Entering Summer - 2014 - This backyard view from upstairs in the dining room.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ABC Wednesday - K for 'Krossa Regal'

An interesting hosta!  (And one that begins with K!)

This photo was taken July 5, 2014 from the "upstairs" dining room.  'Krossa Regal' has distinctive blue-gray-green, upward facing (vase-like) foliage .  You will find it on the right side of the photo below.

The next photo was taken just a couple of minutes ago.  My 'Krossa Regal' experienced two years' extreme drought.  This past growing season was wonderful, with ample rainfall, so he may return in better "splendor" next year!

 'Krossa Regal' leaves are somewhat waxy and very slug-resistant.  Its flower scapes are tall, sometimes reaching heights of 4-6 feet, crowned with lavender flowers, in mid- to late-summer.
You can see one leaf turning color. Often-times it develops an orange-yellow color in the Fall.

A fact I just read is that hostas grow well in city environments where the air may be polluted by car exhaust, etc.  Something to consider, if you are an urban-dweller.

Kind of a "Broad (leaved) subject!"
Kudos to hosta breeders.
Kudos to 'Krossa Regal!'

Shady Gardener  (Yep. It's a little dry, right now.  It should rain before long, however.)

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ABC Wednesday - J is for jardinière

 According to Dictionary.com, Jardiniere is an ornamental receptacle or stand for holding plants, flowers, etc.
 My Favorite Jardiniere.... 
a large, glazed ceramic pot!  Located in my front garden bed.
By the way, the ONLY time the gaura, in the above photo, bloomed was when it was first planted!  What's the deal???  Do you have any idea??

This jardiniere holds a variety of plants and was found in 
Central Gardens, Clear Lake, Iowa.

The jardiniere below was found last year in the garden
of my friend, Nancy B! 
 (Black and Yellow - Iowa Hawkeye colors)

Does this qualify as a jardiniere?  
These planters (and patio) were created by my brother.

Yes, the containers continue to get larger, it seems!  
This "jardiniere" is found outside the home of my friend Carolyn S.

 I found some very interesting jardinieres at my friend Dixie's house.

I created the following "jardiniere" from hypertufa.  
The concrete mixture was placed over an upturned squirrel baffle.  The nature of hypertufa allows rainwater to slowly seep through the container.

 Enjoy the "fairy gardens" in a variety of jardinieres.
This is at Bobbi's house.

This is at Nancy B's house.

Bobbi also has a "jardiniere" in the shape of a chair!  ;-)

Okay!  Thanks for joining the "Garden-Faire in Jardiniere!"
:-)  SG

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Green Thumb Sunday - Belamcanda chinensis

In other words, Blackberry Lily.  This is the Fall Seedpod.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Inquiring Minds.... ABC Wednesday

Yes, it's again time for ABC Wednesday.  Mine is one of many posts by bloggers world-wide.  If you would like to see those of others, click on the little logo below.  

I have an inquiring mind... I would like to inquire something of you.

Given that you might be a gardener, or at least appreciative of gardens and gardeners; 1) What is your favorite flowering plant?  and 2)  Can you think of a good one that begins with I?

I do have Iris
 Iris sibirica - Siberian Iris 'Caeser's Brother'  photo taken May 28, 2014
I have more Iris

 Bearded Iris

photo taken May 27, 2013

Sunny Corner Bed

What type of iris is this?

My "Iris I's are Smilin'!"
:-)  SG

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Heigh-Ho! Hostas! ABC Wednesday post

I was once told the Hosta is related to the plantain weed found in the lawn.  Because they both have large leaves, I thought it was plausible.  However, there's a distinction between the two types of plants:  "Click" these words for information from Wikipedia on plantain.  Doing a google search will net much more information...  we can eat it!  :-)

Okay.  Back to Hosta!  They are often called Plantain Lily; more often in Great Britain than here in the United States .  (Comments from my UK friends?)

While opinions differ as to the best time to plant, it seems the easiest to divide older plants in the early Spring, just as the plant begins to show itself.  One must make sure to have a root system within each division.  I very often plant hosta in early Fall (now!), as there is still time for the root system to establish itself before the weather turns cold.

Did you know that some people believe the hosta is the number one selling plant in the country?

 Hosta best enjoy being planted in locations with "deep shade"areas with up to 4 hours of sunlight, but seem to prefer mostly dappled sunlight.  Overall, avoid planting in late afternoon direct sunlight.   If your hosta receives late afternoon sun but you notice the leaves turning dry and brown, they are probably experiencing sunscald.  It generally won't kill them, but it does nothing for their appearance!      (The photo below was taken from the University of Minnesota Extension.)

For sunnier sites, plants in the Hosta plantaginea group will fare better, and actually develop more of the fragrant flowers they are known for; ‘August Moon’, ‘Sum and Substance’, ‘Honeybells’ are in this category. Hosta breeders continue to develop new varieties with greater sun tolerance; ‘Sundance’ and ‘Sun Glow’ fit into this category. At the same time these hostas will still tolerate shade, giving gardeners greater flexibility in site location.

The hosta plants below range from mini to small.

Hostas prefer rich, moist soil that is high in organic matter, yet well drained.  Adding organic materials such as peat, composted manure, or leaves will help improve soil structure and tilth. That said, hostas are generally adaptable and survive in a wide range of soils, adding to their ease of growing and popularity.  Mulching with shredded leaves might invite the slug - a pest that enjoys chomping on hosta leaves!

Hostas require an adequate supply of water to thrive. Hosta leaves have a large surface area and, due to transpiration, lose water easily.  If you find yourself needing to water,  be consistent with even moisture equaling an inch or so of water per week. Deeper watering done with less frequency is better than frequent shallow applications that do not penetrate the root zone.

Hostas planted in dry shade will need attentive watering; rain does not always reach under eaves of buildings or through tree canopies in sufficient amounts. Planting hostas beneath shallow-rooted trees, such as maples or spruce will require extra watering to both establish and maintain the health of the plant.

You will find hostas that thrive in growing zones 2 through 9.  My zone has changed in the past few years from 4 to 5 - a little more "balmy!"  ;-)

I'm a Hosta Lover, especially because I have a lot of shade in my backyard.  However, hosta enjoy the company of other plants, too!

The next few photos show some of the new varieties I've planted in these last couple of weeks!  :-)

Hale and Hearty!
Happy Hosta Lover!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ABC Wednesday - G is for "Gentle Giant"

Can't get more "Gentle" than something this cute and inanimate on a street corner!  :-)

Suppose he was looking for a hand-out?
I was Grinning from ear-to-ear as I Greeted him!  :-)

 He's on "North Federal" Avenue, Mason City, Iowa.

Guess you'll have to click on the ABC Wednesday logo to see more "G" posts!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ABC Wednesday - a Fungus Amungst Us!!

"For Heaven's Sakes!  What in the world??  And what are you doing hanging around my hosta??"

(I'm sure those were my exact words about two weeks ago when I discovered some thick, white, globby stuff growing around on the mulch, all around a hosta's stems...)

I also didn't know what it was, until today.  At lunch with three friends, one of them pulled out her iphone and showed me a picture.  "Know what this is?" she asked.

"No, I don't.  But it was in a flower garden a couple of weeks ago."

"It's Dog Vomit Fungus. (Ugh!)  My daughter found it and looked it up.  It usually starts out yellow, and as it turns white, it gets thick," she said.

"It does!  I was afraid it would hurt my hosta, so I scraped it all up.  It was thick, and gummy, and hard to get out!" I replied.

Here is an excellent link to a site with description and photos.

I didn't take a photo at the time, but I've just now hopped outdoors with my camera.  Forgive these dark, blurry shots... it's getting dark outdoors!  This photo is just part of what I scraped away from my hosta a couple of weeks ago..

Speaking of fungus, look at what I found in the backyard a couple of days ago!!  In doing a little on-line "search and re-search,"  I found what I believe to be Omphalotus commonly known as the Jack O' Lantern mushroom.  According to my reading, these are deadly poisonous, causing difficulty in breathing, a drop in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and respiratory failure.  They also exhibit bioluminescence by glowing in the dark.

This is "hearsay" only, because by the time I discovered these facts, the fungi were already a few days old and looked more like this

I noticed another type of fungus outdoors this morning.  I've seen these before, but not for a couple of years.  These are Mutinus caninus stinkhorns.  They are odorous (stinky) but loved by flies and other insects!  This is a link that will show you what they look like after they "sprout."

And this is what they looked like a few hours ago. 

Frankly Friends,
these are most of the Fungus that I've noticed Amungst us!  :-)


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