Friday, July 20, 2018

Even More Daylilies

Amish Quilt Patch is colored much differently than most Daylilies.  Its colors are soft and subdued while its scent is most pleasant.

Flash Fire is a bright clear red.  The white center ribs and scalloped edges make a sharp contrast.

Catherine Woodbury is even more delicately colored.  It is among the varieties that have been here for a very long time.

This robust beauty was included in a mail order as a free gift.  This variety is among the most robust growing both tall and wide.  The flower count is astronomical.  The scent is beyond pleasant.  The only explanation that I can find for this wonders relegation to the free gift category is that the society than grants names to new varieties found this one too similar to already named varieties.  The breeder's loss is my gain since I find this white flower highly desirable.

Doc Reaver has huge flowers.  Its scent is pleasant while the clear yellow color is somewhat understated.  Brighter yellows are in my collection but this one truly stands out.

To date 30 different Daylilies have been listed here.  It is likely that less than 10 remain to be displayed.  We hit a snag today when we found a marker stone that was clearly misplaced.  When more plants open their flowers perhaps we can clean up the mess.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Finally A Little Rain

Jewelweed holds a great deal of ground here.  Two factors explain why we allow this weed to grow here almost unchallenged.  First, the sap of this plant is well known to help with exposure to poison ivy.  None grows here but we do have an abundance of stinging nettles.  Contact with this plant makes skin feel like it is on fire.  Both plants grow here side by side as that is how they planted themselves.  Accidental contact with the nettles is quickly followed by crushing the juice filled stem of the jewel weed and rubbing the soothing liquid on the burning skin.

A friend of Becky's cans jewel weed stems for use in the winter.  Contact with poison ivy stems in the winter can raise serious welts.  Only canned jewelweed is available for off season use.

Touch-me-not is a popular name for this plant.  As its seeds mature a coiled spring prepares itself to shoot ripe seeds into the air with considerable force.  Both Becky and Amy take great delight in helping this plant spread its seed.

On the day before the rain fell, all of our plants looked like the dead one in the picture.  Rain rescued the others but this one is gone.  These stems are heavily filled with moisture.  When all of the other plant leaves were dust dry, our deer fed heavily on jewel weed.  Usually the deer simply pass this plant by leaving it undamaged.

Amish Quilt Patch opened its first flower in the early morning rain.  We expect to see more typically formed flowers now that some moisture is in the ground.

Aurora Raspberry was recently reported missing.  Clearly it is still with us.  I wonder if there is an explanation for why one flower has a single petal pointing upwards while the other has its single petal pointing downward?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Still More Daylilies

This photo of Aurora Raspberry was taken last year.  A very complex combination of colors and textures has kept this plant rather small.  Only two flowers opened this year and both were too small and incompletely formed for a current picture.

Ivory Edges displays the ruffled edges that I find compelling.  A scent is also likely but since this flower is behind a wire cage to keep the deer away, I was also kept away.

Gentle Ed was purchased one year after Ivory Edges.  The flowers are quite similar but how could I possibly resist a plant that carries both my name and a personality characteristic.  If  Modest were its middle name that match would approach perfection.

Big Bird is a huge vigorous variety that we have planted in two different locations.  Those growing in the deep gravel soil near the house are having difficulty opening complete flowers.  The deep river bottom land down near the road holds more moisture resulting in a typical perfect flower.

The combination of yellow and maroon makes Huckleberry Candy a stunning variety.

Frosted Vintage Ruffles has been with us for a very long time.  Like all of our plants, this one needs to be divided and given more space since its flowers are rather small this year.

Blueberry Candy has the wide fat petals more commonly seen on recently developed varieties.  The separation of the white and purple colors is strikingly beautiful.

Sunday Gloves is another one that is struggling with the lack of rainfall and overcrowding.  Pure white is a difficult color to breed into daylilies but this one is very nearly perfect.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Glorious Composite Flowers And Pollination

You just can't beat composite flowers for color and long lasting flowers in the garden.  These flowers are composed of ray flowers, the large red and yellow petals seen here, and disk flowers which we will examine more closely.  The Monarch Butterfly has become a  famous poster child for the pollination movement and no wonder just look at it!  Even the Postal Service agrees. The Monarch beat out the bee 12 to 8. Their Protect pollinator stamps came out on August 1, 2017 and are now sold out.  You can still see them online.

But there are many more pollinators than Monarch Butterflies and Honeybees.   Here a bee or a fly of a different sort is visiting the ring of tiny yellow flowers.

Early in the morning when fog fills the air and dew glistens on a Gloriosa Daisy, today's ring of disk flowers can be seen as buds.  The flowers will open later when the sun dries the dew and it is time  for the pollinators to begin their search for nectar and pollen.

This solid color flower has a ring of tiny flowers with nice yellow pollen.  Before long the pollen will be collected by this pollinator and perhaps others.  Tomorrow the process will be repeated.  This continues until the entire disk has its turn to bloom.

Last weekend I cut some Gloriosa Daisies to bring a little of their cheery color indoors.  In my kitchen where there are no pollinators and there is no rain to wash the pollen away, the rings of flowers with pollen last for several days.  The ring of buds for tomorrow can be easily seen in this picture.

Pollinating a flower isn't always easy.  Sometime a Flower spider is waiting there to eat you!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

All In

Growing garlic has been an obsession here for more than two decades.  In our younger days we were able to eat garlic in quantity.  Freshly minced cloves lightly sauteed in olive oil then spread on French Peasant Bread under a generous coating of Parmesan cheese was a favorite way to eat our garlic.  Now that is only a pleasant memory.  There is no rational explanation for why we continue to plant 720 cloves each fall.

A recently departed friend gave us a few of cloves from her garden for this garlic.  We named it Helen's and will always have it growing here.  This year we planted fifty cloves but harvested only forty-one.  Recalling that late winter was bitter here, we were pleased that any of these plants grew following their hard freeze after several warm March days.

When to harvest has always been a troublesome question.  In the book Growing Great Garlic, Ron Engleman advocates harvest when only two or three leaves are still green.  His experience with garlic is limited to the West Coast.  When I followed his advise my garlic cloves were filled with mold.  He also stated that it was impossible to grow garlic in New York State because of our summer weather patterns.  Alabama boomers are common here in July when hot humid days frequently feature severe thunderstorms.  That excessive moisture falling on plants with mostly dead leaves is a guaranteed problem.  Most of my plants still carry many green leaves at harvest.  These green leaves maintain a water tight seal at ground level avoiding the growth of mold.  My bulbs are somewhat smaller but they remain free of disease.

Helen's garlic was the first harvested and has undergone two steps toward cured bulbs.  Elevated on a wire garden cage, the root mass was cut off the day after harvest.  The next day, the lowest solid green leaf is pulled clear removing all traces of garden soil.  Next the stems will be shortened so that the bulbs can hang downward instead of lying on top of the cage.  With that change in orientation much more garlic can cure on this cage.  As the cure nears completion several purple stripes will appear on the outer wrappers growing in the same line as the stalks.

Monday, July 9, 2018

More Daylilies

This is the third variety in the gift from Susan.  This is likely an older cross and its name remains unknown to us.

Becky Lynne is the name given to this one.  This flower appears a bit delicate.

Molakai is a clear winner.  Its flowers begin to open in the evening so they are fully open by sunrise.  That explains the water drops evident on each petal's edge as the last of the night fog is about to disappear.

Spiritual Corridor is the second variety that we purchased.  Ruffled edges carrying the color of the center sets this one apart from the rest.

Strawberry Fields Forever displays one of the problems faced by breeders today.  With literately hundreds of named varieties registered how does one find a new name for the new one under consideration?

Wild Mustang is a flower with broad petals.

Prairie Blue Eyes is the tallest lily in our collection.

Indian Giver is a horrible name assigned to a most beautiful flower.  This one is definitely on the list to divide so that we have a generous supply of flowers worthy of a spot in our planned display garden.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Mating Monarchs

This is not a photograph you see everyday.  In fact it's amazing that I got this picture at all.  Ed was mowing the area  by the bluebird houses that I can see from my kitchen window.  He noticed a pair of mating Monarch butterflies on a milkweed plant.  He stopped mowing and  called me so I could see the coupled pair.  Over the years he has seen this many times back where we have acres of milkweed growing, but this was my first time!  I thought it might be rude and insensitive to get the camera to record this event, but I went back in the house to get the camera deciding if they were still there I would give it a shot.  I slowly approached being respectful and quiet but when I got almost close enough, they flew away.  I snapped a picture anyway pointing the camera in their general direction.  Ed had been watching me and was positive that I got a blurry picture of nothing. I  can't believe my luck!  This is not part of a video!  It has not been enhanced, cropped, centered or in any way altered.

Wildlife centered gardening can be a bit tricky.  We leave the milkweed so that the mating butterflies have plenty of leaves on which to lay their eggs.  However Bluebirds and Tree Swallows like to be next to an area of short vegetation so they can fly directly into their nest.  One box that can't be seen in this picture is currently empty.  Nearly grown  Tree Swallow babies  are in the box you can see.  Frequent  feeding trips need to be made by the adults.  I watched and they swoop around the milkweed plants and into the hole in the nest box with ease.

Milkweed flowers are buzzing with  bees.  The scent of the plants is intoxicating!  I guess for the Monarchs it all comes together to put them "In The Mood"!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Sewer Lilies

As a child growing up in rural upstate New York, it was common to see sewage in the roadside ditches.  Two of the houses that I walked by on the way to school still had outhouses in use.  At that time seeing orange flowers roadside near the damp places was common.  Since I have always been a smart mouthed kid, the name sewer lily was given to these flowers.  That early association kept me from acquiring Daylilies for many years.  This plant has been growing along side of the road for as long as we have been here.

An acquaintance of Becky living in Afton gave us three different plants when we visited her many years ago.  This is one of her gifts to us.  Notice the ruffled petal edges and the raised center rib.  I would guess that these all were early hybrids.

This double or triple flower was among her gift to us.  The third in the set has yet to open.

Destined To See is our first purchased Daylily.  Notice the ruffled edge.  It will appear on many of our plants.  This flower carries a scent.  We also seek out flowers that emit an aroma.

This plant was purchased from a local grower.  It was sold to us as a beautiful violet colored variety but that is clearly not the case.  We believe that the variety Elegant Candy is the actual name for this plant.  The colored ruffled edges make this error a winner here.

Channel Island is the name of this early yellow flower.  Once again the pie crust edge is part of the package.

Chicago Arnie's Choice is the name of this variety.  The center of the flower seems to glow as a source of light.  All of these plants are kept behind wire fences to keep the deer from eating the buds.  That fence kept me from checking for scent but odds are strongly in favor of the existence of scent in all of these varieties.

Yellow Chiffon was a free gift included in one of our plant orders.  The flowers are impressively large but this beauty came with a nasty surprise.  A vicious sedge was firmly rooted in the underground mass of this plant.  We have been determined in our efforts to remove this weed but so far we have been unsuccessful.

We have been captivated by the many different varieties on the market today.  It is likely that pictures of more than three dozen plants will be featured here as they come into bloom.  We would really like to have a complete list of our madness in the order that they bloom.  If you see an error in name, please share your finding with us.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Too Hot, Too Wet, Too Wild, Photos By Becky

 Even early in the morning  it was hot and steamy in the garden!  Heat advisory  warnings said that the, ahem, elderly should stay indoors and out of the heat.  We decided that would be the smart thing to do, but  Ed just had to pick some Oregon Giant peas for dinner and the ripe strawberries.  We might as well have been in a tropical rain forest instead of our upstate New York garden.  For several weeks we had been having a dry spell. Many plants were looking dry stunted and droopy.  Rain and heat changed all that.  The plants have exploded with growth.  Here the path is closed by Gloriousa  Daisies that made it impassible.  Here is another example of self seeded plants defining our garden.  We could not have planted this area better ourselves. 

Knowing I would be stuck inside, I wanted to capture images of some of the lush growth.  Bright orange Butterfly weed  against wet bright green makes for a hot photo!

This bed in front of the house gives every appearance of a carefully planned area.  The parallel rows of nearly buried stones soften the sloped ground here.  Rain runoff has yet to wash away any of the bark mulch and just yesterday we had severe thunder storms with heavy rain.  Ed does still need to finish the stone path and turn the corner for the garden at the west end of the house. 

I was delighted to get a picture of a white clover blossom wet with dew.  We seem to have a single white Red Clover plant and lots of pink ones.  Whether this clover is a garden specimen or a weed depends on where it is growing, but I think the white one will stay.

By the time I got to take this shot of a Swallowtail caterpillar on dill growing with the beets, I was  getting too hot and too wet.  As always  Ed managed to stay out a little longer than I did.  By 9:30 AM we were both cooling our heels indoors.  From then on the garden got hotter, wetter and wilder.  Heavy rain, thunder and plenty of lightning lasted until bedtime.  I was pleased to see lightening bugs in the garden undeterred by the wild weather.