Friday, September 12, 2008

Got Rocks? Make a Garden!

On the first of September Sandy and I returned from our morning walk to find my dear husband (DH) tackling the rock garden project that he'd begun in the spring.
(Sandy and her husband live in our tennant house that you can see on the left of this photo).
I think it was last summer that DH and I began mulling over the idea of making a small rock garden down near the road, just to the left of the Lily garden on our front lawn. Now, the last thing I need is another garden to take care of, but with so many lovely rocks available the temptation was just too great!
I tell him that he's an enabler...he's always offering to dig a new garden or make an existing one bigger....and I end up with more gardens than I can comfortably look after. Crazy pair we are!
So during rock picking time, while preparing the fields for planting, DH gathered together several large rocks and deposited them near that light pole in the picture below. After killing an area of grass, he brought several tractor loader scoops of nice dirt.....and that's as far as we got, until September 1st.

My agenda for that day was to tackle all the weeds that had grown in that lovely soil during the summer. I had asked earlier what DH's plans were for the day, hoping to enlist his aid, but he had a long list of jobs scheduled, so I figured I'd be weeding alone.
What a very pleasant surprise it was to return from our walk and find him pulling out all those weeds!

If you look closely (or click to make the picture larger) you can see Cleo laying in the dirt behind him. We're rarely without a kitty 'helper' when working in the garden. Notice how pretty the goldenrod looks in the field. There are wild asters and Joe Pye weed in there too, but they're hard to see unless you enlarge the photo.

The mosquitoes were hungry that morning! They've been awful lately, driving us crazy when we're working outside, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. It's unusual for them to be such a problem around here.

Jasmine was supervising the job. Posted by Picasa

She likes to think she's in charge :)
(she looks bossy, doesn't she?)

After the rocks were placed, and a tractor loader scoop full of compost was dumped on the bed, it was my turn to do some work! I shoveled the compost around and worked it into the soil, and then came the fun part...planting!
Is there anything nicer than a new garden just waiting to be filled with plants? It's like starting with a clean palette.
I'd been given several perennials and they were needing a home, so in they went. Then I added a few I'd started myself, plus a gloriosa daisy dug from another garden, and filled in mostly with transplanted annuals that had self-seeded in the nearby Lily Garden. It's so late that the annuals won't amount to much, but the portulacas, nicotiana, nasturtiums and alyssum added some instant color.

Three of the perennials came from Kim - 'Blackswamp Girl' - of 'A Study in Contrasts'. She very kindly sent 2 small Russian Sage plants and a tiny Baptisia that she found while digging up the sage. Kim, they're looking happy and healthy so far!
I also planted a small Caryopteris (Bluebeard), given to me by my DIL....a seedling from their 2 shrubs, which make lots of 'babies'. I'll probably move that next summer because they grow rather large (about 4'x4'), and it may be too big for this little garden. I may move the sages too, but this was a good place to start them growing.

I planted some yellow 'Basket of Gold' perennial alyssum and a few sedums, among other things. Next year I'll add a few more plants that are suitable for rock gardens. It was a bit too late in the year for proper planning. Now we just need to weed whack around the edges to neaten things up. Posted by Picasa

I had plenty of supervision from the kitty helpers :) There's Tink sitting on the Lily Garden fence.

Dear Phoebe (the cuddliest cat) and Murphy (the king cat).

Phoebe has extra toes....

......and so does sweet little Peige. We have several cats with big feet (polydactyl).

Here's a view looking over the Driveway Garden toward the Lily and Rock gardens. DH made that little teepee structure for me to grow morning glories on, but I didn't get around to making a space for them, so I placed it here to temporarily support the new climbing rose we planted last fall (Social Climber), which has been growing very nicely.

The Butterfly Bush (buddleia davidii) has been gorgeous, producing lots of blooms and attracting butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. We're only seeing a few juvenile hummingbirds lately. Most of the adults have already begun their long journey south. We'll miss them until they return next May. Seems like a long time to wait.

This orange lily was a little surprise. I didn't intentionally put these two colors together. The butterfly bush was planted last year, and the lily grew from seeds I'd gathered and planted the year before. Our DIL told me her mother had grown orientals from seed, so I thought I'd experiment and see what happened.

This is the happy result!
Last year there were just stalks and leaves and I wasn't sure if they were offshoots from a nearby asiatic lily or if, indeed, the seeds had grown. Well, yes they did!
If you enlarge the photo you can see that the seeds are at the base of the leaf where it joins the stem. Posted by Picasa

I'm not a big fan of orange, but I really like this lily.

Cherry Cheeks has just finished flowering. It produced blooms over a long period.

White Temptation, next to the butterfly bush was another long bloomer.

She's a beauty! Posted by Picasa

Here's another little surprise that showed up at the beginning of this past week. We think someone probably dropped this kitten off here at the farm.

It's very timid and runs away from us, but I've managed to capture it a couple of times when it was eating. Hopefully it'll calm down soon and enjoy some cuddles. Meanwhile the barn kitties seem to have accepted it and are keeping it company. Posted by Picasa

The golden glow is just about finished, especially after a day of very strong winds last Friday which knocked some of the plants down. Posted by Picasa

The end of a long day.....time to feed the kitties!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!


Titania said...[Reply]

Dear Kerri, You go into autumn with a still flourishing flowergarden, but then how could it be different with your green fingers; or must I say colourful fingers. The rock garden looks already good and ones all the plants have filled out, the weeds won't have much of a chance. All the kitties are adorable, also the little foundling. It is lucky to end up in your warm and friendly home. I have never seen such a white daylily. It is really gorgous. Take care dear Kerri. I have enjoyed the walk in your garden it is such a beautiful place.

Tabor said...[Reply]

So much beauty! I love tiger lily and it contrast with your butterfly bush, which is exceptional. I also envy your rocks...I keep looking longingly at the rocks at the landscape place and wonder if I have just enough money to buy one or two!

Terri said...[Reply]

You make me miss our farm even more!!!! Everything looks great!

Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

Kerri, your garden has given me a bit of Rock and Kitty envy. Your garden looks so beautiful. Plus you grow lillies from seed! Wow. It is always such fun to see what is going on in your garden. Give the DH a pat on the back for all that work too.

Defining Your Home said...[Reply]

Kerri -- I just love your farm! The kitties are so cute and your flowers are glorious. What a special home you have. Cameron

Susan said...[Reply]

Easy enough for you to say! You have a green thumb even with a rock garden.

"I have a rock garden. Last week three of them died." ~Richard Diran

Love your end of summer flowers, as always beautiful. Have a great weekend!

Debbie said...[Reply]

Kerri, our dear hubbys sound so similar. Brian allows me to be a better garden or at least to have a lot more garden because he is so willing to do all the heavy work. He enjoys doing this for me and I am so thankful.

The new rock garden looks great and will even better next year when the plants fill in.

Love seeing all your little kitties. We have a new kitten, she came with our new van! LOL

em said...[Reply]


great post! what cute kitties you have! the butterfly bush looks spectacular! what a great year for them this year. as usual, your color combinations are awesome. thanks for sharing them with us!

Val said...[Reply]

Sounds like the making of a Japanese garden with those rocks!!

Lovely to catch up with your summer bloomings!

Zachary and Jennifer said...[Reply]

I ran across your blog today and I really enjoy it. Your gardens and photos are beautiful. I bookmarked it for future visits. The cats are adorable too! :-)

Karen said...[Reply]

Congrats on your cute new garden space! Nice that you have a hubby who is into such projects. Love the kitties too, especially the polydactyl ones! Have you ever visited the Hemingway Home in Key West? Apparently they have tons of them!

- Karen

Alice said...[Reply]

We have rocks and we'd have gladly shared them with you. Although ours are not nearly as attractive as yours.

Are you sure that you don't create new gardens, Kerri, because it's easier than weeding the old ones?.....just kidding! I'm just feeling the effects of three days of removing a large patch of couchgrass.

It's great to be able to fill your garden with plants given to you by friends, or ones you have propogated yourself.

Your new garden looks lovely - all that green - Oh, that's not the colourful one looks great too.

Does your Landscape Architect take commissions overseas? We could really do with some help. He can bring his wife with him - if he really must!!!! Actually, she's welcome too, coz I know she's a good

Sit back and enjoy your efforts for today.

Cheers to you both.
'A' and R.

Giddy said...[Reply]

Well, as usual, you have left me envious of your gardening abilities! You must spend every waking moment out there with the flowers, talking them in to blooming their hearts out for you. :-)

The kitties are so beautiful, and your new little fella? is black, just like our Spike. He/she will have a wonderful life with you and the other kitties in the family.

Amy said...[Reply]

Hello Kerri - you always have the most beautiful photos here. Love the rustic fence with your handsome beasties posing so wonderfully :) I've got plans for a rock garden too. Yours is coming along very nicely.

Isabelle said...[Reply]

Just remember,Kerri - any time you want to swap lives, just let me know...

Susie said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,
Ross is such a wonderful helper in the garden. I know how much you appreciate all his hard work. You have so many other "helpers" too with all those kitties.
Your pictures are as delightful as always.
We're enjoying picture perfect fall weather here but are anxious for some rain..

Mountain Mama said...[Reply]

It's always such a pleasure to visit your blog Kerri. It's like a walk in the park.
I enjoyed reading your new rock garden experience too. When I have a new garden to plant I feel exactly as you do. A new canvas to paint! How blessed you are to have a hubby who helps, not to mention all the supervisors! LOL


Dianne said...[Reply]

How neat to have a new rock garden! My husband will rototil a spot, but I have to do the work (we don't live on a farm). We so need to do the weed smothering part. We tried wildflowers but the grass just came in and invaded the space with very few flowers.
The kitties are so cute! Always room for one more, correct?
I like to get ideas from your blog too. I love the golden glow-so vibrant.
I am ready to retire from the garden as I've been out there since March in mine and like you had back/shoulder complaints this year.
Have a great winter break!

Annie in Austin said...[Reply]

Tabor's comment reminded me that I spent birthday money to buy garden rocks back in Illinois... but we can get them free here. And I have a rock garden enabler, too.

The tiger lily/ butterfly bush combination is a especially joyous one for your expansive spaces, Kerri, and the green and gold hills are such a wonderful background for all your wonderful borders.

I still suspect you keep a computer spreadsheet to keep track of all the cat names ;-]

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Barbara said...[Reply]

It's so nice of your DH to create this rock garden for you, dear Kerri. And what a pleasure to fill the garden with plants. You really have a green thumb as you manage to get such beautiful lilies out of seed (I even don't succeed to grow them with bulbs). Cariopteries are very easy to care plants, I love their fine blue color in late summer. I'm sure you'll love them too. Actually we have autumn here with rather cold temperatures...and today we had to heat the house for the first time. Enjoy your late lovely summer garden so full of flowers (and helpful catgardeners!!)

Kylee said...[Reply]

Kerri, your home and property reminds me of my childhood on my grandma's farm. That's just a couple of miles from us now, but of course, grandma no longer lives there. All those kitties - it was just like that at my grandparents'. I love the photo of your husband standing in your new garden with the kitty on the rock.

Barbee' said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri, Those are real boulders! WOW! And, beautiful post. Thanks for sharing all those kitty pictures. Love them!

Patsi said...[Reply]

I had to show my husband your cat pictures because I was giggling so much looking at them.
I love cats.
Always had one but not for the past 3 years.