Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Lotus Flower

 The pure beauty of the lotus flower holds 
a benign spiritual promise...

The lotus flower has different meanings between cultures: The ancient Egyptians associated it with creation and rebirth; Buddhism and Hinduism see it as a symbol of purity and beauty respectively. One myth describes how, during the time of the Creation, a giant lotus flower grew out of a pond and from it the sun rose. The pink lotus flower is considered sacred within the highest realms of Buddhism as it emerges slowly from dirty, muddy ponds, remaining clean. Egyptians depicted the lotus flower in various works of art, often as a border or held in the hands of a god. It is the national flower of India.

An equatic perennial, the lotus flower should not be confused with the water lily. Unlike the water lily, it only comes in pink hues or white.

Lotus Nelumbo nucifera
One lotus flower is like a 
complete world ...
Author unknown

My lotus flower blooms; I am awed by its beauty.

The pond is at its loveliest today; even the tropical canna sports its exotic flower.

Canna x generalis

The water canna lily, though not a true lily, has high wildlife value. With large, oval shaped, green leaf blades, it can grow over 60 inches tall. The canna has the ability to remove large amounts of nutrient contamination from ponds. Not usually a fan of orange flowers, I love its orange-spattered yellow petals.

The pond enhances the beauty of the cottage garden which is reaching its peak bloom time. Purple cone flowers, campanula, daylilies, yarrow, gooseneck loosestrife, and phlox are full of blossoms. Butterflies and bees are busy.

The main cottage garden border
The border at the edge of the bond -- you can just see the lotus leaves in the center.
A mirror adds depth and gives the herbaceous border another dimension.
Daylilies and snapdragons in the horseshoe garden.

At the entrance to our farm, the butterfly garden has really filled out with liatris, white phlox, purple cone flowers, butterfly weed and cleome.

The first monarch butterfly to visit my garden this year, spent several hours in the butterfly garden with numerous fritillaries for company.

The herbaceous border along the south side of the kitchen garden is a little slower coming to full color. The double red hollyhock in the middle should have reached six feet high, but was pruned by a deer early in the season.

Hollyhock Alcea rosea 'Chater's Double Red'.
Phlox inside the kitchen garden

As always, the shade garden provides a cool retreat from the heat of the day.

Most of the hostas are in flower in the shade garden now.
The miniature/dwarf hostas in some of the fairy gardens bloomed on the day of the garden tour -- so thoughtful of them. I believe I bought the one shown here from Carolyn's Shade Garden several years ago. Check out Carolyn's beautiful blog if you are not familiar with it.

One of my 'Mouse Ears' miniature hostas.

I am linking with Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day -- a day late I'm afraid. Do check out her July posting for blooms from around the world. Thank you, Carol, for hosting!

We are still experiencing more rainfall than normal, but when the sun shines, like today, it is just perfect. Enjoy!

Pamela x

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Kitchen Garden Update

The vegetables in the kitchen garden appear to love enormous amounts of rain. We received twelve inches in June and surely must top that amount this month. While the vegetables look amazing with their large, green foliage, weather-related problems abound: Weeds also love wet weather, slugs create havoc, and not enough sunshine means less blossoms. Daily, I expect to see powdery mildew, but only a few phlox have succumbed. Everything considered, gardeners in other parts of the country are experiencing flooding and worse, so I must not complain. Safe to say, though, I have never experienced a gardening season as wet as this one.

We decided a plain wooden farm bench would be useful and attractive for the kitchen garden, but we haven't yet found one we like. In the meantime, H.H. brought home two green metal chairs he spotted on the side of the road with a "Free" label on them. 

A good place to sit and admire our labor between the showers.

So happy the lettuce hasn't bolted yet even with no protection from the hot sun. I make a lettuce salad tossed with a simple vinaigrette dressing -- delicious.

Lettuce under the cucumber frame.
Two large yellow blossoms on the squash plant promise we'll have zucchinis soon.

I planted two types of beets, 'Detroit Dark Red' and beet 'Chioggia' which looks like a candy cane when sliced. The former I plant every year, but 'Chioggia' is new to me and I am anxious to see how it turns out. I direct-sowed nasturtium at one end of the beets bed, but I forgot to scrape the seeds with a file, so they were slow to germinate. Next year I'll give them a head start indoors. Note the tall milk weed against the fence. The pots are filled with zinnias and marigolds which, hating the weather, haven't started to bloom yet -- probably at least two weeks late.

Beet 'Chioggia' at the top, 'Detroit Dark Red' in the middle, and nasturtium.

Parsnips, always the slowest seeds to germinate, have made an appearance. They require a long growing period, and the root is best harvested after the first frost, so they have plenty of time yet. We always have some for Christmas dinner.

Carrots and parsnips at front. Melons in the top planting box.

I'm amazed how healthy the tomatoes seem in spite of the wet weather. Lots of fruit on 'Big Boy.'

I think this is 'Big Boy.' I'm not going out in the rain to check (yes, it's pouring again.)

The peppers really don't like cloudy days but have begun to flower, so I'm hoping for success.

Bell Pepper

Japanese beetles, that arrived earlier this week, busily devour everything. I handpick as many as I can, dropping them into soapy water, but it's something of a losing battle. They love the pole beans.

Pole beans with borage in the planter behind them.

I grow several perennial and annual flowers in the kitchen garden to encourage pollinators. My first phlox to bloom has powdery mildew. I sprayed with an organic fungicide, but the continual rain just washes it off.

Phlox with lungwort at its feet. Both have powdery mildew.

As a testament to the crazy weather, pansies just began blooming in front of the mirror in the side border of the kitchen garden.  I placed the pea tunnel there, and planted morning glory on both sides. The seeds were very slow to germinate, although I soaked them first. I think maybe I soaked them for too long then the rain delayed them more. The ones started early indoors are in full bloom and climbing arbors.

Pansies in front of mirror.

I grow chocolate mint and a few herbs in the kitchen garden. Feverfew and lemon balm are companions there.

Feverfew and lemon balm.

I have a bigger variety of herbs in the patio garden -- which is filling out nicely. Some of the herbs have yellowing leaves at the bottom because they don't like so much water. I am pleased, however, that the planter seems to be draining well considering the circumstances.

I decided I prefer the term 'patio garden' to trug or planter.
Double feverfew that my friend, Bill, started from seed.

I planted Bill's feverfew here, and placed a tub of it in the kitchen garden, too.

Feverfew Double White

Cherry tomatoes in the patio garden.

If you would like to see my 2015 Kitchen Garden Plan you can read about it here. I'm linking with the Virtual Garden Club -- go to Dee's blog and check out what other gardeners are growing in their veggie gardens.

The rescheduled Monroe County Garden Club tour takes place on Sunday. The weatherman promises a better day than the original, washed-out one. I love showing people my garden and hope for lots of visitors this time!

Enjoy your weekend, dear friends.
Pamela x

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Rained-out Garden Tour

My sincere thanks to those brave people who visited my garden on the rainiest day of the year. They reinforced my belief that gardeners are a hardy lot! It began to rain at my house at 7:15 am just as I was deadheading the miniature roses and making some final touches, and it didn't stop until mid-morning of the next day. It was very disheartening after all those weeks of hard work: composting, mulching, weeding, and planting. Visitors, with raincoats and umbrellas dripping, arrived in ones and twos, but no more than a dozen in all. I am so glad the tour organizers are trying to reschedule the event. There were six gardens on the tour, and I am sure the other gardeners feel the same way.

I took some pictures a couple of days ago to post on Facebook, hoping to tempt some of my 'friends' to come on the tour. I am so glad for those photographs as it was impossible to take pictures in the rain.  Come take a virtual tour with me. It is raining again, but you don't even have to get wet this time.

 As you enter our property the purple cone flowers are coming into bloom in the small butterfly garden. There are phlox, liatris, milkweed and cleome in this area. If you look top-left you can see the horseshoe garden under the flag. Let's go there next. 

Butterfly Garden.

I added a bit of stained glass to the foot of the clematis in the horseshoe garden to hide its bare roots. The rose campion is still the star of this garden.

The Horseshoe Garden

The cottage garden was between blooms: the peonies and roses just finished, with the flower buds of the shasta daisies, phlox and other cottage garden perennials about to burst open. Few blooms, but layers of lush green foliage.

 Except for the hollyhocks! They stole the show.

Hollyhocks tower over the cottage garden

 I added a wreath on each door and ivy in a birdcage.

Frogs are said to love the rain, but even they were sheltering out of sight.

 Next, into the shade garden where some of the hosta blooms are about ready to open.

Shade Garden Planting.

 My grandson, Jonathan, spent a couple of days with us prior to the tour date, and weeded and tidied the miniature gardens. Each one is so lovely and special, like Jon.

One of five miniature gardens

Through the clematis-covered arbor we enter the kitchen garden. The pink blooms of 'Comtesse de Bouchard' look very striking with the purple petals of 'Tie Die.'

Since this picture, the vegetables have grown in leaps and bounds, due to the rain.

The Kitchen Garden

 We finished making the new, shorter Woodland Walk and H.H. planted shrubs at the entrance. The pathway is along a swale, which is doing its job of collecting rain water and preventing it from flooding our basement. We knew this was a drawback for a 'Walk' but it was the natural path to take. It is a beautiful walk when it is dry. There are pictures in my previous posting.

I'm joining Helen at the Patient Gardener's Weblog for her End of Month View. Helen's garden in England is beautiful -- check it out.  

There were some advantages to having the event in the rain:
  • I was able to give each visitor a private tour, and answer many questions.
  • When the rain was light, the garden colors were softer and even more lovely if that is possible.
  • I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for people making the trek through the rain.
I love showing people my garden, rain or shine. I hope you enjoyed the tour from the comfort of your home.

Pamela x

Bees love the hollyhocks.

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