Friday, July 31, 2015

When the cleaning is DONE

The house isn't clean until flowers 
from the garden are everywhere!

Hydrangea "Lime Light", Tiger Grass,  Oriental Lily "Casa Blanca", Tiger Lily "Black Beauty" and hosta leaves.

Nasturtium "Favorites Mix", Coleus and Helichrysum "Icicles" 

Hydrangea "Lime Light" and Black Eyed Susan.

Daylilies:  "Fran Hals", "Ice Carnival" and "Lilting Belle"

Marigold "Janie Mix"

Daylilies:  "Jean Swan", "Dublin Elaine" and "Hyperion".

Tiger Lily "Black Beauty" with Impatiens
"Dazzler Mix" in the pot behind.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Lillium "Casa Blanca" is another highly fragrant and spectacularly beautiful late blooming oriental lily.  The flowers are 10 inches of pure white clusters on 48 inch stems.  Although they are wonderful in the garden, breaking off a flower for a vase in the house is a must.  

Oriental lilies can be planted among other late blooming perennials with ease since they don't really mind company.  The above photo is "Casa Blanca", daylily "Bryan Paul", annual "cleome", "Blackberry" toad lily and daylily "Dublin Elaine".  
Casa Blanca is so easy and common that it's inexpensive. A few can be planted every year for a big show with little effort and cost.   And if they ever invent a computer with the ability to emit fragrances, this would be the perfect smell-o-blog time.  

NOTE:  I wrote a previous article "Casa Blanca Lily" #318 about these lilies if you want to read more.  The way to get there is look at the list on the right hand side of this blog.  It is alphabetical by the labels.  I try to label by the actual topic not my article title so that way things can be researched easily.    

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bold Jumper Spider

This male Bold Jumper Phidippus addax was holding court on a daylily bud.  This is his back side because he kept hiding from me as I tried to take his picture.  Here is his front side (web picture):
This shows the male's front facing eyes and shining green mouth parts.  Their bodies go through several changes and look different accordingly.  Plus, the male and female look different.  No matter what, they are another interesting garden spider. 

They have no need to trap food in a woven web, they scurry around and jump on them.  The little guy in my garden did a few jumps at me in an attempt to show me I should leave him alone.  It worked.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Gardening - Mostly

Giant Swallowtail 
Grateful all the craziness in the world isn’t in my yard.

The rationalization isn’t good enough about why we import and buy any food product that is grown right here by our neighbors.

Trying to be grateful for more rain because somewhere there’s a drought.

I call it “UN Friendship Bread” because of the guilt from throwing away the starter.
Eastern Black Swallowtail 
Deadheading daylilies and knocking off a perfectly good bud instead.

Pulling that new plant while weeding because you got into pulling and didn’t realize it was valuable until it was in your hand with no roots attached.

Balancing the desire for a beautiful garden against another 400 mosquito bites.

Driving behind a leaking honey wagon and having to keep your car outside even when hail is predicted because even the dog won’t go into the garage.
Finding the weed I pulled yesterday is already six inches tall today.

Being amazed at how wonderfully over the top some plants are this year for the first time.

My abdominal workout this summer is sneezing and coughing.

Children don’t whine nearly as much as adults concerning the heat, humidity or insect bites.

Realizing the red on my maple trees isn’t a fluke; it’s the first sign of fall.
Mourning Cloak

Following a Louisiana weather site just to make myself feel better about our humidity.

There is always that one person in Wal-Mart that makes you realize the Wal-Mart people web pictures are not staged.

Wondering how many times farmers bite their tongues when people are clueless about animals, crops and production.

People who take offense over everything need to garden.  Gardeners soon learn it takes hard work and forgiveness to be happy in the garden.
Black Tiger Swallowtail
There is no comparison between hothouse strawberries and tomatoes and garden fresh.  My taste buds tell me they are two different fruits. 

There’s something magical about a field of pumpkins.

Childlike wonder when something self seeds and there’s a vegetable or flower growing as if by design.

I’m sure the term “tough love” was originated by a gardener.

They used to burn accused witches at the stake, now they roast them on social media.
Tiger Swallowtail
Of all the flowers I love the best, I love the flowers best.

You love gardening when you hate to go on a summer vacation because you might miss something blooming in your yard.

The best picture of a flower is with a child or grandchild.

At the end of the day, the guy that picks up all the weeds I’ve pulled and cuts out and hauls away the branches for me deserves to be called “super husband”!

There are garden days when I find it hard not to resent Adam and Eve’s little slip up.  You had a perfect garden!  What were you thinking? 
Silver Spotted Skipper
There’s always that one plant that does crazy things.  This year it’s 12+ foot tall hollyhock.

I hate the day it went from “reporting news” to “making up news”.

There are an estimated 3,500 species of bees in the US; each one needs to be valued for the work they do in our fields and gardens.

This summer I’ve had more honeybees at the birdbath than birds.

This is the summer we will try to find “green tomato recipes” and pretend we’re happy eating them.
Red-spotted Purple
Today I’d like to thank Willis H. Currier!

It’s estimated one square mile holds more insects than all the humans in the world.  Scientists believe that there is at least that many more still undiscovered.  For the most part, humans go about life swatting, removing or ignoring insects until you see that magnified close up and then the nightmares begin.
Red Admiral
Note:  All these butterflies were in my yard over the years.  Have host plants for larvae, caterpillars, and winged insects.  Have a variety of plants and don't keep your yard too neat.  And do not use insecticides.  Build a butterfly sanctuary and they will come.   

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Breath In - Breath Out

A beautiful day with low humidity, sunny skies and 80 degrees.  

It started out a bit uneven when I woke at 3:30 AM and couldn't go back to sleep.  Amazing what you can get done at that time in the morning.  Because it was the perfect weather, I was out at daybreak ready to finally kill weeds.  I've put it off because of the weather and I hate the exposure to chemicals.  It was today or my previous week of intensive weed pulling labor would be for naught since the weeds were growing fast.  

I did get the invasives and weeds coated in herbicide.  At the same time, I sprayed myself THREE times with Deep Woods because the mosquitoes were attacking; especially back by the woods.  Then the icing on the cake - or the chemical on the corpse - the fields around us started to be sprayed by a crop duster.  Cough Cough and I'm inside but wow what a less than desirable health situation all the way around.  At one point, I thought maybe we should just move to a place with no yard.

On the plus side, here are a few new blooms:
Hemerocallis "Dublin Elaine"
"Dublin Elaine" is in the family bed for granddaughter, Kaydence Elaina.  Sometimes the name association is a stretch but it still works for me.  A 5 1/2 inch light pink double with cream.  Has a small yellow center.  32 inch scapes.  Mid season plus rebloom.  Dormant.  Excellent grower with masses of blooms.  Award of Merit and All American Daylily Selection.  

This double is stunning because of the way the color lays on it much like it's been painted with watercolors.  I pick one every day it's open to sit on my desk.  
Hemerocallis "Dorothy Lambert"
"Dorothy Lambert" is another stunning flower.  6 inch glowing orange crush with mauve eye and gold throat.  32 inch scapes.  Mid season bloomer but comes up late here.  Dormant.  Received the Award of Merit.  

DL has done poorly in recent years because a shrub overgrew it's site.  I removed the shrub and it's already looking better.   
Hemerocallis "Crimson Shadows"
"Crimson Shadows" is a 5 inch deep rich crimson red with darker halo and yellow eye.  25 inch scapes.  Mid to late season bloomer.  Dormant.  A nice bright addition to the July/August garden.  Unlike some reds, CS stays looking good throughout the day. 
Hemerocallis Unknown "Flat Pink-Peach"

This unknown variety "Flat Pink-Peach" was given to me by my daughter when she moved and downsized yard space.  It's been an odd little lily and took awhile to establish.  This year an exact duplicate came up about 20 feet away for the first time.  Hummmm.

I think it's time to move some under performers.  Under performers because they're in the wrong place and in wrong conditions.  I have now killed vegetation (hopefully) a large area in full sun that had this invasive ground cover.  Late fall or early spring is move time!

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Late Bloomers

The late bloomers are finally beginning to pop:

Hemerocallis "Hyperion"
"Hyperion" is a Heirloom introduced by Mead in 1924.  It has 5 inch (larger this year) pale lemon yellow blooms with ruffling.  It lays somewhat flat.  Considered a mid to late season bloomer.  Vigorous.  Dormant.  Drought tolerant.  Received Award of Merit.
Hemerocallis "Chicago Apache"
"Chicago Apache" was the first hybrid daylily I bought for this yard.  I've divided and gifted to others many times.  It's a 5 inch deep ruby red velvet with small golden throat.  Sometimes has a darker red halo and light midribs.  Edges are crimped.  30 inch scapes.  Blooms late in season plus rebloom.  Dormant.  Tetraploid. Received Honorable Mention.  
Lilium "Stargazer"
I have no shame when I admit I buy "Stargazer" bulbs at almost any place - nursery, on line, big box, flea markets and thrift stores.  There is no down side to Stargazer lilies.  The flowers are six inch flat pink/red/white blooms, freckled and highly fragrant.  Blooms late in the summer.  Often outlined in white and has a lime green star center.  Up facing but usually needs to be staked since the flowers get so heavy.  Plant next to a fence or railing and you can weave a soft ribbon or string around the stem and brace it up. 

They are toxic to cats but I've never had a cat even remotely interested.  When I bring them in the house, I put where they can't reach.  AND I ALWAYS bring them in the house because they perfume an entire room.  
Hemerocallis "Lifting Belle"
If I had to choose one daylily as my favorite, it would probably be "Lilting Belle".  An 8 inch pink/lavender blend with large creamy yellow throat and white midrib.  Considered a spider variant.  36 inch scapes.  Mid to late season bloomer.  Evergreen.  Vigorous.  The blooms withstand the weather better than any of my big spiders and better than most all the others.  The other night/morning with high winds and beating rain, Lilting Belle's blooms were perfect.  It didn't send up any scapes the summer after our crazy cold 2013 winter but it's making up for it this year.  

Evergreen - Semi evergreen - Dormant

The above is a description of daylily foliage habit and not hardiness.

Although there is no hard rule for which category is best in our Zone 5 (or colder) climate, I've found evergreens are usually the first to be lost during years when it's minus 30 degrees for a long winter.

I try to never buy a daylily that isn't field grown in my climate.  That seems to be a better indicator of whether it will survive our winters.  I love the evergreen daylilies because they are the most wild, innovative and cutting edge.  Many are grown in the south and I just won't take the chance no matter how crazy beautiful.  

I haven't lost many daylilies and I think it's because I stick to buying field stock grown in cold climates.  I've also learned to stick with nursery gown stock and not big box store daylilies.  BBS lilies are seldom true to AHS's description and often weak.

The reason I suggest "field grown" instead of greenhouse grown, is they're hardened off before they sell them.  If they live in their fields, they should live in my yard.  Many hybridizers only grow their seedlings in the field for just this reason.

I also buy (almost exclusively) from nurseries that specialize in daylilies.  They may have other things but they have the crazy daylily gene and I know they try really hard to make sure they only offer healthy strong plants. 

Brief foliage description for the newbies:

Dormant:  Shown with a big "D" in the catalogs, it refers to daylilies that lose their foliage completely before or shortly after the first frost.  They over-winter with pointed foliage buds, usually just beneath the soil surface and will resume growth in the spring.  They REQUIRE a cold period in the winter when their foliage will go dormant and don't do well in zones 9-10.

Semi-evergreen:  Shown with a big "SEV" in catalogs.  The foliage is somewhere between an evergreen and dormant.  Depending on the winter climate, they may try to have some winter foliage but not as much as a true evergreen.  I find they typically perform much like a dormant here in Zone 5.

Evergreen:  Shown with a big "EV" in catalogs.  They retain their foliage throughout the year but in Zone 5 or colder they pretty much go to mush as the freeze settles in for months.  You will find them a frozen pale green mound of foliage.  They may resume growth during a midwinter thaw or in milder climates. 

The whole climate things is one reason gifting a gardening friend a daylily is so successful.  That and I believe the whole "I'm giving you something I love because I love you, too" always makes a plant grow better!        

07-16-2015 tornado outside Monmouth IL
Extremely thankful last night's tornadoes didn't kill anyone.  It certainly had the potential and strength.  Grateful for early warnings and the great job our local news people perform.  And of course all the people who respond and help in the aftermath of all that damage.  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

If You Knew

If you knew Katisue, my Katie, my Katisue! 
Hemerocallis "Katisue"
 "Katisue" is a 2 3/4 inch yellow/gold bloom with cinnamon brushing and curled petals with a green eye.  26 inch scapes.  Dormant.  Late bloomer.  Diploid.  Hardy with high bud count.  In my family bed for granddaughter, Katherine Sue.  This is a sweet little flower that reminds me of a donut.  
Hemerocallis "Hoosier Hopes"
"Hoosier Hopes" is in my family bed because I'm from Indiana.  A 5 inch matt purple/wine blend with darker halo and green/yellow eye.  34 inch scapes.  Dormant.  Mid to late season plus rebloom. 
Hemerocallis "Siloam Betty Woods"
"Siloam Betty Woods" is in the family garden for my mother, Betty.  A 5 1/2 inch double light peach self with green throat and ruffling.  Mid and extended blooms.  Diurnal.  Dormant.  Diploid.  18-24 inch scapes.  VERY fragrant.  Won Honorable Mention and Junior Citation.  It sometimes has so many petals it fails to open all the way and is always late morning to open but stays open into evening.  Bring it into the house and it will scent an entire room.  
Hemerocallis "Susan Weber"
New to my garden this summer, "Susan Weber" is a 5 3/4 inch soft cream pink with a light rose pink border and soft ruffling.  Late and extended bloom.  Semi evergreen on 26 inch scapes.  Diploid.  Winter hardy and good increased clump size.  Received Award of Merit, Stout Silver Medal Runner-up, Honorable Mention and the Eugene S. Foster Award. 
Lilium lancifolium "Splendens"
"Splendens" aka Orange Tiger Lily is a sentimental addition to my gardens.  It is in the old pioneer Hopewell Cemetery, Howard County, Indiana where I have family buried.  

The orange recurved pendent flowers are speckled with dark dots and hang down from 30-36 inch stems.  Late blooming.  This is considered a Heirloom dating from 1804.  It's as sturdy as it is beautiful and will outlast this home if left to it's own devices. 

Have I mentioned rain lately?  Another inch today and about three inches to our south.     

Thursday, July 9, 2015

To Trim or Not to Trim?

Bitsy the cat peaking under the Boxwood bush.
Seldom do I see a boxwood hedge outside public gardens.  I suspect it's for two reasons:

  1. They're more formal than most gardens now days.
  2. They're a lot of work to keep them trimmed.  

Boxwood hedge trimmed to perfection
Large commercial or public gardens typically have garden staff to keep the many rows of clipped boxwood or individual boxwood sculptures always perfect.  And, a boxwood MUST be perfectly trimmed all the time to achieve the desired look.

I've ratcheted my boxwood expectations down a whole lot.  I have one boxwood bush.  Since my gardens are what I've often termed a "willy nilly" planting style - or - when I want to pretend I have a little savvy "English garden" style.  Either description means plants are not in any way formally arranged.  My husband will testify as he has to turn and dodge when mowing.

And then - - - I bought a boxwood and planted in my willy nilly fashion in a large informal area filled with daylilies, ornamental grasses, roses, other perennials, some small trees and bushes.  

That round ball on the left is the Boxwood under
the 2013 mega snow.
Fortunately I realized the potential to have one very formal bush within this garden and I like the contrast.  The round orb is a perfect contrast to the wild array of other plants.

Boxwood, Buxus sempervirens, is an evergreen.  It hold it leaves and color all winter.  In the spring, it sends up new lime green growth which is kept trimmed all summer.  Once it's in the shape you desire, it cannot be sheared heavily because it won't sprout from the heavy stems.   

Boxwood is an old ornamental garden plant traced to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.  It's deer resistant.  The tiny spring flowers are petal free and attract bees with it's sweet fragrance.  

It has shallow surface roots and doesn't like other plants interfering with that growth.  It may send up suckers from these roots but they can be cut off when it's trimmed.  

Boxwood bush in the near center right of the birdbath.
Plant in full sun.  I've only had winter kill one time; a few years back when we had that horribly cold windy winter.  The kill was only on the top.  I left it alone until it had again sent up new shoots that eventually filled in the space.  

It's emerald green leaves look beautiful in the winter, sharply contrasting with the snow.  I've enjoyed this bush for seventeen years in my garden and it's been stunning every year.  
Boxwood divider hedge trimmed like elephants.
If the idea of having 2,000 feet of hedge to trim or a large elephant shaped topiary is daunting, try one small Boxwood and keep it trimmed in an orb or other simple shape.  It's a fun addition and lasting addition.   
A boxwood sculpture that must represent the person
who has to trim this baby all summer.

Slogging for Beauty

Slogging through a very wet yard and a mosquito count too high to have numbers as I deadhead, photograph and admire my flowers.
Hemerocallis "Ice Carnival"
"Ice Carnival" is a 6 inch near white (light yellow) with green throat, diamond dusted and ruffled.  Very fragrant.  Dormant.  Diploid.  Mid season and rebloomer.  Extremely hardy and increases quickly.  High bud count.  Was awarded the Award of Merit, Honorable Mention and Junior Citation.
Hemerocallis "Klehm's Red Ribbon"
"Klehm's Red Ribbon" is one of several I have hybridized by  Roy Klehm.  It's 5 1/2 inch and has wide rich red blooms with a small green throat.  Often the petals are ruffled with a thin white outline.  28 inch scapes.  Mid season.  Semi evergreen and very hardy in my garden.  Husky tetraploid.  High bud count.  The glowing chartreuse eye makes this red stand out.
Hemerocallis "Miss Amelia"
"Miss Amelia" was abused from the day she was planted in my yard.  First (I was new. OK?) I planted at the corner of two driveways where it had been compacted to the consistency of cement.  When I finally moved all daylilies out of that area, the "gutter contractor" thought he knew better than me and rigged up this fancy system that flows directly on this flower.  I then rigged up a diverter which pretty much shaded it.  After many years of pouting/near dying, it blooms in spite of all that's been thrown its way.  

A 3 1/2 inch near white/very pale yellow with green throat and some ruffling.  30 inch scapes.  Early season and reblooms.  Semi evergreen.  Diploid.  Fragrant.  Substantial flowers bloom over an extended period.  

Some experts call this flower "MayMay" and debate credits and facts (yes, even daylily people have their share of organizational posturing.)  Firm fact:  it's one hardy little lily.
A garden oddity.  Here in our area, last evening was the coldest July 8th in history.  In addition, it had rained most of the day.  This morning many daylilies hadn't died from yesterday.  They will get there as the day moves on but the plants had both today and yesterday's flowers.  Some went through the process as always but most did the odd thing.  I'm thinking/guessing, it was the cold night that slowed the process.  
"Siloam Double Classic" is an example of the odd behavior last evening.  Four of the seven flowers are from yesterday.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Joining the Crowd

Took two of our granddaughters to Discovery Depot in Galesburg IL.  (Started with three but one didn't last a mile out of town.) Goodness they were busy; both are social children.  They assume other children are gathered because they want to play with them.  Love that attitude.  They're sweet, thoughtful, mannerly and love life.   But then, I'm a little biased.

I suppose I'm a little biased about the beauty of my daylilies, too.  Today's first bloom goes to "Green Flutter".  
Hemerocallis "Green Flutter"
A 3 1/2 inch very bright yellow self with slightly ruffled edges and vibrant green throat.  Held on 18 inch scapes.  Diurnal.  Late bloomer with extended bloom.  Semi evergreen.  Diploid.  Winner of the Strout Silver Medal, Lenington All American Award, Annie T. Giles Award, Award of Merit, Honorable Mention and Junior Citation.

I've divided this lily four times.  Even though it's an older introduction (1964) the hybridizers are currently bringing in more and more chartreuse into their new registrations.  This little beauty was at the forefront of glowing green.
I sometimes mention the date a daylily was introduced and the cost because those new to gardening with daylilies don't need to spend a fortune on some of the new introductions.  Don't get me wrong, I drool over some of the new ones.  I also can wait for the price of new bells and whistles (or new colors, forms and fancies) to go down as another new something is introduced.  

Many of my top award winning daylilies - the most hardy, substantial and vigorous - were under $10 a plant.  Considering they will last longer than most of us, it's a pretty good investment.  
In this area, Hornbaker Nursery, Princeton IL has the best and largest selection on hand.  Being able to see them growing in the field, in our climate and up close is unbeatable.  They carry many newer varieties at reasonable costs.  

I occasionally find a nursery that specializes in daylilies; Klehm's Song Sparrow in Wisconsin was an example.  Klehm's has some of their own introductions and they are also reasonably priced.   

Other nurseries have several varieties but seldom anything "a crazy daylily person" doesn't already have planted.  
I also use Oakes Daylilies, an on-line/mail order source.  Their plants and customer service are always perfect and they aim to give you more than you expect.  They have a variety of prices to choose from and try to keep their costs down by not offering the most recent introductions but certainly enough beauty to let you find something you love within your budget.
I think we all started this obsession with a few pretty daylilies that are popular at all nurseries.  For some of us, it's like tasting chocolate Halloween candy and then one day, someone offers you Swiss dark chocolate and you can never go back.  Pretty soon you're ordering direct from the chocolatier and sneaking them into the house.  Yes, an obsession always seems so innocent at first.