Friday, July 31, 2015

Consider Me Lured.

I am Summer,
come to lure you away from your computer...
come dance on my fresh grass,
dig your toes into my beaches. 
~Oriana Green, @NatureSpirits

I will be away for the next week, enjoying our summer vacation at the beach.
See you all when I get back!
Happy Summer :)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

What Was I Thinking?!

Let's file this under the category 'What was I thinking?!', shall we?  Like when I decided that I wanted to go to college somewhere where it snowed. (Though I'll chalk that up to fate, since I met Mr. Red House there.)  Or like that outfit that I wore quite a bit that was entirely orange and made me look like a pumpkin.  (Yeah... can't really chalk that one up to fate..)

But deliberately buying and planting a weed in my garden?  That's a whole other level.

I actually do know what I was thinking when I bought 'Dragon's Blood' Clover last year.  I was thinking, 'What a cool name!' and 'Well, if I'm going to have weeds in my garden, at least they will be pretty ones.'  And up close, the plant is actually quite lovely.

Yep, I fell for it.  I'm shaking my head now at the past Indie.

My story of folly is not even over yet.  After I planted it, the clover had the nerve to look like it was struggling in my garden.  I moved it, gave it extra water, and actually cared for the stupid thing.  I admit it - I, Indie, babied a weed.  All summer it acted like it was dying and actually tricked me into thinking it would never come back.  Boy was I was wrong.

This year it thanked me for my care - by popping up EVERYWHERE!

It's growing in the front garden.  It's growing in the side garden.  It's in the lawn having wild rebellious parties with all the other types of clover and weeds.

The worst part is that some of the smaller leaves don't have the red splashes, so when I weed the garden, I'm not sure if I'm pulling out the regular clover or the fancy stuff.  And of course I don't want to pull out the fancy stuff, because I paid Good Money for that.

Like I said, what was I thinking?

By the way, if anyone else - maybe a big nursery that wants to sell fancy new cultivars? - has a similar lapse in judgement, I happen to have a red-splashed version of a different weed that I would be more than willing to sell:

I can personally vouch that this, ahem, plant grows very well in the garden.
Almost like a weed, in fact.

Any suckers takers?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Two Years In...

It's hard to believe we've lived in our 'new' house for almost two years now.  The garden has come a long ways in two years!  A quick tour around to see how things are growing...

The July garden is looking nice and colorful.  The trusty Purple Coneflowers, some of our earliest additions, are blooming away along the front entrance.

The decorative fence and new beds we put in this year are coming along and slowly being filled.

I am especially proud of the new 'hellstrip' between the sidewalk and the street.  Filled with extra plants taken from other generous gardener friends' thinnings, as well as with plants grown from seed, it looks quite impressive for the pittance I paid!

On the other side of the driveway is the strip that is in its second year, slowly filling in its way to the brim.

My goal is to grow so many flowers that there is no space for weeds and I never have to weed again.

Wish me luck.

Daylily 'Stephanie Returns' and Coreopsis Big Bang growing in the hellstrip
On either side of the driveway are my whiskey barrel planters.  This year I chose to grow an old favorite - Petunias.

There are a couple of other types of plants in there, too, but the Petunias decided to grow right over them.  As it turns out, Petunias are downright opinionated plants.  I'm honestly just happy they finally made up their minds to start blooming after starting them from seed several months ago!

Moving further into the front yard, we come to my Blue-and-Gold Garden alongside the driveway.

I'm afraid to report that my Blue-and-Gold garden isn't looking so blue and gold - and that's not just because of all the weeds that I haven't gotten to yet.  I tend to, um, just plant things on a whim sometimes when I don't know exactly where I want something to go.  Last year I plopped about ten Rose Milkweed plants in this bed.  I'm loathe to move them, though, as they are so happy in that spot, and then when they bloom this happens:

Fritillary butterflies on Rose Milkweed
The flowers are just covered in bees, butterflies, and other pollinators!  I have not seen any Monarch butterflies yet (for whom I planted all this milkweed), but I am on the lookout.

On to the backyard...

my baby
Inside, safe and warm, are all my tomatoes and peppers.

Outside, in the other corner of the yard, is the veggie garden, filled with tomatillos, ground cherries, snow peas, green beans, carrots, and zucchini.  We've worked hard on it this year, and it's paying off.  The new raised beds are making quite the difference.

Actually weeding it helps, too.

gratuitous Daylily picture
After a strangely warm, dry spell in Spring, temperatures have cooled off, and it's been a fairly nice Summer so far.  July has been getting a bit hotter and muggier, but after living in North Carolina, I can't really complain.  The plants have been enjoying the weather.  I think weeds enjoy all weather.

A garden always needs daisies.
I wish you all a happy and enjoyable, bloom-filled summer!

my heart shaped yarrow bloom
And Happy Weeding Gardening!

To see what else is growing in gardens of bloggers around the world, visit Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day over at May Dreams Gardens blog!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Nasturtium 'Summer Gown' - Review of a Not-So-Pink Nasturtium

When I was looking for seeds at Burpee's website a few months ago,  I was instantly drawn to a picture of an unusual and gorgeous Nasturtium that was new for this year.

Burpee's picture of Nasturtium 'Summer Gown'
It was the new Nasturtium 'Summer Gown', which, according to the picture, looked like it would be a bright neon pink.  Imagining containers full of these showy pink flowers, I ordered the seeds and planted them.  However, this is what the Nasturtiums actual look like now in bloom:

Nasturtium 'Summer Gown'
Pretty, but not truly pink, though some of the flowers do fade to get a two-toned, burgundy and pinkish effect.

Nasturtium 'Summer Gown'
To be fair, if I had read Burpee's blurb on this flower, the actual description of the color is 'a rich, deep burgundy-purple that gets still bluer over the summer'.

Nasturtium 'Summer Gown'
Ahh, that is a much more accurate account of the color, as my 'Summer Gown' flowers are definitely more a burgundy and not the brilliant pink of the picture on the website.  Was that picture a mistake?  How did they manage to get a picture of a brilliant pink Nasturtium on the website?

Well, I can actually see how they got this, for when the sun shone on the flowers...

according to the camera
...interestingly, my camera picked up a lot of pink, even though my eyes did not.

faded Nasturtium 'Summer Gown' bloom, looking a little more pink on camera
With the sun, some of the blooms did look almost scarlet to me, and some of the later blooms are picking up blue and purple tones...

...but I have yet to see any actually pink flowers.  I'm wondering if the picture on the website is a mistake, a disconnect between the people picking out the camera shot and the people who are describing what the actual flower looks like.   With its more subdued and delicate colors, I think 'Summer Gown' would look very pretty in a border or combined with other flowers.  As a solo star in my containers, however, the effect was sadly lackluster.

I did notice that the blooms in my container that got more sun faded more quickly than in the container that got more shade, so my flowers might have gotten overheated during our warm spell. Thus I think the colors would be a little more showy in cooler weather or with a little more shade. But still, anyone wanting to plant Nasturtium 'Summer Gown', note that in my case the description has been far more accurate than the picture.

So far, my 'Summer Gown' flowers are decidedly burgundy, not bright pink.

Has anyone else grown 'Summer Gown'?  Anyone get brighter colors than mine?  And anyone grown any truly pink Nasturtiums out there, maybe of a different variety?

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