Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday Miscellany -- Things In My Garden That Don't Suck

I was planning to do a post called "My Garden in May," but I went away in the middle of May to visit my son and his girlfriend in Massachusetts (since then, they've moved into their new house in RI), plus a lot of the garden had areas in transition that I had torn apart and not put back together, so I thought, "Not now."

Then it was going to be "My Garden in June," but I went away to the Hardy Plant Study Weekend, plus I still had things in transition, plus the garden was in a chaotic state because immediately after the Study Weekend we were having our house painted, and the garden was strewn with plant pots and the pot ghetto, much of which normally sits snug against the house on the south side in a warm sunny area near the hose. Those pots still haven't been put back.

Now, it's really hot, and the garden is looking kind of fried, and honestly, I feel kind of fried myself. So, instead of doing "My Garden in July," I've decided to just do "Things That Don't Suck."

I bought a new Dahlia recently, and I love the color. It doesn't have a name, the tag just says 'Dinner Plate Dahlia,"although the flowers are not that big.

In the spring I dug up all my daylilies, because I knew some of them were infested with gall midge. I set them all aside and waited for them to flower to see which ones I was going to keep. I'm so glad to see so many pristine flowers on this red one. It's called 'Chicago Apache,' and it's a keeper.

In the winter I sowed seeds of Daucus carota 'Dara' hoping they really would produce red Queen Anne's Lace flowers. And they do! I love them. I'll be sowing lots more next winter.

Daucus carota 'Dara'

One of my late winter/early spring projects was remaking the bed (the Lost Bottle Bed) in the photo below, which is the first thing you see when you enter the gate into the back yard on the right hand side of the house. It needs a thorough weeding, because one of the plants I put in as a ground cover was Oxalis oregana, but oodles of weedy small-flowered yellow Oxalis have also sprung up, so I need to weed those out. Everything still needs to mature and fill in, but it looks promising and is starting to look the way I envisioned it.

I recently found a bunch of Stachys 'Hummelo' at Sky Nursery. They had seven, and I kindly left them one to sell to someone else. They're going to make a nice swath in a future meadow planting, along with the Amsonia hubrichtii behind them.

This area below along the back steps looks pretty cool. It's a combination of tuberous Begonias, Podophyllums, Bromeliads and fancy leaf begonias.

My two best looking Bromeliads

I've started to amass a good number of Agaves (and a couple of Mangaves), mostly non-hardy, but some are slated to be put in the ground if I ever get around to redoing the gravel garden.

(left to right) Agave desmettiana, Agave lophantha quadricolor, Agave victoria-reginae, Agave schidigera 'Shiro Ito No Ohi', Agave bovicornuta

Agave lophantha quadricolor

Agave victoria-reginae in front, Agave Schidigera 'Shiro Ito No Ohi' behind

Mangave 'Bloodspot'

Mangave 'Macho Mocha' and his buddy (who growls when you tug on his arm)

Agave ferdinand-regis

Agave parryi 'Cream Spike'

I've lost the tag for this one

This is my last living Moby baby (Agave ovatifolia), which has a split personality

Agave arizonica

Agave utahensis

Agave 'Baccarat', variegated Agave parryi -- with the weedy messy mess of the gravel garden behind them

I think this is a sharkskin Agave, which really needs a bigger pot -- see the pup in the shadows of the top left corner? Who knows what lurks underneath the gravel top dressing...

Agave havardiana

I bought an Agave 'Blue Glow' during the San Francisco Fling, and it is now so big we never move it from this corner of the greenhouse, even though (according to the thermometer) the temperature in there reaches 122 F on summer days. It is moveable, so if it ever decides to flower, we'll just have to gird our loins and break out the trolley and maybe two strapping big men to move it.

Agave 'Blue Glow'

This smaller 'Blue Glow' spends its summers in the front garden under an Arctostaphylos

The photo below isn't a bomb crater. Gardeners recognize it as something promising -- a blank space ripe for new plants! Before our temperatures got meteoric,  I spent a few mornings here cleaning everything out of it -- weeds, plants (some of which got potted, some got tossed), garden art, rock edging. I'm sure my neighbors enjoyed the spectacle of me dancing round with huge chunks of weeds, shaking soil off the roots like a fat, aged, sweating, dirt-streaked 60s folk singer shaking a tambourine.

In the fall I'm going to plant it up as a mini-meadow, with plans to redo some of my much larger front beds in the same style.

Note the hoses, absolutely ubiquitous here in the summer, especially lately with our temps this week in the 90s -- I am so sick of hauling them around

I hope there are some things that don't suck in your lives and gardens.