Saturday, May 30, 2020

Six on Saturday - May 30, 2020

Another month come and gone already!
Many of us "lost" March, April, and May, or at least that's the 
way it feels to me!
 Here's to Monday, and the start of June!

Today is Six on Saturday, brought to us by 

Stop by and see what's happening in gardens around the world!

1 - Drying Herbs

My simple approach to drying herbs is just hang a bundle on an unused trellis!
Here's oregano and lemon balm. 
I've never used dried lemon balm before, but have an abundance of it fresh so thought I'd give it a try.

 2 - Sugar Snap Pea Harvest

Incredible harvests of Sugar Snap peas going on! 
Good thing they freeze well, I am actually, after months of longing for them, tired of eating fresh snap peas with every dinner!
Blanch 1 1/2  minutes, plunge into an ice cube bath, drain, freeze single layer and then bag up. Will last 8 months at full quality, longer at less.


3 - A Ladybug Cleaning her Face

4 - Fairy Parasol

Well, that's what it looks like to me! 

5 - Yet Anther Project 
I built another bed, with shallower beds on either end.
I used ALL the rest of the retaining wall blocks!
I used ALL the rest of the concrete blocks!
I used ALL but 20 of the rounded top edgers!  
(I started with 130 + of those)
The back row is edgers on top of the concrete blocks, but once there's soil (which has to wait for budget allowance) and plants it won't show.  

6 - Bubbly Burbler

The yard sale special burble fountain is cleaned and set up on top of an unused pot to give it height.

That's my six today.  
I'll be out gardening today unless it rains 
(it's forecast and will be very welcome after two days of 95 degrees).
I have a delivery of twelve daylilies due any day now, so need to prepare for that. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Life of the Red Poppy and why it's a symbol on Memorial Day (US) and Remembrance Day (UK)

Corn Poppy
Red Poppy
Shirley Poppy
Flanders Poppy
American Legion Poppy
Field Poppy

These are all names for the poppy considered by some to be the world's most popular wildflower, Papaver rhoeas.  

 How did this small annual poppy become a WWI remembrance symbol?

In Flanders (northern Dutch speaking portion of Belgium) during WWI the poppies filling the meadows and fields all but disappeared.  The fighting ravaged the land, the constant trampling and bombing took its toil;  for four seasons the poppies were unable to grow.  

When the war was over Canadian surgeon John McCrae was so moved by the poppies' return he wrote his famous poem, "In Flanders Field" on May 3, 1915, on the spot.

In Flanders Field
by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In 1918 (the year McCrae died of  a few days before the armistice was signed, a woman in the US. Moina Michael, read the poem in a magazine and was moved to pen her own,  "We Shall Keep the Faith."  To keep this faith Ms. Michael vowed to vowed to always wear a red poppy.  She started making them from fabric for herself and others, later selling silk poppies to raise money for returning soldiers. By 1920 the National American Legion had agreed to use the red poppy as its official US emblem.

Campaigns in France and England soon followed, and now millions of people in countries around the world don poppies on either Remembrance Day (also called Armistice Day), November 11, or in the United States on Memorial Day (the last Monday in May, as November 11 is Veterans Day, honoring living veterans).

 We Shall Keep the Faith
by Moina Michael

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Seeds counts were taken when the poppies returned to the fields of Flanders.  
More 2,500 seeds per square foot were found!

My red poppies were incredibly easy to grow, especially this year.  Last year was the first for me growing any poppy other than California poppies.  The red poppies grew from a seed mix from the Dollar Tree.  I had no idea they would self-seed so well!  If left to their own I'd probably have a bed of nothing but red poppies!  They germinated in late winter, and as you can see by the buds in the above photo, are now doing very well.  Perhaps I will toss a few ripe seed heads into the Toss Garden this summer, or even the grassy area in the far back.  Apparently the red poppy is classified as a weed, so it must be hardy!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Six on Saturday - May 23, 2020

Happy Weekend to all!
Today is Saturday, so it's time for 
Six on Saturday,
where gardeners around the globe share six of what's going on garden-wise. 

This is thanks to

1 - Skippers on Onion Chives

Skippers are interesting butterflies.  They are diurnal, so are generally called butterflies,
but they share many traits in common with moths. 
Don't hold me to it, it's hard to identify butterflies, but I think these are Woodland skippers (Ochlodes sylvanoides), which are "common to abundant" in Oregon from June (it's almost here!) to October.  

 2 - Blue-Eyed Grass

These grew from seed last year, and I planted them in the herb garden for early season color. 
I didn't really pay attention to the fact they like it damper than herbs (which are mostly Mediterranean and like it dry), so I'm pleased they are doing as well as they are.  Of course, the past week, after a few days over 90, has been quite cool and rainy. 
 Blue-eyed Grass isn't grass, it's related to iris.

3 - New Dawn Roses

Every winter I ask myself if these are worth it, they look so straggly and on their last legs (stems?).
Then every spring they pull through and put on a lovely show!

4 - Pyracantha

I've never seen it so full of blooms!  
I got this free not long after I moved in (2011) because it had sat so long in the same place at the nursery there was a huge root out the bottom into the ground they had to break off.  I guess they weren't sure it would live.  I planted it in the far back corner of the yard, where it basically gets ignored.  I squirt it with the hose now and again during the summer. 

It is abuzz with pollinators!  Literally abuzz!  
You may not like what you see though...
the buzzing isn't bees!

These are greenbottle flies, or bluebottles, also called blow flies.
(I suggest you plant your pyracantha far from your outdoor living spaces or open windows!
And, please, don't be so hard on flies in the garden, they are pollinators extraordinaire!  Broccoli, cabbage, onions, and kale are often pollinated by flies.  Hmm...  maybe the strongly flavored plants have stinky flowers?  Pyracantha blossoms don't smell very nice!)

5 - Ixia (corn lily)

These were a surprise.  The magenta ixia finished flowering weeks ago on the other side of the bed. It was flouncy, like double petaled.  I like these better, even if they look like taller sparaxis. Another name for it is wand flower, but that's also a name for gaura, so it could get confusing.
The bulbs began their lives with me as teeny bulbs in a teeny box (about 1 1/2" square) from the Dollar Tree last March.  Most boxes contained hard, dried bulbs, but I opened them up until I found some with the beginnings of sprouts!  It's been on and off cloudy, and those white ones would just not open!  The box was just labeled "Ixia," but the yellow is called Yellow Emperor.
I'd have bought more this year, but... well, you know... not getting out and all.

6 - Tear Outs

It's that time of year when some things have already grown too large for their own good. 
It's a shame, but necessary for other plants in the beds.

So, I had to remove two Sweet Williams, a bunch of calendulas, California poppies, all the Siberian wallflower and borage.  They were all volunteers in the wrong places, but the wallflower which was part of a mixed seed blend. 

I did gain some space though!  The California poppy was really taking over the herb bed, and mashing the Platinum Blonde lavender.  Room for some more herbs!


Hope everyone is having a great weekend, and for some of you (US) it's a long weekend, so enjoy it an day extra!