Fence Garden 2

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Fence Garden 2

A shot from last week, before 5 days of mid-90 temps left everything looking significantly wilted. This garden has really come into its own this year. It was planted autumn of 2011, so is headed toward the two-year mark (just long enough for me to discover all the mistakes made)!  I’ll be yanking some things up in the fall, like the lamb’s ears, which has grown like a bad weed.  More on the history and making of this garden later, with some ‘before’ pix.

The oakleaf hydrangea at the far right had pure, sparkling white blooms earlier this year and has now moved into that delicious pink stage. This plant lived in a pot for 4 years, sorely neglected, and really looked pathetic when planted a year and a half ago.  I pruned it hard last year and it branched out beautifully. This spring it bloomed for the first time, much to my delight.  Now it’s looking like a star performer instead of an abandoned orphan. Yay! (and by next year it’ll probably eat up that whole garden area and I’ll be regretting my decision to put it there). Live and learn, plant now and regret later!  …and prune, prune, prune!

The dark green vines growing on the pergola way at the back of the garden are hops (no, I don’t brew beer).  They really provide nice cover overhead and protection from the setting sun in the west, behind the pergola.  They were a gift from a friend in Yakima, WA, and arrived last spring in a priority mail box, swathed in wet paper towels and in a huge zip-lock bag.  It was a gnarled, rooty mess and they were just starting to put out sprouts.  If you’ve never seen them growing (and you CAN see them growing, almost, inches a day), the flowers look sorta like tiny pale green pine cones.  They are a herbaceous perennial (humulus lupulus) and grow swiftly on twine staked to the ground and tied at the top of the pergola.  End of the season (if there’s no one wanting the hops), you just cut them down and pitch them in the compost pile, jute twine and all!

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PS – Yes, there is a fence garden 1. Stay tuned…

Happy Feet in the Garden

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Happy Feet in the Garden

I know they look ready for the trash bin, but above is my favorite pair of gardening shoes, parked by the door. I’ve probably come in to fill up with coffee or iced tea (depending on the time of day); or perhaps to take a quick trip to the loo (because of all that coffee and tea).  Outside, azaleas, daffs, and a pot of violas – a spring picture, not summer.

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Note: it’s important to stay hydrated whilst working outside in the hot summer weather. I usually try to get in 2 hours of gardening from 6-8 am, before it gets too beastly out, then again in the evening when it’s somewhat nicer out. Our summer weather in Maryland is triple H (hazy-hot-humid), so a beverage is always at hand!

My gardening shoes start out as shoes for the non-gardening parts of my life. This was a very nice pair of Bass loafers. But then they slowly become worn, sloppy, and ever-so-comfy. In other words, to disreputable to wear anywhere but at home. And so, they become gardening shoes. Easy to slide on and off, always parked by the kitchen door, just waiting to slip out to the gardens. Already my pinky toes are bursting through the sides, so I’m not sure how much longer they’ll last. No worries about them getting wet, dirty, or messed up. I’m at my happiest wearing these shoes because it means I’m working in the garden.

It’s the same way with the car. Huh, you say? Well, when you go places to buy plants, they frequently ask if you want a sheet of plastic to protect the car. “No thanks”, I say, “my car lives with a gardener.” That being said, my car is a 15 year old Honda Accord. Were it much newer, I might feel differently… or not!

Ta ta, off to deadhead the shasta daisies – they’re finished for now.  If I whack them back by half now, I’ll get a second wave of bloom later.  It’s nowhere near as impressive as the first wave, but nice none-the-less.

6-11-12 to 6-23  my flower garden15What do your feet wear in the garden?  Clogs?  Sneakers?  Old loafers?

Happy Gardening!