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Showing posts from August, 2011

Morning Glory Monster

The morning glories were so pretty when we moved in a year ago - one of the first sets of blooms to greet us in the new home. They climbed a system of several trellises set up by the previous owner, and peeked into the living room window each morning. This year, things are different. They have taken over the side of the house, probably due to the extremely wet summer. They are now what I am calling the Morning Glory Monster:

This is what I actually see when I look at it:

A couple of weeks ago the entire monster came down - not all the way - about 45 degrees. Steve staked it up with some metal pipes. We'll keep it up until the frost, at which point we'll need to cut it way back, and re-do the trellis system in the spring. I still love them and the beautiful blooms. Just everything in moderation. And now, instead of a few just peeking in the window, they are closing us in!


J.K. Rowling gave flower names to Harry's mother and sister - his mother's name is Lily - the magical one, and her sister's name is Petunia, the unmagical one. Petunias can be overlooked and underestimated. Just because they are hanging at the front of every Home Depot, Walmart, and northern home in the summer, does not make them any less special to me. While pruning them today I reflected on how these tissue-thin petals survived at least two storms this summer with 70 mph winds. There must be something very strong (or magical?) in their design. They are tiny, hardy Victrolas, emitting beauty and happiness all Summer.

In the Spring (our first Spring here) I suggested that we start a tradition in which Steve picks the annuals that we plant in the patio border every summer. In the garden center he came around the corner with a cart full of purple and white petunias. He didn't know what they were, he just liked them best.

A Full Summer Day

It was an active day in the garden, probably because the weather was picture-perfect. Before my morning jog I walked around and made a mental list of to-do's for the day.

- The tomato cages I bought in the spring are like the Grinch's heart - two sizes too small. Their size as well as at least three violent storms this summer have resulted in me playing "keep up the tomatoes" with various bamboo and metal stakes - anything to keep the them off the ground and allow more sun and air to pass through the vines. Need to stake them up more today. And pick some. Also pick Cucumbers.

- Prune Roses.

- Trim bushes in the front bed.

- Weedweedweedweedweed.

I jogged, made coffee and blueberry pancakes for us (Steve working from home today), and pruned the roses. Dad stopped by out of the blue. He ate the last pancakes, and he and I staked up the tomatoes. We used the reflector poles that we line the driveway with in the winter. They were the strongest thing around, and I was re…

Four O'Clocks

My father always planted these when I was growing up, and he recently mentioned that they used to grow outside the buildings he grew up in in the city. It was a traditional city neighborhood, and his cousins and aunts all lived in the same block. So happy to have these cheery summer blooms here at my home now too. I showed them to my nieces last month in the early afternoon, and all on their own they shouted, "let's go check them" at four o'clock. Apparently it is not the time that drives their late-day opening, it is the drop in temperature. I took the first picture tonight in the rain - about 7:00 pm. The others were taken in the early morning 3 days ago.


Most recent photos of both the purple and cream. The third photo is a younger purple blossom - vanilla with pink edges.

Update: The Hydrangeas have flourished this summer. The six I transplanted down to the shady area grew beautiful healthy green leaves, and all but two have blossomed. The deep purples and pinks look so beautiful next to the cream-colored ones. The purples are dwarfed by the creams because they had such a head start. Next summer the playing field may be more even - with both starting and sprouting up at the same time.

The Hydrangeas bring me deep joy. I found myself looking forward to checking on them every day this summer - more than any other plant. They have such a charm, a Fourth of July, endless summer, watermelon, sprinkler-playing, quiet, old soul charm.

Here are the six:

Photo of all of them:

They are definitely doing well and recovering! I think that was it - they were in too much full sun. Now they are in dappled shade and growing lots and l…

Morning Glory

The morning glory vines are filling up the window on the northeast corner of the house. They seem twice the size of what they were last year. We've got three trellises outside to hold them. The east side of the house is now filled with their deep purple blooms in the morning, and the deep fuchsia four-o-clocks in evening. It's like they are working shifts!

View from inside:


Here are the Pink Promises and Moondance blooms this morning. You can see the leaves are skeletonized a bit by the Japanese beetles from the past few days, but the blooms, which mostly opened last night and this morning, seem safe.

The roses are both flourishing and struggling with pests. Early summer I noticed the blooms seemed to have spots on them, and when I peeled back the petals, I saw the frantic scurrying of thrip larvae. I used "Eight" on them and it seemed to control the thrips. The bushes and leaves are very healthy, and they've grown to at least twice the size in height and width. Such beautiful blooms - just need to keep the pests off. In the next month or two I'll be studying best practices for wintering them.

The spot in which we originally planted the hydrangeas is deceptively sunny. It's directly north of the house, and surrounded by shade plants, yet this particular 8 or so square feet gets constant sun, due to the angle of the …

Trumpet Vine

The trumpet vines are playing loud and strong. Compare to the early spring picture at bottom of Wisteria page. They are beautiful, but they are creeping into the siding of the house and pushing out the gutters. Next spring we will need to prune them way back, and also try to add a trellis between them and the Wisteria.