Thursday, July 15, 2010

July: Bloom Day!

Is it that time again already?

Biggest. Sunflower. Ever.

Seriously, what sunflower has a trunk??
ETA: I measured the sunflower and it is 11 feet 4 inches tall, 4 3/4 inches diameter where my hand is. On 7/16 it has 4 flowers open and about 20-ish more buds. The thing is a freakin' TREE. Did I mention it's a volunteer? Why are my best plants accidental?

Monarda didyma 'Violet Queen' and Schizachyrium scoparium, little bluestem grass, in the prairie garden

The double cosmos 'Rose Bon Bon' seeds from Renee's that came with the Spitfire nasturtiums have just started to bloom.

Do I ever get tired of taking pictures of red admirals? (Answer: no)

Or swallowtails? (again: no)

Ox-eye sunflowers, Heliopsis helianthoides, in the prairie garden

Speaking of the prairie garden... This view just makes me so happy!

My favorite weed (good thing, because I have a lot of it): Commelina communis, the Asiatic dayflower

And let's not forget what's happening indoors! I lost two of my African violets and a third is in its death throes, but this guy still loves me.

Even the City of Chicago celebrates Bloom Day!

Thanks as always to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

July: New plants!

I made a secret gardening vow not to spend any money on perennials this summer. I didn't tell anybody about this vow in case I started buying plants. However, it is now mid-July and I've stuck to it so far. Except the $5 I spent on two daisies to replace the two that died over the winter. Shush, that doesn't count.

Today I planted seven wonderful new plants without breaking any vows. How did I do it, you ask? Well, I entered a contest at In The Garden Online for a $50 gift certificate from Annie's Annuals, and I won! I wandered through Annie's lovely on-line catalog, which is filled with plants not usually available here in the Midwest, and found seven that I just had to have.

The shipping cost was pretty steep, but the box arrived quickly and the quality of the packaging cannot be denied:

The plants arrived in great condition...
and with rootballs wrapped in plastic and damp paper, were very easy to remove from their pots and plant in various spots in the garden. They don't look like much yet, but just you wait...

Geranium pyrenaicum 'Bill Wallis' and Heuchera sanguinea 'White Cloud' in part shade under the viburnum

Dianthus arenarius and Campanula medium 'Deep Blue' in the part-shade north garden

Echinops ritro ruthenicus...

and Linum lewisii (blue flax) in the prairie garden

and finally, Verbena bonariensis in the foundation garden. This one is technically Zone 7 and doesn't belong in my Zone 5b garden, but I put it in a warm, protected corner on the south side of the house and hopefully it will survive the winter. Incidentally, this is the very plant I said I wanted when I entered the contest :)

Wish my new babies luck! Many many thanks to Annie's Annuals and to Colleen for making these new additions to the garden possible!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

July: Irrational exuberance

Happy 4th of July!!

The nasturtium 'Spitfire' I planted in full sun is growing like a weed, with vines heading off to foreign lands (the patio, the sidewalk, the veggie garden). I can't train them on the railing yet because we're waiting for the guy to come back and finish painting it.

Of course, on the day I took pictures, there was only one flower to be found.
The leaves are not enjoying this hot, sunny weather and look a bit faded and bug-eaten. (Pay no attention to those weeds!)
Still, the sunny plants are bigger and more viney than the nasties planted in shadier parts of the yard. This one is the best of the shady bunch...
...but it hasn't flowered yet.

I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project. Thanks to Renee's Garden for the seeds.