astonishing–all mixed together are small and large size; yellow, pink, greenish, red, and gold color; sweet and tart flavor; juicy and dry texture. When we went out blackberry picking recently we grabbed apples from various trees to find the best ones, and last night I went back out with my backpack and two canvas bags. I also brought my camera. The light (it was around 7 pm) was so beautiful.

cattails on the roadside

cattails on the roadside

Joe Pye Weed is going strong

Joe Pye Weed is going strong

evening sun shining through a willow tree

evening sun shining through a willow tree

It’s been a good year for berries of all kinds:

wild grapes on the horse pasture fence

wild grapes on the horse pasture fence

hawthorne

hawthorne

blackberries

blackberries

Some kind of black berry on a tree--chokecherry?

Some kind of black berry on a tree–chokecherry?

I picked apples from three different trees. Here’s the haul:??????????????????????????????? Tater thought it looked like too much work. He stayed and held down the porch canvas chair. Some of the garden harvest sits beside him. We had a great onion harvest this year.cat and onionsIn the flower garden, the dahlias are producing flowers faster than I can pick them, almost. The house is full of bouquets:bouquet dahlias 1??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The glads are also starting to bloom–very dramatic!???????????????????????????????And the hibiscus with its gigantic bright blossoms has started to bloom. We’ve had to stake it this year. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????hibiscus bush
As I head back to work for another semester, I have to relax about the garden–weeds don’t all get pulled, deadheading doesn’t get done, no big projects that take all day to complete are launched. But I do hope to clear up and reburbish the southside gardens before fall. Here are the “before” photos. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Hopefully before too long I can display the “after” photos!

Rachel pictures the garden

My niece and her fancy camera visited my garden the other day, and I was intrigued to see how different her choices were from mine as she wandered through the garden. She took many more “weed” or “wildflower” pictures than I do, and often aimed her camera from a different angle. She took a bunch of pictures of a dried, faded flower I would have reached over and deadheaded to get out of the frame! She also took a lot of nice pictures of buildings and out-buildings on the property. But like me, she took plenty of “portraits”, close photos of individual blooms, and like in my shots, the ubiquitous bumble bees landed in plenty of shots.

So here are some of her pictures of structures:

the house from near the potting shed

the house from near the potting shed

South face of the potting shed

South face of the potting shed

part of the garage/shop

part of the garage/shop

old swing with chain

old swing with chain

And here are some of her “weed” shots:

I love how elegant she made this common weed look!

I love how elegant she made this common weed look!

morning sun shines on a thistle in the horse pasture

morning sun shines on a thistle in the horse pasture

apple mint takes up a lot of space on our property--here is a mint blossom from a patch in the pasture

apple mint takes up a lot of space on our property–here is a mint blossom from a patch in the pasture

Queen Anne's lace

Queen Anne’s lace

Here are a few nice flower portraits:

ten foot tall yellow flower--I forget the name of it

ten foot tall yellow flower–I forget the name of it

sunflower--self-seeded from last year

sunflower–self-seeded from last year

echinops

echinops

false sunflower--I love the combination of sharp focus and fuzz

false sunflower–I love the combination of sharp focus and fuzz

"pink diamond" hydrangea

“pink diamond” hydrangea

My favorite of her photos is of some apple mint blossoms, with a bumble bee flying off. It’s a classic!IMG_0491

who ordered those peonies??

I got an email from Klehms’ Songsparrow nursery the other day. “We’re ready to send your peonies, expect them on August 28.” Great, the day classes start. I don’t even remember ordering them. Turns out I ordered two single peonies, the first singles in my garden–a dark red called “America”, and a gorgeous peachy/orange single whose name escapes me at the moment. I also ordered “Mrs. Roosavelt”, a double pink, and “Elsa Sass”, a creamy white double, and “Orchid Anne”, a beautiful very pale pink double. Now where will I put them?

from last June--you can't have too many peonies, right?

from last June–you can’t have too many peonies, right?

Mostly wordless–lots of photos

This morning I did a few miscellaneous gardening chores, things like deadheading daylilies, and raking up piles of weeds left over from the square bed renovation, and planting the daylilies I had dug out of it. I had just set them where I wanted to plant them, and then it poured rain, and they sat out all night–but they seemed fine this morning, so I plunked them into their new home. Then I just wandered around taking photos. Here they are:

hummingbird moth resting on a "blue muffin" vibernum leaf.

hummingbird moth resting on a “blue muffin” vibernum leaf.

closer up of the moth

closer up of the moth

cat on a path

cat on a path

a nice small clear yellow daylily.

a nice small clear yellow daylily.

Early on cool mornings I often find the bumblebees just sitting like this head first in a lily blossom--Sleeping? Dreaming?

Early on cool mornings I often find the bumblebees just sitting like this head first in a lily blossom–Sleeping? Dreaming?

Phlox of all shades from pure white to red to dark purple are blooming now.

Phlox of all shades from pure white to red to dark purple are blooming now.

the backyard with a new path, and the shrinking lawn!

the backyard with a new path, and the shrinking lawn!

dahlia

dahlia

Azteca dahlia. I ordered this from Swan Island Dahlias last year. Stunning!

Azteca dahlia. I ordered this from Swan Island Dahlias last year. Stunning!

another Swan Island dahlia, dark wine red, just opening.

another Swan Island dahlia, dark wine red, just opening.

our miniature lion

our miniature lion

We’re leaving for a ten-day trip to New Brunswick, Canada on Monday, and planning to visit some gardens there. I’ll be posting again when we get back!

major remodeling effort in the “square” garden

Here are is a “before” photo of what we call the square garden:???????????????????????????????This picture was taken in late July–I had put the “Thelma rocks” there ready to build a nice low wall. The garden needed more compost added; low flowers in the back were hidden by a wall of tall phlox and echinacea that seeded itself there without my help. I also wanted fewer but wider paths. Some plants I wanted to move out of there altogether, such as iris that invariably flopped and some overgrown patches of short daylilies.  Yesterday was a good day for working outside, so I got all my gardening equipment out and did nothing but work on this garden all day. First I got the wall built: ???????????????????????????????But I still had the garden itself to work on. Here’s a picture from the west end, standing on the stone bench, just before I started in:???????????????????????????????Not bad, but a bit of a jumble, plenty of grass, no real back edge. And two stunning daylilies,  newly planted last year, were blooming but lost in the back. This is a photo I took yesterday of one of them, called “Orange Tremor”:august 1 014The other is called “Elizabeth Salter”, and it’s just fantastic. Here’s a photo of it from the internet, and mine looks just like this picture:1454_pageThis image is from the Oakes Daylilies website. That’s where I got both of these lilies, and they deserve a front row position.

In addition to moving some plants around in the garden and moving some out, this morning I bought two shrubs at the wonderful nursery Willow Tree in Potsdam, and planted them right away.  One is a new weigela with pink in the foliage, called “magical rainbow”:???????????????????????????????and the other is a “Pinky Winkie” hydrangea:???????????????????????????????After all that digging and weeding, here’s the garden, again taken from atop the stone bench:???????????????????????????????Conveniently, it’s been raining on and off all day today, and the newly planted shrubs and the transplanted flowers will get watered.
It looks a little bare and shocked, but it will fill in, I’m sure. And there is plenty of room for tulip bulbs!