Tuesday, May 29, 2012

News flashes

  • Tropical storm Beryl drops three inches of precious rain on the garden
  • Alfalfa tea lavishly ladled this weekend - one barrel leaks itself empty
  • Black Hen sprinkled all over garden before rain hits
  • Sunn Hemp seeds sown in empty garden spaces, promises nitrogen fixing, nematode deterrance

Flash!! Flash!!
  • Canon EOS Rebel T1i DSLR camera purchased on Ebay
  • Stay tuned for the photos

  • ‘Mrs. B. R. Cant’ blooms in dead shade, never touched by sun

  • Fears of bloomless summer unwarranted

  • ‘Venosa Violacea’ declares May 29th Purple Day

  • ‘Blush Noisette’ buds bode big bloom

  • Baby ‘Bermuda’s Anna Olivier’ bears first bud

  • First bud opens

  • Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ surprises all with appearance

  • ‘Modern Marvel’ marvelous when wet

  • Amber alert! Daylily missing name

  • ‘Mary Guthrie’ joins in bud uprising

  • ‘Quietness’ makes noise

  • Caladiums voice support for shady roses: ‘Etoile de Mai’ & ‘Bow Bells’

  • ‘Bow Bells’ sprouts on pegged canes after 16 days

  • ‘Madame Lombard’ up in arms

  • Clematis ‘Henryi’ takes first step to top

  • ‘Clotilde Soupert’ beats gardener to punch, sprouts before Saturday’s deadheading

  • ‘White Pet’ refuses not to bloom

  • ‘Le Vesuve’ drenched, unbowed

  • ‘Maggie’ voted Most Powerful Woman in garden

  • Promises more, more, more

  • ‘Full Moon Rising’ feeling fine after transplant

  • Manifests multiple blooming laterals along horizontal cane

  • Declares victory over verticality

  • ‘Fred Ham’ announces campaign slogan “Go Yellow!”

  • Echinacea named Flower of the Century

  • ‘Duquesa’ rejoices after rain
  • ‘Francois Juranville’ lets hair down, soon to be coifed

On a much more serious subject I’m asking for the prayers of the faithful for my newest, sweet daughter-in-law, Missy, who received word today that she has Stage-2 breast cancer and will have a mastectomy by Monday, and for dear son, Mark, who loves her so much. She’s in God’s gracious, loving, almighty hands…as are we all. From the day we first met, Missy has made Tom and me feel truly loved.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gardens are like vitamins

They’re good for your health, and they should be taken daily. These shots weren’t there yesterday, and they won’t be there tomorrow. The garden whispers softly, “Pay attention to me.”

'Bow Bells' by David Austin
Purple Coneflower echinacea
'Unchartered Waters'
'Sherry Lane Carr'
'Fred Ham'
'Becky Lynn'
Here she is again - all two and a half feet of her! She's grown multiple upright canes recently after being a low-growing squiggly little thing planted in February. Look at all those buds. 'Kent's Favorite Two' is blooming behind her.
'Le Vesuve' starting her second flush
Another 'Fred Ham' - seems too pretty to be a guy.

'Indy Indy' - love, love, love her!
'Leda's Lover'
'Secret Splendor' and 'White Pet'
'Modern Marvel' - always double with another blooming behind
Clematis 'Venosa Violacea'
'General Gallieni', Tea rose, 1899
'Alexander Hill Gray', Tea rose, 1909
Dare I hope that 'Arcadia Louisiana Tea' will bloom in all her many-petaled splendor? She bloomed slightly early in the spring. The word flush would definitely be an overstatement, and they all balled from thrips. She normally has over 100 petals, so the heat probably - hopefully - helps.
Here's the shady lady, 'Mrs. B. R. Cant'. I can't get over her blooming in the shade.
Maybe in her day, 1901, she used a parasol.
There's no doubt that Mr. Cant, the hybridizer, was her DH.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tea time

Just so you know, I don't where a watch or keep a calendar in the garden. Things generally happen when they happen with the least appealing things tending to slide to the bottom of the list. Surprise! Alfalfa tea is pretty unappealing so May sounds like a good time. Others who are more diligent and disciplined do it earlier. Here's hoping the roses don't care.

I started to make two barrels of it but then realized that at one gallon per rose 64 gallons wouldn't do the job and doing this twice just wouldn't do either. So I commandeered a third trash can and strategically located them in the back, on the kitchen side and in the front. Sorry, neighbors, for the one sitting in front of the garage door, but they need to be in the sun. Hopefully, I'll start dipping Thursday evening. I don't want them to get too ripe.
Here's my ingredients - this time. I tend to throw in what I have. I hurriedly looked for a recipe just before doing this, and some added different things, so I chose what I wanted: powdered milk for the phosphorus (though I don't think I used enough), molasses for the sugar and potassium, beer cuz apparently the fungal microherd like it. My quantities for a barrel were amalgams of the various recipes: 12 cups alfalfa pellets, 4 cups Calf-Manna, 1+ cup Epsom salts, 1+ cup fish emulsion, 1+ cup Liquid Karma, one beer (whatever is on hand), dry milk powder to make about a quart, 6 ounces molasses and about 4 cups composted chicken manure. Maybe I went overboard with this many ingredients, but what the heck. I usually do alfalfa, fish emulsion and epsom salts.
Here's the luscious stuff all set to steep and get nasty for up to seven days, stirring everyday. The first time I ever made alfalfa tea it smelled like fresh cut grass. Lovely, so what was all the fuss everyone was making. The next time it was awful, and then when I started adding the fish... Oh, my heavens! I strongly recommend wearing Playtex gloves, because the fish stench doesn't wash off real well. The neighbors have never mentioned the smell which on the decibel scale of odors is somewhere right up there with roadkill, but like I've said before, I have very nice neighbors who perhaps have lost their sense of smell. All in all it's not really a terrible job. It doesn't take much time to walk from the barrel to each rose and pour the gallon jug all around the rose. Thirty roses in thirty minutes in my garden is very doable, and I won't even be out of breath. Ha! That's because I'll be holding my nose...or holding my breath. I will say that diving head first into the barrel for that last gallon is a little tough - but survivable. Also, when I've done all the roses I add more water, let that steep again, and give the rest to my other plants. And I stir regularly so each gallon gets some alfalfa. Since my cans have cracks on their bottoms, I duck-taped a trash bag in them.
I want to show you 'Mrs. B. R. Cant' growing and blooming in the shade.
Granted, this may be less than a huge bloom, but she did it, and I'm proud of her!
The flowers are on the ends of new growth that's a couple of feet long.
This shot was taken at about 5:30 when the sun gets as close to her as it gets, but that's not why this photo is here. Notice anything different?
Today I painted the tree swing - fire engine red! Isn't it gorgeous???
This limb is why I chose this lot. Is this what I envisioned seven and a half years ago? Yep, I do think so.