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Saturday, June 20, 2009

In your eye!

Tonight I'm sitting here at my laptop with a very achy back. I was cropping and editing some photos I took today when I zoomed in on this shot of a Astrantia (masterwort) blooming in my garden. I had such fun cropping and zooming that I decided to play with a few more images. So here's some up close and personal shots of things in my garden.

The white Astilbe in my shade bed is pristine white. I grow two white varieties, this one has dark green foliage and I wonder if it's Astilbe 'Deutschland'.

Geranium 'Jolly Bee' against the Hosta 'Aristrocrat'. What a combination!

Plain and simple, Coreopsis 'Zagreb' is so easy to grow and I love it so much better than 'Moonbeam' that flops all over the place.

Spirea 'Little Princess' has a new leaf on life. It clashed something awful with another plant growing next to it so I took it out and moved it to the woods where it promptly died. There was a small rooted branch left in the old spot and now there's a perfect shrub there again. The clashing plant up and died a year later so I'm happy to have this beauty back again.

Just can't get enough of the shade loving Japanese fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum')

Thalictrum glaucum blooms are as tall as me but with all the rain we've been getting their flopping all over the place. Tonight I finally tied them up and had to shoot this closeup.

Yet another Filipendula bloomign in the garden. This one has a finer cut leaf and a deeper colored bloom. I have to hunt around for the cultivar name.

And last but not least, daylily 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' blooming it's first bloom and if you take a look at those amazing buds you'll know it's going to bloom like crazy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time there was a bicycle. It was a happy bicycle, it lived in a beautiful neighborhood on the north shore of Long Island. One day the bicycle owners decided they no longer wanted this bicycle and put it out at the curb for the garbage men to collect.

Luckily a woman spotted the bicycle before the garbage truck arrived. She remembered her friend wanted an old bicycle for the garden and this bicycle looked like it might be perfect. She was a good friend, she loaded the bicycle in her car and brought it to her friends house.

The bicycle was placed in a lovely section of the garden. It's new owner place a nice straw basket on the handlebars and a birdhouse on the back carrier.

Within days a little wren came and made a nest in the birdhouse. Soon the bicycle was home to a clutch of baby birds. It was happy.

This is what a baby wren looks like (the one on the right :-)) the first day it left the birdhouse. This particular birdhouse has been an excellent shelter, raising many, many wren babies.

Many years later the bicycle was still in the garden, still holding up the birdhouse. The straw basket had rotted away and unfortunately there was only a metal basket to place on the handlebars.

Along came another friend. One of the best parts of gardening are the amazing friends one makes with other gardeners. This friend had found a straw bicycle basket waiting at the curb for the garbage truck. She knew it would be perfect for the bicycle. She was a good friend, she picked up the basket and brought it over to the bicycle's home.

The bicycle's owner went out to put the new basket on the bicycle. She brought along a shovel because there was a large poke weed right in front of the bicycle that was driving her crazy. As she got near the bicycle she heard that sound, cheep cheep cheep, the birdhouse was filled with wren babies. She decided that the poke weed and the basket could wait for a week or two until the babies could fly.

Two days later the owner went out to check on the baby wrens. Horror of horrors, the bird house was not there!!! Carefully creeping around the garden bed the owner saw the birdhouse was laying upside down on the ground. Worst of all, three huge squirrels were trying to get in the birdhouse while a tiny wren was frantically dive bombing all three squirrels.

The bicycle was sad. The owner was mad! She started to flap her arms and loud sounds came from her as she chased those nasty squirrels across the neighbors yard. (Upon reflection, she hopes that nobody actually witnessed her loss of composure.)

She carefully lifted the birdhouse from the ground. As she slowly turned it upright, the baby wrens started cheeping up a storm! Hooray!!! They were alive and well!

Only minutes had passed when the owner saw the wren arrive with a juicy green inch worm. Breakfast time for the baby birds.

The wrens were happy. The bicycle was happy. The owner was happy. The pokeweed was happy too.

The end.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Centaurea nigra - Where did you come from?

In yesterday's blog I wrote about a perennial that has stolen my heart. There were two perennials that were amazing in the garden. This is the second one.

The strange thing is that although I always tell people to catalog their purchases with lots and lots of digital images, I can't find a single image of this beauty. In fact, I don't remember buying it but it's such a large healthy clump that it certainly isn't a volunteer.

I grow other Centaureas so I know what plant family I'm dealing with. Doing a little googling I'm pretty sure this is Centaurea nigra. Now I just wish I could remember where I bought it because I just have to get me some more! (Kim, do you think I got it at Agway? Did you get one??)


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Filipendula 'Kakome'

Oh no, I think I've fallen head over heels, madly in love with a plant in my garden.

Our lousy cool wet morning slowly turned into a beautiful day. As the weather improved, we started having visitors come to see our open garden. It wasn't until the mid afternoon that I really noticed this plant and then I just couldn't stop visiting it!

One of the first blogs I wrote was about this plant. It was a mystery plant to me, I bought it at a local nursery at the insistence of a gardening friend. Luckily she remembered the name, Filipendula 'Kakome'. (That post is the second to last post under the label "Plant Profile")

When I first planted this in my garden I had no idea what kind of conditions it would need. I planted it in extremely dry shade. Since it's a semi-shade, moisture lover, I'm thrilled that it survived in my garden. While I noticed it before, it wasn't until I moved a piece into a sunnier spot near our sprinkler that I saw what this baby could do. This photo is of the piece that's still in the dry shade area.

Here's a photo from the back side of the sun border with the Filipendula in the lower left corner.

Tonight as I downloaded my photos on to the computer I realized that I took nine different shots of this bloom. I guess I was totally smitten ;-

It looks like cotton candy with little pearl tufts rising above it. Sigh... what a dream flower...

Oh yes, there was another new flower that blew me away today so stay tuned, I'll post about it tomorrow.