I awoke to the first bloom of the hardy Kopper King hibiscus this season! Such a nice surprise:
Th ere are many more buds yet to come, as well. The plant itself is rather pidly this year, but I can't complain - last year it didn't even bloom...
On another note, I spent some more time last night in the back of the neighbor's yard chopping at grape vine - I still can't tell if I have actually cut the ones that are growing into my trees or not...
I am also sad to report that some of the little starts I received from a fellow garden guides member are not fairing so well in our GA heat - the arum, may apple, rice paper plant and hardy impatiens have completely died back. I wonder if there is hope? I think they miss their cozy PNW home! However, the rest of the goodies are doing well - I am especially excited about the giant sea kale :)
Also, the white hosta seems to be a host plant for some unknown critter - argh! Hopefully it will bounce back next spring. Ahhhh - the joys of summer!
I mentioned in a previous post about the moss that I am trying to help along on the creek banks. I have been diligently weed-eating the top to keep weeds out, about 1-2 x a week. The work is really paying off! I remembered to lug my camera up there the other day and here is a nice shot of the bank:
I love the way this is filling in around the arbovitaes:
Last night I also got back there, WAY back there - to an overgrown jungle that is not even part of our property and tried to snip out as many grapevines as I could. Its great and all that I cleared my jungle, but the trouble with grape vines in that the grow straight up to the light and then spread like wild fire! This means that where the neighbors aren't taking care of their yards....their grapevines are starting to grow into the canopies of our mature trees. Really presents quite a situation. So, I am hoping my jungle adventure did a bit of good.
The veggie beds are really enjoying the heat! Lots of things are producing and I am loving the look through the arbor:
I didn't even plant any of the orange marigolds. They have reseeded themselves freely! Wish I could get poppies to do that too - but, hey! I should take what I can get, right?!?
Speaking of reseeding....The daturas love their home and give me a better show every year! This is the bed to the left of my driveway (neighbor's house in the background)
And finally, I will leave you with a shot of the front yard as seen from the street:
And, for the first time in a long time - I didn't buy anything!!! Mostly due to the fact that I had already gotten many new additions over this past week. I went back to the nursery early in the week to buy the Dwarf Mugo Pine that I was coveting. It looks very nice in the front window seat bed. I also picked up a loro to put in the new deck bed and since they were still having their buy 2, get 1 free sale - I grabbed a freebie Fernspray False Cypress to go in the back near the deodor cedar.
I also got in a wonderful order in the mail! A fellow GG member told me about bigdipperfarm.comand boy, was I like a kid in a candy store in their website! I could hardly contain myself when I saw that most of their items are shipped in an active growing state - not dormant tubers, bulbs, etc.... Also, they had several plants that I have been wanting to get growing in my yard, but have not had success. When the box came, I was so delighted to see the beautiful way that they were all packed. Here is the loot below:
The list of what I got is as follows:
Gunnera Tinctoria: I have purchased bulbs of this several times and have never had luck. I have been doing some research and they really aren't supposed to do well here in GA. Even though they are rated for my zone, they don't like the hot summers that we have here. I got some great advice from a lady at my local nursery and she said to start it in a pot and see if it does well. Then, if it does take off - I can wait until its ready to be divided to try it in the ground. The other idea I had was to put ice cubes around the edge of the pot, on top of the mulch, to help keep the ambient air around the plant a bit cooler. Dedication? OCD? Stubborn? All of the above??? HAH! The pot is tucked safely behind the oakleaf hydrangea.
Petasites Japonicus Variegata: Should do well here - I am super excited. it is said to get leaves up to 3 feet across. I have only tried this one other time, but purchased what ended up being a very unhealthy rhizome off of ebay. Went in the hydrangea bed to get started. If it takes off, I hope to put some back by the creek.
Polustichum Munitum "Western Sword Fern" : From what I found out online, these are nothing special in their native PNW environment, however I have not seem them much around here - I am sure there is a reason why, but I couldn't resist trying to get the fronds of a fern that is said to get 6 feet high! Besides, it was only $6.99! Went in the back of the hosta bed in the back.
Matteuccia Struthiopter "Ostrich Fern - The King": I have high hopes for this one! Many people grow the regular Ostrich Fern here (myself included) with much success, so it will be fun to see if this guy does ok.
Hosta Sieboldiana "Elegans": This is about the only thing from the shipment that I have a 99% feeling will do just fine in my yard. This variety is a blue that is said to get leaves up to 4 feet across. Went in the hydrangea bed.
Dicsonia Antarctica "Tasmanian Tree Fern": A total experiment that I couldn't resist! Found its home behind the sum and substance hostas in the back.
On the trip to Lowes to get the pot and soil for the above mentioned gunnera, I also picked up 3 More Loros to put at the back fence by the creek. But, hey - I had never seen them at such a good price. But, Enough for now! Time to sit back and watch it grow while taking breaks from all the watering!
My local gardening center has now started reducing some of their inventory to 75% off, in addition to the buy 2, get one free special that they continue to have on trees and shrubs. DANGEROUS for the plantaholic. But, super fun! It has enabled me to work on my goal of adding conifers to my garden. The first round that I purchased were 3 "Sungold Threaded Cypress." They went into the bed to the right of the front steps. For some reason, I have really struggled with the best things to put here. I used to try to do a lot of annuals, for some color right by the door. But, I have grown tired of the cost and upkeep required for a successful annual bed. Other things have found there way into this bed at some point or another as well: trumpet trees, roses, grasses, hyacinth bean vines, moon vines, basil, etc.... What has ended up staying there for the past few years is a wild bunch of yellow iris. It looks really nice when it blooms in early spring, but then after that it just becomes a mess of dying foliage. So - in went the cypress, and out came a majority of the iris.
While I was at the nursery getting these guys, I was so overwhelmed with all of the other great sales, but couldn't think straight with 2 toddlers in tow - so, when hubby came home, back to the nursery I went!
That time I came home with 3 small-medium sized blue cypress and a "Purple Pixie Loropetalum." The loro found its way into the above bed. The lime green with the purple is so fun:
The tag said this variety will get 1-2 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide.
One of the cypress is a "Baby Blue Sawara Cypress" that found its way along the chain link fence where the neighbor cleared out. This should grow to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, according to the tag. Should provide a nice screen there: (This guy was originally $39, but I got him for $9!)
The other 2 cypress are "Chamaecyparis obtusa Blue Feathers, Dwarf Blue Hinoki Cypress." The first one found its home in place of the massive overgrown and somewhat odd weeping pussy willow. About 6 years ago, I bought one of those adorable miniature weeping pussy willows at Easter time from the local grocery store. Well, the tag said it was hardy here, so I stuck it in the ground - not at all expecting for it to do much. Well, here it is today:
See that massive ball ish looking thing? That is it! Every year, I have tried to prune it into something - and it just always looks this way. The weird thing is that since it is a grafted tree, the trunk is only about 10-12 inches high, then the graft is a giant bulbous looking thing with the unruly weeping shoots coming out in a tangled mass. See photo here: (this is the whole hubby had to cut to be able to access the root ball)
The neat thing though, is that it is nice in the winter to have the pussy willows when they bloom. So, dear hubby dug it up for me and in the place of it went the first aforementioned Cypress:
Loo ks a bit puny now, but tag says it will get 5-8 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.Should be a nice size for this spot and the blue will be a nice contrast against all the green in this part of the bed. This is the bed that is right by the street.
The massive pussy willow got transplanted to the creek edge. It may not make it as this is the worst time to transplant such a massive shrub, but I will do my best to keep it watered and hope for the best:
As you can see from the picts - this project went well into the evening!
On the other side of the driveway in the front, we put the other one of the same kind of cypress, behind the miscanthus:
See it? Nestled in with the daturas? When they get nice and big, the symmetry on either side of the drive will create a nice informal formality - i hope!
AND, if that wasn't enough - there is another location of this local nursery in another part of town, so I made a third trip to see what kind of sales they had going on. Turns out, in addition to the great sale items, they also had a much more diverse selection of conifers. So, I picked up another variety of blue cypress: "Falsecypress Boulevard." This guy found his way into the front window seat bed. I have been wanting to shove something in the already full bed for winter interest as right now the majority of it is a japanese maple and lots of perennials. SO, this little guy found his way smack in the middle of the solidago, in front of the sculpture. Here is a before picture:
And there he is:
I am already dreaming of when he gets to his promised 4 feet of height, that the yellow blooms of the solidago will just glow against his blue!
I may have to make another trip tomorrow for that dwarf mugo pine that i wished I had bought! See, DANGEROUS! :)
Our local garden center had an "Ice Cream Social" and sale yesterday. Only for 3 hours in the evening and everything, mix and match, in the greenhouse was buy 2, get 1 free. That is DANGEROUS for us plantaholics! Needless to say, I took FULL advantage of this - telling myself that I just couldn't pass up such deals :) I brought home 3 "rainbow" Leucothoes that found their home along side the new deck:
The tag said they will get 3-5 feet tall and wide, are evergreen and bloom white - so, I am excited and think they will fill in nicely. I was also able to purchase 3 more things that contributed to 2 of my ongoing garden efforts: 1 - OPERATION LAWN MINIMIZATION & 2 - ADD MORE CONIFERS. I took home a "Blue Atlas Cedar," which I have been wanting for a long time as well as 2 "Blue Cone" Arborvitaes. I really like arborvitaes and have never seen this variety before. They all found their way into the start of a brand new bed at the base of the deck:
Close up of the blue cone on the arborvitae:
We are somewhat limited to the varieties of conifers that will tolerate our HOT summers here. I have been reading a book "Gardening With Conifers" and it has been so inspiring. Arborvitaes, Junipers, Cryptomerias and Cedars are good performers here but we typically don't fare well with spruces or firs. So, I was excited to see this blue cone to add some interest. The blue atlas cedar is very open in its growth - this will help not to hide the deck, but will provide interest. I plan on the arborvitaes fluffing out with the lower branches of the cedar peeking through. I have rounded up the grass in this new bed and will put pine straw down when it turns brown. Now I get to think about what else to pack into this new bed. FUN! (So far, I am thinking a barberry or something prickly right at the base of the deck to deter the dogs from making that their hideout, then some rose bushes perhaps? Also some grasses - hmmmmmm..... I love thinking of all the options!)
I am also pleased to report that we have begun daily harvest from the veggie garden - woo hooo! So far this week we have picked: asparagus, squash, bush beans and ichiban eggplant. Also, the volunteer marigolds in the veggie beds are starting to bloom.
This afternoon, I got back to the creek and did my routine weed-eating - it is really paying off! The moss is starting to win out over the weeds and there is a nice fluffy carpet developing. Also, the volunteer native ferns are coming up. I would have taken a picture but didn't remember to grab my camera before I climbed back there. Maybe next time :)
The black and blue salvia started showing this week:
And my gardenia that I transplanted last year - and thought I had killed - is looking good with all its blooms! (terrible picture - i know, but you get the idea)
The hydrangeas are really making me smile too:
We have been blessed by LOADS of rain all week - so I haven't had to do any watering. So nice! AND - last, but not least...a nice shot of part of the back yard: