Tuesday, May 21, 2019

LIttle Things on a Cold Wet Tuesday

Where'd spring go?  I'd packed away the sweaters and turned off the heat.  Now, I'm rummaging around in the winter stuff and turned the heaters back on!  The Guinea pig was getting cold a few days ago, and this morning it's me that needed it!

So, little things.  Pictures I haven't posted.  Mentions I haven't made.  

The mini pumpkin vines climbed over the fence last summer, and one of the pumpkins got caught between the boards.  I just noticed it recently.  It's still firm, but once it rots it will most likely grow!

I successfully grew some succulents from seed.  I bought the seeds a few years ago, and the sowing directions seemed too complicated, what with sand or grit and this and that.  So, this winter, while weeding out my unused seeds, I just put them in a wintersown container with sand and stirred them in a bit.  I don't know what kind they are, the package was "mixed."  Hopefully hardy ones.  I should be able to tell before this years cold weather hits.  Look familiar?

Baby Elephant got to leave the bookcase and come outside for the season. 

The pickin's at thrift stores aren't very good lately.  They have lots of merchandise, but they've raised their prices too much.  I found one small terra-cotta pot, glazed on the outside, for 99 cents, but most of their terra-cotta was $4.99.   Has terra-cotta become a "thing" to warrant the price increase?

I got the weekend's coral bells transplanted into fairly large nursery pots.  Carnival Black Olive looks to be in fine shape, it's the Baby Bells™ Lime Swizzle that looks iffy.  I'll know in a few weeks.

The pots are near the edge of the forsythia, in dappled sun.  I am starting to clean out the forsythia, and found the bugleweed nearly smothered in grass and ivy.  I'm digging it out and potting it up to save it, and will replant it in more appropriate places.   Or, replant under the forsythia when it's not such a mess.  I'm pretty sure under those chips I'll find black plastic! 

The lobelia is tucked into mixed flower containers. Lobelia is one of my favorite spring flowers, and my favorite for color.  A bit more purple than my front door.   Those tall violas are Johnny Jump-ups I grew from seed.  They caught up to the store bought, and were so easy to grow.

Bush beans have germinated.

As have the Galeux D'Eysines squash, aka warty French pumpkins.

There are several of the squash already growing from my wintersow efforts. Here they are will the gazillion morning glories that self-seeded from one volunteer plant last year!

Bed #1 has nice wintersown mini pumpkins and sunflowers.  The larger one were wintersown, the others were direct sown.  I'll see if it makes any difference, although there are several different kinds of sunflowers, so comparing might not be possible.

That's wintersown cilantro in the middle, and last year's knautia flowering at last!

The calendulas in this bed (#1 on my plan) are the biggest I've ever grown!  And self-seeded from last year.  Something's been nibbling...

The ones in Bed #3 are big too, and one has a sunflower in its middle.

I got the spray paint to use on the metal arch, so the rain better stop before the scarlet runner beans get any bigger.  There's some nibbling going on here too.  The beans planted on the other side of the arch, in the ground, were eaten away before they emerged.  That happens with beans a lot when they're planted too early.  I admit it, I hurried my beans!
How those bean seed maggots (or corn seed maggots) knew I was planting bean seeds I don't know, but they have a way of knowing.

That's it for now.  It's "PILL TIME" for Edward the Goldendoodle, as I announce to both dogs!  He gets them in a spoonful of canned food, and Boo gets just the spoonful of food!  It's a twice daily event.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Coral Bells, Rocks, and a Great Day at Lowe's!

A week ago I mentioned getting a Lowe's gift card from my daughter on Mother's Day.
Today I used it, and wow, was it a good day at Lowe's!

First, there was a parking place one from the best at the garden center entrance.
Then, on the way in sat a flat cart just waiting for us!
But, the best part of the trip was all the broken bags! 
It was a treasure trove of broken bags, and most were on my list! 

Things were such a great deal, we went in a second time to use up the rest of the card!  

Here's the haul, with Edward the Goldendoodle checking out the clearance coral bells.

5 bags of pea gravel - all half-off!
4 bags of river rock - 1 half-off, the others 3/$9.99!
1 bag of sand - half-off
1 bag of organic potting soil - half-off
3 bags of bark chips (1 each of small, medium, large) - I would have bought small, but these were all half-off.

If a bag is broken, and not in one of the "recovery" bags, ask an employee and they'll most likely get one.  My potting soil had a small tear (although leaking), and she was hesitant, saying it was "pushing" the policy a  little, but she okayed it in the end.  I don't think they ever use heavy tape on tears, and I know from experience no matter how good the tape is, and the taping job, tape just can't handle tears in rock bags!  

The coral bells were on the clearance rack (ours is near the nursery check-out, without any signs saying "clearance," but the yellow stickers show a clearance price, usually 50% off.    They look a bit rough right now, but as perennials, with care should be just fine.

'Carnival Black Olive' is a smaller coral bell, mounding to 10"

Baby Bells™ 'Lime Swizzle' is a miniature coral bell, 6" high.

Who comes up with such silly plant names?  Carnival Black Olive and Lime Swizzle sound like party snacks and beverages!  

I've never grown coral bells, but coincidentally, just yesterday, one of the Six on Saturday blog participant's post mentioned shade plants.  http://noellemace.blogspot.com/2019/05/six-on-saturday-20-may-2019.html  I commented that I needed to look into shade plants more.  I actually found coral bells as one of the suggested shade plants for containers, which I need, as my shady area soil is not dig-able.   

We also got a Garden Salsa hot pepper. It's a medium hot pepper, which will be a change from the usual bells I grow.  Last week the weather would have been perfect for planting out a pepper, now it's cold again, with a storm threatening.  The dogs just went nuts over the thunder!  The thunder was nothing compared to the sound of the jet earlier today.  Occasionally military jets go over on weekends and scare me and the pets to pieces!  I tried to get a picture, but when the sound was overhead the jet was already too far away to bother.  Back to the pepper...

After all that, the 6-pack of lobelia from Walmart is not much to mention!  It's one thing I didn't try to grow. The lobelia isn't at its prime, but there were only two 6-packs left and one only had 5 plants. 
I also picked up some of their brand of weed killer.  It works as well as the brand name, which is to be expected, it's the same ingredients!  Probably made by the same company. 

Now, you may be wondering what am I doing with so many bags of rocks?  I use a lot of rocks!  Right now my big idea is to use them in the area surrounding the newish blueberry bed.  It's a mess of old lumber, cardboard, and weeds.  The end to the right is flooded when we get a heavy rain, and the existing bark floats.  I haven't come up with an idea to stop the standing water, but at least with rocks the paths will stay put!  (Hopefully, the next photo you see of this well show a sealed shed as well as a graveled path!)  The ditch lilies are looking good there on the left end, as does the Draper blueberry.  Not so the Legacy on the right.  I'll give it this year to come back.

Speaking of rocks... if you've read this blog long you know the house came with an inordinate amount of them!  Now and again I proclaim "I used all the rocks," only to find more.  When I trellised up the "wild" roses in front, I had to move a lot of rocks.  I don't know what it was with the original owners of this property!  They had an obsession with rocks and black plastic under everything!  I asked the next door neighbor if they piled the rocks along the driveway to try to discourage the rose suckers when the roses died, but he said they planted the roses, and the rocks were part of the design!  I had to pull piled rocks off the graft area and lower stems!  It's no wonder nothing is left but the wild root stalk.  So, I have rocks again.  The neighbor has his own rocks (my house's original owner's daughter lived there, and apparently her parents "landscaped" her yard too!), so I'll find some way to use them.  There are lots more still piled in a row between driveways.  The flowering quince would probably be healthier if there weren't rocks around its base.  I'll deal with that when it's dormant and I can see its horrid spines. 

 A good day, even if it's ending in a dark loud storm.  A couple of young teenage girls were just at the door, wondering if I needed yard work or dog walking performed.  I told them, sorry,  I didn't, because "I like to do those myself!" 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Six on Saturday - May 18, 2019

I spoke too soon last week, bragging about the warm weather.
It's cooled off considerably and is raining.
Okay, it's still in the 60s, so I don't have it too bad!

Now, it's Six on Saturday time.

1 - Boo ate the Zinnia seedlings... again.

I really thought I'd gotten away with growing them from seed this year.
He didn't know they were growing in a container in the herb garden, he doesn't usually walk through that way to come inside.  But, he must have taken a detour yesterday, because all of them have
been nibbled.  I'll give them a chance to come back.
I hurried to the far back vegetable beds where the four I bought at the FFA sale are planted, and they were fine.

2 - It turns out my hardy geraniums are different types.

The one on the bottom has only two flowers per stem, and the leaves of the plant are fatter and smaller.  The back one has much thinner leaves (seen in the background) and the flowers are more in clusters.  Plus, it's obvious now when I see them side by side, they vein patterns are nothing alike, and the stamens are different colors!  I can't be sure what kind they are, but going by just the flowers they look like "Rozanne" and "Orion."  If anyone thinks otherwise, I'd love to hear!

3 - I trellised the "wild" roses on the side of my driveway.

They are just the root stock of old roses, but the neighbor and I like them.  A lot of blood was shed getting them tied up!

4 - There are so many different things growing in this wasteland where a raised bed was removed!

I've mentioned before it's where I tossed deadheaded flowers from the Butterfly Garden, piled the dead plants, and after clean-up throw a bunch of leftover seeds I was tired of dealing with.

The borages were volunteers from last year (they were growing in the bed, so the seeds scattered all over the area) and lots of black-eyed Susans.  I saw a godetia, something clover-like but tall, a few coreopsis (nice if they'd be the annual red prairie I had seeds of), and just beginning to show are a lot of milkweed.  Also, a few oriental poppies (the CA ones are either my tossed seeds or from the Dollar Tree pollinator mix), a couple of lupines, things like look like reeds (not a kind of weed I've ever seen here before, so I left them), and miscellaneous seedlings that don't look like usual weeds.  Mixed in with all of those are lemon balms, lemon balms, lemon balms.

5 - The Tuscan Blue rosemary in the front yard is in trouble. 
It's been getting harder for it to come back after winter, but this time I had to prune away most of its middle.  It's been in the same spot since 2014, when it was planted as an itty-bitty purchase
from Joy Creek.


Climate change has made our growing zone warmer, while at the same time winters in the past few years bring several inches of snow that sticks for days.  I shake it off the rosemary, but come spring there are quite a few dead branches.
The only good thing about the possibility of losing a plant like this, is planning what could be planted as a replacement!

6 - A new bird has been spotted lurking around the Pollinator Garden!

There's my Six! 
Let's see yours!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

A Pretty City Scene!

Empty lots can be eyesores, but in the case of this corner lot, where a house was torn down a few months ago, it's beautiful!
Someone sowed wildflowers or a pollinator mix and they are now blooming!
The photos were taken from the car, so aren't the best quality, but you can see how many different blooms there are.   I may just park nearby and get a closer look!

Why don't my amended and tended beds of flowers bloom like these that were sown and left on their own?
Imagine next season, after they self-seed, if nothing's built here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - May 2019

It's mid-month, which means it's
Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
(It's also Wordless Wednesday, but there's too much happening to be wordless today!)

Thank you, Carol, so many of us love the peek into gardens around the world.

Since it's starting to be quite flower-full out there,  I'm breaking my yard into the various "gardens," as I think of them.

Butterfly and Pollinator Gardens

These are two beds (two names so I know what is planted in what) planted with pollinator magnets.  The Butterfly Garden is a few years old, 
this is the Pollinator Garden's first year.

"Moonshine" yarrow

 California poppies - unfortunately it's cloudy and slightly damp, so they are closed.
I scattered a literal 500+ seeds in the yard, of purple poppies, red poppies, white poppies...
all I got was golden! 

 Uptick™ coreopsis, looking a bit worse for wear.

 Ordinary blue bachelor buttons, I won't be without them!  They self-seeded in places far from the bed.

 Borage volunteered a lot too!  I wouldn't think of planting it in a bed, but the seeds came with the soil I moved, so I let one stay.  A new bed needs all the help it can get!

 Alyssum was included in the Dollar Tree .25 mixed seed packets.  It did so much better than the alyssum I tried to Winter Sow!  I threw those seedlings out.  Really, those .25 packets are great!

Herb Garden Beds

 Again, there are two beds for the Herb Garden.  I refer, to myself, to the new one as the New Herb Garden.  The other was originally planted in 2012, and a few of the plants from then are still growing well.  Herbs are hardy and long-lived!

Juniper thyme is just past its prime, but still extremely lovely.

Garden sage I grew from seed last year (yes, in Winter Sow milk jugs!)

 Sea thrift moved from the front yard.  You can see in both this photo and the one above, there are CA poppies here too.  The adorable sign is a metal poker I bought a few years back at the FFA plant sale.

"Walker's Low" catmint was very hard to photograph!  It isn't "low," it's named for the 
location in a garden where it grew, the "low" garden.  Mine is looking a bit spindly, it is usually 

Lovely spring onion chives are always a welcome sight!  These are ones I dug up and moved a while 
back.   The original clump was getting crowded.  It's one of the first plants in the Herb Garden.

Front Yard

Yes, there are flowers in the front yard, and I risked stepping in cat poop to get these photos!
So, enjoy!

The unknown penstemon gets better and bigger every year!

 Blue fescue grass.   Those are flowers, right?  Last year I cut off the blooms after the year before found hundreds (if not thousands) of baby blue fescue!  This year, let them grow!  Maybe they'll fill in some places and keep the cats away.  Between blue fescue and the multiplying gaura (not in bloom yet), that should do it!

My last remaining Lewisia.  Lewisia hates, hates, hates, wet feet, and all my other plants rotted at the base.  They were prettier, a deep fuchsia.  I think I'll move this one to the Herb Garden, where the bed is raised so the drainage is better.  Lewisia is named for Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame.  Don't worry, William Clark has the Clarkia genus named after him!

 There are three rockroses near the sidewalk.  They are not quite in their glory yet, but are beginning to flower.  Too bad it's sprinkling right now, the flowers aren't fully opening.

 The two magenta flowered ones are "Sunset."

 Maybe not quite flowering, but there is one "bloom" so I am including the Munstead lavender!

 This "climbing" rose (which needs something to climb) is probably just left from a rose that was here years ago.  Until this year I would chop it down with a vengeance, it scrapped my truck when I parked and poked me when I squeezed by.  But, now there is just one vehicle to park in the driveway, so it isn't in the way, and look how pretty it is!
It's actually pretty upright on its own. 

 Amazing color.

Container Blooms 

 Violas of many colors are my year 'round favorite.  When they get leggy it will be time for winter pansies!  Well, winter violas, I don't care for the large petaled pansies.

 The taller ones here are Johnny Jump-ups I grew in Winter Sown milk jugs.  They were one of the most successful grown that way.  At first I thought, "why bother," when I planted them next to the purchased ones, which were so much larger and already in full flower.  But, they caught up!

 Tidy Tips, an annual wildflower of the drier areas of California, Arizona and Utah.  The quickest seed to germinate and fasted to grow and mature of all my Winter Sown seeds.  Now I won't go without them!  They self-seed, so I'll have to watch for ripeness.

 Like I said, they grew well, so they are planted in several containers!  Here they are flowering as the other seedlings grow.   It looks like there will be marigold, snapdragon, and, is that a morning glory?  Funny place for it, without anything to climb. (Yes, it's a morning glory, because that container is against the wall of the house, with a trellis!) That might be an annual yellow lupine in the very front right.

 Another mixed lot of seedlings growing around Tidy Tips!  I believe this one holds nasturtium, violas, snapdragons...

 Hardy geraniums blooming for their first time.  These were also Winter Sown seeds last year.
The flowers look similar, but the leaves on these two plants are quite different, as is the flower arrangement.   I hope the third plant is a different color.

 Everything Else

And I mean, everything else!

Sugar Ann and an old packet of Cascadia I found in the carport shed.
I will be harvesting pods today!

Knautia macedonica "Red Knight"
No, it isn't really blooming all the way, but I am so thrilled I had to share now!
I grew three to maturity (yes, Winter Sown last year!), and they were healthy plants, but low growing rosettes.  I researched online, and even asked the Master Gardeners (https://ask.extension.org/) if this was normal, and if they bloomed their second year.  Nowhere did I find they waited.  The Master Gardener told me she found no evidence they waited until their second year to flower.
As soon as spring hit, all three plants started shooting up, and then flower stems began shooting up even higher!  
(This is not the first time the Master Gardeners didn't get it right.  Unfortunately, the ones in my local Extension seem to be less knowledgeable than most.)
Aren't they going to have a lovely color!

 The radishes in the Pluot bed bolted.  That's fine, it's why they are there, to draw pollinators (too late for this tree, it finished long ago), spread and root around in the soil.

 Miner's lettuce having its last hooray.  Last year I had one, or a few, this year they are everywhere!  This was transplanted from the gravel next to my driveway into the blueberry bed.

 Not sure what this is growing in the blueberry bed!  I scattered lots of leftover seeds.
The leaves look cosmo-y, but unless the flowers had their petals nibbled off, they don't look like any cosmo I would have bought!

 My pyracantha is fabulous this year!  It's been there since probably 2012, when I got it free from the local nursery.  They must not sell many pyracantha, or this one was overlooked, because it had a large root growing out of the container into the ground.  I guess they thought it might die having that root cut off, so they gave it to me no charge.  It's orange, not the red I grew up with.

 The climbing roses, New Dawn, came back better than I'd expected.  Honestly, better than I'd hoped.
They (there are two) were in terrible shape, I really pruned them hard a while back,  and I was pondering what to replace them with! 

 Jelly Bean® BrazzleBerry® blueberry.  Boy, a lot of registered there!  Like most of the full size blueberries, this little guy isn't doing as well this year.

 My favorite iris.  I have no idea what it is called, the rhizomes were free on Craigslist in 2013.  They were divided once since then.  Craigslist is a treasure trove of free plants, I encourage you to check it out! 

 The first succulents to flower are these, a stonecrop, probably "Cape Blanco," a native.

At last, we've come to the end of my blooms for May, 2019! 
I have plenty of buds coming up, so June should be amazing!