Monday, November 29, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
In my treasured 1897 copy of How to know the Wildflowers, by Mrs. William Starr
Dana, I learned that bluets are dimorphous. Some flowers have long pistols and short stamens and some have long stamens and short pistols. Both kinds are needed for pollination to occur. Ed remembered this, so when he saw blue flowers and white flowers, he made sure to bring home some of each.
In Growing and Propagating Wildflowers, by William Cullina, I discovered that the color variation could mean that both Houstonia caerulea and Houstonia longifolia might be planted here in my shade garden.
Whichever they are, these little mounds of green leaves seem to be doing very well. I will look forward to their cheery little flowers early in May. Perhaps they will bloom all summer again next year. I just hope they become well established here.
In the past I've tried buying bluets without success. These plants from a friend definitely seem to be the answer. We will know more in the spring.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Last night was warmer and with hard rain during the night the garden has a very different look. Today looks like it might be a great day to work outside if the rain has finished, but everything is wet.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The bed of Gloriosa Daisies is loaded with seed heads.
This red sumac will be an attraction for the birds all winter .
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Our car had spent the night at the base of the hill since the driveway was blocked. We expected that it might be stranded there for several days. Here is its return the very next day.
Don, the man wearing the cap, is the proud owner of the tractor. He was not certain that his machine would be able to handle the size of our job. By pushing small amounts of gravel at a time, the task was completed without once getting the tractor stuck. Ed was the shovel man on this day. By lifting small amounts of gravel at a time, the task was completed without once getting chest pain.
Slow and steady wins the race. The improbable is possible. Both workers will go to bed tonight tired, but happy, having acomplished so much on this gorgeous fall day.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
After just one afternoon, 24 yards of gravel are piled in the driveway waiting to be spread by hand. It's interesting that days and sometimes weeks go by and no one comes up our drive. As soon as it was blocked with gravel, the propane delivery truck turned into the driveway. He'll be back next week. A friend called asking if today was convenient to return a borrowed tool. I explained our situation and tomorrow he and his tractor will join Ed moving gravel. With any kind of luck I'll be able to drive up the hill to the house when I get home. It really was a cute little red dump truck and gravel happens.
Monday, November 8, 2010
The all male asparagus that we purchased a decade ago from Miller nurseries looks so beautiful. It's such a nice shade of gold with lots of red berries. Of course the berries are female fruits. Just like the Chinese discovered, the all male thing doesn't work out.
My tricolor sage is still looking beautiful. The cold we have been experiencing has not yet had its effect on all of the plants. Many of the annuals are now dead. Some perenniels are beginning to get that blackened dead look. The big difference being that the perenniels may be back next year.
I saw my friend Susan today. She said, "I'm so thrilled with the "King Of Prussia" chrysanthemums you gave me." I can only imagine the look on my face as I searched my brain for the plant she was talking about. "What do they look like ?" I asked. "They are a beautiful, pink, and blooming now." she replied. " Finally I got it. "Those are 'Emperor of China' chrysanthemums". When we finished laughing Susan said, " Well, I knew they came from royalty. Where did I get the name 'King Of Prussia.' " We agreed it was obvious, that's a town in Pennsylvania. I've got to wonder why I didn't give her a proper label with the plant. It's not like I don't have plenty of stones to write on. I plan to do better. Of course including the Latin name would be nice, but change comes in small steps.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Now that it is November just one lemon verbena lives on the south facing windowsill in the basement. Part of the plant is doing its dead stick thing, but so far most of the plant has green leaves. Perhaps a fruit salad with lemon verbena leaves chopped in it is a possibility for Thanksgiving this year.
When the Richters' catalog arrives, 3 lemon verbenas will start off the order. If this plant makes it till warm weather , it will get a chance to spend one summer as a fragrant bush in the garden. Every winter I wonder why I deal with all this drama. Who knows maybe this is the year I will consider lemon verbena an annual.
My Horticulture magazine just came . I sat down to read it cover to cover like I usually do, and was surprised to discover that the article about lemon verbena we had submitted in July was actually in the magazine. We had given up any idea of having anything published because we included the necessary photograph using our 3.2MP camera not realizing how inadequate it was. Once we discovered the truth , we forgot all about our submission. They used Celeste Clockhard's great photograph. I have to say there's nothing quite like seeing something you have written printed in a real magazine. It is quite a thrill.
But does make me realize how much I love my blog.
The unbridled freedom to write without limitations or deadlines, coupled with the ability to correct mistakes even years later is wonderful. That being said, if you get a chance to look at the Dec/Jan Horticulture please don't miss our little article printed on page 70. It's a first for us!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
This "Emperor of China" chrysanthemum is quite remarkable. Even with nights in the twenties, heavy morning frosts and no covering at night, it continues to produce its pretty pink blooms. It seems that a hard frost is necessary before these flowers will open. Each fall we impatiently watch, hoping that these flowers will have their chance to bloom while the buds remain tightly closed. Each year, with the rest of the garden mostly brown, the "Emperor of China" chrysanthemum produces its dazzling display after the frost.
A closer look at the mostly brown garden reveals that all is not dead. These "Clara Curtis" chrysanthemums have started next year's growth. The dried stalks from this year will be cut and placed over the new growth after the ground has frozen hard. We can never decide when to cut the dead stalks. Sometimes they are cut early and set close aside to use as winter mulch. Other times they are left in place to be cut later.
Having long ago given up on the root bound cupcake mums that never winter over for us here, we search for hardy mums and plant them in the spring. Next year we hope to have these two, as well as "Mammoth pink" and "Mary Stoker" return . In the meantime the hardy mum search continues .