Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays: All the Small Things

A miniature wildflower bouquet from my garden. Note the penny in the picture. Pay no attention to the hose. :)

I may look big and bossy but my blooms are only an inch in diameter.

My flowers are the size of a dime.

Two guesses why they call us Thumbelina.

My pretty flowers are about the size of a quarter.

Stop laughing! I'm a tasty heirloom tomato and size does not matter!

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Deep Blue Pearls

Campanula Deep Blue Pearl

"Time to swoop!"  Giggled a gardening friend who, like me, circles and waits for the screaming deals at the end of the planting season. She got wind of a fab sale and it took very little arm-twisting to race down the canyon, to Salt Lake City, and peruse the now marked down goodies.

I  pounced on a $3 table of Deep Blue Pearl Bellflowers. They, of course, are not the slightest bit blue. True Blue is a very hard color to come by in the gardening world. And, even if they look blue in the pot, chances are they will be perfectly purple by the end of year two.

It's called high alkaline, kind of weird, mountain soil. Blue does exceptionally well in that beautiful acid soil, so common in the east. Out here? Not so much.

But, who cares? I'm passionate for purple. The 'Deep Blue' name had me longing for another trip to the ocean. Plus! It gave me a pretty good excuse to spread my ever-growing sand dollar collection into the garden.

I'm truly, madly, deeply in love with any and all Bellflowers (Campanula). I'm also kinda nuts about the Oregon coast. There's lots of fun things to do at the ocean, but when I'm there I pretty much specialize in doing nothing at all. Other than comb the shore to collect sand dollars.

I have buckets and buckets of pretty little sand dollars just waiting for a sweet spot in the shade garden.

Deep Blue Pearls are dainty little perennials, hardy to -40 (F). They flower most of the summer, with deadheading. I planted these shade lovers under one of the few trees that seems to be flourishing in the backyard.

PS! The Campanula family of perennials is vast ~ and every one of them delightful to behold. Consider Canterbury Bells while you're at it. A show stopper in the garden, to say the very least.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day ~ August, 2013

Bloom Day, yay! My favorite meme of the month!

I hardly know where to begin ~ plenty of joy in these gardens... Oodles of Heirloom, single-flowering Hollyhocks. If you'd like some seeds just send me an email.

Coreopsis, big and small. Jupiter's Beard. Stunning Bellflowers ~ in what little bit of shade we have available.

Kind of looks like it's snowing, doesn't it? That's Baby's Breath. It does so well in our alkaline soils. I just love how it softens the look of big perennials.

Exotic colors of Blanket Flowers, though I'm not too crazy about them. This hybridized version requires too much water. They don't know it yet, but they're going bye-bye this autumn.

Wild asters are making a very early showing. Perennial Snapdragons always make me smile. Big clumps of yellow perennial sunflowers with pink, moppy head Bee Balms, decorate the street garden.

This bright purple wall of colorful Clematis has encouraged hummingbirds to nest in the nearby trees.

And, I'm happy to say this is barely the tip of the iceberg with what's brightly blooming right now. But, the camera battery died, so here's one last photo of what's cooking in the garden on this hot August day... The sweet little kitty who supervises my weed pulling. If I could just teach him to pitch in on that weed pulling, the gardens would be in great shape!

Pay a visit to Carol at May Dreams Gardens to meet other gardeners participating in this monthly meme. Happy Bloom Day!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays: Mars Sunset

There's a wildfire raging just over that hill. Way too close for comfort! That might be the reason for this other worldly sunset.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Waterwise Goodies in the August Garden

It was a lovely, lazy weekend. The days are still beastly hot but the nights are darn right chilly. Growing up in the Midwest, we used to call that 'good sleeping weather.' Such a sweet treat, to open the windows wide and let a cool breeze blow in.

Wild Coneflowers speckle the August garden. They are considerably more waterwise than their hybridized cousins, but I'm always amazed they are still alive. :) They've got a tough job ~ to tell me what's cooking out there. {Literally}

Coneflowers wilt quicker than the Golden Marguerite and Catmint surrounding them. When I see my long-suffering Cones droop their heads, I know it's high time to flip on the sprinklers.

There's lots of great reasons to plant waterwise perennials but the most basic, for me, is simply saving money. Water costs in the desert southwest are horrendously high. My neighbor proudly announced his water bill averages $700/month to keep his Kentucky Blue Grass green and healthy. (Mine is under $100.) I just roll my eyes and think ~ once an Easterner always an Easterner. Kentucky Blue Grass doesn't grow out here. Not every well, anyway. Imagine all of the new, non-thirsty, perennials he could buy for that princely sum!

Some Like it Hot:
Mr. Giganto Russian Sage (photo above) is the biggest camel in my garden. He's old enough, now, that he relies solely on the sporadic rains we've had this summer. To get a size perspective... I call him 'Giganto' because that boulder, behind him, is about 8 feet wide and he's hell bent on growing larger than the rock.

She might look dainty & fragile but don't be fooled by Cerise Queen Yarrow. This gal is one of the prettiest workhorses in my garden. Like the Russian Sage, she rarely gets a drink of water and doesn't seem to mind.

Pink Mallow (sometimes called Malva and I like to call her a miniature Hollyhock) is another easy grower in hot, dry places.

She's also a host plant for the Painted Lady Butterfly. They look a lot like Monarchs. Painted Ladies migrate through Utah so if you live around here, be sure and plant lots of this little pretty. Our fluttering friends will thank you.

And, last but not least...

Got on Facebook last night. This just made my day! Earlier this summer, I gifted my New Mexico friends with my favorite climbing vine. Heavenly Blue Morning Glories.

I tossed in some deep red, Scarlet O' Hara Morning Glories for good measure. Thought that might make a stunning combination.
I guess it's always a crap shoot when you opt for cheap seeds because these allegedly red Morning Glories are as pink as they can be. It looks more like a baby's nursery than a cowboy garden. But, who cares? They're gorgeous!

Here's hoping you all had a marvelous weekend. My new pledge is to not hate Mondays so much. That's like hating 1/7th of your life. But, I'll confess... so far it's not working so well. Time for another cup o' Joe.

TIP: Waterwise perennials don't start out that way. Water them consistently (every 2 days the first year and every 3 days the second year) until they become established. By the 3rd year, they're mature enough to send down a deep root system searching for water. THAT'S when they truly become 'waterwise.'

Friday, August 09, 2013

Hollyhocks and Bumble Bees

Best to admire these beauties from afar... Hollyhocks have no fragrance, so there's no need to put your nose up close and take a whiff.

Besides...  you might be surprised who's hanging out in there!

Did you know that Bumble Bees prefer high altitudes? Perhaps that's why I prefer them. A big, docile, tank of a bee who is absolutely delighted with my Heirloom Hollyhocks.

Look at these guys! Covered in pollen, flitting from flower to flower, having the time of their lives. Kind of how I'd behave ~ if you turned me loose in a chocolate factory.

Hollyhock time, as I like to call the month of August, has signified my favorite time in the garden ever since I was a child.

The Hollies Mom planted would grow into a gigantic flowering forest! The ideal escape for a little girl with an over-active imagination.

I call them 'heirlooms' because these single flowering, 6-7 foot tall, cottage garden beauties are offspring from the same seeds Mom planted way back when.

I've planted them everywhere I've lived for the past 20 years.

And, I'd like to spread the love! So every autumn I give away Hollyhock seeds. 

Want some? Just leave a comment, with your email, or send me an email.

And, here's another fun fact. The big bumbles sleep in these flowers.

Yup! I've seen it, time and time again. Come nightfall, they cozy up in those petals and settle down for a nap.