Saturday, August 25, 2012

August gardening

the little miniature water lily in the tub on the deck has had a few blooms.  Its too bad they last only a few days. 
 The yellow plums are actually quite abundant.  We are eating them as fast as we can with ice cream, or the best -- mango swirl frozen yogurt.  Figs are ready,too.  Tomorrow we have some of them.
This cone flower (echinea) is holding its blooms for a long while.  This is one of the planters that I put on the deck last year.  This one holds far too many plants that are butterfly flowers. I made it up following the directions in a magazine for butterfly flowers.  I have a few more planters on the deck.  The willows are from the rock and alpine gardens show.  These special little willows like a lot of water, so I am not sure if they will survive a move to the back garden.  Since the vegetable garden is hopeless due to all the tree roots it might become my extended rockery and catch all plants place. I might want to move this crowded butterfly planter out into the garden, along with the big delphinium, from another pot.  The deck is just looking too cluttered with all the pots.  I must think about down sizing, too... and give away pots, as well as books and so many things that really should be cleaned up.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August in the garden and elsewhere

 We returned home from our trip to Saskatchewan, a week ago.  I am scurrying to catch up on house, garden and on our photography site.  The above photo is one of a few of the forest fire damaged area that I want to process in photoshop and add to my account.  There were big forest fires in the Barrier, Merritt, Kamloops areas in 2003.  The damage is still apparent.  We see this area when we travel back and forth to Saskatchewan. 
On thursday last, we went out to Genoa Bay .. not on the motorcycle . . this time, much to Pat's disappointment.  I cannot seem to make the effort to ride on the bikes.  I just find it too noisy, dirty and stinky.  I have no idea what the attraction is to all the people who have taken up this passtime.
This is a photo of a distant Kingfisher.  I have a closer one, but was shooting into digital zoom and that never produces a satisfactory photo.  The sun was very bright, the temperatures into the 30's which is very hot for me.  We could not sit out on the patio for our lunch but had to move inside as we had no shade out there.  My crab cakes were delicious.  The art gallery has a wonderful pink  alabaster carving on burled walnut.  I was very attracted to this  "dreamer" piece of art.  I thought the price was very reasonable at approximately $550.  When I thought about what would I ever do with it...I decided more people could enjoy it in the art gallery there, than if I took it home.  Of course the artist could probably make more of them.  I guess I am not the acquisitive type and not a collector.  The dreamer was calling my name, though.  I may have to go back.
 This is my butterfly bush, now in bloom.  Unfortunately, there were no butterflies on it when I went out to shoot it.  This is its real color, and it is gorgeous.  Across the sidewalk from it is the beautiful blue with hints of mauve lace cap hydrangea.  They bloom about the same time and make a terrific show.  This is the first year for the buddlia.  Its a fine combination!  It is in the 'woodland' area of the garden.  Now, I must keep this area better weeded.. that is, remove the invasive plants that are growing and get some more well placed plants. 
 This is the hollyhock in the rectangle bed on our driveway side of the front garden.  It is on the street side of the cedar hedge, so I see this area of the garden when coming or going from home, or when I am working in that area of the garden.  I hesitate to call it work, as this is always an enjoyable time spent when I am out there.  This color and bloom time would be a good match for the butterfly bush and the hydrangea in the woodland.  I once read that if you repeat a plant throughout the areas of your garden it helps to tie the garden together as a whole unit.  I think it works.  I have planted tall bearded irises, self seeding malvas, dames rocket, campanulas, and other plants in all parts of the garden.  They all have their season of bloom, and when planted all around the garden, it gives you a pleasant feeling to see the colors and combinations you were hoping to see, again. 
This is a double daylily.  I am not too fond of the orange colors.  They do not seem to me to go with any color very well, except yellow.  I do not have very much yellow, so may reduce the very prolific daylilies to just a few well placed plants.  They are suppose to do well in shade.  I think they actually look too stringy in shade.  I think I will be taking most of them out.  Also considering removing most of the montbretias (crocosmia) also.  They have a tendency to flop over the paths and over other plants, as I do not have them staked.  They are a fire engine red and do not really go well in the colors in my garden.    As my garden becomes more low maintenance, I hope, with mounding easy plants like heathers, thyme and the moss, the big floppy perennials will have to be tamed.  I will be able to control the weeds with heavy mulching.  The back corner of the woodland looks good cleaned up.  So I can begin to mulch it, and remove the plants that are contributing to the cluttered look.
The germander is also in bloom near the hydrangea and buddlia and it is a blue/mauve color and a nice mounding plant that is choking out all the weeds where it grows.  After bloom it just needs to be clipped back.. I can do this easily with my hedge trimmer.  The yucca just behind the germander finally bloomed this year.  It has been in its spot for years.  The yucca in the front of the strip between our driveways had three wonderful tall, tall spikes this year.  These plants respond very nicely to a good clean up in the spring and a bit of compost for food.
There are, after all, quite a few yellow plums.  Most of them are quite high up in the tree though.  I shall need some tall man to get up on the ladder to get them.  They are ready to eat.  We have the ice cream ready too.  The purple plums at the front by the street have last a lot of their fruit.  Its a bit late for June drop, isn't it?  While we were away, the tree did not get the watering I was treating it to, and we had some hot weather too.  I watered at the back last Friday and watered out at the front for a couple of hours last evening.  I need to get back on a good watering schedule.  The apple tree is full of apples, and there seem to be lots of figs that are going to ripen this year.  The red currants are ready to be picked.
I have a rum pot going and this year it is being kept in the fridge.  I had it out of the fridge for a couple of days and it started getting the bubbles.  It is not suppose to do that.  So, its back in the fridge again.  Here is a quote from a recipe:  "Check periodically to make sure there is no extra fermentation taking place.  If you see bubbles beginning to develop, you have fermentation.  If this happens, add rum that is 151 proof to suppress the fermentation."  As there is plenty of liquid, I don't feel I should add more brandy.  Here is the link to recipe referred to above.
This is not the recipe I followed, but I see this one contains red currants, so I suppose I could use my currants in my rum pot instead of making jelly that no one seems to eat around here. The currants are very seedy, though.  If I make jelly the seeds are not a factor.    I have also used blueberries and intend to use blackberries too.  They are delicious and I don't care if they discolor the other fruits.

While in Alberta we stopped in at the Future Shop and bought my ipad2.  It was on sale, plus we saved the provincial tax that is payable in B.C. to make it even a better bargain.  I have been learning to operate it.  I have managed to get a few books and have been reading a lot too.  I am afraid my garden has been suffering a bit from this time spent on the ipad.  Its a fine toy.  My bookshelves in the library are full, so this will also be a space saver.