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Well the forecast looks like summer is over...very disappointing, but as I look out the window to see the gray sky and the trees blowing around in the wind, reality is sinking in. Yesterday the hubby and I made the rounds to some of the nurseries to see what they were starting to put on sale. I picked up a few things. I also had a few plants I had picked up during the few days of heat off the sale rack that I had been nursing back to health that hadn't been planted. Then my dad, who works at one of the wholesale nurseries had brought me a few plants. The company had a pot out front which they wanted to get rid of and they were just going to compost the plants. So my dad went and saved them all. He kept some, and gave me some. I got about 10 huecheras out of the deal, which isn't bad. It is so nice he works at the nursery. Last year I got a lot of stuff from him. This year they just bought a house is NO landscaping, so most of the plants have been going into their yard, which is ok with me. Their yard is really starting to come around, but of course my dad is a master gardener and my mom always had great gardens as I was growing up, so it really is no surprise.
So all of my purchases from yesterday, the stuff I had been nursing and the stuff my dad brought me got planted yesterday. We are looking at 4 days of rain in the mid 60s and the extended forecast doesn't look any better, so time to start adding plants and letting mother nature rehab them. I also will probably start dividing and moving the plants which are done blooming...all the normal fall activities...even though we still have a month of summer left...sigh...
I get up before the crack of dawn...I am up at 4:00 am...and earlier this summer it was so nice to have the first light of the day about the time I was out walking the dog. I am now back to having to take a flashlight with me in the morning, it is way too dark. It has been such a weird summer, other than the length of the day you would hardly know it was summer instead of spring. I think we have only had about 10 days over 75 this summer...which is odd...
Thankfully the other side of the mountain has been warmer and they are saying we are going to have close to a record crop of apples. It really is nice to go to the fruit stands, all the fresh fruit is starting to be available. It really is interesting how different weather makes a difference to different fruit.
Since the weather has been cool I have been adding plants all summer and hardly had to water. I really am hoping for more days of summer...it would be really nice. I have so many things i would love to do in the garden, weather permitting of course. Although I have been known to be out in the garden in the pouring rain because things needed to be done...not on the top of my list, but sometimes you have to work with what mother nature gives you.
So this afternoon we had another nice day...our one of only a dozen nice days this summer. So I decided to wander through the garden with the camera. Some new flowers are blooming and some are done and their seed pods are now adding interest.
Here's Cephalanhus occidentalis Sputnik in bloom.
Here's Clemantis after they bloomed.
Here's nigella damascena seed pods.
It is always nice when your plants can give you interest in every stage of its cycle. It really is amazing to see the transformation of the plants and the garden throughout the year. Mother nature always seems to amaze.
So a few weeks ago I had bought Leonotis Savannah Sunset, and it wasn't in bloom yet, but now it is...such a cool looking plant, and the hummers have fallen in love.
If the winter is mild this thing can get 4 feet tall. If it gets below 20 this winter, then I have to protect. But I think it is well worth it.
So after yesterdays shopping trip was planted...I was off to the nurseries again, I missed a couple yesterday and today the butterflies won. Campanula gargancia "Dickens Gold", aquilegia "Lime Sorbet", Geum "cooky", glaucium corniculatum, and lysimachia congestiflora "walkabout sunset". I am now in the garden in the shade (it is 85 today) with my laptop enjoying the hummers. I know several people have commented on how to attract hummers. Here's where we came from.
Hummers are fun...the hubby and I were sitting here talking how they have their favorites and how some others they only visit now and then. We have Anna's all year round and then we have Rufus in the summer. Since we are in a milder zone I try to have things in bloom all the time, but it never fails, that their favorite things are not in bloom when they want them. That is the key though, is to have food when they are coming through or they will just keep going.
So I do have feeders as well. I have the cheap $7 feeders from Home Depot that are clear on the top and red on the bottom and the holes have white around them. If you get the ones with yellow it attacks the wasps. I mix 1 part sugar to 4 parts water and change it out depending on temperature. I hang my feeders by the windows in the house, but I have put them on hooks. If you do that to keep the ants away, every time the honey mows just put the fresh clippings around the base of the hook.
If you are trying to attract hummers red really is the key. Although several of the plants I have that are their favs are not red, I swear when the Rufus come through they drop out of orbit at the sight of red. I was reading an article and a lady was saying that she puts red table cloths on her tables during March/April and she has so many visitors she has 3 different clothes lines with about 50 feeders. That is crazy...I am really happy with my small group.
I started with salvia "lipstick red" and monarda "Jacob Cline".
There are so many different lists on hummingbird plants, these are the ones I have and have seen the hummingbirds eat from: Abelia, Ajuga, Althea, Astilbe, Azaleas, Asclepias tuberosa, Monardas, Begonia, Salvia, Canna, Lobelia, Aquilegia, Heuchera, Dicentra, Dahlia, Delphinium, Flowering Quince, Digitalis, Fuchsias, Fuchsia, Hardy, Geranium, Gladiolus, Hibiscus, Crocosmia, Leycesteria formosa, Alcea Rosea, Gaillardia, Mimulus cardinalis, Nicotiana, Petunia, Hemerocallis, Linaria, Potentilla , Lupinus, Iris germanica, hostas, Clematis, Chelone, Phlox, Sedum, Beloperone guttata, Campsis radicans, Scrophularia auriculata, Sarcococca ruscifolia, Tritoma, Verbascum, Veronica, and weigela.
There are so many different varieties in each family...I have found most of their favs also are some of mine. They love hosta guacamole, it has wonderful trumpet flowers, and the smell at night is something special. The agastache with scented leaves also seem to be favorites, like heather queen, sangria and black adder.
So start with some red, and then start mixing in some other things and see how it works for you. Different plants do better in different areas, and I would imagine different hummers have different tastes. Hopefully you will end up with some fighter pilots flying around and having dog fights in your yard.
So I was up early this morning...6am in the garden and the hummers were dog fighting. It was funny to see them fight over their favorite plants. Got some weeding done, filled the yard waste bin by 10am so my hubby and I rewarded ourselves for all the hard work. So we did the rounds of the nurseries. Five stops and new plants for my winged friends. I was telling my hubby that I needed more white flowers, because I didn't have many, although we when you are shopping for the hummers there just aren't many white plants. I came up with 2 orange and 2 red.
Here's today's haul.
For the hummers I got Agastache Navajo Sunset, Agastache Sangria, Schrophularia Red Birds in a Tree, Leonotis Savannah Sunset, and a couple of plants for my planter Tradescantia sillamontana and Setcreasea Purple Heart.
So planting tomorrow and in a week most will be blooming for my friends. I am always so picky buying plants, I try to get the ones with the most flowers that aren't open, that way they will bloom longer after I plant them. I just hate it when they only bloom for a week and then they are done and you have to a wait a year to see them again...no fun, so I leave the blooming ones in the store.
Looked at the reject plants, but there weren't any fun ones. It is supposed to be warm for the next week to two weeks so I think a shopping trip is due in a few weeks again. Nurseries are so bad at remembering to water plants in the heat and they hire dumb people who don't know what the blacked out sun means on the plant tag. Of course I am ok with that, since I can usually bring them back.
So it is such a nice day I brought the laptop out to the garden and I decided to write from here. Our weather has finally straightened out, it is 78 degrees today and will be 80+ over the weekend. The flowers are enjoying the sun. It hasn't rained more than .03 in the last 2 weeks, but the only thing I have had to water is the baskets.
The birds, butterflies, dragon flies and bees are in heaven. So much to eat, so little time. Yesterday my neighbor and I were talking. When I bought the place 7 years ago the back hill was weeds and blackberries. We didn't have much for wildlife. About 4 years ago 4 of us neighbors decided to start planting with the goal of attracting the critters and it really has worked. We have many baby birds around, finches, woodpeckers, and hummers. I can only imagine how many bees there are, the flowers are an express way of constant activity.
I can only imagine what the critters think, as I sit here and watch them and enjoy the garden and the day.
So the Anna Hummingbirds are our year round residents. Over the winter it was a challenge for a few weeks keeping the feeders from being frozen, but the pay off is so worth it. The family added another member this year. The last 2 years the family had males, and again this year another male. I got some pictures of him this week. His color isn't so good yet, he is kind of dirty looking since he still has baby feathers and it will be a couple of years before all the red comes in, right now he only has 1 red feather under his chin that is hard to see. I am sure daddy is happy to have sons, but I am sure at this point mom would like a daughter.
So being an artist the garden supplies a lot of wonderful shots. I was out over the last few days because it has finally turned to summer here and the plants are rejoicing. I uploaded a bunch of shots in a new album titled Art Photos, but here are some of my favorites.
So last year I planted kohlrabi, carrots and parsnips in the ground. The neighbors chickens and the slugs took care of 99.9% of the seedlings. I only got 2 kohlrabi, and a half dozen carrots and parsnips. So I got a watering trough and planted in that this spring. Well then for a month and a half I was busy...and this is what happens when you don't go back to thin.
So now the carrots and parsnips are big enough I am going to leave them in a few more weeks, and then have a baby veggie bake...although next spring I am going to need to thin before life gets this out of control.
I guess you only have to ask and you get what you want. Surprisingly, since most of the time you never get what you ask for. But sure as the sun is yellow, the first full day of summer and we were in the mid 70s with sun. All week the weather has been nice and I just hear the plants singing for joy in the sun. My tomatoes are putting on new leaves after looking yellow and dead. Now if only the weather holds.
I know most of the rest of the country is warm...hope you are all surviving your heat wave...and if you need a place to cool off we are still a great place to visit!
So last year I turned my furnace off in April, this year it was on in May and so far several days in June. It has been a cold and rainy spring with no end in sight. Our expected high today is 63. The weather people have started calling the month Junuary, since our weather is closer to February than June.
My flowers look fine and even some of my gardener friends have commented how long some of the things have been blooming. Although other things like the day lilies, aren't blooming, but have huge buds waiting for the sun. The veggie garden looks very sad. No sun and tomatoes certainly don't get a long. My neighbor started them in her green house, and they had gotten too big and were starting to bloom so we planted them outside, only to see the buds fall off and the plants turn yellow.
The cool damp weather has caused the slug population to be out in force as well.
I am seriously considering consulting the local tribes and seeing if we can get a sun dance started. Otherwise I am just going to have to sell my house and move south.
But until then, I think today is a nice day to start a fire and read a book....and look longingly out the window at the garden.
Hope everyone has a great day!
So my garden is shared with many creatures. Most of which I have invited in. My plan included attracting birds and butterflies and beneficial insects. It did not include however the slug. Although I don't know that anyone every wants a slug and certainly once you have them they quickly multiply and make short work of their favorite plants. Try as you might they always seem to find an unprotected plant.
My mother in law was visiting for the last week. My hubby took time off and they were out having fun, and I was working. So to get me a nice gift they bought me "50 ways to kill a slug" by Hamlyn.
It says it is a serious and silly way to kill or outwit the garden's number one enemy. I thought I knew my enemy, but there were things in this book I did not know. Many of the things are quite funny but also informational. So if you see it in the store pick it up, it is a good read and like they say on the last page if nothing else you can use the book to squish the slug.
Hope everyone is having a great day....today is supposed to be our first day over 75 this spring. I am going out to worship.
So yesterday after I got off work, the sun was finally shining, after days, weeks and months of rain it seems I finally had a moment to plant the plants I have been buying. One of our friends is the shrub buyer for Home Depot, and we saw him last weekend and he was commenting that he should put floats on the plants. LOL
The garden was most certainly muddy, so off the shoes came and my toes got a nice mud bath. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice again so I think I will take some pictures and post what I planted. There were several sedges...they come in so many fun varieties now, some salvia, and a couple other I can't remember. Also moved some plants around and cleaned up some of the unruly ones.
Grandpa is still here and my mother-in-law is flying in tonight. Thankfully Grandpa is staying with my parents, otherwise I would have a full house and get nothing done.
Maybe next week...
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