Thursday, May 31, 2007

Code Orange

Well, it's been awhile since the DC region got its last serious rainfall. A couple of hit or miss storms over Memorial Day weekend didn't cut it. There are a lot of regions, outside of my little area of wetlands, that have dusty dirt. We seriously need rain, and it doesn't appear to be coming until next week, if then.

In addition, today is hitting hazy, hot, and humid. Not even June and we're in a summer patter with highs in the 90s predicted. Which is a Code Orange air day. Not good for the breathing. :(

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stiff Neck

I hope everyone had a glorious Memorial Day weekend, celebrating the freedoms that our veterans fought valiantly to protect. I got back out to City Hall to look at more peonies. However, I still haven't downloaded the pictures from my camera.

After that, I discovered that the local parks mean Memorial Day, not the Friday of that weekend when renting boats. Boo. So, after making alternate plans, a friend and I went canoeing on Sunday morning. It was barely two hours, but I am very stiff after the work out I got. I haven't been canoeing in ages, and I certainly haven't worked those muscles like that since then.

Then in complete foolishness, when I was out shopping, I walked around the pond at the one shopping complex. I say foolishness, because I wore my summer sandals that I haven't accustomed my feet to yet. Ouch. Blisters on the bottoms of both feet, on top of the rest of the aches and pains. What a glorious weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

30s Free

Well, it seems the last date for lows in the 30s for the DC metro is May 22nd. And then we're good until September 22nd. What a delightful growing season.

I don't think much of beer as slug bait. Only a handful of slugs have flung themselves to their doom since Sunday. Granted, that's more than my usual ignore them campaign, but less than my squishing session. If they stuck to the hostas or the beebalm, I wouldn't care at all, but they are going gaga in the iris.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Last Petunia

Okay, I managed to grab a red petunia at the grocery store last night. So, after that is in the ground, my garden will be complete. Well, aside from the fifty million peonies I can't afford yet.

I did manage to get a couple shots of the plants I currently have in the garden. Starting with my new planter with three million bells and a mixed petunia.

Most of my yellow iris in bloom.

My fancy marigolds. I need to write down what the tag said for these.

And my two hanging baskets of million bells. The purple ones didn't have a tag, while the yellow ones are Calie Yellow.

Oh, I also finished editing the peony pictures. The rest are all uploaded to my album.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Schwartz Peony Gardens

Last Saturday, and most likely this upcoming Friday, I visited the Schwartz Peony Gardens. Or what is more commonly known as Gaithersburg City Hall grounds. There is a selection of peonies in a couple of different spots around the grounds, but they are unlabeled. Which stands to figure since they are the remnants of someone's garden. There were primarily three different varieties blooming, with two other one offs, and several more varieties in bud.

Most of the pictures can be found in my album, where the rest will be added later. Sadly the sun was gorgeous and washed out most of the pictures of the pale pink and white varieties.

And I'm now less paranoid about the size of my peony bushes. Of the peonies I saw, there were several bushes that were the same size as mine. And they were blooming away.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Busy Weekend

I had a fun weekend. Friday after work and Saturday afternoon, I bought more plants. More million bells and another petunia. So, I have a yellow and a purple million bells in hanging baskets, and three that I put into a round planter with a petunia. I also got the rest of the plants into the ground. I think I need one or two more petunias for the side garden, then I'll be finished planting.

I'm also hardening off my sunflower seedlings. I'll get them out later this week.

I also got out to the Gaithersburg City Hall, that has the remnants of a huge historic peony garden. Bright sunny day, so a lot of the pictures got washed out, but it was a wonderful outing. I'm still editing the pictures. I hope to finish that tonight.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Observations While Clipping

I mowed the front lawn last night. While I was out there, I noticed my rhodadendron has buds. Sadly, all but one are leaf buds. *sigh* I'll give it till next week, and then trim all of it. Maybe then it will set some flower buds for next year.

The good news is that the lanium is budding to. That is really leaping this year. Maybe I won't have to plant some petunias out there to spruce up that garden.

The holly, on the other hand, is going to disappoint the birds this year. Most of its flower buds are blackened and burned from the late snow. What a shame.

The million bells stopped blooming. I can only hope that the plants are putting their energy into growing roots. At least the foliage didn't melt like the pansies did in the full sun. It's just too warm for them in that much sun, I guess. Although, the fancy evening primrose is flowering away. It just needs to bloom closer to evening....

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Slug Patrol

It was incredibly rainy last night. But it let up enough for me to go check out the iris blooms. As I was admiring the new yellow iris, I noticed all of the slugs on my iris. I know they love hostas, but they seemed to prefer making swiss cheese out of my iris.

So, what was supposed to be a quick stroll between raindrops, turned into a grab and smoosh mission. Let's just say the bottom of my shoes were not pretty by the time I was done.

I guess I'll have to open that bottle of ancient beer my brother never touched this weekend for a trap.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More Petunias

As the radio weatherman observed this morning, Monday morning, the lows were in the 30s. Tuesday morning, the lows were in the 50s. This morning the lows were in the 70s. We'd be in real trouble with a trend like that, if it weren't for this line of severe weather working our way today.

The after storms will probably prevent me from planting the three pots that I picked up at the grocery store. Two double marigolds and a purple petunia. I read somewhere that marigolds are good to plant next to peonies. I have to admit that I am a bit worried about my peonies. Still no buds and they are fairly short. Ah well. I'll just have to pick up a potted one.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Iris Explosion

Hope all the mothers had a restful and enjoyable day. Mine did. All her rose bushes made it through the winter. My dad took her out Saturday to pick up lots of plants for Mother's Day and planted them for her. And she has a silly hummingbird that tries to get nectar out of roses and pine trees. Good thing she got those petunias on Saturday.

My iris are going gangbusters this year. I currently have four of the bluish-lavender ones, and a few of my Tennessee iris are also blooming. They are growing so much, that I can't get in between the leaves to weed effectively. Not that the weeds seem to be effecting the iris much.

I also poked in some of my butterfly weed seeds. All of the remainder of the packet I had bought last year, and half of the seed pod I had picked up last year.

While I was out, I also mowed the last of the back yard that needed mowing. The grass was threatening the iris. I guess I need to establish a perimeter

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Picture Show

Late afternoon once the sun behind your house also works for taking pictures. Except of almost white petunias. So, first up, the iris. I've got three other colors in bud, aside from the two of these. First up is the repeat bloomer from last year.

The bluish lavender iris. I have at least two of these, but the slugs got the other stem. I killed it's brother who was on my beebalm.

The evening primrose isn't anything great to look at. It was really suffering and flattened in its pot. They all were. And they certainly don't look like my other evening primroses. But it is already blooming its thanks with new flowers this morning.

And last, but not least, my million bells. It's more of a fushia color than the picture shows. In the lighting I had, I just couldn't capture it. I'll try again later.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Millions of Bells

I bought a few plants for my garden today. Didn't quite find what I was looking for, but stumbled across one color of million bells, 'Superbells Plum'. I picked up two plants, since I use that handle all over the place. Hopefully, I'll find a few other colors if I check out others stores. I also picked up a nice little lavendar petunia and an evening primrose called 'Lemon Sunset'. They are already out in the garden.

Three of my iris are blooming. One is the color from last year, and the other two are a nice bluish purple. Too bad it is a beautiful day out. I could use a little bit of overcast weather to take pictures.

I also bought a bunch of silk flowers. I changed my front door display around, and made up a vase for work. We're not supposed to have food or drink at our desks, and I figure that extends to water for flowers. But that's not going to stop me. :)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

May Dandelions

I mowed most of my lawn last night. I always start on the back yard after doing the front, but I only get three quarters of it done before my energy is gone. It isn't that it is big, it is that the grass is just that thick and lush. It seems weird to be cursing my luck at a wonderful lawn.

I did locate a deep dip by the one fence. I think I'll probably locate a large pot there this year, maybe even a wiskey barrel, and plant annuals. I'm already devoting a lot of soil to filling in the low spot by the downspout.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cool Nights

The last few nights have been cool, reinforcing the wisdom of hardening off plants before putting them outside for good. There have actually been frost warnings in the Shenandoah Valley.

Nine of my ten sunflower seedlings have popped up. Not bad for a seed packet from last year. They still have yet to shed the shell from their leaves, but they'll probably be ready to plant by the weekend. Sunflowers have to grow fast to get that tall. Not to mention, the root system they need to put down to stablize them.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Lack of Planning

Temperatures have taken a slight downturn. It's dropping into the low 40s at night. But that is not discouraging the iris, which are sending up flower stalks.

Over the weekend, I was struck with the desire to make plans for next year's spring bulb display. This would have been easier, if I could have found more than a handful of specialty bulb catalogs on the web. Where are all the tulip offerings? I realize that predicting what stock you are going to have in 5 months is next to impossible in the plant arena, but that doesn't stop them all winter from advertising bare root plants for spring. And now is the time when garderners know what they need to fill in the blank spots. Grumble. Well, we'll see if I actually remember this fall. I bet I don't.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Seedlings and Saplings

I managed a little weeding last night. Mainly pulling little trees out of the gardens. A few dandelions got dug out too, along with some wayward grass. I also put down some more clippings and leaves to smother some of the encroaching grass. I prefer the smother/mulch method of enlarging gardens. Especially, since I'm going with store bought annuals in that particular garden. Although, I do think I'll let the evening primrose take over the grass as much as they want.

I also started 10 sunflower seedlings this morning. It took the entire night for the peat inserts from last year to get moist enough. Ten is probably too many for the spot, but they are last year's seeds. The rest of the pack will probably get mailed to my parents. Their birds haven't been keeping up with reseeding their sunflowers.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Lazy Days

I have been monumentally lazy and just enjoyed the beautiful weather. I know poor Zeppe would prefer if I were out planting or weeding, or at least took him with me, but I don't feel like keeping an eye on him. I have just been enjoying the wonderful weather and being lazy.

Rain knocked down most of the oak catkins last night, so the end of allergies is in sight. Weather man said the tree pollen is on the down turn and grass is beginning to rise. I'm not allergic to grass, so I am close to relief.

I saw my first tiger swallowtail of the season at lunch yesterday. I'd have preferred for it to be in my yard, rather than at work, but so it goes. I also spied a female five-lined in one of the plantings at work. She was fairly old and her lines had faded.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Beautiful May

The days are warm and the nights are cool. It is just stunningly beautiful weather. I've had to start wearing suntan lotion, because it is so nice out. I don't mind tanning, but you have to take it slow.

I put out some of my pansies this weekend. Those were the ones that went out front. The ones for out back still need to be planted. We'll see if any snapdragons, petunias, marigolds and other plants at the grocery store need to be added to that arrangement.