Friday, June 19, 2015

The Dutch Iris and my best water iris

 This is my best water iris.  It needs to be divided.  When I get the water Irises divided, I will be finished most of the renovation around the pond and the Japanese garden.  The spruce tree is getting too big and the little lily of the valley shrub is also.  I will probably remove both of them in a month or two.  I transplanted a red candelabra primula to the Primula bed by the pink pots.  I dug a hole in the clay, added some potting soil and watered it in.  I hope this clay acts like a sort of a bog that these primulas like. 

The Dutch irises and the water irises are the last in bloom.  The water iris is just finishing blooming now.
I got a bit of cleaning up done in the front garden and finished my transplants at the back when it began to rain lightly.  I had watered the newly transplanted thyme in the thyme circle where the bamboo root ran across the thyme circle and used up all of the nutrients under the thyme.  So, hopefully the new transplants should be take hold. 
When I was trying to do this post, I managed to delete about one year of posts to my blog.  I have copies of all my posts in my email.  So, I have spent the last couple of hours recovering the posts, and most of the comments.  There are a few little mistakes, but no big deal, so I will call it done.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tall Bearded Irises, yellow water iris and a reflection in photoshop

 The tall bearded irises began blooming in mid May.  They are mostly finished now.  I should dead head them and divide them as they are getting took thick.  They have had good foliage this year, though.  I went over the names of the iris I had planted years ago.  I think this one is Indian Chief.  It is in the back cutting garden, next to the herbs.
 A nice stand of Indian Chief along the drive way strip.  I must see about giving Sheila some of these when I divide them. 
 Indian Chief has quite a few blooms on each stem.
 This all dark blue one might be Indigo.  The blooms on this one are so heavy that they flopped over the driveway.  They will need staking.  I had a bloom from the dark, almost black one earlier, but did not get its photo.  I think the black one is called Ebony and it is in the front garden next to the sun dial circle.
 Another along the driveway strip.  This all yellow one might be starring Roll.  I have better photos of this from other years.  It lights up the garden and contrasts nicely with the green of the cedar hedge behind it.
 This is the water iris in the water feature in the woodland.  There are quite a few of these plants in bloom and they are looking quite spectacular in their setting.  I have this water tub set on top of the old eucalyptus stump.  The stump is rotting, so I shall need to do some repairs to the base of this water feature one year.  I was happy to find that there IS a fish in the tub.  Elvis, the fish, that lived in the water tub on the deck disappeared this year.  I have tried to get fish from Cannor nursery, but they are in quarantine.   So, I just brought back a bronze fennel that I am going to plant in a tall pot until it gets a good root system.  I saw a swallowtail butterfly in the garden and a couple of them in the park, so I need this fennel for them to lay their larvae to eat.  I need lots of fennel in my garden.  It will look good along the pond edge too, when I get rid of the nasty bluebells. 
I tried a very good tutorial on how to create reflections with photoshop.  I have put a link to this tutorial in the side bar.  In doing the exercise, I learned more about layer masking, the gradient tool, and much much more.  My reflection is not perfect but this is sooo cool to do.

On Saturday  I had left my deck door open while out gardening. I came back in and was on my computer for a while when I heard this great crash somewhere in the house. Scared the hoo hoo outta me! The table cloth had been pulled off the table in the dining room and the flower vase spilled water. By this time I was having fits. Then I heard this great mournful cry from the living room!  OMG!  There was the villian! The most gorgeous black fluffy cat! Its eyes were as big as saucers. I don't know who was more scared, the cat or I!  I became very anxious to get it out of the house and was throwing newspapers at it to get it to go out. It just kept crying! I finally settled down and talked to it, petted it and shousted it out side. No big allergy effects, just a bit itchy.  Such a lovely cat.  Such a lovely cat!

Posted By Blogger to My Garden at 6/01/2015 09:26:00 PM

Siberian Iris and Dutch Iris

 The purple Siberian Iris with background of the David garden art, which is getting a nice patina.
 One of the things I like best about this small stand of Siberian Iris is the vistas created from different directions of the garden.  This is the bench in its nook in the cedar hedge camouflaged by the Siberian irises, creating the view of a private, cool spot in the garden on a sunny hot day. 
 The dark Siberian Iris
 The light blue Siberian Iris.  There is a white one in the collection as well but it finished blooming before I took its photo.
This is the purple Siberian Iris again.  

The Siberian Iris were finished blooming by the end of May this year.  They now make a nice stand of tall green strap leaves, in front of the taller lighter green clump of bamboo that is backed by another layer of darker green of the cedar hedge.  
The roses have been blooming since the end of May and will continue all year.  The thyme is in bloom and is fragrant.  The front garden is now primarily patterns of green colored spaces of different heights, with the silver and burgundy accents of the smoke bush and saxifragia, with the pink and white of roses, and the bright red of the montebretias just starting to come in to bloom.  There are quite a few birds and European wall lizards in the garden.  I have cleaned up the thyme circle where the bamboo sent out a runner across it, added compost and have transplanted three new little red blooming thyme in the bare spots.  The stone path is weeded and is looking pretty good, with the Corsican mint and some low growing thyme filling in between the field stones, for fragrance and softening of the rough edges of the stones as well as that lovely walk with bare feet.  Last week I cleaned up the 5 foot wide strip between the neighbors' sidewalk and my house.  All the shrubs look good and healthy.  The rose is in bloom, and the clematis and Japanese anemone are going to be huge and gorgeous.  They will probably be early into bloom this year also.  We are having beautiful sunny days, but need to keep up the watering. 

Posted By Blogger to My Garden at 6/18/2015 11:32:00 AM

May may be the best month in the garden this year

 This is the Geum, Mrs. Bradshaw.  A very nice plant.  I have it growing in the center garden at the front, with the burgundy leaves of the smoke bush above it and the silver/burgundy of the saxifragia under the shrub. 
 One of the Oriental poppies that grow beside the old garage at the back.  Very showy and messy when the foliage is dying. This is shot with the white of the garage as background.  I have been experimenting with these white backgrounds.  I do not want them all white, but with a bit of color for interest. The poppies are still in bloom now. 
 This light pink lupine grows in the rectangular bed next to our driveway.  The light pink peony is now in bloom with this light pink peony.  The little hot pink geranium is filling in along the edge.  These plants are fronted by the honeysuckle pilea hedge and backed by the tall cedar hedge.
 This is the lewisia redivia in the little rockery at the back.  Hopefully it will seed and continue to grow into a larger clump.  It had more flowers after this photo was taken. 
 This is the tiny lewisia pygmaea, with a multitude of delicate white ribbed with pink flowers.  It has seeded around quite nicely in this little rockery, that I call the lewisia bed.  In reading about lewisias it seems they go dormant for the summer, after blooming, and resume growth in the fall with green leaves that they keep over the winter.    I must devise a system to keep the rain off of them over the winter. 
 The female house finch
the male house finch
These male finches are much redder from the back or sides than this one appears to be.
I have lots of birds in the garden this year, but cannot seem to catch photos of them.  The humming birds and others have been bathing in the water fall.  They mostly ignore the bird bath on the deck.  The finches and others have been grooming the trees.  I do not know what they are finding to eat but it is good to seem them on the job.  There are wrens, chickadees, titmouses, house sparrows, of course,  the ones with yellow on their feathers... might be yellow warblers.., robins on the floor of the garden, towhees in the leaf mulch, flickers calling loudly.  The crows seem to stay higher up in the trees, and there are not too many of them.  I have heard hawks, and seen our resident eagles out hunting over the park and panama flats. 
I have finished weeding the paths at the back and around the pond and the moss garden.  The moss and ferns are looking really good.  I have been adding epimediums, more hepaticas, and a new hosta to the shade areas.  The primulas are looking good and healthy, and are finished their show for the year.  The tulips are finished and I have mowed the front crocus field as the bulbs were hardened off already.  This usually takes until July.  We have had beautiful weather for the month with a thunder and lightning show and a lovely inch of heavy downpour of rain with it.  I have been digging bamboo shoots out of the thyme circle.  Hopefully that is the end of it for this year.  I am slowly thinning out the bamboo.  It looks good and is worth the bother of keeping it in check.  I am slowly getting more heathers and mounding shrubs growing.  They are lower maintenance like the hedges.  The yellow decorative oregano looks good in summer, but is a bare patch over winter.  The thyme stays green, and is probably a better choice for low maintenance.  The roses, irisi and rhodos are in full bloom. 

Posted By Blogger to My Garden at 5/30/2015 01:11:00 AM

May is looking like June this year

 Photos from the 10th of May.  The Clematis is climbing up the deck and has quite a lot of open flowers now.  I think it is Nelly Moser.
 The plum tree has quite a lot of fruit.  They are growing quickly.  This is a close up using the macro setting on the camera. 
 Here they are in abundance on the branch.  The 'june drop' has started and a few are falling to the ground.  I think there may be a heavy June drop this year.  They seem to be so close together.  I rather like the green against the blown out sky giving me a white background.  There are more figs on the tree this year also.  I do believe this pruning that Pat has done is producing some good results.
 This is the wisteria blooming up at the top of the Western Read Cedar trees.  This wisteria did not have a proper trellis to climb on.  It sent out a shoot and climbed up the cedar trees that now bloom every year.  The original wisteria tree is a now a mere shadow of its former self.  I could not get it pruned to a nice shape so have cut it back to stop it twining around the neighbors trees.  It looks good blooming high up in the cedars. 
 A few nights ago the motion light was coming on.  On the morning of the 10th when I took a look out of the window to see if there was any 'critter' evidence of the motion light, I saw the rabbit in the back grass patch, contemplating the cement bunny.
 The bunny seemed to be a bit bigger than our regular bush bunnies and had some nice colors in its coat.  I did not get it quite as 'champagne' colored as it appeared, but the contrasts in its fur was quite striking. 
This photo is from the 5th, when we had a bit of hail.  This may have contributed to the early demise of the tulips.  The plant on the deck table is now forming leaves.  It is a small willow.  x boydi... maybe.  It has a huge bunch of roots reaching into the copper pot, where there is constantly a reservoir of water for it, I hope.  It grows out of a bunch of moss, that does well with the water, of course.
I have moved the Pendula willow off the deck and into its decorator pot beside the pond.  The decorator pot is about 3 feet high and the willow sits in a tall black pot within this pot.  I have water in the bottom of the decorator pot and more clay soil.  The willow can now stretch its roots through the bottom of the black pot and into the moist soil beneath it.  The other willow that I moved to the pond edge with its long root system falling into the pond is looking really good, with this natural situation for willows.
There have been lots of birds in the garden.  The house finches, in particular, seem to be grooming the trees, the robins in the bit of grass around the apple tree, the towhees like the leaf mulch, there are wrens, and the flicker is heard but not seen, just now.  There has been a rufous humming bird at the feeder and an Anna's humming bird bathing in the waterfall.  There seems to be a bumble bee nesting somewhere near the old compost bin.  When ever I go into the 'woodland' area it seems to do circles around me.  Also in the woodland area, I see the big trillium is finally showing.  The mock orange shrub that is now in bloom has covered the trillium because the shrub is reaching for the sun from under the Japanese cedar.
The lilac is still in bloom in the back garden, for fragrance; and the French lavender is now in full bloom in the front boulevard area for more superb fragrance.  The seem to be a few more bees this year; and there is a duet if not a more, frogs singing at night.  The garden abounds with European wall lizards. 
Otherwise, I am trying to keep up with my bot duties on  I have volunteered myself to congratulate all the winners of Explore and the Contests.  Hopefully Version 2 of the site will be on line soon.  These notifications of the winners of awards will be automatic.  Ohhhhh YEAAAAH!

Posted By Blogger to My Garden at 5/15/2015 08:12:00 PM

Tulips at the end of April

 All of the photos from April 23.  This is one of my favourite ones with its fringed edges and the rich color. 
 This black one grows along beside the white of the old garage.  One of the tulips that Grace Grant left me as a hostess gift a few years ago. 
 This one grows in the tulip/flower bed in the area of the fig tree beside the old sidewalk next to the old garage.  The tulips in this are make quite a show from the window downstairs.  I see I have an allium grow in the bed now.  These plants self seed freely in the front garden.  I must have transferred some seed to the back.  No doubt I will now have more of them than I need.
 This spectacular red one is along the is in the strip along the drive way and hedge, and peaking out of some iris foliage. 
 These purple ones are also along the driveway strip in front of the hedge. 
 The Tulips are still in bloom and making a very nice show, carrying on from the end of the daffodils.  Last Autumn I fed all of the bulbs with bonemeal and they are rewarding me handsomely for the attention. 
 This is one of my self seeded columbines.  It is my favorite one at the moment because of its lovely maeve color.  It grows in the bed next to the old garage.  I am getting a good variety of colors from the columbines around the garden.  I don't see the spectacular white one in bloom yet.  It was in the cutting garden last year. 
I was really pleased with how well the geraniums did this year.  This is a close up of one of the flowers.  Their foliage is thick, green and luxuriant. There is a row of about 10 feet of them in front of the hedge along the driveway strip.  All of the plants along this strip did very well this year probably due to the bone meal feeding.
I need to keep the wild morning glory along the hedge in check and also the dandilions.  
At the moment I am cleaning up the blue bells along the side of the pond that borders the neighbors.  I pulled off the foliage and blooms and covered it all with several thicknesses of newspaper.  I will be covering this with the cedar mulch I have in reserve, from years ago.  I have moved an old bottomless cedar trough into this area and am trying to fill it with some of the excess garden soil.  I plan to put my new big blue hosta into this trough.  I hope the blue bells do not grow through all the barriers.  I will be putting leaves on them in the Autumn also to help slow them down a bit.  I will be putting the pendula willow into the new tall pot.  I plan to have the bottom of this pot contain water where the roots of the willow can happily dip  and sip, out of its long tall pot, that is raised to be level with the top of the decorative tall pot.  The willow looks rather shabby compared to the pot.  I do hope it improves over time.  The other willow that I planted by the pond edge last Autumn, with its roots in the water is looking so very much better in this situation.    Pictures later after the plants are in place. 

Posted By Blogger to My Garden at 5/03/2015 11:55:00 PM

The beginning of April

 All of the photos are from April 5th.  This pink primula is doing well and is in a few places around the garden.  The rest of the primulas are now coming into bloom as well.
 The wind flowers put on a good show in early April.  They spread around the garden a bit, but are easy to control. 
 This is the daphne in bloom on the little rockery in the back garden.  Its fragrant and will get bigger over time, 
 The big lily of the valley shrub in the woodland looks very good this year.  It is full of blossoms. 
 One of the anemorella blossoms.  This is an excellent plant in the shade of the old garage.  It now has many more flowers.
This is the polygala chamaebuxus kaminski in the little sundial bed in the front inner garden.  I had lost the name of this plant, until I saw one at the VIRAGS show and sale on April 18th.  This was one of the first plants I got for the rockeries.  Its doing amazingly well in the clay soil.

I was the last person into the sale room, this year.  I found some choice plants, nevertheless.  I found a lewisia and received a lot of good advice on how to grow it.  So, it is now in my little lewisia rockery with about 3 inches of pea gravel around its top.  In the winter I should protect the crown of my lewisias from rain.  The little ones .. I am not sure which ones they are as I have lost the tags... are coming into bloom.  I found another epimedium sulphereum and have it planted into the bed under the nut tree where I have another one coming up with the lovely burgundy leaves now.  I also found another hepatica and have planted it into the moss garden by the edge of the deck.  In this area I seem to have some wild false lilly of the valley growing.  I bought a pink lily of the valley and have it planted across the dry stream from these wild ones.  Would be interesting if they cross pollinated.  I found a double sanguinaria canadensis (blood root) and planted it along the edge of the deck, behind the delphinium, in an old cedar box with the bottom out of it.  The roots should be able to grow into the soil where I have old cement blocks making a little retaining wall.  The blood root likes ph. of 5.5 to 6.5, so the cement shards should have residual lime for it to use.  I have two more precious primulas planted in the renovated area around the pond.

The willow that I moved out to beside the pond is looking very good.  Its roots stretched into the pond like willows naturally do.  I need to get rid of the blue bells on the side of the pond by the waterfall.  They are spreading into the saxifragias along the pond.  We had a few days of sunshine and the pond water evaporated quite quickly, as did the water garden tub on the deck.   We had a fairly good rain last night, but I still need to top up the water in both places, as well as the woodland one.
The tulips are in bloom so should get out and get some photos while they are at their best.

Posted By Blogger to My Garden at 4/24/2015 03:01:00 PM

A very busy April

 The photos are from April 5th.  The Fawn Lillies did very well this year.  They out grew the nasty bluebells and are spreading very well in the woodland corner.  I was happy to see the yellow ones spreading too.  I still need to keep after the blue bells though. 
 The plants in the bed between the woodland trail and the old garage are doing nicely this year.  There are quite a few cyclamen that are not blooming.  The leaves are decorative and evergreen so I will leave them for now.  Apparently they spread rampantly also.  The perennial forget me nots (I forget the proper name) are very pretty in bloom and the anemorella beside it is lovely with big light blue flowers.  There is morning glory coming up through the mulch from the other side of the cedar hedge, so I keep after pulling it out also.  The bleeding heart is very good this year too.
 This is the street side of the garden with the spirea, bridal veil, in bloom.  I did not clip it back to a round ball during the winter.  I may clip it again this year, as it looks quite wild.  Perhaps I will leave the long stems, on the top to grow and fall out like a veil, to see what it looks like in its natural growth habit. 
 The pasque flowers in pik and purple varieties are doing well too.  It helps to feed them compost and keep the weedy daisies, violets and weeds out of the area.  The red one is next to the cedar hedge and gets more shade than the puruple one. 
 This purple pasque flower is at the end of the flower bed next to our driveway.  This color is close to the pink magnolia tree.  You see the iberis in white that is forming a good edging row along the edge of the driveway.  The magnolia is almost finished blooming and the pink huge peony tree is just starting to open its buds.
 This racoon was across the street and up in a tree having a nap. It was quite a long reach for my Canon SX60, as it was probably 150 to 200 feet away.  It turned out not too badly.  I converted the RAW and then worked with it further in LAB mode to bring out  the colors.  More sharpening was needed too.  I may have over done the sharpening.
I actually got a few of the photos tweaked, for the creation of the August album on my old web page.  I have half of them ready to add to the photo album making software.  This was a hydrangea apera.  It has lovely fuzzy leaves, and this gorgeous colored lace cap blossoms.  Last year it caught some kind of fungus that completely finished it off.  In researching this plant disease I find that hydrangeas very easily get fungus diseases.  Not all fungicides work on any of the diseases; that is, it depends on which disease the plant has, as to which fungicide to use.  I was so sorry to lose this one, that I don't think I want to try one again, only to have it die.

Yesterday I was to the VIRAGS plant show and sale.  I found a few choice plants this year.  I have been looking for a double bloodroot for a long time and found one there.  I also got a hepatica from the the club's plant sale.  There were a few of them there.  I should have bought them all.  These little plants like to grow in moss, so of course they would be perfect for my moss garden.  The one I put in the woodland is doing fine and spreading, as is the one that I moved out of the moss. (At the time I moved it, I thought the moss was bad for it)  So, I will put this one back into the moss garden.  It tolerates lots of shade also. I have another hard to find plant for the shade garden being an epimedium x versicolor x sulphreum.  The epimedium I have in the garden is now a lovely burgundy color, which I was told is the color of the new leaves in spring.  I shall put this one into the shade near the moss, too.    I also got another lewisia for the little lewisia rockery.  I was told how to grow them to keep them alive and shall follow the advice.  They need very good drainage around the crown. -- 2 or 3 inches of rock chips or pea gravel.  The guy who was telling me this says that he used turkey scratch.  I have lots of pea gravel and he said that should be fine.  And then cover them during the winter rains.  If the crowns get wet they rot and die.  I could cover them with a plant pot up on a few stakes, to keep the rain off.  My other small lewisias seem to be doing ok and self seeding about slowly.  The daphne on this little rockery is a beautiful thing in full bloom.  Photos to follow soon, I hope.   I have two new primulas from the Cowichan Valley plant sellers.  One is amethyst and it is beautiful dark purple/red.  The other is striped victorian which is a pale blue with stripes.  There was one in the show that was huge and won a first place ribbon.  He said the one in the show had been fed to make it grow like that.  He grows his plants from seed and does not seem to believe in these over stuffed looking plants.

I have been working on the sanding down of the gate-leg table top and have now made the legs very loose and wobbly.  Yesterday, Pat fixed them for me by taking the legs pegs out their holes and adding wood glue to them.  He also added new screws to both sides of the legs to hold them more steady.  And replaced the screws on the little cleats the helped hold the legs together.  Now, I have a bit more sanding to do before filling holes, then adding several layers of stain, with fine sanding between the layers.  It is still going to look like an antique, though.  Pat did a superb job of refinishing our dining room table  a couple of years ago. 

Posted By Blogger to My Garden at 4/19/2015 03:32:00 PM