Thursday, August 07, 2008

Thursday in the Garden

An early morning today for work and the day was dull and gray. While it looked like rain was likely, it never really materialized. This was fine, as we had some yesterday. Also, you'd be amazed what a rainy day does to traffic on Cape Cod. It is NOT pretty.

But the nice thing about beating the sun out into the garden was the rare treat of seeing the morning glories still waiting in the wings, breathlessly awaiting their cue.

NOISES OFF: (loud cough) " And then, I said, all the morning glories along the fence came into bloom..."

It wasn't really a particularly gloomy morning, though, just a bit overcast and foggy, a condition that cleared away pretty nicely as the day unfolded, though sadly, I wasn't still at home to see the morning glories' big moment in the sun. But that's okay. There were other things.

Like this fantastic planting of Purple Coneflower (echinacea purpurea) at the Seaman's Bank. I use the Eastham branch at Brackett Farms. It's the picture at the bottom if you follow the link. I'll try to get some other pictures of the place sometime. They did a fantastic job of echoing/honoring the old farmhouse which was on the site for years.

It's a comfortable place to visit and I have to say, I've never been anything but pleased with the personal and friendly service here. (Plus, sometimes, in between customers, they visit the Midnight Garden! Hi Nan!)

After taking care of business, I lingered for a few minutes to enjoy the coneflowers and also a fun aeriel show presented by a pair of exuberant monarch butterflies.

There was a good breeze blowing there this afternoon, and that seemed to whip them around a little bit, fueling them to fly faster as they dipped and looped and made spirals together, chasing one another from flower to flower.

It really was great fun and impossible to keep from laughing right out loud at what seems to be their sheer joy at being alive. Another lesson from the garden.

I was lucky that this one decided that it was a good idea to rest, for a second or two anyway and so I got my shot to share with you, before the games resumed and the pair flew off to another part of the garden and I moved on to the rest of my afternoon. But not before deciding that I will definitely be re-introducing some of this wonderful purple plant into my garden in 2009.

Although the cloud cover had returned by the time I arrived back in Harwich, there was still lots to smile about in and around the garden...not the least of which was the latest harvest of cherry tomatoes.

Contrary to my first impression when these plants first started setting fruit, their flavor is now amazing me more with each taste, rich and tasty...and sweet as anything. I like to pick them and give them a little chill-time in the fridge (tho a few never make it in the house, of course).

In the windowbox on the back porch, the pansies are still carrying on, just as their cousins in the front garden are. It's kind of amazing, considering it's August.

These guys in the container, I realize, haven't had the fertilizer feeding that the gang out front has enjoyed, which explains their smaller flowers. I just think they look even sweeter that way.

Still, I ought to mix up a little something for them sometime soon, as reward for carrying on so far into the summer. I did give them a bit of a pruning tonight, as part of a massive dead-heading session.

More of the daisies have now been trimmed back to the lower leaves. Here and there amongst those larger leaves I can see the tiny buds that may form into additional flowers, though they doesn't always happen. As with the pansies, the Shasta daisies second or third wave of blossoms are considerably smaller. But since they are somewhat massive to begin with, this is not a problem.

I'm a little surprised by this different variety of black-eyed susan, which is, I think, a yellow coneflower. It's leaves are shiny instead of the furry foliage the coneflower rudbeckia on the other side of the fence sports and this is a much shorter plant.

I don't remember purchasing this one, so I wonder if its something from some of the random seed I collect here and there and scatter into garden beds...or if it was something that was here already that I'd overlooked initially.

I don't remember bringing it from the last location, although for a while at the beginning of the summer, I did think it was some of that marsh hibiscus I'd meant to transplant and apparently did not.

I like this next photo because you get to see all the different stages of a bachelor's button flower.

It's now been twenty days since that last cigarette. Sure, there's been a craving or two, but generally I couldn't be happier with myself and my success so far.

At Quitnet, I calculated that I've saved about $42 so far (probably more, since that's calculated on the half-pack a day I was smoking when I made this latest quit. I used to smoke more than that even...and was probably on my way back up toward a pack a day when I gave the Nicodemon the ole shoe-stomp. Plus, cigarette prices went up again about the time I made the quit...). Also, one day and twenty-one hours has theoretically been added to my eventual lifetime.

Not a bad thing at all. Of course, it suddenly occurs to me that I didn't plant any nicotiana (flowering tobacco) in the garden this summer. I suppose that's for the best; it would've just confused the issue. But next year, for sure...I love those flowers!

I also love the way the cleome have grown so big and strong, and there's still only just this one white-blossomed plant. All the others are indeed purple, as advertised.

In the background there, you can see another pair of those Russian Gray mammoth sunflowers rising up into the sky, with a third one drooping further back, it's flowerhead long past its prime. I might need a hacksaw to dead-head that one.

While going about the dead-heading this evening, I initially thought this faded marigold flower was infested with some kind of bug. But a closer examination revealed those to be sunflower seeds which were dropping freely from the prolific flower stalks high above.

Wouldn't it be fun if this turned out to be THE perfect spot for growing sunflowers? Ah, just imagine the possibility that they might reseed themselves in this location for years after I've moved on to another flower patch. Heh heh...I like that idea. I've left patches of foxglove and daisies and irises and assorted bulbs in a variety of places now...making me just a little more diverse than Johnny Appleseed or Miss Rumphius.

The Midnight Gardener: hapless romantic seed-sower, or gardening evil genius?

You decide.


Birdie said...

Thanks for the grin! (Literally.)

My favorites this time were the pansies, the coneflowers and that last shot of the sunflower. I think the hazy day made your shots look good.

Curt Rogers said...

Ah, the unfurling Morning Glory is indeed glorious. So delicate and graceful, your garden ballerina.

And the butterflies... I can only smile and let their joy warm my heart all these thousands of miles away.

Thank you, Greg. It's been a bit since I traipsed through The Garden, my mind being elsewhere as of late. My return this evening was perfect and exactly what I needed (and "Your Song" played, which I love, and which made it even more wonderful).

Some day we'll have drinks and I'll thank you in person for lifting my spirits as you have.

Greg said...

Birdie, it's hard not to smile in the garden, no matter what! Isn't that new sunflower cool?

Curt, welcome back! I'm glad the garden could bring you some Happy.

I like this idea of our "lifting spirits" together someday in a toast to each other and the Universe...oh, and our dogs, of course. ; )

somewhere joe said...

I'm opting for hapless romantic seed-sower of genius.

How else could you get the cherries to grow in a smiley face?

Anonymous said...

Good for you for quitting the nicotine! Keep up the good work. (And gorgeous always)

Heather (Pence that is)

CJ said...

Beautiful flowers and pics. I especially like the the top one. I love gray days.

lostlandscape said...

Congratulations on the twenty (and now hopefully 22) days! The $42 saved can translate into an awful lot of interesting seeds for next spring. And think of the extra life-time you have now to enjoy your garden. I can just see out there in the garden...this eccentric guy in his 90s, tending his thistles. People will talk!

Tammy Warren said...

I am not sure how I ran across your blog tonight. I was clicking from site to site and ran across this. How beautiful. I love the garden and I love garden pictures. Thank you for sharing.