Monday, July 4, 2011

Garden news July 4, 2011- Digging out and there is amazing color

Happy Fourth of July everyone.

I suppose it is a little like digging out after a big snowstorm. Over this very pleasant three-day weekend we have pulled many a weed and strained many a muscle. Many-no make that-all available weed containers are full. And the paths are clear. Julia’s comment to me was that if we didn’t work, we could catch up with the weeds.
We are not done. But we can imagine "done".

It is daylily time. I think I will devote an entire post this coming week to the variety of color and shapes in the daylily garden. I have a routine. Each morning I wander around and deadhead the daylilies. They do just bloom for one day. Yet an individual plant can have 150 flowers on 20 stalks, which means it can bloom over several weeks. You really should deadhead. By going around each morning you keep track of which ones are blooming each day. Today there was this marvelous pink one, Siloam Double Classic. (The picture is in the bonus section)

And there is my personal daylily section of the garden. In one part of the garden there are plants I hybridized. I played bee and then watched for the seedpod. It was planted and 3 years later, the first bloom.

It was easy this week to get you pictures.

First up is this little lily, which is a native wildflower. It has spread and now there are 6-7 stalks.

Second is the dramatic colored daylily. Go red. I really do like the way the red fades to yellow with the tint of green. You can really see the pollen on the 6 stamens. To cross breed daylilies you take the pollen onto your finger and rub it all over the pistol, which is the one snake like appendage that has no pollen.

Next is another Asiatic lily. This is called something like Electric Orange. It would prefer more sun. But it put up this practically perfect flower.
As I have said this year has been a good one for Asiatic lilies. Perhaps it is because the season is a little later than usual. Maybe usual had been early, so this has been about right. What pinks there are, and yellows and even one that was almost black. It is on my wish list for this fall. Check out the close-up in the bonus section.

Finally come this wonderful close-up of one of the Mears lilies. There are so many great things about the picture. Click on the picture in the blog. Fill up your screen. There is the green glow in the center. There are the veins in the petals. There is the slightly ruffled edge. Did I mention that the plant is almost 4 feet tall? And since it was cross bred right here, it has no name. Now there is a challenge. Think about what name you would give to a daylily you grew from seed.

Vote away.

In the voting last week the winner was the Asiatic lily. The votes were:
Asiatic lily 20
Orchid cactus 12
White Japanese iris 8
Coneflower 6
Thanks for voting.

Before I get to my garden thoughts, here are some extra pictures.

This is Asiatic lily Kentucky. It gets full sun and is quite happy.

This is a hosta I had to have, just because of the name. There is an hosta from 20 years ago called Blue Angel. It has produced a number of offspring. I have a wonderful Guardian Angel, that real big now. But that is not this still little guy. It is Confused Angel. It has the stripes/streaking that the hybridizers really like.

This is an interesting daylily. It is a well known lily called Siloam Double Classic. Well as you might note it is not double. This plant has reverted to the single flower. It is practically perfect.

I have been thinking about ways to make the garden easier to maintain. Here are some random thoughts.

I am not a big fan of mulch. Maybe if I had to water more, I would think more of mulch. I do not mulch my hosta, thinking it provides more room for bugs to hide. I do occasionally mulch my daylilies. Mulch does limit the weeds, which saves time. It can also look nice.

Reduce the amount of space in garden-
For the last twenty years I have expanded the amount of area in garden. I added beds. I made the beds larger. This reduced mowing. I have a hard time thinking about putting in grass again. But adding new paths. This actually gets its own paragraph.

I put this path in last year under the pink crabs. It went right in the middle of a bed. This did two things that saved time.
Here is a picture.

It immediately reduced the amount of space in plants. Where there were plants, there is now a wood chip path. Less plants means less work.
More importantly by putting a path right through a bed it makes both sides of the path easier to keep up. There is real easy access to the plants that remain. Deep beds are just harder to maintain. You can’t get back in the back to weed.
There is an additional bonus for more paths. Paths are places for visitors to walk. Paths make it easier for visitors to see the gems in the garden. Ands those gems should be right next to a path. (Unless they are real big.)
I have become a real advocate for paths in the middle of deep beds.

I am taking my own advice. I am looking around the garden and thinking about where to add paths. I have some shelf beds. Here is a picture. I am starting to put a tiny path right in front of it. That way I can walk or sidle along (slide along carefully) instead of having to try to perch on the edge of the shelf. It really is easier to do anything to that bed.
Here is a bed for example that cold use a path. It doesn't have to be straight. It is sort of like putting in a highway. You go around certain towns/plants tyring to get to the other side.

Grow less stuff- With a hosta bed sometimes what is called for, is just taking out every other hosta. Create space around individual plants. Here are hosta that in my opinion are too close together. Since moving one over a bit is not really practical, taking out every other one is the choice. Check out the bed next summer.

Do not crowd the beds as much. I have a tendency to have a bed have a base of some particular plant- hosta and daylilies being the big two. Then I plant things in between the basic plants. Spring bulbs are to start. Then there are phlox and coneflowers and lilium (Asiatic and Orientals). At that point you have to be careful. You really can create a busy bed, which can be nice. Coneflowers as a foil to the daylilies is good. But busy quickly becomes a forest, and then your plants start to drown. Right now I am in a phlox eradication stage.

Watch out for the plants that spread. I have variegated Solomon’s Seal. I started with two plants 20 years ago. I have several mass plantings and then even more that threaten to become mass planting.

Redo your beds every 5 years. With the exception of some hosta, which just get better as they get bigger, many plants don’t do so well after 5 years. The Siberian Iris and certainly the bearded iris need to be reset. Sometimes this just means digging them up. You need to clean up to foliage or the old tubers. There are weeds to untangle. Some weeds need to have the entire plant lifted to get them out.

Just get brutal. Dig up those extra plants. Does anyone out there want some Siberian Iris? They are due for some thinning. Well actually they are due for some composting if new homes don’t materialize.

So with these thoughts and pictures go out and appreciate your garden and the gardens in your neighborhood.
Have a good short week.


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