Category Archives: HELIANTHUS

PASS ALONG PLANTS

One of the things I love about gardeners

Is there willingness to share.

I’ve mentioned this before.

Sharing is so prevalent

It’s even  been given a name.

Pass Along Plants.

Sally's Pass Along Larkspur

Sally’s Pass Along Larkspur

Most well-kept gardens

Produce babies.

Lots of them. 

And there’s a need to find them each a good home.

At least that was true when I first started gardening.

After all I had been given plants by my friend Sally to start my garden.

I should certainly pay it forward

When the time came.

The truth is it’s impossible to find each seedling a new little bit of heaven.

But I still try.

Twice this season I’ve had the chance to share lots of plants.

First my friend Mary wanted to fill in some empty spaces in her flower beds.

She moved a few of her things around.

Divided some hostas

And dug from my garden.

Ferns, Gloriosas, Purple Coneflowers, Larkspur.

And a Rosebush which had a Helianthus growing up the middle.

Then last weekend Megan came.

Megan & her trunk full of plants

Megan & her trunk full of plants

She got here as I was finishing up the big dahlia dig.

So she got a bit of this and a bit of that.

Ferns, Stella d’ Ora Daylilies, a mystery Day lily,

Two pieces that fell off one the Blushing Bride Hydrangeas.

They are real babies, but patience will reward her.

More Gloriosa Daisies, Purple Coneflowers, tall garden Phlox and Larkspur.

A Butterfly Bush

Dahlia tubers

Tiger lily bulbs that appeared in the mail without being ordered.

And volunteer Hellebores – which I’ve never had to offer before.

Then we hit the leftover seeds for more goodies.

We dug

And visited

And laughed

And remembered our “professional” gardening days together.

During her Junior High and High School days.

It gives new meaning to sharing.

Sharing gardens

Sharing lives.

The timing was perfect

Just as the Larkspur was hitting full stride.

Larkspur & Friend

Larkspur & Friend

The Larkspur growing from seeds given to me by Sally

Who got it from her mother.

Generations of plants ago.

Life is good.

Gardening makes it even better!

Gail

 

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Filed under Dahlias, Ferns, Gardening, Gloriosa Daisy, HELIANTHUS, Hellebores, Hosta, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Seeds, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON

To everything there is a season

And a time to every purpose under heaven

Familiar words.

And true.

I’ve come to realize over the years that some people seem to time their deaths.

I first realized this when a man named Bill Frass died.

Bill was a kind, gentle and happy soul.

He was also an Iris fanatic.

A plant your backyard full of Iris kind of fanatic.

I first encountered Bill when my neighbor Geraldine shared some of his iris.

After that he was my guide during the annual iris rhizome sale each July.

But the thing is Iris only bloom for a few short weeks each spring.

Somehow Bill managed to die while they were blooming.

His fellow Iris fanatics cut their precious children for his funeral.

The room was filled with Iris.

Full of the scent and aura that was Bill.

What a send off.

I’ve also read about Henry Mitchell.

For years he was the garden writer for the Washington Post.

He died after an afternoon of plating Daffodils with a friend.

Imagine.

Leaving this world with dirt under your fingernails

Having planted the hope of spring.

I like this plan.

But for me the most poignant is the story of when my father died.

It was two years ago this week.

My father was many things.

Most of all he was a farmer. 

His life would take him to meet world leaders

Their conversation would more often than not be about farming.

But there came a time in his late 80’s to stop his active involvement in farming.

It’s a gut wrenching decision echoed by families all through the farm belt.

His decision was made in typical Henry style.

Get the facts – make the decision – don’t look back.

So it was that spring that he came to his last harvest.

Elliott came home to be a part of his own history.

The wheat was cut.

It was a record crop.

All through that summer Daddy came three times a week to my home for lunch.

That had been his pattern for several years.

He could no longer stroll through my garden.

Instead we would sit in the breakfast room and watch the garden grow and change.

We would talk gardening, farming and politics.

I had a sense something was changing but didn’t know what.

He was winding down.

I think I’ve mentioned his theory on color in the garden.

Red.

Only Red!!!

Then there is my theory.

Everything but red.

Except in late summer

When the cockscomb takes over.

It’s the only red flower I grow.

It blooms wildly

Actually out of control this time of year.

There is one non red flower that Daddy liked.

Maxmillian Sunflower.

A late summer blanket on the prairie.

And so it was to be.

His last days came when his beloved country side was covered in Maximillian Sunflowers.

And cockscomb filled my garden.

The Wednesday before his Saturday services

Elliott and I drove through the countryside and cut sunflowers, cattails and maize.

Actually we stole the maize from the field of an old friend.

Along the way we laughed and cried a little and remembered.

We basked in the glory of the sunshine and a life well lived.

We took it all to the florist who filled two urns with fabulous arrangements.

They flanked Daddy as friends came from across the state

To say goodbye.

To tell stories to his grandsons.

To celebrate his life.

At the same time I asked my local florist Ryan to go to my garden

Cut everything he needed to make the casket flowers.

Make it red.

He did.

It is true.

To everything there is a season.

Even for giant spiders.  Sloan and Cassidy just came by on their nightly spider check.  It’s gone….till next season.

Gail

Thanks Elliott & Debra letting me use some of your pictures.

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Filed under Cattails, cockscomb, Daffodils, Gardening, HELIANTHUS, Iris, late summer garden, Maximillian Sunflower, Orb Spider, Sunflowers, Uncategorized

HYDRANGEA – SUMMER OF THEIR DISCONTENT

Hydrangeas in happier days.

FOR  A LONG TIME I’VE KNOWN THAT THE HYDRANGEAS IN MY FRONT YARD ARE IN WAY TOO MUCH  SUN.

YOU MAY RECALL THAT ORIGINALLY THERE WAS SHADE PROVIDED BY A PINE TREE…THAT DIED.

NOW WE ARE IN THAT IN-BETWEEN TIME

WAITING FOR THE REPLACEMENT TREES TO GROW.

AND FOR THE FIRST FEW YEARS IT WAS OK

BUT LAST YEAR AND AGAIN THIS YEAR WE’RE EXPERIENCING

HOW SHALL I PUT THIS

HEAT

AND LOTS OF IT.

SUNSHINE IN ABUNDANCE – WHICH I LOVE

BUT THIS IS A BIT EXTREME.

MY FRONT HYDRANGEAS ARE NOT GOING TO DIE

BUT THEY ARE DEFINITELY NOT HAPPY.

A sadder version

I AM THANKFUL FOR THE DRIP SYSTEM THAT WE HAVE PUT IT.

I’VE MENTIONED IT BEFORE BUT YOU MAY BE MORE INTERESTEDAT THIS POINT. 

WWW.DRIPWORKS.COM IS THE ANSWER TO THIS KIND OF WEATHER.

IN A NORMAL YEAR I TURN IT ON ONCE A WEEK.

NOW IT’S MORE LIKE EVERY 3 OR 4 DAYS.

ACTUALLY THAT STILL ISN’T TOO BAD

BUT IT’S ENOUGH THAT I AM LEACHING NITROGEN AWAY

THAT MEANS THAT THE FOLIAGE IS TURNING

WELL…YELLOW IF NOT WHITE.

Anemic Hydrangeas

IT’S NOT UNCOMMON FOR THIS TO HAPPEN THIS TIME OF THE YEAR

BUT IT’S DEFINITELY MORE THAN USUAL

A FEW WEEKS BACK I SWUNG INTO ACTION

ORGANIC MATTER IS WHAT THEY NEED

SO I DUG OUT THE PEAT MOSS AND SPREAD IT AROUND THE BASE OF THE PLANTS

THIS ALSO HELPS WITH MOISTURE RETENTION

NEXT I ADDED A LAYER OF LEAVES FROM THE PILE OF LEFTOVER LEAVES IN THE BACK

THEN JUST FOR GOOD MEASURE I POURED A COUPLE OF GALLONS OF ALUMINUM SULPHATE OVER EACH PLANT

I EVEN TRIED AN OLD WIVES TALE THAT PAM TOLD ME ABOUT.

PUT BALLS OF ALUMINUM FOIL UNDER THE PLANTS.

ALUMINUM – GET IT.

THE PROBLEM IS THE BALLS KEEP MOVING AROUND THE GARDEN.

I THINK THE SQUIRELS ARE USING THEM FOR BALLS FOR THEIR SUMMER BASEBALL LEAGUE.

IT REMINDS ME OF HOW ELLIOTT AND HIS COUSINS MADE WRAPPING PAPER BALLS AND PLAYED “BALL” IN MY MOTHER’S LIVING ROOM EACH CHRISTMAS.

I DIGRESS.

I WISH I COULD SAY THE HYDANGEAS ARE NOW A RICH DEEP GREEN

THEY ARE NOT

BUT NEITHER HAVE THEY LOST ANY MORE GROUND

SO AT THIS POINT I’M HAPPY

HOLDING YOUR OWN ISN’T BAD.

NORMALLY AT THIS TIME OF THE SUMMER I WOULD ALSO ADD A LAYER OF MANURE AROUND THE BASE OF THE PLANTS AGAIN.

I USUALLY DO IT THREE TIMES A YEAR

SPRING WHEN THEY ARE GREENING UP

MID-SUMMER

AND AS WINTER PROTECTION.

I USE 15 – 40 LBS BAGS.

THAT’S 600 LBS

I HAVE A SYSTEM WORKED OUT WHERE I NEVER ACTUALLY LIFT A BAG.

AFTER HAVING THEM LOADED AT THE STORE

I PULL MY WHEEL BARROW UP TO THE BACK OF THE CAR AND DRAG THE BAGS INTO IT.

THEN I SCOOP IT OUT IN MANAGEABLE AMOUNTS.

THE PROBLEM THIS YEAR IS THE HEAT.

NOT FOR THE PLANTS

BUT FOR ME

IT TAKES AWHILE TO SCOOP OUT 600  LBS. OF MANURE

SO I LIKELY CAN’T GET IT ALL DONE IN ONE MORNING

WHICH MEANS I’LL HAVE MANURE IN MY CAR OVERNIGHT.

IN A RATHER TOASTY GARAGE

SO FAR I’M WAITING FOR A COOLER MORNING.

I HAVE CUT BACK THE “FRIED BLOSSOMS”

TONS OF THEM

Trusty wheel barrow full of blossoms - off to the composter.

AND THE NEW LEAVES FOR THE FALL CROP OF BLOSSOMS ARE COMING ON.

NORMALLY THIS WOULD LEAD TO LATE SUMMER BLOSSOMS

THAT TURN THE MOST WONDERFUL GREEN IN THE FALL.

LAST FALL'S BOUNTY

THIS YEAR….

WE’LL JUST HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE.

THE HYDRANGEAS IN THE BACK ARE IN MORE SHADE

THEY ARE MUCH HAPPIER THOUGH STILL A BIT ANEMIC

UNFORTUNATELY MOST IN THE BACK ARE AN OLD VARIETY THAT ONLY BLOOMS ON OLD WOOD.

SO THE DILEMMA IS DO I LEAVE THEM WITH THEIR MEAGER BLOOMS

OR…DO I DIG THEM UP AND REPLACE THEM WITH NEWER MORE PROLIFIC BLOOMERS.

I KEEP GETTING EMAILS FROM WHITE FLOWER FARMS ABOUT ALL THE NEW VARIETIES THAT THEY HAVE.

IT’S AS IF THEY KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN MY GARDENS

SOMETHING TO PONDER ON THOSE COLD WINTER DAYS THAT WILL COME

I PROMISE

I GUESS WE JUST NEED TO TAKE A CLUE FROM THE HYDRANGEAS

AND HANG IN THERE.

ENJOY THE WEEK.

GAIL

 

HERE ARE A FEW MORE THINGS THAT SEEM TO LOVE THE HEAT!

HELIANTHUS - FALSE SUNFLOWER

THE COCKSCOMB ARE COMING!


 

 

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Filed under cockscomb, HELIANTHUS, Hydrangea, Uncategorized