Tag Archives: marigold

August Garden Surprises

I took a walk around the yard today just checking everything out. It must have been a while I’d done that, since I had quite a few, luckily mostly pleasant, surprises.

This Rose Of Sharon has always grown in the shadow of surrounding trees which are no longer there.  I never understood why it was planted there and remained quite a runt and hardly flowered.  We left it since it was back in a corner and not hurting anything.   Not this year!  With all the new sun and space, it has flourished and has been blooming like gangbusters.

Rose of Sharon

 

Rose of Sharon

 

Double Bloom Rose of Sharon

Next to the big Rose of Sharon is a small one I bought on clearance.  It was in even more shade and really never grew much.  It was pretty much overrun by hosts and ferns.  All of a sudden this year, it started blooming.  It’s flowers are the more traditional hibiscus looking type.

Rose of Sharon

Then there’s this white Rose of Sharon that just appeared from nowhere.  I thought it was a weed growing up next to the fence.  Kept cutting it back, but it was quite persistent.  After apparently not weeding for while, it unexpectedly flowered!!  My persistent weed was a very pretty white Rose of Sharon.  It actually picked a pretty spot to grow, so this one is staying put.   I also finally know what all those persistent weeds/baby trees in less desirable locations around the yard are.  I am a bit puzzled though where this one came from.   It must be a traveller from a neighbor’s yard since all the Rose of Sharons in my yard are purple.

Rose of Sharon

I apparently really haven’t weeded very much lately and this huge thistle has grown about 6 ft tall behind the white David phlox.  I would have pulled it out, except that it is was being visited by some lovely bumblebees and goldfinches.  I think it’ll stay for the summer.

Thistle

Last fall, I had moved some plants around so this spring, when things were coming up, I wasn’t entirely sure what and where things were.  Early on,  I saw these little grass like leaves that I couldn’t decide if they were weeds or flowers.  I let them be since they weren’t too obnoxious.  Just this week, they finally put out a single daylily bloom.  Seems that some Happy Returns day lilies had found a new home.  Reminds me that, “When in doubt, don’t pull it out!”.

Happy Returns Daylily

I have 2 Knock Out Roses that are a few years old.  They’ve struggled with Japanese Beetle attacks, and then this past winter really did a job on them. They looked pretty haggard, but I left them alone to see what would happen.  Finally, one is putting out a few blooms.  I’m going to trim off the dead stems and be extra vigilant about the Japanese Beetles.  Hopefully the plant will be strong enough to come back healthier next year.

Knock Out Rose

I”m not quite sure why my 1 year old Wine and Roses Weigela is blooming a second time this season.  In any case, it’s healthy and looking great in this spot.

Wine and Roses Weigela

While I don’t have any pictures, I am excited to have seen a few hummingbirds in the yard recently.  They haven’t come to the feeder, so either they don’t like my food selection or there’s enough natural food for them.

Hummingbird Feeder

Last, but not least in my opinion, are these French Favorite Marigolds from Botanical Interests  that I grew from seeds.  I have never had such beautiful marigolds grow in the spot (and for as long as we’ve lived here, this has been my marigold garden).

French Favorite Marigold

Have you had any pleasant garden surprises this year?

Before Vacation

It’s always tough to go leave the garden and go on vacation.  It seems like something (or everything) is ready to just burst out in color or ripen just in time to go away. Or the weather can you throw you a curve ball and get crazy hot/cold or dry/wet. Very unpredictable. I assumed this year was no different, so right before we left I had my daughter Emily take some pictures to do a little before and after.

Some of the flowers were already in full bloom and likely will be past peak before we get back…

asian lily

 


yarrow

 

Bee balm

 

daylilies

Some were ready to bloom and I can only hope I don’t miss the show…

Stephi Gardens

 

Stephi Gardens

 

marigolds

 

Jackmanii clematus

The vegetables were flourishing.  The cooler weather vegetables were starting to show signs of stress and looking ready to bolt, but still fine to harvest for a little while longer.  Peppers, squash and beans were almost ready, so my friend who is helping with dog sitting and plant watering should get some treats.  I’d hate for them to go to waste and there’ll be plenty more.  Tomatoes are growing like gang-busters, but not expecting any ripe ones quite yet.

Stephi Gardens

 

lettuce

 

summer squash

 

Stephi Gardens

Vacations are always a little tricky to be sure everything stays healthy in the garden.  Right before we left for almost 2 weeks, I gave everything a watering with Miracle-Gro fertilizer and dead-headed everything that would benefit from it.  I set the sprinkler to try and optimize waterings, and had a friend also check on things and keep the pots watered.  I also tried to be sure the plants that needed staking were supported so things wouldn’t be too out of hand when I got back.

How do your gardens fare when you go on vacation?

First Frost Warning is Coming Tonight!

I feel pretty lucky that we’ve squeaked out an extra week or so before the first hard frost has hit the Chicago area.  NOAA has issued it’s first freeze watch for the area for tonight, almost a week my after the average date for my area.  We might even get some flurries!  Chicago is a little difficult to know what will really happen weather-wise at any one spot in the region, since Lake Michigan  and other land features create a lot of micro-climates that skew local temperatures and precipitation.  Check out this map of Chicagoland’s variations from WGN-TV in average first frost dates.

Even so, I think tonight will be it for the plants.  I went around yesterday and took some last pictures of the flowers and harvested the last of the vegetables in preparation.  I’m always a little sad this time of year, when the garden still looks so inviting after having finally recovered from the harsh mid -summer conditions. Yet I know it is only a matter of time till it’s over.  It’s like the plants want that last hurrah before going to sleep for the winter, or for the annuals, to go out in a blaze of glory.

Final Garden Harvest–having just been in Charleston, I am going to use those green tomatoes!
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 The garden is still in bloom

sedum

hydrangea

hydrangea

petunia geranium

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cosmos

rosebud

marigolds
Some of the trees are showing their colors, but not very uniformly or brilliantly.  Some are showing the stress of  2 harsh summers and disease, while others haven’t even begun to change.

purple ash

branched maple

maple

It’ll be interesting to see what it al looks like tomorrow. I’m torn as to whether I should bring in that beautiful single rosebud to protect it, or see what happens if I leave it.

The Garden in Fall: The Good

It’s the beginning of October and the days are getting shorter, the nights growing colder. These are the last gasps for the garden before it settles into the winter hibernation. In some ways, fall gardens can be very pretty. I’m always surprised at the plants that continue to bloom well in to fall, some even looking their best. And of course, there are the things that take all summer to finally show their colors. Here’s some of the plants and areas of my garden that make me smile.

Marigolds

One of my favorite flowers is the marigold. I love the smell (although I might be the only one) and the colors. They always seems to just come alive in the fall and it has always had a place of prominence in my garden. I’m also reminded of a trip to Taos, NM, where I saw the prettiest marigold chains.  One year when an early frost was going to wipe out the flowers prematurely, I made one myself that hung beautifully in the kitchen.

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(There were also  lots of bundles of hot peppers that just looked pretty hanging there)

 

There’s lots of color in the garden...

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And interest…

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And vegetables are still coming, as long as we don’t have a frost!

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