I have always been into photography. When my father got his fancy 35 mm Zeiss Icon film camera in the early , early 60’s, he gave me his old Kodak. I had great fun. When I became an adult and could afford my own 33mm, I bought an Olympus. I loved that camera. But, something went wonky on it and stopped using it. And, of course, I had to get the pictures developed. Perhaps 10 years ago I bought a Nikon D3000. I still have that camera and use it.I discovered the joys of instant photography gratification. Once I thought I had learned enough to get a more sophisticated camera, I bought a Nikon D750. I love that camera, though, I think it might be smarter than I am. These days most of my picture taking adventures happen in my gardens. My dog dozes under the Japanese maple and I gather bouquets and snap close ups, pull weeds and deadhead spent flowers. Below are some samples taken with a new super macro lens, a Loawan 60 mm super macro f 2.8 lens.
Perhaps it is because there is only one dog tromping through the gardens. Or, we’ve had the right amount of rain. Or the Garden Lady is working her magic. But I don’t think the gardens have ever been this lush. I did buy seven big clumps of day lilies last summer, all without name tags, and they are thriving. And, I filled in some blank spots with annuals, but I always do that. I could also say that I have spent more time at home because of Covid, but I’m retired. I have a lot of free time these days. But it could also be that my garden guy, Richard, has worked his magic. We make a good team. I’m bossy and he takes direction well.
Thank you to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day each month. This is what is blooming in my gardens today.
There are various echinaceas planted here and I’ve lost track of who’s who. But the white ones are White Pow Wow.
I got a bit of a late start planting annuals and pots because the shredded bark had to go in first. But, the bark went in and so did most of the annuals. I’ve also planted more containers to add color and interest. We are having a wonderful June with moderate temps and enough rain. Best of all, the gardens don’t know there is a pandemic.
I confess that the longest periods spent in the gardens these past couple of weeks have been devoted to misguided attempts to remove hair from my dogs. They are both standard poodles, and they need regular haircuts. I bought a decent battery operated clipper. Once charged, I led Lucy, my two year old poodle, to the Secret Garden, sat down, and began cutting. Shaving would be a better word, though. I worked on her no more than 10 minutes and decided to stop. I would tackle more later. Because the weather turned cold, later came a few days, um, later. Honestly, she looks like an escapee from a horror movie. Over the course of a week, I was able to shave the parts of her that were likely to mat.
The more difficult task was Bridget. I confess, I’ve barely begun. She only has three legs, so her stamina isn’t all that great. My goal is to keep her from getting matted, and to shave off the dingy white hair. I’m looking at her right now and she’s still really dingy, even in the places that I ran the clippers. I don’t think I have the patience to groom my dogs. I am going to always generously tip my dog groomer.
All of this Covid-19 sheltering in place has been depressing. The private dog park where I take my two year old standard poodle closed down for about a month.
Anyway, it’s hard to celebrate my gardens. But, I just called the irrigation company and made an appointment for them to turn on the system. And, I called the landscaping company to order the shredded bark that goes on all the beds. And, my garden guy has been in the gardens twice and will be returning for more prep, transplanting, and general sprucing. There are things happening in the gardens and I decided that my best approach for documenting would be close ups. So, I dusted off the closest macro lens and started searching for beauty. Odd, that picked up my spirits.
I read an article that discussed the “medical” end of an epidemic and the “social” end. The author noted that we were now in the social ending of Covid. I knew we were there last week when there was a rapid increase in traffic. I travel daily to the dog park and, masked and gloved, stop mostly at groceries stores on the way back. Today it will be corn tortillas.
I do know that the medical end of this pandemic will not end for a long time.
It could be the last Bloom Day of the season, but November sometimes offers a few surprises. It is the annuals that are showing off, of course, but the mums, a bargain at $2.00 a pot, provide lots of color. And, Honorine Joubert Anemone is shining brightly in The Secret Garden. There is one surprise. The morning glories that I planted late last May have finally decided to bloom. The last hibiscus flower is looking gruesomely beautiful.
I couldn’t resist getting the two standard poodles in this month’s chronicle, though they weren’t very cooperative. What I didn’t know at the time is that Lucy, the black poodle, was busy digging yet another hole in the lawn. See all those bare patches? That would be Lucy’s contribution to the gardens. What is interesting, though, is that I take her regularly to a large dog park where she hasn’t dug a single hole. Anyway, the mums and the Limelight hydrangea in the upper left are blooming. And, of course, there are the annuals that keep summer going a bit longer. I’m always grateful for marigolds.
Mums, marigolds, and, um, moldy peonies are part of the lower garden. I’m looking forward to seeing how the new day lilies look next July.
But, as usual, State Fair Zinnias are still kicking out bouquets. I usually plunk a few hosta leaves in the vases with them.
Here’s a beauty shot of one zinnia.
It’s been a dreary, rainy day, and it perfectly intensified that morning glory blue. The raindrops are just an added bonus. I’m glad my young standard poodle, Lucy, and I got our two mile walk in before the rain came.
I think the Honorine Joubert Anemone is more than six feet tall, propped up, of course by a hidden tomato cage and some garden twine.
They are slightly iridescent so that, even on a rainy day, they glow.
The leaves are reddening and falling. This maple probably found its way from a giant tree in my neighbor’s yard. Last fall I picked up fallen leaves during my walks with Bridget, my 11 year old standard poodle. They are pressed into various books. I think I may have to start collecting some this year, too. The red “sputnik” berries come from the Kousa Dogwood in The Secret Garden.
And, lastly, the gruesomely beautiful dying hibiscus flower. See you next, my beauty.
As always, a thank you to May Dreams Gardens who hosts Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, a monthly collection blogs that focus on what’s growing on the 15th of each month. If you are interested in gardening, go to her site and sign up. She has a lot to offer.
The first set of pictures are of the Lower Garden. Most of the color comes from the annuals, but a the hydrangeas provide food for pollinators and graceful blooms. Or, rather, Limelight provides blooms. The Endless Summer hydrangea gave me one pink bloom. I suspect it was pruned too vigorously this past spring. The Rose of Sharon is turning out its usual lovely blossoms that will turn to seed pods that will turn into a zillion little sprouts that will have to pulled out. Or not pulled out until they form little trees. Oy. The little brush footed butterfly (I think it is a “staff sergeant”) finds some of the zinnias quite appetizing.
In the Secret Garden the echinacea are in full bloom. I seem to have lost Fragrant Angel to our hard winter, but Pow Wow White is doing well, as are the pink phlox. The daylilies are finished, but the Tardiva hydrangea is providing lots of nectar for the many pollinators that rely on it. Monarchs, swallowtails, bumble and carpenter, mason and leaf cutter bees, as well as several varieties of wasps are regular visitors. In the little bed by the garage a family of house sparrows are busily feeding their latest brood. The daisies are just about finished, but the anemones are getting ready to pop open. And the little hibiscus that I planted a year ago is showing off its saucer sized dark pink flowers. The Rainbow’s End hosta under the Kousa dogwood is blooming. Most hosta blooms are a bit boring, but a few varieties like this one have lovely flowers. The pots of annuals light up some of the more sparse spots in the Secret Garden.
The Entrance Garden greets passersby with an explosion of rudbeckia. The Walkers’ Low catmint was cut way back and is now forming lovely mounds that, I hope, will send out lots of blossoms to feed native bees. In the meantime, they dine on the rudbeckia and the Blackberry Lily. The pots of annuals are starting to show their age.
July always means day lilies. And deadheading. I wasn’t sure how the day lilies would take to a young standard poodle on the rampage. She has trampled some of them, but they really need to be moved anyway. The tardiva hydrangea is casting too much shade. Finding a new spot for those will be a fall project. The pictures above show First Knight (yellow), Strutter’s Ball (dark pink), and the ever wonderful scarlet crocosmia in the background. The peach is Kathy Perkins.
The zinnias and shasta daisies are bloomin’ their little brains out. And the purple petunias are filling in. I always plant purple petunias because of their vanilla fragrance. They are especially fragrant in the evening. My new fence has forced me to re-imagine my in-ground watering system. I have pots searching for water and I keep misjudging where the spray is. I’ve turned the system on a bunch of times for just a minute so I can inspect the spray pattern, but, I’ve still got pots that aren’t getting enough water.
The pots in the front are doing well. There are two drip lines that keep them watered. The blackberry lilies in the front garden are starting to open up. And, the Secret Garden is hosting some katydid nymphs. This isn’t the first time. Some katydid nymphs can do a lot of damage, but these seem to belong to a different club. This one is doing whatever katydid nymphs do in a Saloam Double Classic daylily.
And as for this last bloom…I thought I had something special growing in my garden–a lady slipper. It is a lady slipper, but it is not native and it is highly invasive. Epipactis helleborine is not a friendly species. It might look innocent, but where it invades, it chokes out native species. And that impacts pollinators and other species. I have at least a dozen of these growing in the south west corner of my lower garden. They are going to die this week.
I can’t remember a cooler or wetter June than the one we are having right now. But, the garden loves it. Ok, so the hostas are suffering from edema. Yes, hostas can suffer from water retention. But everything else seems to enjoy this prelude into summer.
I just got back from England a few days ago, 24 hours before a local garden club visited my gardens. So, the day that I should have been recovering from jet lag, I was in the gardens getting everything ready. There were still annuals to plant and dog evidence to remove. This will be my first summer sharing the gardens with two standard poodles. I’m so grateful for my garden guy, Richard. He worked in the gardens twice when I was away and on the day the garden club visited. If it weren’t for him, the gardens would have not looked nearly so tidy. Note the new fence that challenged me to rethink some of the beds, and I’m quite pleased with that challenge.