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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Cynthia's Garden

Cynthia is my neighbor directly across the street. She and her husband Rich moved in last year and I have been in heaven since then. I finally have a neighbor who understands the need to garden. Many a Saturday I have looked across the street to see Cynthia out there in a slicker during a downpour, swatting gnats while wiping sweat from her brow, or hauling around huge loads of compost. It sure makes me feel better since I'm usually doing the exact same thing!

No pictures of Cynthias garden would be complete without "the crew". On the right is Riley, in the middle is Boomer and on the left is a frequent family visitor.

Cynthia's gardens are all new and I'm always amazed at the wide range of plant material she boldly introduces to this piece of land that has not seen TLC in any recent time.

How cool is this Amaranthus bloom? I much prefer the nickname of "Love Lies-a-Bleeding". It's the perfect nickname.

Needless to say I was so taken by the Love-lies-a-bleeding that I had to take a photo of the blooms on the other side too.

In all the years I've been gardening (way more than I can count) I have never tried Colocasia esculanta (another cool nickname: Elephant Ears). This year Cynthia gave me two of them but hers appear to be much happier than mine.

I was so hoping that the sunshine coming through the leaf would translate well. It's as good as I had hoped for. What a wonderful spot to sit and sip your morning coffee.

Here's another pretty combination. Cynthia has Angelonia (the annual that I posted about earlier this week on Melanie's Perennials but didn't know the name) paired with this cream/yellow annual.

How do you like that, I'm stumped again with an annual name. It's a good thing one of my blogs is named Melanie's PERENNIALS :-) I thought this was Nemesia but after googling some images I think I'd better start to brush up on my annual names!

Cynthia, I'm so glad you're my neighbor. Thanks for the tour!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Praying Mantis in the garden

Early this past spring I found a number of praying mantis egg cases while doing garden clean-up. During the month of May I did a dozen programs on healthy gardening at our local elementary schools. Part of the program was to bring them egg cases which they kept in tanks in their classrooms until the young praying mantis hatched.

My only concern was that I would not have any praying mantis in my own garden but I kept assuring myself that I couldn't have found all the egg cases and surely there would be mantis young hatching here too.

Yesterday I was thrilled to find this Mantis in the flower bed around my pool. It had perched itself in an ideal spot, right next to a large blooming clump of Sedum. Normally I would feel bad that it was catching bees there but since I'm still itching like crazy from the sting I got on Tuesday, I'm not so upset. Of course I'm joking, I realize how much we need our pollinating insects. Still, I also love watching these cool praying mantis.

I do hope to find one in the front borders too but since that's where I got stung I'm working very slowly out there.

Last night I decided that I would definitely open for sales this Saturday. Guess I'll be working like crazy out there all day today and tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tricyrtis - Toad Lily

Finding good fall perennials require a bit of hunting. So many gardeners stop shopping for plants once summer heat hits but that's one way to assure yourself of having a boring fall garden.

Luckily, a few years ago I began to add Tricyrtis to my garden. Tricyrtis has one of those nicknames you'd rather not hear, it's Toad Lily. I think the name has something to do with the spots.

Anyway, I have a large clump of Tricyrtis blooming in my back shade bed right now.

Here you can see the whole clump. I've planted Tricyrtis in other spots and they've done ok but if you plant them next to something more aggressive, they seem to lose ground. Aparantly this one is in the perfect spot because it's quite happy there.

It took about a dozen trys to get a close up shot of the unusual bloom. Hopefully you get the picture. I do think I'd like to try a few more of these now that I've figured out what they like. Rich compost, shade and not too dry is my guess.

Do any of you grow Tricyrtis?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A charming scene

As I had hoped, this morning started out nice and cloudy, perfect picture taking weather. So, I grabbed my camera and out the door I went. My first stop was a little village just west of us, Cold Spring Harbor. I did manage to find a few good plant subjects there and you can see some of them on my Melanie's Perennials blog.

These shots came from another little village, Northport, which is just east of us. If you have a small town near you, this is the time to go and check out all the annual planters.

Backing up, you can see the corner that inspired me. The shop is Hengstenberg's Florist and the brick planters along the sidewalk are delightful.

Here you can see the wonderful colors of the Tropical Hibiscus and the lavender Cleome.

I didn't push aside any foliage to look for plant tags. This is not the old fashioned Cleome I'm used to growing. It's much more compact and the blooms are smaller. I really liked the way it was used in this planting. It also dropped it's bloom petals all over which is a plus for me as they looked like lavender snow.

Here's a shot of the whole planter. Isn't it wonderful? I had hoped to come around the front and shoot more photos but the sun came out full force and the few shots I took after this point are washed out with terrible shadows.

I plan on being on the hunt all week in hopes of getting more late summer images. The weather forecast is delightful for humans with temperatures in the low 70's and lots of sun. Not necessarily the best photography weather but I will still try my best.