Saturday, June 27, 2009

Garden Tour & Ideas

Miss A and I went on a local garden tour this past weekend. In addition to suffering extreme garden envy on several occasions, I snapped tons of photos. These are simple ideas I’d love to incorporate into our lot.

I like how this container is nested in a sea of ground cover. What a simple, fun way to add a splash of color and also create height. This seems to be ideal for annuals so the appearance of the container could be changed each season.

This statue serves as a unique container. The plants almost look like a shawl or blanket tossed over the statue’s shoulder.

My other half and I would like to add a pergola to the backyard for summertime entertaining. Instead of a wood deck or tile patio, I'd like to do something like these bricks for the floor of the pergola. Lemon thyme or some other dense, aromatic, low-growing ground cover would be fun to grow between the bricks.

This is just cool. I love the frame on this mirror. We also saw a full length, wall mirror on this tour. The mirrors seemed to do the same thing in the garden as they do in houses; they give an illusion of a larger space. Plus, I like how this mirror added interest to and broken up the wooden, privacy fence.

We added hanging baskets to our backyard this summer. I really liked how this black-eyed susan vine was used with a hanging basket. It climbed up the chains, creating a really pretty waterfall like effect.

I've never seen a roof to a pergola styled like this. I liked the illusion of skylights. If at all possible, I'd like to use this technique in structure we build in our backyard.

Candlelight is so pretty on the patio table in the evening. I liked how these glass, candle holders were attached to metal rods to create an elegant twist to the tiki torch concept. Metal wedges were welded onto the end so the pole would remain upright.

Yet More Sickness
There are a few plants in the garden that aren't looking so well right now. Both are new plants to the lot. I snapped photos so I could try to do some googling of the internets and find out what could be ailing this poor guys.

This is the solomons seal in the gate bed.

Here is the columbine in the same bed.

In Bloom
Blanket Flower: tons of buds and a bit of color on a few
Hollyhocks: beautiful, deep purple blooms
Cardinal Climbers: several red blossoms and moving up the hummingbird feeder post
Foam Flower

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Exhibitionists in the Garden!

Oi with the bugs! This year I’m having a heck of a time with insects. I am aware I should take care not to harm helpful insects, but whoever chews through the plant leaves and lays eggs in the budding flowers are not considered good guys. Maybe this year I am more aware of them.

Anyway, I was admiring the hollyhocks a few days ago. They are about five feet high and ready to tilt their heads up to the sun. Then I did a double-take. What are those bugs and WHAT exactly are they doing on the hollyhocks?!  It was a regular love fest, sans the tie-die and purple haze.

These very amorous bugs looked as if they were the insect equivalent of an anteater. They are gray, beetle-like and have a very long snout. After googling around the interwebs and finding the What’s that bug? site, I found out what they are... hollyhock weevils. The female bores into the flowerhead with that huge snout to deposit her future brood in there. Argh!

Since I have four-legged garden foremen, I’d like to take care of these nasty creatures without the use of hardcore chemicals. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bites & Belmishes

One thing I’ve found very annoying about gardening is the fact that plants get sick. I know, there is no such thing as easy, non-maintenance gardening. I am also willing to work for beautiful plants. But, it doesn't change the fact I fret and even get grumpy about plants being chomped on or made ill.

Both the catnip and the foxglove are showing such signs. I snapped pictures so I can try to puzzle out what’s going on with them once I was back to the computer. With the catnip, I’m thinking a combo of the wet spring and dense foliage is causing a type of mildew/blemishes on the leaves. I don’t know yet what is stressing the foxglove. At first I thought it may be some frost damage from a cold snap we had after the plant had sent out it’s first new shoots. Now I think it’s some kind of insect. Will have to research it more.

Edelweiss are budding in the back bed and yellow day lilies are going to open any day in the sidewalk bed. The forget-me-not seedlings are well on their way in Loki’s bed and the moonflower seedlings and new black barlow columbine in the gate bed are growing well. The rose bush in the southwest bed bloomed! The flowers are a very pale pink that turn almost to white after opening.

Also, this week I brought home some different types of ground cover from a co-worker’s garden. Our lot now has some vinca, chameleon plant and bishop’s weed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fieldtrip : John Ball Park

My Better Half and I took a stroll this evening through John Ball Park. I believe volunteers from MSU’s master gardener program care for the landscaped sections of the park. As a result, it’s always a lovely place to visit with it’s very own rose garden.

As mentioned before, I do not know much about the care of roses. That’ll have to change because boy, oh boy, are some of those plants pretty. I snapped photos of the different roses in the park so I can identify them at a later date. Maybe, once educated a bit more in their care, I will purchase some for our lot.

There are also some nice “berms,” simple, circular beds whose soil is slightly raised above ground level, at the park. In one of the free gardening seminars I attended, the presenter spoke of how to construct them. I may reserve the idea of a raised bed just for a little vegetable patch. To create changes in elevation on our lot (which is very much needed), I could give a few berms a try.

Other things blooming on the lot: peonies in the sidewalk bed (pink with frills), little red roses in the front bed, the coral bells in Loki’s bed,  nasturtium, Jupiter’s beard, foxglove and rose campion in the back bed, the nicotiana in the fence bed, and the spiderwort and bachelors button in the alleybed. The lavender and hollyhock both are budding.