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Friday, June 29, 2012

Decisions for a Drought

My garden and I made it through the hottest day ever recorded in June in Indianapolis. Toward the end of the day, the garden fairies and I, in consultation with the Board of Directors decided to move into Drought Survival Mode.

This means,

We water for survival, and not for flourish and lush.

We won't be buying more plants until fall, and then we will probably buy many new plants.

We'll tell people that tan is the new green for lawns. We won't let the lawn die, but we'll let it go dormant, as it likes to do in warm weather anyway, and give it just enough water so that it doesn't die.

We'll take notes and look at this as a learning experience, a chance to really figure out how little water some plants need to survive.

Oh, and the garden fairies agreed that there will be no fire in the garden except for fireflies. But it took a bit of negotiating.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


From the Law Firm of
Hortley and Hortson


WHEREAS, it is likely that a record will be set in Indianapolis this year for the driest June in recorded history with just .05 inches of rain, breaking the record of .36 inches of rain set in 1988;

WHEREAS, the extended weather forecast calls for excessive high heat with temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday and Friday;

WHEREAS, the outlook for the remainder of the summer is unknown.

THEREFORE, all gardeners who have not yet done so are advised to switch from watering plants so that they will flourish to watering plants so that they will survive.  Gardeners are further advised to dispense with any new planting until such time as rain returns. Those who chose to plant now do so at their own risk and hereby hold harmless all others.

FURTHERMORE, all gardeners who have not mulched should consider mulching planted areas of the garden after thoroughly watering those areas but to refrain from such physical activity as mulching during the hottest parts of the day.

IN ADDITION, all gardeners are reminded that most bluegrass lawns naturally go dormant during the hottest months of the year, and they should water lawns sparingly and accept that tan is the new green and grass can survive as long as the crowns of the plants remain green.

SIGNED AND WITNESSED on this 27th day of June in the year 2012 BY:

F. Lee Hortley, Esq.
Fairy Hortson, Esq

Wildflower Wednesday: I watch with interest

I am watching the flowers in my August Dreams Garden border with interest. This area is filled with mostly native plants, though some are named varieties of native plants.

What has captured my attention is early blooms. So far  the hybrid goldenrod, Solidago hybrida 'Little Lemon'  has bloomed early.   My other goldenrod, the rare Solidago shortii  'Solar Cascade' is loaded with flower buds.

Further down this garden border, the New England aster, Aster novae-angliae 'Alma Potschke' is in nearly full bloom, though it is not as covered with flowers as it is when it blooms in the fall.

Liatris spicata is also in full bloom, though this does not surprise me. It bloomed in July last year, as I recall.  But I am bit surprised that  the sneezeweed, Helenium 'Mardi Gras', would show up to party so soon.

I am watering this garden regularly now because this is the driest June on record and these plants are just starting their second season. I hope that in future years, when or if it is this dry again, this garden of mostly native wildflowers will do well without a lot of additional water and return to its planned flowering time of August and later.

Time will tell if my hope is well-founded or foolish  nonsense.

I think it is well-founded.  After all, these native wildflowers should be adapted to this climate.

What wildflowers are you watching these days?  I'll bet other gardeners are watching early blooms, too. I'm going to visit Clay and Limestone to check out if anyone posted about them for Wildflower Wednesday.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Even experienced gardeners have their troubles

Even experienced gardeners have their troubles at times.

Out in my vegetable garden, something has eaten all the leaves off the pole beans and edamame.  My guess is it is rabbits doing the eating.

I've done nothing to keep them away.  I really should get out some spoons and forks to set up my mini fortresses.

(Rabbits here. We don't know why she blames us. Burp. Excuse me, I ate too many bean leaves today. I really do need to go on a diet. If I get much fatter and slower, even Carol might be able to catch me.)
Even experienced gardeners have their troubles at times.

My corn is barely going to be knee high by the fourth of July.
It's a bit embarrassing to have corn this short this far into the growing season.  Absolutely embarrassing. I hope no one finds out about my corn.

(Garden fairies here. Do you wonder why Carol writes something about hoping no one finds out about her corn and then she posts a picture of it on her blog and writes about it? And there is a rumor that she wrote her short corn for her newspaper column for this week. We are garden fairies, we think that's just a little, well, odd.
Even experienced gardeners have their troubles at times.

I looked outside this afternoon and was horrified to see the witch hazel with dried up leaves.  I sounded the watering alarm and commenced to watering it and the plants around it, thoroughly soaking the ground. I hope I got to the shrub in time.

(Dr. Hortfreud here:  Carol sure has her troubles. However, I am not at liberty to divulge most of them. But I can say this. Carol has her share of problems but she is working through them with me, a little at a time.  I currently have my hands full and am not accepting new patients. However, you may place your name on a wait list maintained by my assistant, Miss Jane Hortaway.)

I named another garden

When the garden designer laid out the gardens a few springs ago, she described the bed around the locust tree as a "groundcover quilt". 

What I recall from her description is that it should be a calm sea of greens and  because it was by the patio, it would be filled with low growing plants that would not obstruct the view of the rest of the garden.

As with the other gardens laid out by the garden designer, I have kept mostly true to her design.

In this bed, she specified Epimedium x rubrum, Geranium 'Biokovo', Hosta 'High Society', Liriope muscari 'Varietata' and Asarum candadense.  I've held true to that plant list, except, I left some hardy ground orchids, Bletilla striata, that were  already there and I keep adding more. They aren't big plants and they'll blend in.

Then for spring color in my sea of green I planted some pink grape hyacinths, 'Lady Jane' tulips, and Narcissus 'Emcys'.  I had also purchased white crocuses for this area, but accidentally forgot they were for this border and planted them out in the lawn. Oops.  Plus I noticed some toad lilies growing in there that I thought I had dug up. They won't get that big, so, they, too, will stay in this ground cover quilt.

And I planted some Dianthus along the edge that borders the patio.

Other than that, I am keeping this border mostly as designed.

One other little thing I did earlier this spring was move the bird feeders over to the edge of this area because they were obstructing my view of the new sculpture in August Dreams Garden.
Birds' Blanket
The birds like these feeders on the edge of this border. The tree is overhead which makes it easier for them to fly to safety when I come bolting out the back door.  I like the feeders there, too.  I can see them from most of the back windows.  

I'm getting a lot of birds at these feeders, including downy woodpeckers, cardinals, and red-winged blackbirds  So, in their honor, and in keeping with the idea that this is a garden of low-growing plants, I am officially re-naming this garden border, loosely called "groundcover quilt" by the designer,  Birds' Blanket.

If you are keeping score, here's a run down of the gardens within my garden:

Vegetable Garden Cathedral
Ploppers' Field
The Shrubbery
August Dreams Garden
Woodland Follies
Ridgewood Avenue (not really a garden, it's a path)
Birds' Blanket

I still have a couple of other garden borders to name.  Don't rush me though. Naming a garden can't be rushed.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Just an old watering can, and three wishes

I woke up the next morning and thought about my encounter with the wee garden fairy and her announcement that she could grant me three wishes. Was it a dream?

I wasn't sure. I checked the watering can, which was on the front walk where I had left it. It was still dry inside, and there was no sign of any such thing as a garden fairy.   But I couldn't get out of my mind how real it all seemed and how specific the wishes were that the wee garden fairy said she could grant for me.

One garden to visit. One plant to grow. One pest to banish.

I decided I'd come up with my answers, regardless, and at the designated time, go to the place where the wee garden fairy said to meet her.

The day moved along in fits and starts until finally, it was 24 hours since I had seen the wee garden fairy.  I sheepishly went back to the spot where I'd left the watering can and stood there pretending to look at some nearby plants, all the while hoping the wee garden fairy would return.

I felt a little tickle on the back of my ankle before I heard the garden fairy speak once again.

"We'll, did you come up with your three wishes?  One garden to visit. One plant to grow. One pest to banish."

I found my voice and told her that I had.  Then I answered quickly.   England. Southern Magnolia. Weeds.  Though the answers came quickly it had taken me all day to decide on them.

I picked England for the one garden to visit even though I knew, of course, that it was not just one garden, but thousands. I had decided if I was going to wish, I should wish big, to get all I could from this one wish. After all, I once wrote online that I wished to see the gardens of the Austin garden bloggers, and I got that wish, so I felt sure I'd get this wish, too. 

I spent quite a bit of time coming up with the one plant to grow.  I struggled early on because I had trained myself over the years to basically ignore any plant that wasn't hardy enough for my garden.  Then I remembered how my Dad had tried to grow a Southern Magnolia and was successful for many years before it died after one particularly bad winter. Yes, Southern Magnolia would be my answer.

As I fantasized about what my garden would be like with no pests, I wished I could choose more than one pest to banish.  I took a chance choosing "weeds", realizing that it might make me seem greedy. Of course,  I meant in particular thistle and purslane. And oxalis and black medic and dandelions.  And bindweed and lamb's quarter and those pesky mulberry tree seedlings that come up along the fence and the redbud and red maple tree seedlings, too.   I figured without pesky weeds,  I could learn to live with the animal pests in the garden, with enough plastic spoons and forks to protect my plants.

"Thank you, Carol", said the wee garden fairy.  "I think I can definitely help these three wishes and grant them for you, but you'll need to meet my halfway. I need you to actually make a plan to go to England, buy a hardy variety of Magnolia grandiflora, like 'Little Gem', and go out into the garden to pull some weeds. That's the only way to get your three wishes." 

Then she pulled out the scroll with the list of the three wishes she could grant and carefully wrote down what I wanted.  One garden to visit - England. One plant to grow - Southern Magnolia. One pest to banish - weeds.

With a final flourish she signed it "Deema Mae Flowerweb".

Ha, now I knew her name.

Then she looked up at me one last time and in her wee garden fairy voice she offered some advice.

"Be careful what you wish for, and make sure you do your part to make your wishes come true. And for my sake and that of all the other wee garden fairies, please look in your watering cans before you start to fill them with water, lest you drown one of us. Yes, there are more of us, and we don't always grant the same three wishes."

With that final word, she blew a little handful of pollen into my face, forcing me to close my eyes and sneeze three times.  When I opened them again, she was gone.

I don't know if I'll ever see Deema Mae Flowerweb again, or any other wee wish granting garden fairies.  I hope that I do. But even if I don't see Deema or any other wee garden fairies again,  I can assure you of this. I'm going to do my part to make my wishes come true, and I'm going to always look in my watering cans before I fill them with water.

The End

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just an old watering can

I thought it was just an old watering can, full of dust and cobwebs. But I liked the looks of it, the patina, and was happy to have a friend give it to me.

I took it home and decided to at least wash it out a bit.  I grabbed the nearby hose and just as the first few drops of water hit the bottom of the can I heard a wee voice say, "Blooming radishes! Hold on just a minute. At least help me get out of this watering can before you drown me."

You can imagine my surprise when I looked inside the can and saw a tiny garden fairy, no bigger than my thumb.

"Well, don't just stare at me", she said. "Help me up out of here."  I gingerly put my hand in the can to allow the garden fairy to rest on my index finger, then I carefully raised my hand and brought her safely out and set her down gently on the ground.

"I've been waiting for you", she said.

I was speechless.

"If you don't mind, Carol, can you give me a little dribble of water from the hose? I'm parched."

I did as she asked, wondering how she knew my name. 

Then she went on talking in her wee garden fairy voice. I leaned down closer to hear better.

"Since you found me and rescued me from that old watering can, I get to grant you three wishes.  But I am a garden fairy so these aren't just any ol' wild three wishes where the skies the limit. There are some guidelines we must follow."

With a quick snap, she pulled a scroll of paper from her apron pocket and read the guidelines out loud to me.

"I hereby grant you three wishes for your garden.   The first wish I can grant is I can send you to see any garden in the world, but please let me know in advance which season you want to see it in.  The second wish I can grant is I can let you grow any plant in your garden that you wold like to grow but don't already grow.  I will remind you again that I am a garden fairy so I don't have to worry about hardiness zones.  Finally, for the third wish, I can remove any pest from your garden and it can be animal, vegetable or mineral, but I can only remove one.   Those are the three wishes I can grant you, Carol, please choose wisely."

When she had finished reading from the scroll, she rolled it up, put it back in her apron pocket and started to tap her foot while she waited for me to answer.

One garden to visit, one plant to grow, and one pest to banish.  I began thinking.  Then I asked for a day to answer. The wee garden fairy said yes.  We agreed to meet by the watering can in 24 hours so I could tell her my wishes. 

One garden to visit. One plant to grow. One pest to banish.  I'm still thinking...


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June? Where are you, June?

June? Where are you June?

Where are your pleasant days, your gentle rains? Why do you bring us hot, dry days and late summer flowers?

June, this is not funny.


Yes, Dr. Hortfreud?

Why are you writing to a month of the year like that?

Was I writing to a month of the year?  Oh, I guess I was.  I guess the heat and lack of rain are getting to me.

I have some advice for you, Carol.

Am I going to like it?

Maybe, at least I hope so.  My advice is to water to keep your plants alive, but don't water to make them look like June.

You mean I should watch how much I water?

Yes, because it looks like this is going to be one of those long, hot summers.  Pace your watering.

Good advice. Do you have any other words of wisdom?

Not really.  You've gardened through hot, dry summers before, like last summer and the summer before that. And there was 1988. Remember how bad that summer was? I know you remember it.  Water to keep plants alive and remember that any plant that dies leaves a spot for a new plant. Also, really focus on fall planting. It's better for most plants.

Got it, Dr. Hortfreud.  Now, can I continue my plea to June?


June, why do you try to be like August? Don't be something you aren't. We love you as June, with your gentle rains and cooler temps.  Please drop the charade. Come home, June.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Guest Post: A Riddle from the Garden Fairies

Garden fairies here.

We are garden fairies and we have a riddle to share.  We made it up ourselves so naturally, we think it is clever, brilliant, insightful and it contains a bit of wisdom, too.

What can be both early and late at the same time?

That's the riddle.  What can be both early and late at the same time?

We are garden fairies and  we would like for people to puzzle over that before giving the answer,  so please stop reading for just a minute, look away from the screen, gaze out onto your garden and think about our riddle for just a few minutes.

We are garden fairies, humor us.

Now, what can be both early and late at the same time?

Have you figured it out?  We are garden fairies, we figured it out as soon as Ol' Tangle Rainbowfly asked it of us the other night while we were gazing with amazement at a tall phlox blooming right now. It's early. It really isn't supposed to bloom until July.

Then we went down to the Vegetable Garden Cathedral and just laughed and laughed. Carol's corn plants are only six inches tall, and the beans?  Well, they aren't that much taller. The whole vegetable garden is late this year, again.  It's late because Carol waited until Memorial Day weekend to plant it.

Then she stands there and wonders why it is so late getting started.

Granny Gus McGarden, the garden fairy who reigns over the Vegetable Garden Cathedral with her son the right reverend Hortus Augustus McGarden, said she tried to get Carol to plant earlier this year, but well, we are garden fairies. We think now Carol wants us to speed up the vegetable plants. 

We are garden fairies and can only do so much around here.

Honestly, we are given a lot more credit than we deserve... hey wait a minute. We are garden fairies. We'll take all the credit we can get as long as blame doesn't come with it. We hate to be blamed, if you know what we mean, but we'll take credit. Well credit for doing something, all others pay cash.

Anyway, did you figure out what can be both early and late at the same time?

A garden, of course.

A garden can be early and late at the same time. Early with some blooms, late with others, at least in a mixed up place like May Dreams Gardens.

We are garden fairies, and we think that is a clever, brilliant, insightful, and wise riddle. We hope you enjoyed it and please have a great week.

Submitted by:
Thorn Goblinfly
Chief Scribe and Keeper of the Riddles at May Dreams Gardens

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The most beautiful daylily in the world

'Moonlight Orchid'
Indianapolis, IN:  A press conference was held early this morning for the presentation of the award for the Most Beautiful Daylily in the World at May Dreams Gardens.

Members of the media were asked to arrive early to ensure that the bloom would be at its peak for photographs. 

Fortunately, the plant was at the edge of Plopper's Field, where plants are just plopped in willy-nilly where there is room, so it was easy to photograph.

After an appropriate amount of exclamation over the beauty of this daylily, members of the media were allowed to take pictures and ask questions.

One of the most asked, and unanswered, questions was about the name of the daylily.  The owner of the garden, who was not present, did not know.  However, her garden secretary, Miss Jane Hortaway, indicated that the owner would return to the place where she bought the daylily, Soules Garden, as soon as possible to determine the name of this, the most beautiful daylily in the world.

The owner's garden stylist, Gloriosa Vanderhort, was also on hand to elaborate on the award and the qualifications for it. She said that what qualified this daylily to be the most beautiful daylily in the world was the green center, the pastel shadings of the petals, and the very slight ruffle-i-ness. 

When asked what the owner planned to do with this daylily, Miss Jane Hortway replied, "I'm sure Carol will mark this plant and then later, rain permitting, she will likely dig it up and divide it to spread about Plopper's Field and perhaps share with others. Carol believes that beauty of this sort must always be shared."

*Update - I've heard back from my friends at Soules Garden. The Most Beautiful Daylily in the World is 'Moonlight Orchid'.  They say it is almost always sold out.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - June 2012

Hemerocallis 'Longstocking'
Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for June 2012.

As I looked around my USDA hardiness zone 6a garden early yesterday morning, before the sun was bright, I was surprised to see how many red and red-toned flowers I have in bloom.

There was a time when I could never have imagined that red would ever be that prevalent in my garden, especially in June. But times change and so does a gardener's willingness to expand the color palette of her garden.

In Plopper's Field, so named because it is where I just plop plants in wherever there is a bare spot,  a new  bloom of Hemerocallis 'Longstocking' , purchased from nearby Soules Garden, brings some red to that border.

Just down the way, on the edge of The Shrubbery, a mass of shrub roses immediately draws my eyes to the area, and I think briefly about sitting for a spell in the garden before heading off to work.

OSO EASY™ Cherry Pie, Rosa 'Meiboulka'
But I keep going on past the roses, past the gate to the vegetable garden and find some yarrow casting a reddish glow on the day.
Yarrow from Blooms of Bressingham
I moved these plants at least three times while re-doing the garden. I think I've found them a good home now and will just leave them be for awhile. 

The yarrow watch over the beginning of the path I call Ridgewood Avenue that divides Woodland Follies from August Dreams Gardens.  Here I stop, surprised to see an aster starting blooming.
Aster novae-angliae 'Alma Potschke'
This aster is supposed to bloom in late August and early fall. What cue did it get that made it think that now was the time to bloom? I guess I shouldn't really be that surprised. This has been a mixed up season so far this year.

Elsehwere in August Dreams Garden, sneezeweed is starting to bloom, too.
Helenium 'Mardi Gras'
It's just a happy coincidence that the blooms of the sneezeweed match part of the sculpture in that garden.

Of course, all is not red in my garden in June.  The shasta daisies, coneflowers, and coreopsis bring white, purple and yellow to Ploppers' Field.  In front there are pink blooms on spirea and yellow blooms on roses, mixed with the hint of blue on newly planted butterfly bushes.  Much of the garden is the same as it was on previous bloom days in June in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, give or take by a few weeks and give or take a few new plants each year.

But red is the color I see in my garden today, in 2012, in the middle of June.

What's blooming in your garden?

We would love to have you join in for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and show us.

It’s easy to participate and all are invited!

Just post on your blog about what is blooming in your garden on the 15th of the month and leave a comment to tell us what you have waiting for us to see so we can pay you a virtual visit. Then put your name and the url to your post on the Mr. Linky widget below to make it easy to find you.

“We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daylilies of Yore

Hemerocallis 'Hyperion'
I will not go down the rabbit hole.

I will not go down the rabbit hole.

I will not open those old seed catalogs from 1926, 1931, and 1933, given to me by the Hoosier Gardener.

I will not open them.

Well,  I will just open them a little and take a peek inside. That won't take much time.

Did you know that in 1926 you could purchase three plants of Hemerocallis 'Kwanso fl. pl.' for just 85 cents? Goodness, that's just the double form of the old common ditch lilies, H. fulva. I know where I could get some of those today  if I wanted some of them. For free. They are great passalong plants.

You could also buy three Hemerocallis flava plants for 65 cents in 1926. The common name for this daylily was Lemon Lily. I'm not sure where you'd buy this one today or find one. I did a quick search and came up with nothing.

I think the oldest daylily variety I have in my garden today is 'Hyperion', which dates back to 1924. I can't remember where I bought it, but I'm pretty sure I bought it because I have a tag for it. Well, I did have a tag for it at one time. I wonder why 'Hyperion' isn't listed in these catalogs? Was it too scarce at the time, since it had only been around for two years when the one catalog was published?  I do like it in my garden.

In another catalog, the one from 1931, you could buy the H. flava and the H. 'Kwanso fl. pl.' for 30 cents each. According to one online inflation calculator, all else being equal, those plants would be $4.54 each if you bought them today. At that price, the sales tax alone, at least in my state, would be 32 cents.

I should put away these catalogs for now and pick them again this winter. Winter is rabbit hole time. Not early summer.

Yes, I should put these catalogs away.

Well, I will put them away right after I look at the list of books for sale in the one catalog.

I will not look up these old books to find copies today.

I will not look up these old books to find copies today.

Well, maybe I will just...

Someone pull me out.  I have gardens to water, flowers to deadhead, weeds to pull, a bloom day post to write.  I have no business going down in rabbit holes during the growing season.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dial-A-Horticulturist: Assigning Common Names

Hello. Thank you for calling Dial-A-Horticulturist where our motto is "gardeners rule". How may I direct your call?

I'd like to speak to someone about common plant names, please.

Certainly, please hold while I direct your call. Our current wait time is 10 minutes as this is our busy season. While you are on hold, you will hear the sounds of a garden - bees buzzing, birds singing, and water gurgling.

Thank you.

Hello, this is Hortense Hoelove in Common Plant Names. How may I help you.

Hortense? The Hortense who wrote a gardener's advice column? That Hortense.

Yes, that Hortense. How may I help you this evening?

Wow, I'm excited to actually talk to you, Hortense. So excited, I almost forget my question. Oh, wait. I remember. Is there a common name for Clematis x triternata 'Rubromarginata'?

Hold please, while I check. While you are on hold, you will hear the sounds of a garden - bees buzzing, birds singing, and water gurgling.

Yes, I know.

Thank you for holding. I've looked it up. I don't see a consistently used common name. Would you like to suggest one?

Oh, daisies, would I ever. I'd like to suggest Fairy Vine.

Hold please, while I check. While you are on hold, you will hear the sounds of a garden - bees buzzing, birds singing, and water gurgling.

So I've heard.

Thank you, again, for holding. Though Fairy Vine has been used as a common name, we here at Dial-A-Horticulturist do not see harm in using it for Clematis x triternata 'Rubromarginata'. We'll add it to our files.

Oh, thank you. That seemed pretty easy. Can we change it to Carol's Fairy Vine?

Sure. We'd be happy to update our records. Please hold while I take care of that. While you are on hold, you will hear the sounds of a garden - bees buzzing, birds singing, and water gurgling.

Really? I had no idea.

Thank you for holding. We've updated our records to indicate that a common name for Clematis x triternata 'Rubromarginata' is Carol's Fairy Vine. Please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee that this plant will not have other common names. Nor can we guarantee that Carol's Fairy Vine won't be used for another plant in the future. Is there anything else I can help you with?

No, that should do it for now. Thank you.

My pleasure. Thank you for calling Dial-A-Horticulturist where our motto is "gardeners rule".

Clematis x triternata 'Rubromarginata', commonly called Carol's Fairy Vine scampers in the branches of a serviceberry tree.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Guest Post: Garden Fairies Discuss Daylilies

Garden fairies here.

We are garden fairies and we were definitely unequivocally not going to post again so soon but something has been brought to our attention that has us all up in arms.  

We are a-tither about the goings on that go on around here and feel it is our duty as garden fairies to report what has gone on here at May Dreams Gardens.

As many gardeners know, this is the time of year when the daylilies are starting to bloom. Carol has quite a few daylilies in Plopper's Field including this spider-form one that she can't remember the name of and really, there is a label down near the base of this plant somewhere but it has probably washed off because Carol does not have a good system for labeling plants.

Anyway, we are garden fairies and we don't really give a blooming radish what the names of the daylilies are, we just like to admire them and have our little dancing and drinking parties when they start to bloom.

Did we just write drinking? Forget we wrote that, we are garden fairies and there are rumors enough about what we do around here at night without people thinking that we are debaucherous drunks.  We are garden fairies, we are entitled to our fun. Speaking of fun, did we tell you about the time that Sweetpea Morningdew...

Well, enough about us. Guess what we found blooming in Plopper's Field where Carol just plops all kinds of plants willy-nilly? 


If those aren't those common as dirt 'Stella de Oro' daylilies then we aren't garden fairies. And we are garden fairies.

We thought for sure that Carol had broken it off with "Stella" daylilies and unceremoniously removed them from the garden. But look, there they are again.  What is up with that? It's like you can never get rid of 'Stella de Oro' daylilies once you have them.

Oh sure, they are nice enough, but they are everywhere. They are like plant tramps. They hang out at the mall, the gas stations, half of the neighbors' mailboxes, schools... really, they are everywhere.

And by everywhere, we  also mean Plopper's Field here at May Dreams Gardens, too.  We are garden fairies.

Submitted by,
Thorn Goblinfly
Chief Scribe and Daylily Spotter at May Dreams Gardens

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Early morning in the garden

Early morning in the garden, before the heat of the day...

The first coneflower of the summer opens up...

The chairs invite the gardener to sit a minute and plan how to use this gift of a day...

The vegetable garden cathedral is ready for the gates to open...

The rabbit watches all...

One wonders what will happen in the garden on a day like today?

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Help choose a new name for the Green Bandana Garden Club

Members of the Green Bandana Garden Club recently met and discussed renaming the club to better represent the breadth and depth of interests of the esteemed members.

There was much discussion and while the membership came close to agreeing on a new name, they fell short of actually deciding on one.  Therefore, they decided to ask the public gardening community to help determine the name.

We invite you to open the survey below and choose the name of your choice for the club that may soon be known as the "Formerly Known as the Green Bandana Garden Club".

The members of the Green Bandana Garden Club thank you for your input.  (Oh, and do hurry, the survey is only open to the first 99 people.)

Green Bandana Garden Club Renaming Survey

Friday, June 08, 2012

Telegram to a garden

Garden Union Telegram Co.
T. Goblinfly, President

 jh ##MDG 53

                        HOUSE AT MAY DREAMS GARDENS IN   1013 PM   JUNE 8 2012

                        GARDEN AT MAY DREAMS GARDENS IN 


Thursday, June 07, 2012

Telegram from a garden

Garden Union Telegram Co.
T. Goblinfly, President

 cm ##MDG 65

                        MAY DREAMS GARDENS IN   900 PM   JUNE 7 2012

                        HOUSE AT MAY DREAMS GARDENS IN 

                                                        MISS JANE HORTAWAY 

A quiet, early summer evening

It was intended to be a quiet, early summer evening.

I went out to the front yard and moved the three remaining bags of mulch off the pallet and piled them up by the  garage door. I made a promise to myself that I would spread that leftover mulch before the weekend.  Then I drug the pallet to the garage and hoisted it into the bed of the truck.

With that little chore taken care of, I watered the few containers on the front porch.  I didn't do much with containers this spring.  My focus was more on the rest of the garden and I ran out of time.  But the few plants in containers seemed to be doing well, which pleased me.

I noted how dry the lawn is becoming and made a mental note to start watering by the weekend.   The neighbors walked by with their dogs and I waved hello.  Then I walked around to the back of the house and admired the newly edged and mulched beds.

I am happy that I hired a crew to do the edging and mulching for me.  Now I feel like I can focus on deadheading and weeding, "light work" for a gardener.

After I watered the containers on the back patio, which are mostly miniature hostas I wintered over, I walked around the garden beds with the hose and sprayed down the mulch.  I paused where I remembered I had planted something new and gave those plants an extra drink of water.

With this done I looked around and decided that instead of deadheading and weeding, I would set up some bamboo pole teepees in the vegetable garden cathedral and plant pole beans.  I wanted to do it earlier but time keeps slipping away, one pomordoro at a time. It took some finagling to get the poles set up, but I managed it somehow and sowed seeds for two kinds of pole beans around the bases.   When I finished sowing the beans, I called it done for the evening and headed inside.

It was intended to be a quiet, early summer evening.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Guest Post: Garden Fairies Discuss Mulch

Bletilla striata
Garden fairies here.

We are garden fairies and we are writing to report that our afternoon naps were rudely and abruptly interrupted today when a large truck backed up on to the driveway and dropped a gigantic load of mulch, right there.

The mulch was all in bags, so we sent a few scouts over to investigate, once the truck had left.  What we discovered was that these bags contained our very favorite pine bark mulch.

We are garden fairies and we were excited to see this and immediately began to plan a celebration.  We were planning what food we would serve and what nectars and other libations we would drink and had just started discussing the guest list when Ol' Tangle Rainbowfly stepped forward and said, "Who is going to spread that mulch?"

Blooming radishes. We are garden fairies and so we knew we were not going to do it.  Then we had great concern because as best we could figure there were now 40 bags of mulch on the driveway.  We recalled that until Monday last week, which seemed to be some kind of holiday, Carol had 20 bags of the same mulch sitting around the garden for nearly two months before it got spread out.

Well, after much ciphering and discussion, we garden fairies became very concerned that if Carol would leave 20 bags of mulch for two months, did that mean that she would leave 40 bags for four months?  Oh dear.  Surely not.

We are garden fairies and so we started to investigate. Before long, we found some emails that indicate to us that there will actually be a crew here tomorrow to spread this mulch, "as far as it will go". Furthermore, the crew is going to edge the beds.

Whew, we are garden fairies and we were relieved to read this. So we had another meeting to discuss the situation and decided to put out a general warning for all garden fairies to move back to the vegetable garden for the duration of the day. After all, one shudders to think about sharp shovels re-edging the beds and mulch being flung all over and what might happen to a garden fairy who might have had a bit too much fun the night before and didn't make it quite back to a safe place before passing out stopping for a nap.

We are garden fairies, and that just makes us shudder. We will now remove the horror of those thoughts from our minds by gazing about the last hardy ground orchid bloom of the season, pictured above.

Submitted by:
Thorn Goblinfly
 Chief Scribe and Writer for the Garden Fairies at May Dreams Gardens

Monday, June 04, 2012

Tomato Stakes

Vegetable garden June 3, I wish it were further along.
This spring, I have finally, at my advanced aged and with all my gardening experience, decided on the best tomato stakes for my garden.

I am, of course, a fervent staker of tomatoes, having learned how to grow tomatoes from my father, who was also a tomato staker.  It was all I knew, and all I cared to know about growing tomatoes.  Stake them. Don't cage them.

When I decided that I had finally figured out the best tomato stakes for me, I recalled that when my Dad was about the age I am now, he, too, found the perfect stakes for his tomatoes. He used heavy duty 'T' fence posts. He sank those fence posts a good 18 inches into the ground and attached cross bars between them.  There was no tomato plant that was ever going to grow so large that it would pull those posts down.  It was a permanent structure.

In my own garden, I have opted to not put in a permanent structure for staking my tomatoes because I like to rotate my tomatoes around the garden, planting them in different locations each year, to foil those pesky plant diseases and other pests.  Though, no matter where I plant my tomatoes, the tomato hornworms find them.

Instead, I pound two foot lengths of 1" PVC pipe about a foot into the ground and then drop a stake into those pipes.  Over the years, I've tried several stakes, including those vinyl coated metal stakes.  Last year, I bought a new set of them and by August, several of the stakes had been pulled over by the weight of the tomato plants.

The only stakes that lasted and never bent were four metal spiral stakes I purchased about twenty years ago. Year in and year out, those spiral stakes have held up, no matter how big the tomato plants are.  Yet, I hesitated for several years about buying more of them because they aren't cheap.  But then I figured out the cost of all the stakes I've purchased and discarded and decided to put a crow bar in my wallet and buy ten more spiral stakes.

Today, I set them up in the yard and painted them lime green with accents of bright yellow because I had some spray paint in those colors left over from another project.

Before, they were all shiny and metal, except the old ones, which were more of a rusty brown.

Afterward, they were bright and garden-y colored.

Out in the garden, I think they look almost sculptural.
I think next year, I'll paint that PVC pipe a lovely green, too.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

When a gardener chooses wallpaper

When a gardener chooses wallpaper for her iPhone, she considers many options.

She can choose a close up picture of a single hydrangea bloom...

Or maybe step back to use a picture of many hydrangea blooms.

She can maybe choose a snippet from one of her t-shirts...

Or choose a picture of the back of a chair her sister saw for sale.

She can use a copy of a picture she made with some secrets on it...

Or use a picture of an old-fashioned book, just because its nice and green.

She can display a picture of the view from Biltmore to remind her of the recent garden bloggers fling,

Or display a picture of her own gardens to remind her of home.

She might even consider a green bandana background to show she's in the club.

Regardless of which picture she chooses, when a gardener chooses wallpaper for her iPhone, she almost always chooses something from the garden.

It's a nice reminder that she is a gardener, just in case she might forget.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Achieving Happiness in Your Garden: The Sixteenth Secret

OSO EASY™ Cherry Pie Rosa 'Meiboulka' by the green chairs.
Now that it is June, the weather has done a complete reversal from last weekend's temperatures in the 90's to today's shivering temperature of 60F. 

I guess June got the memo from March, April, and May about how fun it is to be some other month than what you are.

Ha!  Fun indeed. These unseasonable months are mostly just confusing and unsettling for gardeners, plants, and critters alike.

Yet, even with the confusing weather of this spring, or perhaps because of it, I did manage to learn a few new secrets about achieving happiness in the garden in the merry month of May.  

One of the biggest new secrets that I discovered, the sixteenth secret, is to slow down in your garden.

Slow down in your garden?

Many may ask how in the world can slowing down in your garden during the one month when it seems there is so much to do that you should really put a rush in your hurry up to get it all done make you happier in your garden?

Glad you asked.

Over the past few weeks, I have been practicing the Pomodoro Technique of time management.  There's an app for that!  I downloaded a Pomodoro timer onto my iPhone and use it to keep from working myself to a frazzle in the garden before taking a break. 

With this time management technique, I set the time and then work  in the garden for about 25 minutes, until the timer goes off.  Then I take a five minute break to drink a glass of water and stretch a bit, especially if I've been kneeling in the garden to weed.  When the break is over, I set the timer again for another 25 minutes and go on to whatever else I'm doing in the garden.

After about four iterations, or about two hours, I take a longer break.

I understand this time management technique isn't everyone's idea of the best way to hoe a row, but it has been useful to me and has helped me realize how fast I move in the garden.  

I figured out in several of those 25 minute segments that when I'm out in the garden, I'm hopping around like a jack rabbit, walking briskly from the front to the back, from the back to the front, kneeling, standing, starting this, doing that. While I manage to get a lot done at this quick speed, at the end of my gardening time I'm exhausted.

Slow down in your garden.

I discovered that if I consciously slow down a bit, I still get a lot done in the garden and have some energy left afterward.  I am, of course, still dirty, sweaty, and tired, but I'm not exhausted to the point that I'm shot for the day. 

Slow down in your garden, the sixteenth secret to achieving happiness in your garden.

I think the Old Woman at the Door would be proud of me for figuring out this secret at my young age. In fact, by slowing down a bit and taking periodic breaks, I'm keeping her from showing up as often as she once did.  I miss her, of course, but I'm sure she'll still show up every once in a while, anyway.