Saturday, July 28, 2007

Purples & Pinks

It was such a pleasure to read all your happy birthday wishes and comments on my birthday post. Thanks everyone for visiting and leaving such thoughtful comments. I truly appreciate each and every one of you!
We've had a couple of rainy days earlier this week, and another showery afternoon today, so the gardens and lawns are looking happier.

Jasmine has been trying to catch a mouse that's taken up residence in our house. It's cleverly avoided the mouse trap so far, having eaten the peanut butter off it twice, without being caught.

Last night we were startled by lots of noise coming from the kitchen. Jasmine had the mouse cornered! She actually caught it and then put it down after carrying it a few feet. Immediately it ran toward me...Eek! Now I'm not scared of mice, unless they run toward me!! I yelled for Ross to come and all three of us chased that mouse like lunatics! Jasmine caught it again, but let it go once more, at which point it fled for its life into the living room and disappeared. Phooey!

A short time ago, while working on this post, right behind me I heard a scuffle, and there was Jasmine with the mouse in her mouth again! Now this dopey cat either doesn't know what to do with a mouse, or she wants to play with it. I guess it's probably the latter. I grabbed the fly swatter, for want of a better weapon, and Ross appeared from the living room. Once more all three of us excitedly gave chase, but the speedy little mouse disappeared under my computer desk. Yikes! I have to sit there and finish this post!

After much prodding, probing and searching I'm convinced the mouse has made it to a safe haven somewhere in this large house once again ("Phew, that was another close shave", says the tiny pesky beast). I wonder if mice have nine lives, like cats.......

Jasmine continues her vigil as I type away with my feet propped up on the shelf beneath the desk.....just to be on the safe side....

My Jackmanii Clematis has excelled itself this summer, and has been putting on a wonderful show for more than a month now. Its first flowers opened on June 21st.

Here's another Clematis named Sprinkles, just planted last summer. The snails think the flowers are tasty, unfortunately. I'm so pleased that it survived the winter and has grown well for its first year. The Jackmanii took about 3 years to become well established.

I'm amazed at how long the flowerhead is lasting on one of the two hydrangeas we planted in front of the Jackmanii. The other hydrangea has some tiny blooms forming. I wonder if they'll amount to anything. Posted by Picasa

This Sweet William bloomed with the white Astilbe and Evening Primrose during the last weeks of June. I should've posted a picture of the pink Sweet William, since this is a pink and purple post, but I wanted to show you the Astilbe. It's such a pretty plant. There are marigolds and ageratum just beyond, and you can see the bleeding heart seedpods hanging overhead.

This beautiful pink Astilbe is behind the white in the Bleeding Heart garden. They do well in the shade, alongside the Hostas.

This basket of Rasberry Blast and a deeper pink Petunia, from Proven Winners, has done extremely well so far. The blooms are just beginning to slow up a little now.

My pink Southgate Fuchsia is behind it. This is the one I wanted to try last year but didn't. I don't like it quite as much as the red Marinka, especially against the white siding, and the growth habit isn't as robust, but it's pretty nevertheless, and the hummers are enjoying it. The wintered-over Marinka is on the front porch and just beginning to bloom after being fed a dressing of compost, and plenty of Miracle Grow Bloom Booster.

In the container below are 3 Cameo Pink Surprise Ivy geraniums, 1 Safari Plum Nemesia, 1 Blackie Sweet Potato vine (Ipomoea), and 1 Silver Falls Dichondra, which you can't see in this picture because it's on the other side. I'm very happy with this combination of colors. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Ross made another, larger trellis for these perennial Sweet Peas to keep them from sprawling all over the rose and clematis garden. I'll post some pictures of it soon. Posted by Picasa

The Lamium is growing in the pink garden and has spread so much that I've had to cut it back. If you want a quick grower and a good ground cover this works well.

We've had a purple finch and his mate visiting our feeder lately. They were here for a while earlier in the spring, but haven't been around in a while. It's good to see them again. I know.... they look red, not purple, but there's a reason for the name, although it escapes me at the moment. I love to listen to their chatter. There's a Gold Finch above him. I love hearing their twittering too.

I captured these last 2 shots close to 8:30 P.M. recently. The hummingbirds are really active at the feeders just before dark, loading up for the night I suppose. We get so much enjoyment from watching them zoom around, buzzing and twittering at each other. There must be quite a few around this summer because they're drinking the sugar water up within a day or two. We only have the Ruby Throated here in the north east.

The'll let me stand very close and will occasionally perch, which allows me to get a clearer shot, but not this night. Posted by Picasa
We're off to visit Kylie and Ko this weekend. They'll be moving to NY City soon as Ko has a teaching position in the sociology dept. at Columbia University. At least they'll still be in the same state as us!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Summer Gardens and a birthday

We've just spent a lovely day with our youngest daughter and her beau (I know this is an old-fashioned word, but I like it better than boyfriend!) visiting for my birthday.

Yes, I turned the big 6-0 today!

And strangely enough, I don't feel any different!

It sounds "old" until one gets there, and then it turns out to be just another number!
It's actually a very nice age, especially when there are grandchildren to enjoy.

They gave me an amazing dish garden full of various sedums, 8 in all.
What a wonderful present!

They graciously let me click away, and even Jasmine humored me. Everyone was very tolerant with me (and my camera) today. There are some advantages to birthdays :) Posted by Picasa

I thought I'd show you what the gardens are looking like now, after two days of good, soaking rains. We've had such a dry summer...the complete opposite of last years flooding rains, but now the lawn has greened up and the flowers are looking happier.

There are several clumps of the tall red asiatic lilies in the front gardens. They're spectacular and the blooms last for a few weeks. The red Monarda (bee balm) is a favorite of hummingbirds. They like the pastel colors too.

The Gloriosa Daisies (Rudbeckia Hirta), or Black-eyed Susans, spread themselves around freely, and often crowd out my lilies and other perennials. I should move more of them, but they're shallow rooted and don't move well unless it's done early and they're kept very well watered. They provide such a bright, colorful, long-lasting show that I hate to disturb many of them, and this spring I didn't have time to move anything much around.

The fence garden is looking pretty this year. I like those hot pink petunias. Posted by Picasa

The lovely daylilies are blooming!

This one is Persian Market

This is the same creamy yellow lily as the one in the photo with the Persian Market. I've divided it into several clumps. I don't know its name. It's an oldie that I've had for about 16 years. I planted 3 back then and apparently didn't make a note of the names.

Also blooming in this garden are Cerise Queen Achillea (Yarrow), Shasta Daisies, and more Gloriosas.

Here's the same lily closer. Posted by Picasa
There's a lot more to show you, but this is enough for now. It's late and time for bed.
I hope you're all enjoying the weekend. We had lovely sunshine today after the two days of welcome rain.
Many thanks to those who popped over from Pea's to leave happy birthday wishes. And thankyou Sweet Pea for the birthday greeting :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Spring in Review 2

Hubby and I have been working on a few garden projects this week, enlarging 3 gardens, to be precise.

Yes, I know, we're quite mad!

I have a hard time keeping up with the flower beds we have, so adding more doesn't seem at all sensible, but.........we had more things to plant!

Our church gave us 2 lovely hydrangeas in memory of my dad and we wanted to plant them close to the house so they'd be sheltered during the winter, so we made the "rose" garden bigger to accomodate them.

We extended the fence garden at the bottom of the driveway a few feet, mainly to make mowing easier, and also added a little bit to the top of the garden above it. You can see both of these gardens before the changes in the picture below.

Kylie was very touched by all the birthday wishes and sweet comments you left on her birthday post. Here's what she said in her comment, "Awww, thanks Mummy. Those are lovely pictures. Thanks also to all of you who wished me a happy birthday. You sure are a nice bunch over here in blog land".

I've been helping with work on Vacation Bible School (VBS) scenery this week at church, getting ready for VBS next week.

We're taking off tomorrow to spend a couple of days with our son, his wife and the little grandsons. We'll all be going to an airshow, which should be fun. The weather is supposed to be sunny and not too hot, thankfully.

We've had some very welcome rain this week and last. We need a lot more, but every little bit helps. Having to spend so much time watering keeps me from getting much else accomplished in the gardens.

Of course, if I didn't spend as much time running for the camera every time a butterfly flutters past, or a baby bird falls from the nest and needs to be saved from stalking cats (I save the bird first, and then fetch the camera :), etc., etc., I might get more done!

But for now, continuing with some more photos of our spring gardens...........

The fence and driveway gardens.

The yellow lilies look pretty with the blue harebells. Those are round bales of hay in the field across the road.

Pink columbine (Aquilegia) blooming in the fence garden

Maroon columbine

The alium lasted such a short time and there weren't many blooms this year. Posted by Picasa

I found these violets blooming beside a ploughed field among the dandelions.

Ross sewed these salad greens (and reds) in a cold frame in the early spring, and then removed the frame. The vege garden is chock-full now, and we've been eating lots of spinach, salad greens, radishes, and we've just had our first zucchinis this week. We'll soon have fresh peas, and perhaps some garlic.

I love to photograph the colombine! Posted by Picasa

And then came the poppies in all their splendor.

First the flamboyant reds..........

...........and then the lovely pinks.

The bees love them too!

Tissue paper petals

The lawn was still green then, and growing like crazy. It has brown patches now, but is looking a little better after our rain on Tuesday. Posted by Picasa

The shasta daisies are still nodding their bright faces in the breeze.

This is a passalong cranesbill geranium that I planted last summer.

This pink cranesbill is the one I've had for years. We've transplanted some to the front bank, by the road, and it's doing well.

I have to divide the clumps or it takes over. I'm always giving some away to friends. Posted by Picasa

The early yellow daylilies bloomed more briefly than usual, and the blooms were smaller....

........still pretty though.

A bit of the front view, with lupins and lilies.

This pink rose had more blooms on it this spring than I've ever seen before. Perhaps last year's abundant rains helped it develop a bigger root system. I've noticed all the rose bushes are doing well...except the new "Wild Blue Yonder" (planted last fall), which got bent by a naughty cat. It's OK though. I staked it up and it's given us one bloom so far (Picture next time).

Here's the stately Mr. Lincoln, looking delightful, and smelling devine! Posted by Picasa

And then there were peonies!

............accompanied by the lovely weigela.

This one is very fragrant

These 2 bushes have very large blooms.

At least they didn't get knocked down by rain this year. Last year they were drowned! Posted by Picasa

These bushes grow along the front of the yard. Posted by Picasa

Bees absolutely love the Evening Primrose.

Here's the first blossom on the Jackmanii Clematis (taken June 21st). It's absolutely covered in blooms right now. It gets the prize for the showiest plant in the garden!

Here are the early lilies and harebells again, with peonies and foxglove in the background. My Janice Brown daylily has begun to bloom, and is looking gorgeous, and the asiatic lilies are maganificent. But I can't fit any more photos in this next time.... Posted by Picasa

Here's Pepper watching a hummingbird. He didn't attempt to catch it, just seemed fascinated by it. I was taking a photo of him when the hummer came by and hammed in on the photo :) A lucky catch.

We had a fun Fourth of July picnic with family. Our son and his wife came for a couple of days with the grandsons. The little boys have such a great time riding on the tractors and playing with the kitties. They really love the farm and it's such fun to see their excitement and glee as they play with old toy tractors and farm equipment that used to be their dad's.
Posted by Picasa

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
"See" you when we return!

Hey, it's raining!!!

(accompanied by thunder and lightning)!