Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: Oct. 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: Oct. 15, 2018

This view of the zinnias draws me in.  I love all the color and the defiance of our ever lowering temperatures.

The mums were such a good idea!  They add pops of color in an ever chilling and browning garden.  But perhaps my favorite color belongs to the Limelight and Tardiva hydrangeas.  Timing is critical here, but for several weeks, I get to pick as many “heads” of blooms as I can.  Those blooms have started turning lovely shades of pink, and the color stays forever if you cut and bring them indoors.  I’m running out of vases because I now have time to pick. And pick.  And pick. It’s one of the perks of retirement.

The large vase these hydrangeas are in belonged to my grandmother who kept it on her front porch. Now it occupies a space next to my fireplace.


A combination of Limelight and Tardiva blooms that will keep all winter.

But, the mums and the zinnias deserve attention, too, though they will not last much longer.  I hate cold weather.  The older I get, the more I hate it. Today our high was 47 degrees and the wind cut through my sweater and light jacket.  I donned my bright red winter jacket to walk the dog.

As always, a grateful call out to May Dreams Gardens for the Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

Catmint, marigolds, and mums brighten the back door gardens. Yesterday when it was warmer, bumblebees feasted on the catmint. The little mushroom shaped piece in the middle is a reproduction of a staddle.  These were used as foundations for granaries in England.  The staddles discouraged rodents because of the mushroom cap.


And here are the zinnias, still pumping out large blooms. This is State Fair and I will always save a place for them in my gardens.
The common pink anemones have gone, but Honorine Jobert is wonderfully lush.
Here is Honorine Jobert brightening up the eastern end of the Secret Garden.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: 09/15/2018

Behold the mummobile.
Usually my head is consumed by class preparations that include reading and responding to students’ conversations about their readings, and planning, planning, planning. September has always been about teaching and barely about gardening.  But, I’m retired.  And, I’ve decided that I need to see more things blooming in September. So, I went out and bought a bunch of hardy mums and a few asters.  Take that, September. Bridget and I needed a photo for our West Michigan Therapy Dog name badge, and since we were sitting in the entrance garden, I thought I’d include us in the “what’s bloomin'” post.
Bridget and I continue to bloom, too.
Here are the two containers in the entrance garden. By this point they are a bit tattered
Though the blackberry lilies are long since past blooming, their seed pods and seeds are interesting. The rudbekia still has a few blooms. The bees like them and the birds will soon start eating the seeds.
This clematis has kicked out a couple more blooms.
Here are a few of the mums that I bought. Note the two clematis blooms and the pot of geraniums that, like the other containers, is looking a bit leggy.
This container brings a nice bit of color to the hostas in the Secret Garden.
This container also brings some color to the Secret Garden.
The medal, though, has to go to Walkers Low Catmint. It just keeps blooming. The bees, wasps, and butterflies love it.
The wonderful thing about hydrangeas is that once their blooms have “faded” you can pick them and keep them for years, looking exactly the way there were the day they were picked. This is Limelight. Many of its flower clusters will go in a winter bouquet along with Tardiva,  and some allium and blackberry lily seed pods.
The State Fair zinnias were not as spectacular this year as last, but they provide much needed color and lots of bouquets.
I confess that this Knockout Rose has become the star of the rose medallion. It has bloomed all summer and it stands up to japanese beetles and black spot. There is no fragrance, though.
What DOES have a fragrance is Sweet Autumn Clematis. It’s a late bloomer. And, sadly, it sometimes doesn’t survive our winters, but it’s a fast grower and I don’t mind planting it again and again.
Last are the marigolds that I plant every spring so that when the perennials have gone through their cycle, there is still color in the garden until the first hard frost.

GBBD: The Garden Welcomes Me Back

Thank you, May Dreams Garden, for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  It’s nice to feel welcomed back into my own gardens.  And it’s nice to hop on over to the GBBD website to get inspired.  There are gorgeous gardens to wander through at the click of a mouse.


Though the echinacea are not particularly attractive, the rudbekia are. The catmint got a haircut a few weeks ago, but a few new blooms are starting to appear. I like the contrast between the blues and yellows.

Our weird spring that brought blistering May days followed by near freezing May days may have alarmed the echinacea. This is the best of the lot. But Fragrant Angel is pretty bedraggled.






The Rose of Sharon is doing its gorgeous thing, and, of course, creating lots of seed pods that ensure a place on next summer’s weeding ritual. The zinnias are low maintenance and bring an explosion of color that lasts until frost. I love State Fair zinnias because they are tall and bouquet-ready.

This and Strutters’ Ball (below) are the last of the daylilies. I wish I knew this one’s name. My guess is that it was planted last summer and that I bought it online. But surgery, chemo, and radiation have turned my brain into a mush of vague memories.

Such a vibrant pink.




My neighbor’s mother-in-law gave me divisions from her shasta daisies and they are very healthy.  In Norse mythology, the daisy is Freya’s flower.  Freya is the goddess of love, beauty and fertility.

Tardive and Limelight are both bountiful havens for pollinators. I was once told that bees are most attracted to white flowers. I have made some beautiful bouquets from these two large bushes. Notice that Tardiva is in tree form. It forms an effective shade canopy so I’m going to once again divide a large Elegans hosta and plant a division under Tardiva. I fear that Elegans is plotting to take over the universe. Again.

Limelight got a heavy prune last year, and that doesn’t seem to have done it any harm.

This and the gold and maroon daylily are the last to still have blooms. It’s called Strutters’ Ball. I’m always sad to see the daylilies fade away.

GBBD July 15, 2018 The Love/Hate Confessions

It’s easy for me to get distracted and I often postpone tasks that should have been done.  Like blogging about the garden on days other than Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  I took some pictures a couple weeks ago and have been trying to think of ways to write about the garden other than to document what is blooming each month.  But here I am on GBBD and pushing against the clock and prepping for a class tomorrow.  Plus I have to walk the dog and ignore the clean sheets that are piled on a chair in the living room and get my annuity stuff together.  I’m retiring.  Things have to happen.

So, first, the love.

This is what is blooming in my garden today.

This is what I see when I come down the street after walking the dog. The old magnolia tree provides a perfect canopy for hostas. So, ok, there isn’t much blooming, yet, but if you look really hard you’ll see some impatiens. Go ahead. Squint.

And this is my view from my back door, which is technically my side door. The old cherry tree also provides wonderful shade for hostas. But nothing is blooming. Don’t even try to squint.










Let’s get to the good stuff. The day lilies are blooming. You’ll see my affinity for pink day lillies.

This gorgeous lilie is called Strutter’s Ball.


This is Sea Urchin’s best year. It’s petals always seemed to get scarred during the unfurling process, but not this year.

I couldn’t help myself when I saw this First Knight. I don’t usually get drawn to yellow day lilies, but egads, this one is gorgeous.

This is perhaps my most dramatic daylily.  Meet Red Pinnacle.


I love the brilliant red of crocosmia. And it provides a nice companion for the day lilies and the Garden Lady.
















The sunny bed next to the garage has some new tenants–shasta daisies curtesy of my neighbor’s mother, and a division of the crocosmia that is thriving near the Garden Lady.










Last summer I hardly set foot in the garden.  My trusty gardener did all the work.  Richard has been working in my garden for several years and I love what he does.  And the garden loves him back.  But last summer the garden belonged more to Richard than me.  Yeah, I was dealing with surgery and chemo and radiation.  And, I taught two classes, but much of that work took place online.  It took me weeks and weeks to recover from surgery.  And, about six weeks after surgery I started chemo which knocked me flat.  So, no gardening for me.

This year I get into the garden almost every day and do a little weeding, yank out the ever aggressive dutchman’s pipe, deadhead the day lilies.  The garden is mine, though, Richard still does his magic.  I don’t know what I would do without dear Richard.  He rearranges the hostas, curses at the dutchman’s pipe, and keeps a keen eye out for other forms of garden trouble, like the chipmunk that has made a home under some bricks in the Secret Garden.

So, what is this love/hate thing?

Day Lilies

I love them.  I dream 11 months out of the year about my day lilies. I’m quite fond of the pink ones, especially the dark pink lilies.  I know.  I said that already.

But the minute they begin to bloom, they begin to fade. The leaves closest to the ground dry out and turn brown.  And the flowers bloom for just one day. Everyday I pluck the previous day’s withered flowers and drop them on the bark that keeps moisture in the soil.  I’ve tried to plant lilies that are early bloomers, and others that bloom later, but the hate murmurs softly that each day will bring a little bit of death.  I know, day lilies don’t die when they give up their spent blooms, but it’s sad to see the scapes that have no more buds on them.

I love hostas, too, and I don’t feel sad at all when their flowers fade. Perhaps I’m being a titch too dramatic.