Sunday, July 6, 2008

Rain Falling, Trees Falling, Sky Still Intact: June in Review

"The best-laid plans of mice and men
Go oft awry"
from To a Mouse, Robert Burns, 1785

And so went my plans for weekly posts in June as well as completing May's photo album before June was gone. July is here and the rain unbelievably persists, 2" on July 3-4, 0.3" last night. I have not watered any garden bed even once this season. Vegetation is lush. The grass is thick and green and demanding a weekly mow. The lilies bloomed all of the month of June. First, the asiatic lilies put on a show, then the trumpets and fragrant orienpets (6 feet tall oriental-trumpet crosses), accompanied by daylilies and now the tiger-lilies. The old-fashioned crinum lilies have kept it up non-stop since early June.

I wasn't going to plant a vegetable garden , then decided to reclaim an old garden bed that was grown up in weeds, bronze fennel and unmanaged garlic. It adjoins the existing herb bed and now hosts 3 tomatoes, 3 peppers, one hill of yellow squash and a couple small rows of bush beans. I should eat the first squash and beans this week with tomatoes soon to follow. I've about decided to give up on roses, beautiful as they were in May. I didn't spray for black spot so the plants suffered greatly in the cool wet spring. Then the deer made nightly forays (and some in the broad daylight). Finally the Japanese beetles devoured any remaining blooms. Coneflowers, salvias and lilies, on the other hand, seem eager to please and don't have nearly the pest problems.

Rain, accompanied by high winds, took out a huge oak in the front yard. I knew that it was hollow but it had been for some years and still had plenty of live vegetation. A friend cut it up for firewood -- it took two full days. Before that task was done another storm took out a wild cherry along the north property line, which in turn took out a hackberry that had grown up. I hired a professional tree service to chip up and haul away the brush pile created when the oak was cut up, and to haul away the cherry and hackberry, and finally to trim limbs on trees around the house. I never realized just how much attention had to be paid to keep trees in check. To finish up the month, I spent two weekends cleaning out the south fencerow of tree sprouts and wisteria, as well as trimming back branches so I could mow. I burned that brush pile and now have another from cutting back bittersweet vines.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The First Week of June

Last week I took vacation time to garden. I dug, I pulled weeds, I fertilized plants and applied mulch and I'm still not caught up with gardening tasks. The roses were beautiful but hot weather this week made them fade. That was nothing compared to the damage that the deer have been causing. They've pruned off all the roses in the rose and iris bed and part of the roses in the other bed. I may have to try the "Liquid Fence" that folks have told me about, although it's supposed to smell like rotten eggs on application.

Yesterday my good friend and I went on the annual garden tour and we had a wonderful time. I'll be posting links to photos from the tour soon. Hope you've noticed the slideshow of my gardens in May. I'm adding to that album this week so stay tuned. Meanwhile, I hope these photos of my shade garden keep you cool!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Voodoo in the Garden

Do do that voodoo that you do so well. -Cole Porter lyric from "You Do Something To Me" in the 1929 musical Fifty Million Frenchmen

The Voodoo lilies (Dracunculus vulgaris) are blooming. They are also called "Stink" lilies because they attract carrion flies and trap them in their bulbous base. This link to Paghat's Garden gives some info and additional photos. They are very exotic and almost always bloom right around Memorial Day. I have four blooms open right now but can't get a good photo of all at once.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Diggin' It

Life is a garden, dig it! -David Spade as Joe Dirt.

Today was a lovely day for gardening in the Ozarks. I started with cleaning out one of the rose beds and expanding the perimeter, enough so in one direction that I think I have room for the two new peonies that I ordered for fall pickup. Dark orange asiatic lilies complement the Rio Samba multi-colored rose in that bed. Then I tackled the new shade bed where I put the coneflowers that sis gave me yesterday, the foxgloves dug from my parents yesterday, plus impatiens and begonias that had been waiting in pots since last weekend. The problem with pilfered plants is that they must go back into the ground. I cleaned out the rose and iris bed, then expanded it enough to put in the iris and peony plants that I pilfered yesterday. Finally, I planted the acanthus that I bought at the Farmer's Market on Saturday. It is a perennial whose foliage looks like a thistle and sports pretty purple or blue blooms. I've admired that plant on the Fayetteville Square and am excited to welcome it to my garden.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pilfered Plants

Today I went to see my parents. While there I dug a few of their volunteer foxgloves. We then made a little excursion to a neighbor's yard to pilfer starts of plants. I got starts of a white iris and of two peonies, a pink and (maybe) a red. The ground was so wet it was hard to get any soil with the plants. Also got a beautiful bouquet of red roses. As you can see, the cats were excited about that. I caught that rascally rabbit munching in my herb bed so snapped a shot to include here. The 3 1/2 inches of rain in 3 days delayed my gardening plans. Tomorrow I start planting in earnest!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
-Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam, 1850

Yesterday I gathered a garden bouquet. It had a spray of red roses, branches of white-blossomed mock orange, stems of blue salvia and dutch iris and accents of feathery bronze fennel. I placed the bouquet on his grave. It was watered first by my tears and then by the rain.