Monday, June 09, 2008

Muggy Monday

I think this might be my favorite of all the dianthus (although each strain has qualities that make it special. Joe, I promise, I'm gonna get my nose down into them in the next day or so now that so many of them are coming on strong, in order to report on fragrances, if any!). There's just something about the maroon fringing and red patterns, and those tiny white stamens. Plus it seems to be one of the hardest to photograph, so maybe I like the challenge.

It stayed rather warm in the overnight and I slept on the couch in front of a fan not far from the computer...Badum curling up nearby, but discouraged from his usual cuddling nature by the heat.

By 8:00 a.m., it was already in the low eighties, so that first cup of coffee was a bit hurried so I could make sure everyone was well hydrated out there by the fence.

This morning, before I could do that, I also spread out some of my favorite fertilizer, the delightfully named Cock-A-Doodle-Doo (amusingly enough, I always think it ends with Poo, leading me to regularly be corrected by nursery staff), which is, essentially, chicken sh*t in pellet form. I suppose I ought to have worked some of this into the garden soil earlier in the season, but it took me a while to track it down.

I'd only ever seen it in milk carton-sized packages, so you can imagine my surprise when the nursery only had the big bag of the stuff. It was on sale, though, so certainly more economical than the smaller containers, which I'd probably have needed a bunch of, anyway.

Anyway, every part of the front gardens got a decent top coat of the pellets, and then a nice solid watering to help them start to break down into the soil. When I get around to weeding again (after the heat breaks, I imagine...), I'll work it in. With so many seedlings coming up though, it will be careful work when I can devote the quality time to the task.

The blue/ purple Siberian iris was seriously nibbled a couple of weeks back, and I hadn't expected there'd be more to that story this season, since irises (except the new reblooming hybrids I've only read about in catalogs) are generally a one-and-done flower. However, it seems the nibbling stopped short of whatever it was the plant needed to thrust up this single flower, which appeared this morning.

This photo will enlarge, if you're inclined to click it. This clump of pink dianthus is blooming quite merrily, as you can see. Also of note here is the agastache seedling beside/behind the marigolds to the lower left, which is all that remains of a once large plant, a sideshoot rescued when the larger plant died off.

The grasses are all shooting up nicely, as the tulips' foliage continues to fade out. This is the downside of tulips: you have to leave the foliage once the flowers have faded, as the leaves are the plant's solar panels, collecting the sun's energy and storing it in the bulb for next year's show. The trick is to plant them near things that distract the eye or grow tall to conceal the fading foliage.

At the feet of the dianthus, to the right (and also one dead center on its own), you'll find a tiny forest of allyssum seedlings about to begin blooming.

Here's one of the chrys anthe mum's, which I've been regularly pinching out the center leaves of, to encourage branching and more flowers for the garden's final autumn moments. There's a little marigold foliage coming into the image from the right...but let me call your attention to the branchy little seedling right beside the mum. That's a cosmos seedling, but it's not anywhere near the seashell cosmos seeds I put out.

I suspect that this is a seedling self-sown in last year's garden, which hitched a ride with the mum during the move. I'll be keeping an eye on it to see if proof for my suspicions develops.

Meanwhile, here's the better foliage of the golden sage plant I promised. I'm a fan of the texture and the variegated patterns on the leaves of this plant, and in the past I've had them grow into little shrubs, if offered some mulch as winter protection. Plus, it's a tasty herb with chicken on the grill or sautee pan.

This pair of blackbirds flew in while I was filling the bird bath. I think that was their original destination until they spotted me.

They landed on the fence, and the female hopped from one side of the flag post to the other, a steady stream of chatter going between them, warbling noises that were liquid and musical and sounded like real talking.

After a few moments of this, they must have decided to visit another birdbath in the nieghborhood, or at least wait for me to leave, as they flew off right after I took this photo. I tried identifying them from my bird guide, but that suggests that they were Brewer's Blackbirds, which are actually found in the Great Plains states...or so the book tells me. (Patrick, do these look like birds you knew back home?) Weather patterns being what they are lately, I suppose it's not impossible for a pair of them to have found the just seems more likely they are something more local, misidentified.

IDing is often a tricky business. I only got this brief look at them, which can make matching the memory against images in the book a little tricky. Birds fascinate me so that I have to actually remind myself while gazing at them to make note of particular characteristics so I'll remember them later. The photo helps, but I wish the male (to the left) was a little clearer.

Is it any wonder why I let my mind wander into the garden these days...or that I tried to save money by growing so many things from seed this year? I hadn't been to the gas station in about a week...and while I've heard the news of the latest price hikes on radio and television, this was a still a bit painful.

The President doesn't think it's a problem, so I guess I'll just suck it up. But don't you wish he had to pump his own gas and buy groceries, too?

Fortunately, the garden at work had much to soothe me with, as the afternoon heat began to fade a bit. These yellow daylilies always put on a nice show--they are a different variety from the yellow ones currently in bloom at home.

These old fashioned English roses are just amazing to me. I think they are David Austin hybrids. (I've just requested a catalog so I can drool at my leisure.) Not only are the flowers visually magnificent (and they come more or less all summer long), but their fragrances are absolutely delicious and intoxicating. It's nice to know there are still many roses being bred with concern for form and fragrance.

Someday, when I'm done moving around and finally got my bit of earth, I shall have several of these, to ogle and coddle(though they seem pretty hardy, based on the minimal care they get at the restaurant garden)...probably one of each of these, to start. Then just the ones that are named for various characters from Shakespeares works, although that'd limit me to only about fourteen. Do check out Heavenly Rosalind.

Really, though, the best news of the day came when I realized that the first of the great (by which I mean quite large, easily bigger than my fist) dark purple irises had begun to bloom. There's a number of other flower stalks with deep purple/black buds to follow, but today there was just this one, perfect specimen.

I did get my nose right in there, and didn't notice any particular fragrance, just that quiet green smell that so many plants have.

It sure was catching the light well, though I think it was less blue in reality than appears here, owing to the angle of the late afternoon sun. The truer colors come in the places where the petals are lit from behind, I think. I'll take more photos as their blooming continues.

It's cooled off this evening again, down to a comfortable 66 degrees. The fans are still pleasant, though...and tomorrow they promise we'll finally pass the 90 degree mark, a rarity around here.


Birdie said...

What a delight to stroll through the garden with the sounds of "Appalachian Spring." It's gray and raining outside, but the sun is shining here. This is a lovely way to start my day. Off to work!

Butch said...

The English Roses are unbelieveably beautiful. Nice pic of them. That bright deep blueish/purple Iris takes the prize. Wow!

Yours and our gas prices are about the same. I guess the oil companies will not be happy until they see us paying $5.00 and up per gallon. ( sigh...)

somewhere joe said...

Your red dianthus may have a slight clove fragrance, they're tres gay... The whites usually have more perfume. White flowers are often pollinated under the cloak of starlight by moths, and have a stronger fragrance.

Cockadoodle POO ? Lol. Surely, a hen and chickens would love it.

Those roses could almost be peonies. Amazing.

Jenn Thorson said...

How large are those pink roses? They look quite a lot like my Rose de Resch... If so, they should be extremely fragrant.