It’s beginning to look a lot like dahlias. Fooled you! I bet you expected me to say “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” After all
• it looks like Christmas at Hobby Lobby,
• Berthold’s Garden Center got a shipment of Christmas decorations today, and
• Celtic Women have tickets on sale for their December 20th Christmas Concert.
It’s bad enough that Starbucks has their (in-season, can’t be) pumpkin spice latte available. So no, please please please no Christmas.
Fortunately, it’s not Christmas at our place. Or at the National Dahlia Show this weekend in Grand Rapids. Or at Steve Meggos’s garden, which will be open for your viewing pleasure on September 3rd.
Mike’s dahlias are running late this year. We’re about a month behind in blooms. Our dahlias didn’t go in till Mike raised the dahlia bed after digging out the new patio. They are kicking in now.
These are a few of my favorite pictures from today. I could have taken many more. Oh What A Beautiful Garden!
And then there is this one, Vassio Meggos. There are a lot of other Meggos dahlias too. Steve is quite the hybridizer. So if you weren’t thinking of showing up at his place on September 3rd after 4:30, you might now want to make note of his address: 6512 Fairfax Court, Carpentersville, IL.
Proven Winners has perfected the petunia. I’ve planted Bubblegum for several years now, each year with amazing success. I do water them almost every day and fertilize every week or two. No deadheading. This particular planter was started by Frank Campise and has 3 plants. Mike won it at a Central States Dahlia Society function. Mom provided the pot. I transplanted it. Everyone gets to be impressed.
It’s automatic – We see a rose; we smell the rose. Seems kind of like a useless exercise these days, as so many roses have had the fragrance bred out of them. It’s not that hybridizers don’t like fragrance, it’s just that we consumers insist on roses that are disease resistant, survive the elements, and continually bloom. Something had to be sacrificed in the battle, and it is often the luscious fragrance that we associate with a rose garden.
I wanted to know which fragrant roses a serious rose grower would recommend, so I asked Louie Meggos. We were at his garden this week with the Central States Dahlia Society. When it comes to beautiful roses, Louie sets the bar pretty high.
We’ll start his list with Double Delight, pictured to the right. Truly a double delight – beautiful and fragrant.
He has Veteran’s Honor at the front corner of his house where its visual impact is enjoyed by many. This brilliant red rose was blooming profusely when we visited Louie in June, and here we are again with blooms aplenty.
Mister Lincoln is on his list too.
No, not that Mister Lincoln. This Mister Lincoln.
One more that he’d recommend is Diana, Princess of Wales.
Do you want to know what else is blooming in the August garden? To see what other bloggers have blooming on the 15th of every month, visit May Dreams Gardens – Bloom Day for our Garden Bloggers’ Bloom day entries.
The Rose is gowned in petaled grace and lovely beyond telling;
She always lifts a friendly face, regardless of her dwelling.
Her golden silence can express to us, no matter where, joy shared;
give solace in distress from those who fondly care. The Rose has ways of saying things we much delight to hear;
without a spoken word, she brings and keeps our loved ones near
~Laura S. Beck
Other people leave town; then they come back home to that which is comfortable and familiar. I leave town, and Mike considers that an opportunity to tear the place apart.
Case in point. I went to visit my friend Regine for a few days many years ago. I came home to no kitchen. Cabinets out. Dishwasher out. It wasn’t a pretty picture, so I won’t show you a picture.
This time, I left for a business trip and came home to a hole in the ground. A 12’ x 20’ hole, about 8” deep, with my nice new patio table planted in the middle.
The plants from that area had been relocated to temporary homes, aka pots.
The dirt from the hole had been used to raise Mike’s dahlia garden.
What, you may ask, was Mike thinking?????? He was thinking he’d get help and finish a big project in a short time. He was thinking he would surprise me with a completed patio. The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.
Still, there was a method to his madness, and astray was just a short delay. The rest of the patio work was done by someone else just a few days after I came home. Yes! We had someone else do work for us. Very much out of character, but such a wise choice. Really, can you even imagine the poor guy moving this 12 tons of gravel by himself?
Mike had built a small paved path for us last year. It took a lot of time, and it was a lot of manual labor. Bringing in the sand and gravel, moving the bricks, laying the bricks, removing the bricks to get the leveling right, laying the bricks again. Sure, he learned a lot and would have eventually finished the patio. But why?
The job was much better left to the professionals from the Hickory Group. Yep, the same guys who did some of our pond work. For both the pond and the patio, Mike is being selective as to which work he is doing, and which work they are doing. They did our patio in one day. One day. Got that? One day!
They did what they said they were going to do, when they said they were going to do it, and for the price they quoted us. I like that.
This was one productive crew.
By the end of the day, it looked like this.
And the next day, it got decorated by Allie.
Has it stayed quite this pretty? Has there been afterwork? Well, let’s just stay in perfect world for now and we’ll talk about that another time.
A Chinese proverb states “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” That is not the end of the story. It turns out that every fish story is oh so personal.
My brother Joe’s fish story starts with “Teach a man to fish and you’ll get rid of him for the weekend.” Fortunately, he throws most of them back, so his story does not include “Give your wife a fish to clean and cook and you will be sleeping on the couch again.” His interest has progressed to “Teach my brother to fish and he’ll buy a summer home on a lake that we can all enjoy.” and “Teach my brother to fish and he’ll teach his grandkids.” I like that fish story.
Our fish saga includes the miraculous appearance of fish in our little pond. They literally ‘surfaced’ when Mike was cleaning the pond out at summer’s end and something brushed his hand. Something living. Something moving on its own. Something with fins and a tail. God put them there; perhaps as eggs on the feet of a bird or on pond plants from Dawn. It certainly wasn’t me or Mike. We weren’t planning on having a fish family. Plans change.
Problem is, our little pond wasn’t deep enough for the fish to overwinter. They spent winters inside, complete with our cat’s approval. Those fish lived 5 years, and we now have new ones.
Our story progresses to “Give a gardener a fish and he’ll build a bigger pond.” Mike has wanted a bigger pond for years. When the addition was put on our house, he sculpted the resulting pile of dirt into a berm. That was 15 years ago, even before our fish arrived. I claimed the berm a few years later, ridding it of his weeds, eventually getting it to look pretty good (if I must say so myself, and I must.)
He has also been collecting rocks for years, an activity that I at first did not understand or endorse. My exact words, as he oft reminds me, were “What do you want those for?” The words were uttered on our way back from our honeymoon in Door County, whilst my feet were rested on the rocks in the front seat of our red convertible. I was learning that marriage is about compromise. Turns out rocks are a good thing. Who’d-a-figured?
I used the rocks anywhere and everywhere. Now we’ve started consolidating the ones I can bare to give up for the pond that is being built. Yes, finally. And yes, looking back a few paragraphs, I did say his pond plan has been 15 years in the making. Raising kids and paying bills took priority.
The pond plan is now moving into the take action stage, complete with a waterfall and stream on the berm. Mike from the Hickory Group sent Noe and his team out to dig the pond. Absolutely a top notch team. We weren’t even home when they came, yet they did in a day what would have taken my Mike weeks. Dare I say they even did it better. Yes, I dare – They did it better. There are nice straight walls and shelves. It is even deep enough for the fish to be looking forward to a permanent home. I am so impressed.
Mike will take it from here. He bought pond equipment at Aquascape’s sale last year, and has the underlayment and liner too.
I’ll let you know how the project goes. Come back and learn from our experience. Soon we’ll be qualified to give pond advice.
Imagine a field of daylilies. Better yet, leave nothing to the imagination and just look at the pictures of Open Heart and Siloam Ribbon Candy. You can see why Mike and I came home from the daylily farm many years ago with clumps of several different varieties.
Right now, they are all A+ gorgeous, which easily explains the love side of my relationship with daylilies. They certainly do belong here on Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, where bloggers like me show gardeners like you how our gardens look on 15th of each month. The daylilies are a prime bloomer for me in July.
Looking at these pictures, this would seem to be strictly a love relationship. Especially since I had heard how daylilies were low maintenance. Yah baby!
I’d love it if daylilies were low maintenance. Unfortunately, I don’t consider them to be. Like the name says, daylilies last a day. Enjoy a new one tomorrow as you deadhead yesterday’s finished flower. To make matters worse, unlike some flowers whose foliage still looks good after the blooms are spent, daylily leaves get yellow, then brown. Day by day, bit by bit. Soon, I’ll be cleaning up that mess just like I did in years past.
Would I do it again? Would I come home with so many? What would I do differently? They are beautiful, strikingly beautiful. So yes, I’d buy them again. Probably not so many since the amount of time spent on cleanup is significant. I’ve had some success at hiding the yellowing leaves behind other plants, so I’d intersperse them more instead of giving them their own area as I did at first. They are tolerant of sun through partial shade so I’d have lots of placement options. I’d also aim for different bloom times to spread out the flowering.
Do you want to know what else is blooming in the July garden? To see what other bloggers have blooming on the 15th of every month, visit May Dreams Gardens – Bloom Day for our Garden Bloggers’ Bloom day entries.
This is so perfect – a twofer. Yep, two for the price of one. Today’s Favorites on the Fifth covers creativity and About.com. We’ll use About.com as our reference tool for left brain vs. right brain, and for creative garden recycling tips.
Personally, I’m creative. It may take me a while to come up with an idea, but eventually one falls out of my head. According to About.com, that idea would be falling out of the right side of my brain; the side that is intuitive, thoughtful and subjective. So though it took me 3 years to come up with the design and complete the mosaic that graces the banner of this website, it did get finished. We even had to get creative to get the colored tiles I wanted for the border, as in we made them ourselves.
Yet by profession, I’m a Computer Trainer at Law Firms. That requires me to use the left side of my brain; which is logical, analytical and objective.
Which side is dominant? I took the About.com Painter’s Brain Quiz. No, I don’t paint. My garden is my palette. A great compliment was given to be recently when a neighbor visited my garden for the first time and said “I always figured an artist lived here.” I took the quiz and got a 65, which means my right brain is slightly dominant. I think that’s a fair estimation.
Perfect world is when both sides of the brain work together to accomplish a task, like a New Hire Training class that just happens to be creative. Here I am at Aon New Hire Training on Beach Bash Day. Sherry Perkowitz brought in the decorations, while I, of course, provided the flowers.
Perhaps using both sides of my brain helped when it came to putting together my presentation for the Chicago Flower and Garden Show this year. The right side loved the topic of creativity, while the left side had been organized enough to collect creativity pictures all these years.
Garden creativity comes in many shapes and forms. One of my favorites is reusing items in a new capacity, like this bicycle that Patrice Goosetree used for flowers.
Let’s take a look at how some About.com readers are doing creative recycling in their gardens. There are 284 so far, so we’ll just take a sampling.
Dripping Water for Birdbaths
To draw birds to my birdbath, I freeze water in a pint plastic milk carton with the handle and hang it on a feeder pole above my bird bath. Put a small hole in the bottom of container and the water will drip slowly as it melts. This drip will attract many birds for a cool drink or bath.
Another Great Use for Coffee Cans
I love watermelon and plant the big Carolina Cross variety. If you place them on coffee cans that are upside down when they are young you can turn them and make sure they fully ripen. Mine always weigh in over 20 pounds. You gotta drink a lot of coffee. LOL
Instead of putting up a very tall fence (which is a must because deer jump very high) just put up a fence post at each corner of your garden perimeter and string either thick fishing line or in my case I had a bunch of twine on the top rung of the post and walah the deer will get spooked when the run into in and will stay out, they won’t attempt to jump something they can’t see.
Mulch for Acid Lovers
Pinecones make good mulch for under acid loving plants.
—Guest connie mchugh
Paint Stick Markers
Most paint companies will give you extra paint sticks. They make great row markers and you can label them as well.
Creative Flower Border
I collect old chipped saucers from odd coffee/tea cups as colorful boders around my flower beds.
—Guest cynthia daniel
Old Carpet Mulch
Iam doing up my neighbours large garden and to stop weeds and grass re growing I used old carpets over the ground that can later be covered in gravel. Great way to recycle old carpets.
Recycled Plant Markers
Old plastic mini blinds found at yard sales make great plant markers. Cut to size with scissors and use a permanent black marker. I leave them in the ground for the winter so I can remember what is planted in each location and I won’t dig up perennials in the spring.
Do you want to see the other 276 ideas? Head on over to About.com, and you’ll see why they qualify for Favorites on the Fifth.
A sneak preview of Nashville Indiana, an oh so cute town filled with oh so many flowers and oh so cute stores filled with oh so cute things. I’ll let their seating areas tell the story for now. More to follow, in particular since the Brown County Garden Club has a Secret Garden Walk on July 6th and 7th.
Photo by Kevin Penczak
Zephirine Drouhin has never looked better. She is blooming with wild abandon on my Chicagoland garden gate. Zeffy, as she is affectionately known at Antique Rose Emporium, is officially a zone 6 rose. I’m zone 5 and I needed a thornless rose on my garden gate. Call me silly, but I don’t think anyone should get hurt walking through my gate. I couldn’t find a thornless zone 5 rose, so I ordered Zeffy.
For the first few years, my Zeffy was bloomless as well as thornless. That was when I was overprotective trying to keep her alive in zone 5. I’d cut her almost down to the ground in the fall and mulch heavily for the winter. Wrong. Now I’m being less cautious. We’re still protecting her with winter mulch, but not cutting her down, and were finally rewarded with blooms aplenty. She’s made my garden her home for 10 years, so she has made it through some bad winters and well as the recent easy ones. I’m hopeful she will continue to flourish.
Photo by Kevin Penczak
Photo by Kevin Penczak
Now that we aren’t’ killing her with kindness, the only pruning we’ve done the last few years has been to keep her under control. I help the canes wrap around the gate, cut dead wood, and cut back any canes that don’t add to her beauty. I trim her whenever I want and whenever I want. No real rules.
Zeffy is in full sun. She does get some black spot, so far nothing horrible. With so many canes, I sometimes just take out a whole cane instead of individual leaves to control it. I also feed her about 4 times a year.
Now that we’ve finally got this figured out, I’m hoping for a repeat performance this fall. In the interim, I’ve got a clematis growing up the other side of the gate, hoping it blooms during the summer months while Zeffy rests.
Speaking of repeat performances, join me at Bertholds Garden Center on June 22nd for ‘Creativity in the Garden’ at 1:00. This presentation debuted at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show this year. I’ll be happy to present it again in Elk Grove Village.
Do you want to know what else is blooming in the June garden? To see what other bloggers have blooming on the 15th of every month, visit May Dreams Gardens – Bloom Day for our Garden Bloggers’ Bloom day entries.
Bill Kurtis drove me around his garden on a golf cart. Boy was I surprised. I figured the kind person offering to chauffeur us around Bill Kurtis’s garden was one of the workers. Actually, it was one of the workers – the one who just happened to be Bill Kurtis himself.
That moment was just one of the joys from garden tours I’ve taken through the Open Days Program of the Garden Conservancy. That’s why I chose to tell their story and make their website the one we will visit for this month’s installment of Zone 5 – Favorites on the Fifth.
The Garden Conservancy makes it possible for you and me to visit gardens all over the country that are not normally open to the public. Gardens like Bill Kurtis’ garden in Mettawa on July 28th. It does cost $5 to get in. No, Bill doesn’t need the money. Proceeds from the Open Days Program support the national preservation work of the Garden Conservancy such as the rehabilitation of the gardens on Alcatraz Island (really), as well as local nonprofit organizations. Spend another $5 that day and go to Camp Rosemary for an exhibition of elegance. You won’t be disappointed.
The June 23rd garden in Barrington is well worth going to. The Olsen’s have 15 acres and 2 gardeners. We were suitably impressed last year and highly recommend it. Granted, your garden will pale in comparison, which can cause considerable feelings of inadequacy. Go anyway.
You can see the schedule for Illinois on the Conservancy website.
As Forrest Gump said, ‘Open Days is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get’. This much I do know – It’s gonna be good.