Thursday, November 1, 2012

A late addition to the Hospital Garden

You can see part of the beautiful trellis recently added.  Clematis will be planted here next Spring.

Also, you get a close-up of the mailbox placed in the garden.  This will be a repository for garden gloves, hand tools and a journal for keeping track of notes, dates and work completed.  :-)

Yes, there's a "flag" to be raised when a note is left.  :-)

Nothing shady here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Last Floral Bouquet of the Season?

This post and its contents are property of

It dropped 45 degrees today... and we received a little more rainfall.  Rain is very good.  We've been through drought conditions for way too long.

Here's a photo of the bouquet in the kitchen window.

A little closer look below...

FYI:  Three Springs ago, I started seedlings from gaillardia 'Fanfare.' 
Seedlings from this hybrid variety do not reproduce the parent strain.
However, you might see that a couple of flowers have partially LENT themselves
to a 'Fanfare' inclination.

The variation in color was not as pronounced as the first couple of years, however.

It's still a beautiful bouquet.  The late-blooming phlox is due to the fact that I partially dug out plants this past Spring, leaving a few to fend for themselves.  :-)

Not Shady... just a happy note for a rather bleak day.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trees and Color and RAIN! Oh, My!

We were in NE Iowa this past weekend, and saw sites like this!

This photo was taken Thursday, as the skies were beginning to become overcast.
Do you see the brightly-colored falling leaf??

 The next 4 photos were taken at variou spots on a trail
at Pike's Peak.  MY it was cold!!!
(This is Bridal Veil Falls.)

Photos from a trail at Effigy Mounds.

Do you see the mounds below?

Perhaps 6th graders? on a field trip to Effigy Mounds.

 Now... out my window today...
No sunshine, but Look At the Color!!

And THIS is what it looked like this morning!  It was still raining, and the leaves
were WET!  (Something that has rarely happened this year.)

When we arrived home Saturday evening, we'd received 3 1/4" of rain.
We left the gauge alone, and by noon the gauge read 5 (Five!) inches of rainfall!

An answer to prayer
and a dream come true!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Something New... in a "backyard nursery"

Just waiting to be planted this coming Spring . . . Check out these new plants!
After all, both my next-door-neighbor-friend and I felt the need to perk ourselves up after the immense, behemoth machinery left our backyards...

Sweetspire "Little Henry"
Itea virginica 'Sprich'

I'm really looking forward to enjoying these little fellows next year.  The tag said they thrive in full sun to full shade.  Guess I can satisfy those conditions!  :-)

It's described as an excellent companion to Hosta and other large-leafed plants.  Check!

Enjoys evenly moist to wet soils... (will have to water periodically!) and prefers acidic soils.  I can also handle this!

Late Spring/Early Summer brings prolific white blossoms that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.  Foliage color is a rich green that turns orange- to burgandy-red in the Fall.  Oh, Yes!!

'Little Henry' will grow 2-3 feet tall and 3 feet wide.  Sounds like a sweet butterball!

It is hardy in Zone 5 (yes!)  and is the recipient of the Ohio Nursery Association Plant Selection Award.  Good!

If it needs to be pruned at all, it should be done right after it finishes blooming.   Guess I can handle that, too.

Over-all, what do YOU think?   

Friday, October 5, 2012

Take a Gander at the New Garden "Wayback!"

Looks like there will be quite an area of sunlight in the backyard hosta bed next Spring.  That's okay.  I have a couple of bushes that I recently dug, one of which ('Blue Muffin' viburnum) will probably be planted in the left foreground  somewhere.  For now, I'll just sink the pot and plant it next Spring.

There's a sale at a local nursery, so perhaps I'll be able to pick up a couple or three more bushes to place here in there "out there."  :-)

Everything that is in pots right now will be sunk in the ground in their pots, awaiting their final planting next Spring.  It's a technique that works well. 

Wouldn't it be nice to have 3 or 4  hakonechloa out there... perhaps a row on the right side (front)?
I have two mukdenia that will probably do well in the area where that lone back hosta is standing (that will be moved next Spring).    Quite a few things should do well in that back (front) bed.  ;-)

So, all is not lost.

Now... if I could just find an inspired person to build a CUTE little garden shed that could double part time as a playhouse for grandchildren when they visit....  On the list for 2013?

Happy Fall to each of you from someone just a Little less shady... lol


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wow! It's Almost the Whole Hole!

These photos were taken around 11:30 A.M. today.

This photo was taken about the same time, but from the dining room window (in the back of the house, that's second floor).

 4:26 P.M.

The workers are gone, and these two photos below were taken at nearly 6:00 P.M.

 They'll return tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. to finish readying for and installing a Peat System...

Pretty significant work and a good-sized hole, wouldn't you say??


Monday, October 1, 2012

Changes in the the Garden ...

Before I begin to tell you about the BIG PROJECT that will begin tomorrow morning in our backyard, I would like to share a couple of photos.  And I would like to ask for your input.  The following four photos show the same viburnum bush.

October 31, 2007

October 25, 2008

Today, October 1, 2012
 Today, October 1, 2012
We've been "ahead of schedule" (like so many other people!) all year.  However, due to the fact that we have had VERY little precipitation from July 2011 through this month (yes all last Summer, Winter, Spring and this Summer) I'm wondering if this is the cause of all the intense color we're seeing (enjoying) this Fall?  But most especially, notice the coloration of this viburnum!!

What do YOU think??

Now, for the backyard project -  a new septic system!

Developing a "clear space" for the big equipment to roll over...
 See the plants and bushes in pots?

 They're supposed to aim to drive through the space between the trees.  Mr. Shady cut down three trees here - can you see the tall trunks, left so the equipment can drag them out of the ground?

Notice the huge open space in the backyard... through which I anticipate much morning sunlight next year...

 If you look carefully in the wayback-back, on the right side, you'll see two more stumps.
These were huge trees that died during the winter/spring due to last year's drought.

HUGE clear space.
Gardens are an ever changing entity.  So, I guess I'll be doing some switching 'round next Spring!

And there's a real need to have a properly working septic system.  :-)
Nothing Shady There!

Have a great week!!  It's been beautiful here - albeit completely dry for the past two months.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Latest Peek at the Hospital Garden

A friend of mine, who works at the hospital, took this photo in hopes it'll get published in our local newspaper.  Looks pretty good, doesn't it?  Just thought I'd give you another glimpse.

The purple asters in the right foreground are a mass of three plants.  Cute little dianthus in front...
Lots of color.  Good times!

I spotted a nice trelllis for the left side of the wooden fence this afternoon.  I'll pick it up Saturday.
Next year there will be a couple more clematis.

I'll see if I can't get a post created showing the wild happenings in my backyard these days!

It'll be wonderful to end this season, enter Winter and look forward to next Spring... 
all in due time, of course!  :-)

Best wishes to each of you, my gardening friends.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Want to See the Hospital Garden?

This garden is located between the maintenance and patient wings of our new Heath Center/Hospital.   The second photo (sans the garden) is what patients on the north side of the hospital wing had too look at before this garden was created last year.

It began as a Master Garden Project, but is now being maintained by a small, local garden club to which I belong.  Click on "Gabby Garden Gals" website to see the entire post and other photos.

Red Admiral butterfly lands on Asters.

This bed is 40 feet long... hard to get a photo of the entire garden!

This was a beautiful day..
Hope the weather was as wonderful in YOUR environment!  :-)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Gardening... With Chocolate?

Have I mentioned the word "Chocolate," yet?

Chocolate flower  Berlandiera lyrata

Chocolate flowerThe photo at right and description below were taken from the Plant Encyclopedia at   "You'll be searching for a chocolate bar after catching a whiff of chocolate flower. A fragrant North American native perennial, chocolate flower blooms with gusto nearly year-round in warm climates and from May to October cool-climate regions. Its small daisy-shape flowers exude a fresh-baked-brownie fragrance. At home in meadows, wildflower gardens, and beds and borders, chocolate flower grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. It prefers slightly dry soil and will flop over if the soil is too moist or rich with nutrients.

Note: While chocolate flower is hardy, gardeners in the Midwest, Northeast, or Northwest may have trouble overwintering this plant if it stays too moist and rots.
Light:  Sun,Part Sun; Zones:  4-10; Plant Type:  Perennial;  Plant Height:  To 2 feet tall;  
Plant Width:  To 2 feet wide;  Flower Color:  Yellow/Gold;  Bloom Time:  Spring, Summer, Fall;  
Landscape Uses: Containers,Beds & Borders,Slopes;  Special Features:  Flowers,Fragrant,Drought Tolerant"
My sister, sister-in-law and I each purchased one from Peterson's Greenhouse in Swaledale, IA last year.  Here's what mine looked like last Summer...


Chocolate Cosmos Cosmos atrosanguineus

The Flower of a Chocolate Cosmos Plant, Cosmos atrosanguineus  The photo at left and the following description were taken from The Garden   "Chocolate Cosmos can also be grown in containers provided that a high quality planting mix is used.  The dark maroon flowers appear on wirey 18 inch stems from June until frost and produce a pleasant chocolate scent, especially on warm evenings."

"Growing Requirements for Chocolate Cosmos Plants:  The Chocolate Cosmos plant is a tuberous perennial that is hardy in USDA zones 7-10, but with excellent drainage and heavy winter mulching it will often survive the winters in zone 6.

Chocolate Cosmos should be planted in full sun, in rich well draining soil.  Apply a good all-purpose fertilizer when new growth appears and again at mid-season.  Always remove the spent flowers promptly for continued blooms.  If you have doubts about the plants survival, you can dig the tuber just as you would with Dahlias.  Once the foliage has died back, carefully dig the clump, cut the stems back to within 2 inches
of the tubers, and store them in slightly moist peat moss in a frost free place.

Plant Propagation:  Chocolate Cosmos can be propagated by division of the tubers.  To produce a new plant, each tuber must have an eye (the new growth bud) which appears at the point where the tuber connects to the main stalk.  Using a sharp clean knife carefully separate tubers.  Discard any damaged tubers and any that don't contain an eye.  Place the tubers in a bed of sawdust or vermiculite, inside a cardboard or wooden box. Store them in a dry area where the temperature will remain at about 40 degrees F. 

Check your tubers periodically during the winter for signs of shriveling (moisten the storage medium),
or for mildew treat with a dry fungicide.  Replant Chocolate Cosmos tubers 6" deep and 12" apart in the spring."

While I've never tried this plant, I believe this should be on my "2013 Wish List!"  I'd probably try one in a pot and another in the ground.

Rodgersia  Rodgersia pinnata 'Chocolate Wings' 

Rodgersia pinnata ‘Chocolate Wing’Information and photo (at right) was taken from a site called"With its bold, divided leaves this forms an exotic-looking clump that adds a unique foliage accent to any moist border. It produces big plumes of deep-pink flowers in early summer. Leaves begin deep cocoa bronze in spring, later changing to dark green. Plants prefer a moist, dappled shade setting, but will grow in full sun at the waterside or any other constantly moist site. Useful as an architectural specimen plant. Water during dry weather. USPP: unlicensed propagation prohibited.

USDA Zone: 4-9;  Sun exposure:  Full Sun or Partial Shade;  Soil type:  Normal, Sandy, or Clay; 
Soil pH:  Neutral, Alkaline or Acid;  Soil moisture: Moist;  Care level:  Moderate; Flower color:  Deep Pink;  Blooming time:  Early to mid-summer;  Foliage color:  Bronze;  Height:  27-35";  Width:  35-39"'  Growth rate:  Slow.   *Rabbit-resistant."

From chocolate flower came this information:  "New & exciting Rodgersia with ever changing moods, as its foliage emerges brown and goes through stages of green and bronze to return to chocolate-bronze as the season progresses.  Plenty of pale pink flowers deepen gradually to burgundy-red, adding another dimentions to the intrigue.   Cultivation:  Partial Shade in moist, well-drained, fertile soil.32" High with 30" spread.  Hardy to Zone 4." 

I planted Rodgersia 'Chocolate Wings' Sept. 13, 2008 (photo at left).  I cannot believe it's been that long ago, already!  It did pretty well, however by the end of August last summer, it'd "had it" with the dry, hot weather and lack of constant moisture!  He didn't show up this Spring. 

I never experienced the deep coloration described in the chocolate flower farm article, but my plant was in dappled to shady conditions.

I'd love to try again, if I can work it out!!!  Moist is not good enough... it seems, from further reading, it loves to be moist to boggy.  I continue to struggle with my ligularia plants... especially during the drought-like conditions we've experienced beginning with last summer!

Lastly, have you tried cocoa bean hulls?  They're not so good in shady areas, unless you spread a very thin layer... just so you can have the chocolate aroma!  ;-)  They're great in sunny spots, as they'll dry out after a rainfall and/or watering and not mold or mildew.  They're a rich addition to the soil, as well.  They break down fairly quickly.  Try it!!   You might like it!!  lol.

Gardening has not been very rewarding (or beautiful or fun) once summer arrived.  I continue to envision very dry soil with deep-down parched roots...  I'm doing my best to keep everything limping along, but it's not really enough... and the water bill was high this past month!  I did appreciate the two recent rainfalls - 1/10th and 2/10ths of an inch, a few days apart.  They filled my 3 rain barrels each time, so that was well loved.  :-)


Perhaps I just need a chocolate bar?  ;-)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Central Gardens, Clear Lake, Iowa

(The photo above was taken last summer)

On July 17, 2012
I visited Mom in Clear Lake, Iowa.

These are some photo highlights I took while visiting Central Gardens.
They began these gardens "from scratch" several years ago 
with advice from Reiman Gardens (Ames, IA) staff.

Central Gardens, from what I understand, is run by a huge staff of volunteers.


These are some plantings inside the front gate.  I believe the hydrangea, behind the hostas, 
is the one planted last year in memory of my dad.

The garden fairy below was created two years ago from bicycle parts.
There were creations all over town made from bicycle parts,
in honor of RAGBRAI*
(Des Moines Register's-Annual-Great-Bike-Ride-Across-Iowa...

Did you finish your piano lessons?  Here's an opportunity to play in public!  :-)

Enjoy the next few photos!

See the "circle" in the background below?  It's a great space for public gatherings...
You can see people in the right corner - just for perspective on the distance.

 I love these sunny-looking daylilies!  
Do you know what they are??

 Ever been to Clear Lake, Iowa?  It's worth a trip!