Happy New Year

In Anticipation Of A Better Year

Happy New Year 2017

I would like to present you with the image of a warmer day in our garden, the Zephirine Drouhin rose.  A climbing fragrant rose that blooms continuously throughout the season.  One of many things I anticipate again in June.

Zephirine Drouhin is never a disappointment. It blooms heavily at first then continues to bloom here and there until autumn.
Zephirine Drouhin is never a disappointment. It blooms heavily at first then continues to bloom here and there until autumn.

About this ‘anticipation’, I got the idea from a free bookmark I received from the American Horticultural Society of which I am a member.  There is a quote from W.E Johns on the back “One of the most delightful things about gardening is the anticipation it provides.”  It couldn’t be more true for me.

We all hope for better.  We hope our garden will fare better than last year, our beehives thrive, our little friends who stay put survive the winter and our migrating friends come back to visit.  We anticipate for better so we won’t lose hope.

Here are some of the anticipated events:

We anticipate that more Monarch butterflies will be back next year as we have plenty of Milkweed and late summer flowers for them to feed on before they travel back south for their winter hibernation. We hope that children will get to see them in real life, not just on screen, for many more years to come.
We anticipate that more Monarch butterflies will be back next year as we have plenty of Milkweed and late summer flowers for them to feed on before they travel back south for their winter hibernation. We hope that children will get to see them in real life, not just on screen, for many more years to come.
We anticipate the next generation of this Honeybee on Goldenrod will be stronger and more resilient so they can help us humans survive.
We anticipate the next generation of this Honeybee on Goldenrod will be stronger and more resilient so they can help us humans survive.
We anticipate that this summer resident- Baltimore Oriole will bring his children, that were born here, back for a red carpet treatment of fresh oranges and organic jelly.
We anticipate that this summer resident- Baltimore Oriole will bring his children, that were born here, back for a red carpet treatment of fresh oranges and organic jelly.
We anticipate that the Eastern Bluebird which has stayed put with us in the last couple of winters, will bring up more kids, enjoy their communal bath and help rid us of pests. We hope they will continue being our state bird for eons to come since their population has increased in recent years.
We anticipate that the Eastern Bluebird which has stayed put with us in the last couple of winters, will bring up more kids, enjoy their communal bath and help rid us of pests. We hope they will continue being our state bird for eons to come since their population has increased in recent years.

These are just a few of our anticipations for this year.  We have been doing our best to give back to nature since she gives us so much joy.  It’s our sanctuary amidst this divided world.

As for the world outside our garden, we hope that there are  solutions for all conflicts so we stop being so divided and ruining ourselves in the process.  We dream of a magic pill that will wipe out hate, bigotry, and selfishness from so many people’s brains, that the world can be a better place to live and a wonderful place to pass on to the next generation.   Let’s hope that some of these dreams will come true this year.  We cannot lose hope, it’s the only thing that keeps us going.  Even if that hope is just a dim light at the end of the tunnel.

Whatever your anticipations and dreams are, we wish they came true for you.  

 

 

 

What’s Left

Late Autumn

Did we really have a summer?  Briefly.  Most of the leaves are gone now and the plants are ready to take a rest.  But some plants in the garden are still pushing out their last show of the season.  I envy some of them when I do garden chores in a sweatshirt in a bracing chilly wind and see them with their bare branches and leaves or what’s left of them.  And there are these, the ones that still put on a show for us:

Alyssum
Alyssum

This clump of Alyssum is self-sown year after year, self fed as well.  I left them where they came up since they are very good at drawing in beneficial insects and smell like honey.  This one is in the vegetable garden, draped over the raised-bed reaching for sunlight.

Anise Hyssop
Anise Hyssop

Another readily self-sown, Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), is loved by birds and bees.  The second batch that sprouted up later this summer is flowering now.  It can be really invasive but the American Goldfinch love the seeds and my honeybees love them too so I let them grow.  Makes a great tea as well.

Borage
Borage

I have to pull a lot of Borage (Borago officinalis) out since one plant can take up a lot of space and they self-sow vociferously.  The plants that sprouted in spring are long gone.  These are the ones that came up in late summer.  Aside from the blue star shaped flowers that look so lovely, the bees love them as well.

Calendula
Calendula

These Calendula still produce flowers because they are fenced in with the vegetables.  Their relatives outside the fence were eaten down to the ground by deer and woodchucks.

Rose 'MME. Isaac Pereire'
Rose ‘MME. Isaac Pereire’

This old garden rose ‘MME. Isaac Pereire’ continues blooming from late spring to frost.  Deer have nibbled it’s tips and buds but missed this one.  I will put a net around the plot next season so I can have more than three roses in fall.

Rose 'Knockout'
Rose ‘Knockout’

For some reason deer won’t eat this rose.  This “Knockout” continues to bloom from late spring through autumn, plenty of them.  It has a lovely color that changes from salmon to pink as it matures.  If it had any scent (nope, hasn’t any), it would be a perfect rose.

There are some Hollyhock, Garden phlox, Echanecea and Aster flowering here and there and that’s about it.  The growing season is coming to a close again.  Frost is predicted this coming Sunday.  Where has the time gone?

 

 

Spring Recap

An End And A Beginning

Spring has come and gone and somewhat unevenly too.  The gap between day and night temperatures was very wide for some time, then a continuously pouring rain for several days.  During the 70 to 85 degrees days, the plants shot up,  leaves peeking out and flowers budding only to be knocked back by very cold nights.  Vegetables, except for the tomatoes and chili peppers, love this kind of weather but the roses had their blooms battered and washed off and their leaves have developed black spots.  I’m not really complaining since our house is still standing and our garden remains intact.  Mother nature is still kind to us.

Now summer is officially here but the rain continues.  In the next five days the prediction is for heavy storms or scattered thunder storms. In the meantime the summer flowers and insects are taking their turn while spring has faded slowly away.  This is how spring has unfolded in our garden so far.

Oriental poppy among Sea foam and Columbine
Oriental poppy among Sea foam and Columbine
A lone Clematis 'Crystal Fountain' blooms in the middle of Paul's Himalayan Musk rose
A lone Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’ blooms in the middle of Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose
Multiple Hover flys on the Alyssum
Multiple Hover flys on the Alyssum
This pink Azalea still blooms after the rest of our Azaleas have gone
This pink Azalea still blooms after the rest of our Azaleas have gone

Roses This Spring: Old Garden Roses and the Others

They Keep On Flowering

I guess we can’t have everything.  After raining for a few days, the weather has returned to early spring in which night temperatures hover around 50°F.  It’s great for the roses but not so great for tomatoes, peppers and beans.  The vegetables grow very slowly in temperatures like this.  But the roses that survived the recent heavy rain do last longer and their fragrance is more pronounced in cool temperatures like this than in heat.

‘Heritage’ is a David Austin Old-Fashioned rose.  Aside from a strong fragrance and a lovely pale pink color, it continues to bloom through fall.

'Heritage still stands after the rain.
‘Heritage still stands after the rain.

‘MME Isaac Pereire’ is an Old Garden Rose with over 100 petals on each and highly fragrant as well.  It’s bloodline can be traced back to the 1800s.  When it is in full bloom, the flowers are so heavy that the stem can hardly hold each flower up.  It would have looked better if the caterpillars didn’t like the leaves so much.

Each flower of MME Isaac Pereire rose is so heavy that I have to stake them to keep them upright.
Each flower of MME Isaac Pereire rose is so heavy that I have to stake them to keep them upright.
MME Isaac close up
MME Isaac close up
'Eden' still blooming.  It's happier this year since I pruned the lilac next to it; providing more air flow.
‘Eden’ still blooming. It’s happier this year since I pruned the lilac next to it; providing more air flow.
Antique caramel blooms right next to Rosa rugosa 'Mrs Doreen Pike'
Antique caramel blooms right next to Rosa rugosa ‘Mrs Doreen Pike’

Roses This Spring: Rugosa

Looking Great Until The Rain Came

The weather started nicely for roses this year…cool and dry with little rain.  Our early bloomer roses formed buds profusely and they’re in the middle of their first round exhibition of colors and scents.  Then the rain came.  A nonstop deluge for a day and a half.  There are still some flowers left after the rain, though not much.  Hopefully there will be no rain this weekend so I can cut all the wet and spent flowers off before they develop mildew.

After the first round blooming, the roses in the Rugosa family (Rosa Rugosa) will continue producing flowers throughout the season.  The Rugosa rose is very winter hardy, fast to establish and grow, reliable performance through the season, fragrant, deer won’t eat them and the bees love them.  The down side:  they are very thorny and some of the the flowers don’t last longer than two days.

Here they are before the rain came.

Pure white Rugosa 'Blanc de Coubert' with citrus scent
Pure white Rugosa ‘Blanc de Coubert’ with citrus scent
Lovely pink Rugosa 'Foxi' with very strong scent.  Bees love to forage in them
Lovely pink Rugosa ‘Foxi’ with very strong scent. Bees love to forage in them
Rugosa 'Hansa' is deep pink and highly fragrant. They produce big rose hips.  I left some of the hips on so I can use them for tea.
Rugosa ‘Hansa’ is deep pink and highly fragrant. They produce big rose hips. I left some of the hips on so I can use them for tea.
Hansa, close up
Hansa, close up
Rugosa 'Doreen Pike' has so many flowers that weigh the branch down.  It's fragrance is strongest in the morning.
Rugosa ‘Doreen Pike’ has so many flowers that weigh the branch down. It’s fragrance is strongest in the morning.
Rugosa 'Doreen Pike' close up
Rugosa ‘Doreen Pike’ close up

Before the Curtain Closes

And Before the Rain Washes Them Away

It’s raining again tonight, actually it has been raining on and off for the past two days.  It’s just drizzle now.  Luck was on my side yesterday; gave me a chance to take some photographs of fall colors before the rain washes them away.  Not much left of the garden, really, just a lot of leaves on the ground and some flowers here and there that push their last bit of energy before going to rest.  The whole visual of fall garden gives me a sense of ending.  That is what gardening has taught me: a life cycle.  I see plants sprout, grow, blossom, fade and die within one season.  Then it starts all over again, maybe in a new place, or a new form.

Anyway, I don’t mean to be philosophical here.  It is just that gardening makes you keep your feet on the ground, working along side mother nature and enjoying what she gives us.

Even at the end, she still paints a beautiful picture that artists through the centuries have struggled to match.

Japanese Maple & wooden bench

The bright red of Japanese Maple leaves provide a very beautiful contrast to the bright yellow of western maple leaves in the background.  The Tree Swallow family was long gone, but a male Eastern Bluebird came to check this birdhouse for a potential roosting place a week ago.  This bench is a great place to sit and watch the sunrise and contemplate the beauty that surrounds us.

Pineapple sage

Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is still flowering and the Bumble bees still work on the last drop of its nectar.  I will be picking the leaves and drying them for tea before the frost comes.

Salvia ‘Black & Blue’

Salvia ‘Black & Blue’ is still flowering as well.  I grew them for the first time this year and have no idea whether they will last the winter so I’ve collected the seeds, just in case.  I will try to plant them next to the Pineapple sage next year; the color combination should be great.

Strawberry

We still pick some Roman strawberries, with lovely pink flowers, at this time of year.  The fruits are small but very sweet and the plants never stop producing them.

Knockout

Rose ‘Knockout’ is a continuous bloomer.  Once it starts in late spring, it never stops blooming.  This one managed to evade the hungry deer so far.

Swiss chard

The bright bold colors of Swiss chard are one of a few vegetables left in the garden.  Chinese celery, Kale, Scallion, and Parsley are also still standing.  Some stray garlic seedlings have sprouted up as well.

Iris ‘Lenora Pearl’

Re-blooming Irises have bloomed on cue.  Once October comes, they shoot up new flower stems for the second time.  They tempted me to up-root the other Irises and plant all re-bloomers, but there are not that many color choices to choose from.