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Thursday, July 23, 2009

All Out!

This morning my daughters left with their dad for a three day trip to Maryland where they will be attending a family wedding.

Mom and I (and of course Calie-the-wonderdoodle-dog) are here and going to go ALL OUT during the next few days.

We've got a garbage dumpster in the driveway with lots of space to fill. The basement and attic are in desperate need of a cleaning and thankfully it's not too hot or the attic would not be a good place to be. I'll still only be able to stay up there a short time and will remember to drink lots of water.

Sunday we are planning a huge garage sale to hopefully unload lots of these goodies before throwing them in the garbage (or if in good condition, donate them to a church).

Gail, you asked if our house will be sold. That is still up in the air and certainly a possibility but I sure would like to finish out the next two years of Emily's high school education here.

In between inside cleaning we will also be going ALL OUT in the garden! On Monday I will have the unbelievable pleasure of showing my garden to two very well known garden writers. This might be my last hurrah for a time and I plan on enjoying every moment.

Darrell Trout has been here before and besides his many great books, he has also written quite a nice piece about my garden for Newsday a few years ago. Traveling with Darrell will be Felder Rushing who is a writer I've hoped to meet for many years.

Needless to say we'll be weeding like lunatics here.

While I've got my fingers crossed that the daylilies will still be looking good on Monday, I know that many other perennials here will be strutting their stuff.

Both Darrell and Felder are into "Garden Junque" and I've got lots of that for them to see. Actually, many pieces here were rescues from Darrell's last garden on Shelter Island. I hope he likes what I've done with them.

Now I need to remember to plant those bowling shoes too...

If I don't post in the next few days you'll all know what I'm doing. Going ALL OUT!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Landscape scenes

Taking photos of individual blooms is easy. You look through the view finder, check the surroundings and shoot.

If I wanted this photo of the hardy Geranium 'Nimbus' and the Coreopsis 'Zagreb' to be perfect, I would have had to take a little pair of scissors first and clip the dead heads off the Coreopsis. Still, it only took a moment for me to set this photo up and take it.

Stepping back a little further, you can focus on a small planting area. Still, not too difficult although there's more to look at inside your frame. Taking this photo out near the street I had to crouch down slightly so you didn't see the blacktop just at the top of the photo. Of course, there's also photo shop to help you crop out some things.

The more plant material (subject) you mix into the photo, the more difficult it seems to be to get a pleasing shot. Yesterday I tried to shoot a few landscape shots in the garden. This spot looked lovely but the camera wasn't as kind as I had hoped (or was it the photographer?).

I like the way this one came out with the misty air showing. Again, if I wanted this to be better I would have pulled my car out of the driveway (can you see it?). There wasn't any sense though in doing this because there's also a big black garbage dumpster in the driveway but hopefully I hid it well with the plant material.

Of course landscape shots wouldn't be complete without one that includes my little bicycle. Now you can see it with the charming basket that Bonnie found for me.

The back bed around the pool is such a riot of color that I can't make myself leave that area. It should be at peak for another week or two. The main focus of this bed is daylilies, if I had the luxury of redesigning it now I'd add some more mid and late summer blooms so it continued to put on a show for the whole summer. I have very few early spring blooming plants here as I really want it to shine during swimming season.

Here's one of the views from the top of the pool patio looking down. Hmm, I wonder why there's only one single Liatris stalk there, must let that baby increase! The Platycodon (balloon flowers) have been wonderful this season, today I'll try to remember to deadhead these a bit. It only takes a few minutes and keeps them blooming for so much longer.

Hope you liked my landscape shots.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bird Food

Mid July into August is when the cone flowers really start to shine. The Echinacea (Purple cone flowers) are the first, they're going quite strong now. If I find the time to get out there and cut off some of the older blooms, they'll send out new blooms all the way until the end of summer.

If you only have room for one kind of cone flower, this is the one I'd recommend. It brings flocks of bright yellow goldfinch to the garden, an amazing sight and sound!

The Liatris are revving up too now. According to many gardening books their nickname is "Kansas gay feather" but I rarely hear them actually called that around here. I don't know why I didn't take a photo of one in full bloom, guess it's something to do today.

My garden used to be filled with purple Liatris but one day I had a white one seed into the garden and now it's seeded all over.

Isn't it beautiful! The gold finch love the Liatris too, they cling sideways on the stalks and pick out the seeds (you have to let them turn brown and go to seed first). On a warm sunny afternoon you can go out and find Liatris stalks covered with fat happy bumblebees. That's another picture I'd like to get one day this week. Not today though since we are getting some needed rain.

Tall plants are so cool, I have quite a few different varieties in the garden. This is Rudbeckia maxima, it's at least 6' (2 meters) tall. Birds try to land on it for the seed and it's quite comical to see them suddenly bow down under the weight of a tiny bird.

Here's a corner of the bed behind my swimming pool. Right now it's a riot of color, just my kind of garden! You can see the Rudbeckia maxima in the top left corner. The grass that's just coming into bloom is Molina 'Skyracer', another excellent tall plant accent, quite different from any other grasses here.

The other day I was in the pool just on the other side of this bed. As I was swimming laps I realized that there were goldfinch in the bed just feet away from me. I felt like a submarine as I slowly cruised back and forth with just my head sticking out of the water.

At first I thought that I should get my camera and keep it perched on the pool edge but then I thought maybe that might not be a good idea.

Somehow I can just invision Calie the wonder-doodle-dog kicking that camera into the pool. She just goes wild when somebody is swimming, she begs for us to splash her and then tries to catch the water droplets in the air. What a crazy dog!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Stay Tuned!

Nope, I didn't run off to the Caribbean or on a European jaunt. Just busy, busy, busy! We've got a dumpster in the driveway and are trying to remove 25 years worth of accumulated "treasures" from this old house.

This afternoon I will be at SUNY Farmingdale, hopefully enrolling in my new life as a college student! I'll be sure to bring my camera and I'll try to get some more wonderful photos. I'm in a photo taking mood today.

Till later,