Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's Sunday and I'm looking for my Green Thumb!

Actually, I'm not even looking at my thumb today!

It's Green Thumb Sunday!
Head over to As the Garden Grows by clicking on the logo.

This is what's blooming:
Meadow Rue

These blossoms look like "rubber!"

Cranesbill Geranium
I somehow lost the tag, so I don't know the variety.
Close up!'Crimson Pixie' Asiatic Lily
Clematis 'Niobe'
Here are three stages of the blossom.
Catmint Nepata
A variety of Iris
Coreopsis 'Nana'
A miniature rose
Heuchera Coral Bells 'Rosy Bells'
A variety of low growing sedum

Allium aflatunense 'Purple Sensation'
close up!
Daylilies by the roadside
Aruncus Goatsbeard

And these are about Ready to Bloom!

'Husker Red' Penstemon
'Red Fanal' Astilbe

In fact, if it were me, I'd be Blooming for Sure...
or wilting...

Happy Green Thumb Sunday.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blossom Needs Your Help!

This was the "Problem."
She has an unusual flowering plant in need of identification!
Can you help her?

Click on the photo to head to Blossom's site!
Thanks for your help.

This is the Solution!
(click to see the solution)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

GBDW - Shade, Shade, Shade! :-)

Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop
Made for the Shade!

I love the ideas these people have for our participation and interaction! Ever since I began my garden blog, I've found postings by gardeners in each of their meme topics SO informative and helpful! I think you will, too. Please follow the link provided above for a list of the various Memes and the people that have participated so far in this one! Follow the links and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Now, the subject of Shade is one in which I could hardly wait to sink my trowel and dirty hands! I don't call myself "Shady Gardener" just for the fun of it! ha! ;-)

I live in the shade. Our home is situated in a woodland area comprised of several native varieties of oak, as well as shagbark hickories.

First: The Sunlight

We have a LOT of sunlight during the very late Fall, Winter and Early Spring! I love it! Until mid-May, there's still a certain amount of shade due to the fact that nearly 1/2 the oaks hold their leaves until Spring. However, all this early-Spring sunlight gives all plants a great growth jumpstart once the snow disappears.

About 1/2 of the front yard receives quite a bit of sunshine during the Spring/Summer months. Once the sun rises over our roof until about 3:00 - 3:30 or so in the afternoon when the yard is shaded by various trees. The sunshine allows me to grow plants that can tolerate early morning as well as late afternoon shade, many of which are generally considered "full sun lovers."

These two photos were taken 5/18/09.

The south part of the yard has a semi-shady area holding the "Raised Bed Gardens." This area, I surmise, once enjoyed sunshine, but has become quite a bit more shaded over the years. Here 'Purple Coneflower,' Echinacea (although they never achieve their full glory and are usually very pale pink!), 'Black-eyed Susan' Rudbekia , 'Turtle head' Chelone Obliqua, Balloon flower, 'Sarah Bernhardt' Peony, 'Rosy Lights' Azalea, daylilies, etc.

Non-obedient Obedient Plant 'Vivid'
Chelone Obliqua, 'Turtlehead'
Aster 'Alert'
Echinacea 'Purple Coneflower'
Monarda, 'Jacob Cline'
(photo borrowed from Bluestone Perennials site)

*** Now, 'The Shade!'

I really do love the shade! It's a wonderfully relaxing, cooling spot to be during a hot, humid summer day. That's not to say that it doesn't get hot here, but it's just a lot cooler than everywhere else! :-) And it's so inviting to drive from the open sunlight into the shady drive and feel the temperature drop! Am I making you wistful at all? (The variety of birds and their songs is wonderful as well!)

I began a few posts in January about some of the Shade Plants I have especially enjoyed discovering and planting here. Click on the names to link to one of my previous posts.

First there is the Pulmonaria (lungwort) family. Every year there are more interesting and diverse varieties. For much information about this plant, propagation and care, Click Here.

Pulmonaria 'Trevi Fountain'

Next there is the Tricyrtis family. This post was created last September. Toadlilies are also being developed with greater variety in foliage and blossom. I planted a couple of new ones this year... Iowa Boy posted about 'Tojen,' and someone else posted about 'Taipei Silk'. . . was it you?? At any rate, I planted both this Spring! :-) Would you like more general information about these plants? Try this website.
Tricyrtis 'Shining Light'
I love the Tiarella, Heucherella, and Heuchera plants. Knowing that Heuchera are Coral Bells, did you know that plant breeders have crossed the Tiarella and Heuchera to create the Heucherella?
Tiarella 'Iron Butterfly'

Heuchera 'Amber Waves'
(he's a little larger than this, right now)
Of course, what would shade gardens be without the nearly infinite variety of Hosta?

'Sum and Substance' is way in the back of this bed.
If you look closely, you'll see several other varieties, too.

Add to this mixture a variety of ferns and you have the backbone of Shady Beauty! I have a number of different types including Japanese Painted ferns, Autumn Fern, Ostrich Fern, Lady Fern, Korean Rock Fern and a lovely unnamed fern as well as this cutie below!


There are so many other plants that are readily grown in the shade and/or partial or dappled shade:

Virginia Bluebells, Dicentra Spectabilis Bleeding Heart, and daffodils.

Ligularia, Rodgersia, Liriope Spicata/ Lilyturf, Brunnera , Astilbe, Arum Italica, Rhododendron, Hydrangea, Viburnum, Dogwood, Bergenia, Spirea, Anemone, Pasque Flower, Lady's Mantle, Cranesbill Geranium, Meadow Rue, ajuga, trumpet lilies, columbine and sedum.

I think the list goes on! However, for the most part, this is what I have. Many plants considered "sun lovers" can exist happily with partial shade! And that makes gardeners like me happy, too!

Have I helped anyone out there at all?
Would you say this is a "Shady Subject?"
:-) SG

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Very Own Pinellia Plants!

Pinellia tripartita
as received from one of my favorite garden bloggers -
Iowa Boy! :-)

This is 'Golden Dragon'. . . and look at the size of its spadix!

It's diminutive... in fact, if you're not careful, you might just overlook it!
However, you'd be sorry... because you'd be missing such an unusual plant.
This Pinellia tripartita is 'Atropurpurea'
and I apologize for the evening lighting in these photos.

Iowa Boy warns that 'Atropurpurea' propagates quite freely. At this point in time, that's okay with me! And I have a number of friends that would welcome a plant, as I did. (!)

If you want information about this plant, visit these posts by Iowa Boy.

I will also keep you posted as to the progress of these plants. (Oh! I am so excited!) ;-)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hold Still Little Fellow! I want a picture!!

We were out of town over this three-day Memorial Weekend.
We visited my parents in north-central Iowa.

You know how it is... time is fleeting, and you must leave for home before you're quite ready.
After reaching our driveway and driving towards our garage door, a quick glance to the right at our steps to the front deck/walkway resulted in my quickly stopping the car for photographs!! You won't believe this, but right there... on the front step... was a beautiful, newly hatched, Cecropia Moth!

I had to run to the immediate neighbors' to invite them for a look! I don't think they'd ever seen one before! Now YOU get to see it, too. (It's continues to remain on the step, even after these past two hours or so!)
Isn't it Beautiful?
My neighbor wanted to try to give perspective as to the size of the moth.

Just thought you might enjoy this as much as I did!

In fact, if you want to learn more about Cecropia Moths, click here for some interesting reading!

And here is a site that has even more information!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Got Your Ducks in a Row?

Or, as the case may be, Goslings... :-)

As I was driving towards the home of friends, I noticed Papa and Mama queuing across the above field towards the road. I hurriedly turned around to take a photo. By the time I'd positioned my car along the road, Papa and Mama had changed their mind about the direction they were heading, regrouped, and began their return trek across the field.

All this is to say, when you make up your mind to do a special project, don't let anything dissuade you. But DO get your "ducks in a row!" ;-)

The Project!

Last Winter, friends and I were visiting about their spacious side yard. I must mention that this young couple purchased their home a few years ago and immediately began making Major Improvements! Those we notice as we drive by have been wonderful. However, I felt they were in need of a little landscaping -- and so did they. Not only are they a young couple with two little children, ages 5 and nearly 3, who have limited time for outdoor projects, they admitted to knowing nothing about gardening.

Up steps "Shady Gardener" (who loves gardening in the sun, too)! Before they knew it... I'd drawn up plans!

These three photos represent what I originally presented as a possible three-year plan. "Of course," I said, "we can condense this into a two- or one-year plan..."

Little did I know it, but J and S were Quite Ready for action!
:-) (My kind of people!)

So, I presented them with the plans one evening after school (she teaches 4th grade and he is the technology director, both in our local school system) in early April. We mapped out the plot with garden hose. He (J) killed the grass, and after a couple of weeks, we unloaded and spread a big pickup load of nice, composted dirt on part of the garden bed. (Some of the grass hadn't died, and needed a little more persuasion.) He then tilled the entire garden bed Wednesday evening.

One's perspective can be deceiving, so I've included three photos to better show the size of the garden.

I'd made plant recommendations as well as an on-line nursery. The order was made with four plants (2 grasses - Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' and Miscanthis purpurascens - a butterfly bush "Adonis Blue," and Nepeta - Catmint - 'Walker's Low'). The nursery included a free 'Prairie Fire' daylily with the order. Of course, I'd ordered a little from the same company and received a free daylily of my own - which I donated to the cause.

I dub the entire yesterday, Thursday, May 21, as Terrific Thursday! J picked up 20 forty-pound bags of compost/manure, tilled at least half into the rest of the garden bed... and the rest is now "history!" We planted the entire bed!! At one time, we made a quick foray into town to look at a couple of different bushes (one of which will eventually be planted at the SW corner of the house) and purchase three or four more plants.

This is the adjusted plan. Many of my own plants were easily divided, so I was able to add quite a few from my gardens. (WE know the cost of plants, and that could easily have deterred the completion of the project... or at least forced it into a three-year plan!)

What did we plant? Hold on to your hats!

Grasses: 'Karl Foerster' and 'Miscanthes Purpurscens' (1 each)

Iris: Siberian Iris 'Caesar's Brother' (1)
Bearded Iris - White - cultivar unknown (1)

Nepata, Catmint, 'Walker's Low' (1)

Buddleia, Butterfly Bush, 'Adonis Blue' (1)

Sedum: 'Autumn Joy,' 'Purple Emperor,'Matrona,' and 'Neon Lights' (1 each)

Achillea, Yarrow(1) - yellow blossoms, variety unknown

Liatris spicata (6 plants), also known as Blazing Star or Gayfeather

Phlox, 'David' (1 clump) and unknown variety with lavender blossoms (1)

Coreopsis, 'Moonbeam' threadleaf (2), and bright yellow, newly purchased variety (1). I forgot to note the name.

Gaillardia (1) a newly purchased variety. I forgot to note its name.

Hemerocalis, Daylily, 'Prairie Fire' (2), 'Fragrant Treasure' (1), and an unknown mid-season yellow variety(1).

Penstemon, 'Husker Red' (1 clump)

Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed (1)

Rudbekia, Black-eyed Susan (2 clumps)

Monarda, 'Jacob Cline' (1)

Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflower (2 clumps)

Chelone Obliqua, 'Turtle head' (1 clump)

Peony, 'Sarah Bernhardt' (1)

Firetail Amplexicaulis Persicaria (1)

Five-year-old E planted Shasta Daisy seeds, so she owns a section of the garden.

JJ helped to plant Mommy's hydrangea they purchased for Mother's Day!

Can you guess what I've begun for the children?
Look out J!
Now you'll have to make the wire hangers!

Definitely not a shady subject,
Definitely a Sunny Garden with a Sunny Disposition!