Saturday, June 10, 2017

June 2017

This is the first posting in this blog in a year or so. This is the time between Spring and Summer, the roses are starting and in a short time the lilies and daylilies will kick in. Since the last posting I cut the climbing roses down to a couple of feet so I could get at the tangle of weeds and ash trees that were growing in them. I had let it get away from me over the years and it was hard work - and prickly, spiny, and scratchy.

The view down the brick path is from the garden bench. Visitors have remarked, "I'll bet you sit there a lot with your morning coffee". Almost never; gardens are not like that, benches are mostly theoretically, something to put at the end of a path. When a gardener sits down all they see is the maintenance projects that MUST be done soon or the garden will become a jungle of weeds and brush within months. 

Below is the view from the archway through the butterfly garden path down to the lake.

Coming back up the path from the lake.

Below, the rock garden - the view from a future bench - currently just a chair and small table. The small area outside the Growlery seems to be a natural gathering space for guests and we are always trying to find enough chairs. 

Okay, now I have to go outside and work a little. 92F sunny and windier than south Texas today. Better pace myself. -  Gunnar

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Growlery Garden: Late June 2016

This posting is as much for me as it is for you - just so I don't forget what I need to do.

First a shot of the front garden walk to the new mailbox. 

Below, the old stone steps down to the Growlery Garden. They are real ankle busters, so I may put a fence, a false gate, at the top to force people down the other entrance so I don't get my ass sued.

This view toward the lake was taken a week ago. The roses on the fence and the peonies are about gone now. This is a good year to cut them back to a couple of feet tall and gain control of the bramble jungle again.

 I am less and less obsessed with flowers and more with foliage color. But if I am going to have flowers, make it worthwhile - big gross peonies, hardy climbing roses with clematis crawling through them, a handful of small irises, and a shitload of modern daylilies. Well, I guess that is a lot of flowers.

What kind of obsessive person would try to match the color of the plants to the pots? Me.  I bought the Coleus in the terra cotta pots because I thought they would look good - not flashy like most Coleus, just kinda ....pot-like. Honestly, I like them, but I'm not certain I like them with the other blue-greenness.  They are portable I suppose. 

The Krossa Regal hostas in the pale green glazed pots are the plants I overwintered and then forgot in the basement. They seem to have shaken off my lapse of memory pretty well. I actually fertilized them. My soil is pretty good so I do not fertilize the plants other than a very occasional top dressing if I need to get rid of compost. Personally, except for a things that are going to live in pots, I think that feeding perennials artificial fertilizer is vastly overrated, mostly by the garden supply people. Too much fertilizer will result in a abundant of soft foliage and fewer flowers - in my opinion. My garden was originally half of a tennis court (the neighbors own the other half). The soil was a little sketchy when I started 25 or 30 years ago. I dug in sand for drainage and when I divide and move plants maybe throw a little compost in the hole if I remember to. Some years I chop up the oak leaves in the Fall and cover the garden with them. Oak leaves are supposed too acid. Maybe. Seems to work for me. 

More pots, one on either side of the birdbath with the same dark blue glaze. Of course by now they have disappeared under the plants. Lorna bought the Dusty Miller plants on sale the other day, less than five bucks for two 4-packs. Next year the brick edge and the base of the birdbath will be buried under a silvery plant cloud. Also I am going to move another Husker Red penstemon (the white cloud on  the left) to the right side to balance it. I am obviously not one for rigid formality, but I like balance, especially across walkways. The plants do not have to be the same variety, but they should carry the same visual weight. 

Looks like it'll be another beautiful day. Be well - Gunnar

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tree Peonies

I have five or six Tree Peonies - "tree" meaning the base stems are woody, not herbaceous like our familiar old-fashioned peonies. They bloom earlier and have enormous silky flowers. They also add yellow to the peony color pallet. I have one yellow one, but it has not bloomed yet. It takes a few years. Now that I think about it I suppose some of my larger bushes must be at least twenty years old.

These sweet babies are BIG!

I potted up the annuals yesterday.

Take care, live well while you are able - Gunnar

Friday, May 13, 2016

First 2016 Posting

These are cellphone shots and it's more convenient to just post them to Facebook. I really don't like Facebook. It has a tendency to abbreviate everything, even life; it has no soul. Meanwhile, back to the garden. It was 95F one week ago, but today is just blanking cold, windy and wet. On the other hand the recent rains have really greened things up. 

A month into the season and I am already at least a month behind on my maintenance. Just this evening I remembered the two potted hostas I overwintered in the cool corner of the basement. They are over a foot tall and are sick ghostly shade of pale. Reaching to the sun so they can make chlorophll to create cellulose. I fear I may have created an 8th grade science experiment. I hope the plant can survive my forgetfulness. I'll try to remember to take photos. Yeah, right.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Butterfly Garden

The perennial garden really starts up at the garden bench in a formal (by my standards) area and becomes more natural and free-flowing as it tumbles down toward the lake. This jumble of wildflowers falls down the slope to the gravel lane by the lake. I think it has finally grown past the watchful eyes of THE CITY and what they perceive as "weed" control measures. (People seem to be slowly becoming more aware of the need for "wild places" even in cities.) Due to continued seeding, by next Spring this it will be double in size and should fill nicely in two years, heavy in Milkweed species - probably even a bit larger than the formal garden. Next summer I will hack a mulch-paved path, dead through the heart of it, to unpainted rough wooden steps down to the gravel lake lane. Two years. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sweet Right Now

Sometimes it all works and the colors come together almost perfectly. Yeah, I know you big red flower people think it needs more of a color pop, but pfft! it's my garden and my pallet.

Since your last visit I lifted the rather wobbly brick steps at the end of the main brick axis and replaced them with more stable fake slate concrete pavers. They look okay and won't break your ankle.

This is where the bricks migrated to over the weekend, replacing the previous gravel step treads. There was a couple of housefuls of family for three days, wonderful laughing toddlers running through the garden as I worked. :-) Besides the brickwork, I lifted and divided enough plants to fill a garden for Addy and Kate. By the time the weekend was over I was tired. I'm still playing around with the rock placing around the steps and planting plants in the cracks. 

I'm not certain the two dwarf daylilies work and probably be replaced with small ferns.

Below is a view of the lake through the in-process butterfly garden below the main garden.

Be well, keep moving,

Monday, June 29, 2015

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.

Photographing the garden makes me aware of its weaknesses. These are some reminders for myself:

My propensity to pick up a plant or two every time I'm at garden center results in a garden with lots of little blobs of color rather than continuity. I have way too many plants and way too many varieties. In all things, simplify, simplify, simplify. 

What next? The two low lemon-yellow Hostas by the bird bath don't work. They don't like the sun; worse the color doesn't work - they are just two blobs of yellow-green laying dead on the bricks. They'll bring some much needed light back in the shadows behind the bench where they belong. 

The rose-pink lily is too tall for its forward location. After it's done flowering I will move it back away from the intersection. Probably the iris too. 

The peony by the archway is a big plant in the wrong place. A great plant, but where? Maybe the entry garden? Do I really want to expand north across the entry path?

There are tall sedums, asters and yarrows that really should live down the hillside in the developing butterfly/native garden. The asters and yarrow for certain.

Colors work except for the blob hosta. 

This works. It's green and hard to screw up.

Stop by, I'll give you a plant or two, Gunnar