Monday, June 29, 2009

I Love Progress

Hello everyone! We got the grass dug out of the new back bed this weekend. Poor Jamie ended up doing every bit of it by himself! Our helper was a complete no show, the bad part is that he was just across the street. Soooooo, it took two days to get the grass out. Jamie and I worked until noon both days at that point the heat was unbearable and we had to stop. I helped, but Jamie is the one that did all the hard work. I was forced (by Jamie) to sit on a bucket and pick grass out of the dirt. That grass was terribly hard to get up… very, very hard. When we stopped Saturday Jamie’s hands were covered in blisters. Sunday he got up, wrapped his hands in gauze bandages and kept digging until he was done. What we were willing to pay for help would have averaged out to almost 20 dollars an hour. I can’t believe we couldn’t find anyone dependable to assist us. Anyway, I digress. We still want to tweak the curves a little, we aren’t completely satisfied with the shape yet, but the worst part is behind us.



We still need to amend the soil, but right now the ground is just way too hard to do it. We are going to have to wait for some rain to come and soften it up.


I also strolled around the yard looking for some decent color to share with you. The pickins’ were slim, this is all I could come up with for now. The 'Raspberry Wine' monarda is still holding up.


We bought three monarda to go in the garden. I thought two of them had died, but 'Dark Ponticum' made a comeback after it was a no show last year.


A nameless Daylily...


'Honeycomb' a sweet butterfly treat, but where are the butterflies?


'Double Decker' coneflower. It's only "double decked" once for us.


Last but not least, a sun faded Hibiscus.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Break From the Heat


Doesn’t that picture look refreshing? These are photos that Jamie took at Chimney Rock Park on our vacation. I thought with all the heat you guys might enjoy a little cool water. The mist that you see in the air is the clouds in the mountain tops. Enjoy the pictures while I fill you in on the goings on in the garden.


Yesterday I thought I would brave the heat and snap a few photos for you. It’s been so hot outside this week I haven’t even walked around the garden. Tuesday the heat index was 110° and it was just miserable outside. I thought surely I would at least find something that I could take a picture of to share with you. Regrettably the garden is a sad sight now.


We are fortunate to have had the good sense to install a fairly complicated drip system last spring that waters everything in the entire yard for us, front, back and sides. With the exception of a couple of new plants that have been put in the ground recently. The hanging baskets, planters and even the birdbath are connected to it, so it all gets water. Even so, the sun is taking its toll on the plants. Yesterday as I walked around I found the plants blooming their hearts out only to have their petals dried to a brown crisp. Even the foliage is bleached shades of tan and yellow every where you look.


Not to worry, these temperatures can’t last forever. The rain will come; dead and damaged foliage and blooms will be removed and replaced by vibrant colors. All will be beautiful in our little Eden again and the blog will be filled with vivid photos. Saturday we start to work on the new bed again. Wish us luck and a speedy completion!


Friday, June 19, 2009

Gardening Gone Wild Photo Contest

The Gardening Gone Wild June photo contest is the Rose. Here are a few of my favorite rose photos. Good luck to everyone.

Rosa banksiae 'Lutea'


Climbing Hybrid Tea Rose 'Peace'


Climbing Rose 'New Dawn'


Thursday, June 18, 2009

In the Garden 06.18.09

Hello everyone! Here's a peek at what's blooming in the garden today. As usual when I post a large number of photos there will be little commentary for easier viewing. But, I’ll be glad to answer any questions you have about the plants. :-)

'Summer Sky'

Summer Sky and Red Maple

'Green Envy'

Green Envy

'Raspberry Wine' and 'Red Dragon'

Raspberry Wine and Red Dragon

Yarrow and Japanese Maple 'Virdis'

Viridis and Yarrow

'Kobold' Liatris


'Lusty Leland'

Lusty Leland

'Luxury Lace'

Luxury Lace

'Chicago Apache'

Chicago Apache

'Gentle Shepherd'

Gentle Shepherd





'Frans Hals'

Frans Hals

'Little Bumblebee'

Little Bumblebee

A gift from the birds.

Sun Flower

'Coral Queen'

Coral Queen



'Orange Dream'

Orange Dream



'George Davison'

George Davison

'Pee Gee'

Pee Gee

'Sea Gold'

Sea Gold

Common Ditch Lily

Ditch Lily



'Atom', the poor petals have been bleached by the sun.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Aches, Pains and Blisters... Oh My

Well, we finally started. This weekend Jamie and I began working on the last large bed that will be going into the garden in the back yard. When we are through digging it out, it will be 75 feet long and about 8 feet deep. I had mixed feelings about starting this bed. I knew it was going to be hard work and too much for Jamie to dig by himself, although I knew he would kill himself trying to do it for me. We started out by painting the line out on the grass that we wanted to follow to create the border. It was very overcast and dark so I had to adjust the contrast on these pictures. If the light seems a little weird in them, that’s why, otherwise they would have just been too dark to post.


Jamie and I have always been so enthusiastic when we started a project that we always completed it in the same day. It became apparent that this was not going to happen with this venture. The irony of this entire garden is I have spent the last 15 years trying to grow grass in the back yard. Now, after we finally have beautiful St. Augustine grass, what are we doing? That’s right, digging it up. The past two years I’ve spent all this time and energy trying to create a perfectly weed free front lawn with plush grass. This year I haven’t done anything but cut it. It occurred to me that the back yard will soon be full and we will no doubt move to the front so why waste time and energy on something we are just going to dig up?


We only managed to get about a 1 foot strip cut out over the entire length of the garden before the rain moved it. That was a good thing for several reasons. First, the rain will soften the ground more and maybe that thick grass will come up easier. Second, I only helped with the digging a little bit and I started feeling pain in my back and thigh for the first time in two weeks. Third, you should see poor Jamie’s hands; they are raw and weeping with blisters. If the rain hadn’t come in there is no telling what kind of condition we would be in today. We are going to have to learn patience with this project.


We probably won’t be working on the bed anymore until the weekend after Fathers Day. Jamie’s brother is getting married next Saturday and then Sunday we have to go to Elba to see my dad. That pretty much fills the weekend. The good thing is I think we have finally found someone to help with the grass removal. Jamie and I have realized that unless we want to be working on this project until next summer we are going to need some help. The grass is just too hard to get up in that area and we have become very efficient when it comes to digging. I can’t believe how hard it is to find someone to help though, because you would think in these economic times people would want the extra cash and we are offering a very good compensation for the work. Well, I’ve rambled enough, how about we look at some flowers? Our Asiatics are starting to bloom now, this is the first and it’s called ‘Sunray’.


This is a new tall daylily we got named ‘Alabama Music’.

Alabama Music

Recently Jamie and I decided that our collection of daylilies has gotten so large rather than buying every new one we see, we are going to have to be more selective. We only have so much room to plant things. This daylily is the perfect example of why you should never buy one that isn’t in bloom. This was supposed to be ‘My Melinda’, a beautiful pink lily with ruffled edges. What do we have? A new daylily I have affectionately named ‘Not My Melinda’. It’s a beautiful flower, but we already have plenty of bright yellow daylilies.

Not My Melinda

Last but not least, ‘Baltic Elegy’ has decided to bloom. This is the first year and I think it’s beautiful! Okay, everyone have a great week and I’ll keep you updated on the new bed. I’m so excited we are getting new room to plant things!

Baltic Elegy

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Variegated Peppermint Tree?

A Photo from our trip to Owen's Orchids.


Some time ago I had the honor of meeting, via our little online garden club, a nice young lady from Australia. Laura sent us seeds all the way from down under when we were rebuilding our garden after the storm. I was so happy to find out that she has a blog. Australia is filled with some of the most unusual and beautiful plants that you have ever seen. Laura is an excellent photographer and I have seen her post some gorgeous pictures of beautiful plants over the past two years. Currently she has a post up about a Variegated Peppermint Tree. Its one of the most beautiful trees I’ve ever seen. The dark bark showing through the light green foliage is just gorgeous! If you’re interested in seeing new and unusual plants, you might want to check out her blog, One Aussie Perspective. Meanwhile, I’m going to shoot her a note and see if that Peppermint Tree makes seed!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Asheville Botanical Garden

Jamie and I had a very quick trip to North Carolina; while we were there we squeezed in as many local attractions as we could. One of our stops was at the Asheville Botanical Garden. It wasn’t a very large garden, but it was a really pleasant stroll. It’s filled with native plants and I knew that several of you out there would really enjoy seeing them. This is the type of place where you want to sit quietly on a bench and enjoy your communion with nature.


Mountain Laurels have long been a favorite of mine. Every time I see them I'm whisked back in time over thirty years ago. I instantly envision the old creek where our swimming hole used to be. There were shallow areas in the creek where you could walk for great distances thru tunnels of cascading mountain laurel.


Though I’m not a big fan of whimsical things in our garden, I absolutely fell in love with the fountain in this pond. I thought the idea of the huge hands pouring water out of a cup was absolute genius. The feature was turned off while we were there, but I loved the idea of it.



The garden has a wonderful stream flowing all thru it. Down just a few hundred feet from this shot children are playing with water guns in the water while the mothers relax on large rocks.


Jamie has a fascination with Trilliums and he was thrilled to find these.



How’s this for a dogwood bloom? This is Alternate-leaf Dogwood Cornus alternifolia.

Alternate-leaf Dogwood

Eastern Goats-beard

Eastern Goats-beard

This was my third encounter with this plant. First our friend Jimmy dug some up from the woods to plant in his garden, then it was identified on Clay and Limestone and finally here in the Asheville Botanical garden. Three times in one week, is someone trying to tell me something? This is Indian Pink.

Indian Pink

This is called Fringed Indian Pink. Why do they call it pink anyway? It looks red to me.

Fringed Indian Pink

After a long day of traipsing around the woods and other places we figured we had burned enough calories to deserve a treat. I heard at the Fairegarden that the best place for homemade ice cream is The Hop so we gave it a try. This shop is owned and operated by Frances’ family and it was a real pleasure to have a sweet treat there. If you are every in Asheville you absolutely must stop by and enjoy the ice cream.