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Monday, June 30, 2014

Spots on Flowers

Canna showing garden fairy footprints
If you do an online search for "spots on flowers", the most common results will lead you to sites telling you about all kinds of plant diseases. Your search may even lead you to sites with information about too much sun causing the flower spots.

To the authors of all those sites, I say well, sure, possibly the spots are caused by diseases, but does my spotted flower look diseased?

No, it does not.

It looks like it has been trampled on by a bunch of garden fairies.

Because we all know that  spots like these on the canna  are actually garden fairy and flower sprite foot prints.

And from the looks of things, those fairies and sprites have been stepping all over these blooms. What fun they must be having in the garden these days!

I just wonder how they managed to walk upside down on these lily flowers without falling off?
Lily showing garden fairy and flower sprite footprints
Just another question to ponder while out in the garden...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Because I have so much to do

Because I have so much to do in the garden today, I thought I would start out by taking pictures of the garden - where so much needs to be done and should have been done weeks ago - and posting them on my blog.

That makes perfect sense doesn't it?  I knew you'd understand, gentle reader, because you have your ways, too.   Ways of stalling. Ways of slowing down. Ways of taking just a minute before you head out to the garden and become drenched with sweat and covered with mud and dirt.

Oh look...

The daylilies are blooming in Plopper's Field now, along with some other warm colored flowers.

I remember in the spring I thought this garden needed more colors besides blue and white.  I barely recall now how blue and white it was, but it isn't blue and white now so I guess the oft spoken adage is true, "wait a minute and it will change".  Or whatever that adage is.

I don't live far from a daylily nursery. I can go over there just about any time to see what is in bloom and then pick what I like to buy for my own garden.
I tend to like the spider or unusual forms of daylilies, as it turns out.
As if the blooming daylilies aren't enough of a reminder of how this growing season is moving right along, we have the coneflowers chiming in.
The scream out "summertime summertime".

By the way, I despise those double forms of coneflowers in all those weird colors.  I won't have them in my garden. Will not.

Along down the way, the chairs call out. "Sit a minute. Enjoy the morning. Come here and relax and ponder your latest obsession of trying to figure out a better word than "deadheading" to describe the act of removing spent blooms".
So far, I've come up with reviving, fading and vereyifying, which is a tip of the shears to Rosemary Verey, a British gardener/author who insisted her gardeners should start each day by deadheading spent blooms.  Yep, still mulling it over.  Still looking for a better word than deadheading.

Just when I thought it perhaps really was a good idea to sit for a moment, I glanced over to the nearby rose shrubs.  They are looking a bit ragged after their first rush of bloom.
And what is that? Coming right up through the rose shrub is a big old thistle. How did I miss that yesterday when I was weeding and fading flowers, or weeding and reviving flowers, or weeding and vereyfying flowers, or whatever I was doing?

This is clearly an adapted sub-species of thistle which thinks it can hide in roses. It's a double-thorny weeding situation for sure to get its prickly stem out from the rose without the gardener emerging looking like her arm was used as a scratching post by a bunch of alley cats.

I am up for the challenge, however, and now will positively head out to the garden, leaving you, gentle reader, with a better picture of the garden to end this post with because I don't want the image of thistle growing up through spent roses to be what you remember here.

Look it's Plopper's Field, where I plop flowers in wherever there is an open spot.

Let that be the image you remember of my garden today!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wordless Wildflower Wednesday, with garden fairies

Heliposis helianthoides 'Helhan', trade name Loraine Sunshine
Garden fairies here.  We are garden fairies and we do not care that Carol made this a combined "wordless" and "wildflower" post just because Wildflower Wednesday occurs on the same day of the week as Wordless Wednesday.

We've got something to say about Loraine Sunshine. Yes, we do.  See all those green leaves behind Loraine's variegated leaves? Do you see them? Those are Loraine's offspring, her seedlings.  They are solid green.  That's what happens when you get a fancy all-dressed up perennial wildflower like Loraine. She can self sow and sometimes you get all green leaves and sometimes you get variegated leaves. It just depends.

What does it depend on? Us garden fairies, of course. You think it is easy to paint those leaves all variegated like that?  Well, you just try it some time before you judge us. And don't be all sloppy about it. Paint them nice and even and perfect the way Sundrop Leafpainter does. She's one of the best leaf painters around and always paints the Heliopsis herself, which is why some are variegated and some are green.

There are only so many hours in a day, even for a garden fairy...

Note from Carol:   

Heliopsis helianthoides is a native wildflower which has bright yellow daisy-like flowers and can grow up to three feet tall.  It's commonly called ox-eye daisy and is hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 3 - 9. It is a good self-sower but can be kept in check by removing spent blooms before they go to seed.  The variegated variety 'Helhan' is sold as Loraine Sunshine.  It can also self-sow about the garden, producing both variegated and green seedlings.  I grow it for the beautiful foliage and do try to remember to remove spent blooms. If you don't, well, you'll have a lot of Heliopsis to share with others. 

To read about other wildflowers, visit Gail at Clay and Limestone, our hostess for Wildflower Wednesday.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A call to weed

There comes a time when you must plunge into the depths of the garden border and pull the weeds.

Pull the thistle rising above the rest of the flowers, catching it just as it is ready to burst into bloom and spew its seed about the garden. No matter that it is growing up through the middle of a massive rose. Pull it out.

Pull the perennial sweet pea vines creeping along the ground, snaking their way up to the sunlight through the innocent coneflowers and daisies, ready to strangle them.You don't have time to lament ever planting the perennial sweet pea in the first place. Pull it out.

Rip out the oxalis, doing its best to disguise itself as an innocent ground cover around the base of the honeylocust tree. It is not innocent. It is a thug. Pull it out.

This not the time to saunter into the garage or garden shed to get a few weeding tools and lay them out like a surgeon preparing to do a delicate operation.

This is a time for action. You and your gloved hands - that's all you need. You must plunge into the border and yank those weeds out by their roots.  You cannot hesitate and wonder even if it is a weed. You must be decisive and quick.

This is not the time to gingerly step into the flower border, carefully deciding where  to put your foot. Your very right to call your garden a "garden" is at stake here.  Another day, another week and you have a full blown weed patch. Step in there with purpose.

Go. Do it now.  Those weeds are not waiting. You have no time to even finish reading this post. Those weeds are growing and they will show you and your garden no mercy. Go get them. Pull them. Do not even give them the dignity of composting. To the trash!  Now!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Overheard in a garden

If you are very quiet in a garden and stand quite still, you can hear the flowers talking to one another.

Listen in to the conversation overheard in the August Dreams Garden border on a still, early morning.

"Good morning, flower friends.  Hey Solidago, what's going on over there?"

"Glad you asked, Rudbeckia.  Please call us Goldenrod. Did you see how Carol trimmed us back the other day?  We went from nearly two foot tall back to one foot tall. We are really going to have to work hard to get back up to full height by August."

"I did see it. I'm glad she didn't trim us back. We Black-eyed Susans don't get as tall as you goldenrods."

"Oh, yeah, tell that to the Rudbeckia on the other side of me. She's probably going to be five foot tall again this year."

"Oh, we forgot about her. We can't even remember her name, though we are related.  Hey, Joe Pye-Weeds, where have you been? We almost thought we'd lost you in the winter."

"Yes, wasn't that a cold winter? We like to froze to death, but we didn't. We were just taking our time this spring.  It's going to take a lot more than one of the coldest winters ever to knock back us Joe Pyes! Speaking of winter, are all the asters accounted for?"

"Here we are.  Over here. We look good, don't we. We asters think this is the best we've looked since we were planted here three years ago. Look how full and lush we are.  And tidy, too."

"Tidy? That's a joke. Between you and that prairie dropseed grass, there are seedlings all over this garden.  If we aren't careful, we'll look like that Plopper's Field on the other side of the garden. What a mess that is!"

"Yeah, tell us about it, Boltonia, though you've scattered your fair share of seedlings around here so don't get after us and the prairie dropseed."

"All of you stop the bickering.  We Liatris are trying to put a little color in this garden with our blooms and this noise is distracting us and keeping the bees away. We need those bees."

"Show offs, just wait until we goldenrods start blooming. No one will remember Liatris when we bloom!"

"Speaking of which, you goldenrods are really taking over.  Can you watch where you're spreading to?  We dropseeds are feeling a little overcrowded here."

"Hey, it's not all us, look at some of the others. They are spreading, too. All except those tall metal looking things. Hey, metal looking thing, what are you all about?"

"Goldenrods, be quiet.  That's a sculpture, everyone knows sculptures don't talk. How silly to try to talk to a sculpture. Next thing we know, you'll be talking to  the mulch.  Which reminds me, we need some more mulch over here."  

"Hush. Here comes the gardener.  Don't let her overhear us. She'll question her sanity if she hears us talk and then they might take her away and then who will care for us? Maybe she's coming over to get rid those thistles lurking over there on the edge of the garden.  Oops, sorry everyone. False alarm. It was just a garden fairy."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Repellent: Two Versions of the Same Story

"Plastic owl don't scare anyone!"
I will tell you my version of the story of The Repellent and then let the garden fairies tell you their version of the same story. 

You can then tell us which one tells it better though you should probably just comment that the garden fairies tell it better because they can really get their petals in a twist if they don't win.

My version...

I was looking in the garage for some fertilizer and ran across a sample of a deer repellent. This particular repellent consisted of four small plastic bags filled with something coyote related. I decided if it repels deer, which are not a problem for me, it would also repel rabbits, which are a problem in my garden.

I took the little bags of something coyote related and used some flower stakes to hang them around the garden at a height of about two feet off the ground, as directed.

All was well, it seemed, until Sunday evening. I went out rather late to tie up the tomatoes. Toward the one end of the garden, where the tomato plants are, I smelled the most awful smell. I was sure something had died and was either under the grape arbor or beneath the big shrub in the corner, rotting away.

I didn't want to deal with it then so I went inside and mostly forgot about it. The next evening, last night, I decided to go back out to the veg garden to weed. This time, I went way down to the other end of the garden to stay away from "the smell".

Wouldn't you know it, I smelled it down at the other end of the garden, too. I was horrified at my first two conclusions. Maybe something else had died at this end of the garden? Or worse, maybe whatever died at the other end of the garden smelled so bad it now was stinking up the entire garden. What must the neighbors think?

I tried to ignore the bad smell and keep weeding, but it got worse as I came to the corner of the garden. It was then I realized, as I was kneeling near one of the bags of something related to coyote, that the bags were giving off the foul odor.

I don't know if it repelled any deer, since there are no deer around here, but I can assure you it repelled me and kept me away from the garden.

This evening I bravely went back to the garden, rounded up all those bags of something coyote related, double bagged them in some old shopping bags and put them in the trash, which is now at the curb, waiting to be picked up.

Tomorrow, I can safely return to the garden.


Potatoes in a Smart Pot
Garden fairies here...

We are garden fairies and we cannot believe how long it took for Carol to realize that those bags of deer repellent were the most awfully smelling bags of deer repellent we have ever smelled.

We tried to get her out to the garden to notice them and get them out of there. We finally succeeded but it took two evenings and then she still waited until the third evening to get rid of them.

All the while, Granny Gus McGarden, who reigns over the vegetable garden, was fit to be tied. We have never seen her in such a state.

She organized a protest and led all the garden fairies out of the veg garden, across the great lawn, to the patio where they huddled around the potatoes growing in pots.

They felt safe there, seeing as how they are vegetable garden fairies and those were potatoes. In fact, I'd say some of them treated it more like a holiday than an evacuation and had a bit too much fun. So much fun  that now that Carol has finally removed those bags, it may be difficult to get them to go back across the great lawn to the vegetable garden.

Oh, who are we kidding? We are garden fairies and we each like our own kinds of gardens. Those veg garden fairies will grow weary of just potatoes. They'll gaze off in the distance toward the vegetable garden, see that first blush of pink on a cherry tomato and then you better stay out of their way because they'll knock you down in their rush to return to the vegetable garden.

Yes, they will. And they'll forget all about that smell. Wait, who are we kidding? They won't ever forget that awful smell. We just hope Carol never does that again!

Submitted by,

Violet Greenpea Maydreams, Chief Scribe for the Garden Fairies at May Dreams Gardens.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - June 2014

Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for June 2014.

Here in my USDA Hardiness Zone 6a garden in central Indiana, we've had quite a bit of rain these last few days, so it was nice to see the sun shining on a weekend day.

The sun here seems to be shining just for my Oso Easy® Cherry Pie Roses.  I am pleased with how these came through the winter. I cut them back to nubbins in early spring and they've grown completely back. "Keeper, keeper, keeper", sing the birds around this rose.

Later in the day I went out and took some more bloom day pictures.

I have several different Clematis in bloom throughout the garden. I know the names of some of them, but others I don't.

This is Clematis 'Pagoda'.  It's is really pretty this year, with lots of blooms.

Here's Clematis 'Rooguchi'. It would look a lot nicer if it wasn't growing at ground level. I guess it doesn't like the support I offered it.

This unknown pink clematis grows near the patio. It's a miracle it is still here because it was covered in concrete dust, stomped on, and left for me to take to the compost pile when I had the patio re-done.
But I lazily left it be and look at it now. Just goes to show... sometimes doing nothing is the best thing to do to keep a plant alive in your garden. Sometimes.

I also do not know the official name of this white clematis.
It's growing up and thru a bayberry shrub.

Finally, there is my old faithful Clematis integrifolia 'Alba' blooming in the middle of Plopper's Field.
Plopper's Field is once again in between blooms it seems and needs a bit of attention to deadhead spent May blooms and pull out some thistle that have taken up residence there.

Elsewhere in the garden, amongst the utilities on the side of the house, the ditch lilies are in bloom, Hemerocallis fulva.
A saner person would have removed these long ago but I let them grow on.  Maybe this will be the year I "ditch" them.

It's hard to break up with some flowers.

I tried to break up with the daylily Hemerocallis 'Stella De Oro', but I still have one clump of it back by the grape arbor.
I guess I'm just an old softie when it comes to some flowers. Besides, I've had Stella in my garden for so long, I'm not sure what I would do without her, even though as flowers go, she is a tramp who grows everywhere.

Goodness, look at the time. Time grows short and there are many other posts of bloom day pictures to see, so I'll show just a few more.

Dasiphora fruticosa blooms aound the chairs in The Shrubbery garden border. I remember when we used to know it as Potentilla.  Back behind the chairs you can see the chartreuse leaves of Cotinus coggygria 'Ancot' which is sold under the name Golden Spirit™.

Finally, it's Father's Day here in the United States so I am posting a canna bloom I'm sure my Dad would have approved of. He liked bright, bold blooms.
He passed away 27 years ago this spring, far too young, but I am grateful for the 28 years of my life when he was there in the garden with me.

And that's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day in June here at May Dreams Gardens.

What's blooming in your garden? We'd love to see your June blooms.  Just post on your blog about the blooms in your garden, then come back here and leave a comment, then add a link to your bloom day post on the Mr. Linky widget below. Just like last month, you should also be able to choose a picture from your post to include with your link.

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Minding my peas

There's a tiny bit of work involved in growing peas, but the reward of fresh peas is well worth the effort.

You have to start by having the faith and maybe a little bit of courage to go out to the garden on a cold day in mid-March, or whenever it seems like there is just a glimmer of spring in your garden, and sow the seeds.  You think it is just too cold and the seeds are going to freeze and rot in the ground but they don't.

Soon enough, the pea seeds sprout and the seedlings break through the crust of the ground.  You have to watch and protect those seedlings because hungry rabbits will devour them if they find them and can get to them.

Then you have to provide some support for the pea vines to climb up.  It's really best to put the support in place when you sow the seeds.

The peas climb up the support and then soon you see the first blooms, usually white.  You know then it won't be much longer when you'll see pods start to form.

Then one day you go out to the garden and notice the pods are plumping up a bit and you look them over and find the plumpest pod, just for a taste test. You pick it, carefully break it open, and run your thumb down through the pod to release all the peas into your hand. It's a short trip to your mouth and then you are transported back to your childhood  and your dad's garden and remember the peas he grew. You remember sitting on the back patio with him, shelling peas, and talking about whatever.

Before long, enough of the pea pods in your garden are ready to be picked, so you pick them and sit down on your own patio, quietly shelling out peas, thinking back to what it must have been like when your dad was a kid on a farm in southern Indiana. They grew peas, enough peas to eat in the spring and then can for eating for the rest of the year.

How many rows of peas must they have grown?  Many more rows than the 20 foot row in your garden.  You think about everyone sitting on the porch of the big white farmhouse, shelling out peas.  Your dad, his brothers, later his youngest sister, his parents, his grandparents.  You imagine them talking quietly to one another, trading stories, maybe talking about what they were going to do that night, the next day or for the weekend.  You hear the wind in the trees and wonder if it still carries with it the echoes of their long ago voices.


I don't generally like peas. I never order peas in a restaurant or buy canned or frozen peas.I don't mind peas in vegetable soups but would never eat split pea soup. But I love my fresh grown peas. I love planting them, picking them, shelling them out and eating them fresh. I put them on salads or just eat a few as a snack.

I grow the variety 'Green Arrow' because it has more peas per pod and it's the variety my Dad grew.  I make sure the bed where I'll plant them is ready in the fall so in the spring, on March 17th in my area, I can sow the seeds after just a light raking of the soil.  Technically, the soil temperature needs to be 40 degrees Fahreheit or higher, and it always is by then.  By mid-June I am picking peas and enjoying them fresh.

I will always plant peas.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Garden Pictures with Captions

Lonely garden chairs seek gardener to sit down for a minute.

Blank spot! Go to the garden center now, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

If I could will myself to love weeding, I would have many opportunities to add love to my life.  
No, I am not filling the feeders until you birds eat all the serviceberries.
All mine!

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Be quiet amongst the flowers

Clematis 'Pagoda'

Shhh... be quiet amongst the flowers, lest you disturb a sleeping garden fairy.

Or frighten a buzzing bee.

Or interrupt a chorus of birds.

Shhh... if you are quiet enough,

You may hear the earthworms digging.

You may hear the butterflies flying.

You will hear the songs of the flowers.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Garden Fairies Notice Addition to Blog Page

Clematis 'Rooguchi'
Garden fairies here.

We are garden fairies and we are noticing an addition to this blog page which we believe we should call attention to for the sake of those how may not be so astutely aware, so attuned, to actively watchful as we garden fairies are.

We are watchful, though for the life of us, we cannot figure out how Carol let a common, fading, chive flower photo-bomb her picture of Clematis 'Rooguchi'. 

She should take more time with her pictures. Really, she should. 

Anyway, once Carol isn't looking, Ol' Tangle Rainbowfly intends to take one of those clematis blooms and make a new hat for himself. He claims it has been years since he had a new hat but we know that's not true because he's been strutting around here with a red tulip for a hat for the last month.

Now, where he got that red tulip hat we don't know because as a general rule and by strictest policy and order and decree across the garden, Carol does not generally or with any intent or foresight plant red flowers if she can in anyway avoid doing so.  Whatever.  She has a container with a dark red geranium on the patio right now.

Anyway, all we know is Ol' Rainbow has called dibs on the Clematis 'Rooguchi' or at least first right of refusal of this bloom for his new summer hat.

Meanwhile, we have lost all track of what this post is about. We promised ourselves we would stay focused and get right to the point and use as few words as possible because when we ramble along we think folks get all antsy and "hey, get to the point".   So that is what we will do.

The point is we garden fairies would like to announce here on this very blog that Carol has added a silver emblem denoting she has received a 2014 Silver Award of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association for an e-Newsletter Article she wrote back in March 2013, "Tips for Hiring a Garden Designer".

We are garden fairies.

Submitted by,
Violet Greenpea Maydreams, Chief Scribe and Writing Consultant here at May Dreams Gardens.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Dear Friend and Gardener - Time is Marching Out of the Garden

Pink passalong roses from my Aunt Marjorie
Dear Dee and Mary Ann,

Don't you wish you could close the garden gate and keep Time from marching on through it?

What happened to May?  It's June, already, as we say every year at this time, and time for another Dear Friend and Gardener update on the vegetable garden. 

I always think of June as the month for roses, and just down a bit from my vegetable garden a large, rambling pink rose is blooming, right on schedule.

My Aunt Marjorie gave me this rose, a little start off of one of her roses. It was just an six inch tall stick when I planted it and now it is probably ten feet across and six feet high and owns its corner of the garden.

Many of the other shrub roses in my garden died back quite a bit after the cold winter we had. But this old rose had nary a tip of dead on it. It's a strong rose and doesn't seem to suffer from black spot or anything else. My only complaint about it, if I can be allowed one tiny complaint, is that any thistle which manages to grow at its base and up through its branches is home-free. There is no way I can reach over, around, or under this rose to pull out weeds.

Fortunately, only a few thistle even attempt to grow around this rose.

Out in my vegetable garden, it's another story with the weeds. They grow with vigor but I am bound and determined that this year I'll pull them while they are small.  I held to that determination today and weeded out every bed and then watered everything.

The most common weed in the vegetable garden is still purslane. Ghastly stuff. I know it is edible, but I'm not eating weeds.

I am eating strawberries and pea pods from the garden now and finishing up the last of the radishes, lettuce and spinach.  What's left is bolting in the heat, sending up pretty flower stalks. I plan to pull them all this week and sow some green beans where they grew.

In another section of the garden, the green beans I sowed a few weeks are up and growing.  Thanks to my plastic fork fortresses, the rabbits are leaving them alone.

Do you like my rusty sign?  I bought it at a Master Gardeners education day a few years ago, when I was there to speak about vegetable gardens.   I like having it in the garden, to remind the rabbits whose garden it really is.  Between the sign and the forks, I am sure I've got it all covered. Ha!

I think by the time I write again for Dear Friend and Gardener, I should be picking shelling peas and will hopefully have planted seeds for zinnias, marigolds and sunflowers in the bed along the fence.  Just need for that Time to quit escaping out of the garden.


(Would you like to join Dear Friend and Gardener, a virtual garden club? Follow the link to read all about it and how you can join in!)