Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Garden Report

Through some unfortunate set of circumstances I've yet to completely comprehend, I found myself awake at 6:30 this morning. Not a bad thing, per se, unless you've stayed up until 2:00 a.m. watching the first Michael Keaton Batman movie on television.

But that's okay, there was coffee, and I had a project I wanted to tend to before heading off to a day of fun in Happy Function Land. You see, the mails brought a treat this week, from my friend The Rhet. She'd been to an iris swap recently and, aware of the minimal show of irises currently available at the Midnight Garden, put together a small sampler box of roots from her Baltimore garden and sent them winging in my direction.

They'd arrived in fine shape, if a little parched (it was a hot week to travel in a box, after all). To prevent any nasty Maryland buggies from gaining a beachhead here in Massachusetts, I set them up for an overnight soak in water, with just a capful of bleach.

This morning, they were ready to be planted and so after that all-important first cup of coffee, out we went to the border to find suitable homes for each of the new additions.

Who knows? Perhaps numbered in this bunch will be my first scented iris, or maybe one of those new-fangled re-bloomers for the 2009 season! Already I'm giddy with anticipation...

I'm especially fond of the Rhet's unconventional plant tags. I'm also quite fond of her unique handwriting, which I've known for more of my life than not at this point...but I also simply enjoy the economy of it all.

After all, once the roots are planted, the leaves should be cut right down (and the way, if you've not already done so with your irises, now's a fine time of year for'll tidy them up and you'll have new green leaves by August...) to push that energy down into the roots. No doubt in a week or two, new leaves will form to gather solar energy for next spring's show.

In the meantime, I have some possibilities to drool over. I love the one that says "Probably Purple", but the Polish Princess with gold, yellow and lavendar sounds pretty delightful, too! Thank you, my dear!!

These happy golden marigolds echoed the color of the cloud-obscured sun this morning, as the temperature was already climbing toward the 80s in the early hours. Humidity never really abated in the night, as our tropical wave continues.

This purple hydrangea is still a bit overgrown, but certainly flowering nicely now that I've freed it from the bonds of the rampaging bindweed.

I know I've shown off these pretty portulaca before, but just look at it. What a spectacularly perfect little flower, how could you not love it?

Of course, if I get enough protests from you who are sick to death of them (yah, it's a wanna take me and the Nicodemon on, do you? Heh heh...), I'll stop showing them off. Maybe.

More of the bachelor's buttons continue to reveal themselves each morning. What's better than a flower you grew from seed?

There are more than a few of these delicious blue guys, but some of the other colors continue to reveal themselves, like this bright rosy pink version.

Sorry the pic is a little on the crappy side, but with the tropical humidity we are also seeing a lot of gusty winds (filed under Y for "yay, a breeze!"), which make flower photography a special challenge.

Meanwhile, in another part of the garden, another variety of sunflower has joined in the great chorus of July. Purty, ain't it?
Last evening, it was the Turkeys. Tonight, while Emily and I were on our walk around the block, we crossed paths with a family of gray ducks. Again, a momma with six young ones, no longer babies, but still not quite the size of their parent. They herded together at the sight of us and waddled off through the hedge of someone's yard.

I didn't have my camera with me. I think you'll understand that wrangling eighty pounds of Herself as well as managing bags of poo is really quite enough, without having to juggle pricey electronic equipment, too. I went back with the camera when our walk was through, but they were gone.

On an unrelated note, a few of you have encouraged me to be kind and treat myself as I travel this path away from the Cigarettes (day three went well, thanks!) and I wanted to let you know about one of those treats. I've recently discovered the Green Machine, one of the juice smoothies from the folks at at one of our local convenience stores.

At $2.99 a bottle, it's not cheap, but it's still half what I was spending on a pack of cigarettes and so much tastier. As an added bonus, it's got spirulina, which for some reason I just love. It makes me feel all good inside. Plus, it's green!

Here's the windblown garden as I returned from my half-hearted search for the ducks. It's looking a bit overgrown just now, since the edging needs to be done, the grass is ready for mowing and plenty of the allyssum are ready for deadheading. But the dianthus are beginning a second flush of blooming and with the bachelor buttons coming on strong and the cleome taking center stage, it's still quite a lot of fun.
In the foreground (at the base of the closest sunflower stalk) is a nearly invisible blue-green cloud of thistle foliage, which is simply covered with flower buds that'll be opening into little purply-pink blossoms sometime this week, too.


Jess said...

I like those sorta flat-looking rainbow-colored flowers in that last shot!

Hmmm. Marc just told me to cut it out. No idea what he means. :)

Greg said...

I'll just let you two moderate one another's comments, then?

: )

Jess said...

That's an idea. It's what we do around here every day! ;)

Butch said...

What a variety of colours this A.M. I truly enjoyed your entry. I think your garden looks beautiful, whether it is overgrown or not.

Birdie said...

I remember being pretty impressed with Keaton's Batman. Everyone was so afraid he'd be Batguy, but he pulled it off, didn't he? Can't wait to see the new Batman, just to see Ledger's performance.

Still rooting for you in your fight to quit. Your lungs get pinker every day!

Greg said...

Well, thank you, Butch!! I, too, can see the beauty in an overgrown garden...but it's entirely for that reason I try not to let it get too out of hand.

I'm in the process of giving it a good haircut this morning. (I don't like those much either, but I can see the benefit from time to time!) The best part is knowing how the allyssum should bounce right back to rebloom again in a week or so...

To paraphrase Ralph Kramden, Birdie, you're the greatest!! Thanks for your continuing support. Day Four's well begun...

Keaton really was a pretty great Batman, despite being saddled with a costume that didn't let him turn his head (which they address finally in this latest movie)and the Adam West legacy.

Ledger captured everything that is wonderful...and creepy and awful and evil...about the Joker character, moreso than Nicholson, I think. (But I even saw flashes of Cesar Romero in Heath's performance!)

RainforestRobin said...

You have SO MANY great posts here I can hardly believe it. Your turkeys are just GREAT!!! :) I also love YOUR love of flowers. That is SO amazing and healthy and wonderful!

I am just now listening to's the song playing on your site while I write. Do you know it used to be my father's favorite song. I always think of him when I hear it - unfortunately he is no longer alive. It used to bring tears to his eyes and he didn't cry easily, hardly ever. So I was touched to hear that. Now, I'm listening to MOONLIGHT SONATA on your site, which is another of my absolute favorites. You have such great taste in music.

VERY IMPORTANT: I am also PROFOUNDLY proud of you for quiting smoking. I think you will like the post I am putting up later today title: "The Change We ALL Talk About..." I'll let you know when it's up. I think it will inspire you, Greg.

Thank you for being who you are and for sharing your love of growing things and Life in general. You help the world heal in sharing your love of gardening. Sadly many people have forgotten that they are connected to the Living Earth.

RainforestRobin said...

PS: By the way, I LOVE overgrown gardens. I think there is something so wild and uninhibited....spontaneous about them. Sometimes they cross pollinate and send up flowers and plants that you don't even know where they came from. Plus I like to go in and then tidy them...just a little that crowded things get more light, etc.

You know Greg, if everyone was a gardener...I don't think we would have wars....and we would all live closer to the seasons and their mysteries of Life and Death and Rebirth.

PS AGAIN: I send you faith and courage on your journey to quit smoking....will keep you in my thoughts.

Curt Rogers said...

That blue Bachelor's Button is amazing! Such a wonderful picture!

And I LOVE the name Bachelor's Button! It sounds like there's a story behind it.

Jenn Thorson said...

Greg- Oh my gosh, I end up keeping the Rhet's tags from things as well. I have a whole room doodle she did from ages ago-- the pretty, odd handwriting and the happy doodles just seem worth saving.

I hope the Iris' are beautiful. Cheers my friend, and happy functions. :)

Greg said...

Hi Robin! So glad the music helps to enhance your (and so many others') visits to the Midnight Garden. While I cherish the quiet moments when there's only birdsong and the sound of distant surf in the garden, I also think music sings to our souls and nourishes us in ways unimaginable.

Curt, it's a story I'll share later on today...they're one of my favorite flowers...and just so you know, Mr. Aspiring Gardener, one of the easiest to grow!

Jenn, I have thick binders full to overflowing of the Rhet's distinctive hand - it always makes my heart sing to see it! I won't try to save the iris leaves, though, as I am trying to fight my packrat instincts these days...but I made sure I had a good photo!!

A room doodle?! That I'll need to see someday...

Greg said...

Robin, I do love the unexpected things that happen in an overgrown garden. There are some volunteers in the border that I know I didn't plant, but which add to that full flavor of diversity. (Some are mustards, who've seeded themselves in and are hopefully working to improve the saline quality of our Cape soil. Pretty flowers, tho!)

Anonymous said...

Pardon this broken record that I seem to carrying around with me, but what a fantastic display of colorful flowers. The marigolds were looking quite hearty. Thank you also from the novice for the advice on the irises. I will be cutting them back tonight. And your mention of adding a little bleach to your irises caught me off guard. :-)

somewhere joe said...

The probably purples are possibly good. Unless, of course, they turn out to be improbably purple... that would be real good.

I can't. Not love the portulaca. They look like tiny peonies.

Greg said...

Afod, to be sure, it was less than a capful of bleach and only for an overnight soak when I knew I'd be planting first thing. But it seemed wise, since I care not a fig for some of those more southerly bugs, hoopskirts or not. Global warming will send them our way too soon, as it is.

Joe, one might think you know this Rhet of whom we speak. Improbably purple, indeed!!

There's no shame in loving the portulacas; I'm right there with you.

(I love your new mid-July "kicking back" photo, BTW)