28 June 2009

Crappy-opsis and Garden Joy

The title of this post refers to the fact that although coreopsis is very pretty when in bloom, it flops, drops petals, and spreads seeds everywhere -- especially where you don't want it. They're a happy, pretty yellow flower when in bloom and upright, and my neighbors think I'm mad for yanking it up every year. But no fail, its back again the next. We're known as the "Addams Family" house because of my penchant for yanking up perfectly lovely blossoms, not to mention I leave the "bones" of the garden all winter as I love the texture the dead plants give the yard. (Also makes for a great spooky Halloween yard display! Okay, so they're not so off on the assessment.) I have learned to live with this cycle of pulling them up only to be disappointed when they show where I don't want them the next year. I guess letting it sink into my stubborn head that nature will do what it will do is my lesson, but I still want them elsewhere!

These pictures are all of the front garden.

Coreopsis with some snapdragons peeking out in my front garden.

Nicotania amongst the monsters. It smells heavenly! Another plant I purchased to benefit a local nature sanctuary. Wish I had gotten there earlier, I'm sure they had loads more pretties.

Just one week later. We've had so much rain and stormy weather, but this is what they do regardless of whether its rainy or dry and sunny. Next the petals will fall everywhere, then the seeds start plopping themselves wherever they please! You can see some of them have already gone to seed all the way on the right side of the picture.

To the left of the crappy-opsis are these pretty lilies. I forgot the name, but it was something weird like "Satan's Tears" or something equally as sinister sounding. The pic got taken early morning before the rain hit (again) so the colour looks a little washed out. They are actually a deep, beautiful red, and not orange like the pic shows them.

Next to the climbers pictured in my previous post is a "Tahitian Sunset" rose bush. Lovely peach and orange colours, with a heady scent. This one is almost fully opened, they really open quite big.

This is just a bud starting to open and you can see how dark the orange colour is. They fade a bit as they open up.

See the difference in the colour once they are opened? Still beautiful, just not as vibrant.

I showed you a pic of this last week, its gone mad! I love its exuberant habit of trailing, and ever blooming tiny perfect little roses.

The roses look more like a wild rose to me than the fairy roses.

This is the entry stair to our house. The gnome was from a treasured family friend who passed away and also had a love of gardening. Her daughter graciously offered it to me, knowing how much I loved her mother and considered her my aunt, and she, my cousin. He's a little battle-worn, but I love him! No clue what those flowers are called in the gargoyle pots (perhaps bellflowers?) but they spread and look pretty, and survive the hideous heat we get here. There's also a heliotrope in a pot. I'd never grown one before, picked it up at that same benefit sale where they assured me it would release the most heavenly scent. Its now flowered and yes, it does have a lovely scent. Not a very showy flower, but I like it just the same!

The heliotrope is really blooming, and the scent is lovely!

The climbers I showed you previously have decided to spill over onto the porch! It's so satisfying to finally be able to get things to grow in the front garden. It took years, as the soil was destroyed by the previous owners.

This is the pot I put directly to the left of our front door. I was going for welcoming, then said screw that, and went with my raven. Hope it scares away the door to door annoying people. (I have another pot below surrounded by gargoyles, so if the raven doesn't do it that will. And if neither does it, I'll just have to answer the door naked. That'll learn them!

Moving on to the side garden...

Zinnia's starting to pop up. I've grown them since I was a little girl. My mother always bought us a packet of zinnia's to grow every year, so I keep up the tradition and grow them with my daughter every year.

Some black Hollyhocks on the side of the house. I never know where they are going to pop up. Originally they were planted in the front where the Tahitian Rose bush was. But I guess the seeds scattered, and they pop up all over, usually against the house. Interesting they should do that as they grow quite tall, sometimes up to 7 feet! This one just started and is already close to three feet tall.

My new Rue plant. The one I had for 7 years didn't survive last year's weird winter, and come spring I couldn't find another plant. But this year my fav local garden nursery Millwood Garden Center was able to get them. Everything I buy from them flourishes, and they are always pleasant and helpful unlike the Home Depot whose plants promptly die, and they never know anything when you ask a question. I'll stick to the family owned businesses! Many people hate rue and find the scent horrifying, but I quite love it! Cats seem to love it as well, acting like catnip to them.

Finally the back garden.

This was a teensy little lemon verbena, its grown pretty big! And look at my happy little borage plants popping out around it! (Borage is allowed to grow wherever it likes as I love it and its actually useful in things like salads -- leaves and flowers -- and a Pimm's Cup, unlike crappy-opsis.)

Mandevilla vine growing in the back garden. If it ever manages to get warm here, this will grow to enormous proportions.

One week later, its already starting to go wild with growth!

A closeup of the bright pink trumpet shaped blossoms. Last year the one I had actually had three shades of pink flowers on the same plant!

This is my "Shooting Star" Hydrangea, next to the Mandevilla. Its gotten pretty big in the past week, and has a few buds. I love when it blossoms, they sort of shoot out and are quite delicate, unlike the typical hydrangea.

Behind the mandevilla, I have a pretty good sized patch of... Deadly Nightshade. Every year I yank it up, every year it comes back stronger. I suppose the "Addams Family" moniker does apply.

Close up of the flowers and berries. The flowers are usually described as "ugly" or "fetid" (don't get that as they don't have a scent) but I think they are actually kind of sweet looking. The berries will turn red in the autumn. Since I got my first run-in with poison ivy and had an allergic reaction to the OTC remedies which left me with chemical burns on my arm and legs, I prefer not to go near anything poisonous right now. It will have to wait until I feel brave, and find a beekeeper's uniform to protect me! In the interim the patch has gotten monstrously large. Yipes!

This is called Tricyrtis "Golden Leopard" or Toad Lily. Small little speckled blossoms give some interest to the back garden!

We made this our little "faery tree" after our beloved cat, Jezebel passed at age 21.5 in 2001, just two weeks after 9/11. Death and despair amongst the stories of strength, kindness, and hope abounded. At her advanced age, I knew in my heart that she would choose that time to leave us. I rescued her from the Mott Haven train yards as a kitten all of 4 weeks old that fit in the palm of my hand. She was feisty, funny, haughty, called me "Mamma" (honest) and very, very clever. She did dog tricks learned from our family dog, and drank water by scooping it in her paws. Whenever there was water running, she would play with it; she even loved to take a bath with me, first playing with the water, then diving in! I miss her tremendously, and haven't been able to get another cat as much as I would love to. So our white birch "faery tree" was to try and help our daughter (who was not yet two at the time but loved her as much as we all did) deal with the loss of the only pet she had ever known, and Jezebel is there with the faeries watching over her. My daughter leaves little presents she finds like pretty rocks, tumbled stones, jewelry, or coins. She also likes to make things she thinks they'll like -- we've constructed little faery houses out of sticks and large leaves, and she's put together strings of crystal chips that she thinks they'll like to use for decor. Sometimes we ask for faery wishes by tying a pretty ribbon to one of the branches. Sometimes they leave little presents for us as well, and my daughter is always thrilled when we find something new. I suppose its a bittersweet part of our backyard, as we have fun leaving and finding gifts, and can also remember our dear little Jezebel. The plant is another of those "Blackie" potato vines, and the stepping stone was something my daughter made for father's day when she was around 5.

The veggies are doing terribly this year due to all the rain and cool weather. I have a few tomatoes on the vine, and loads of flowers, as well as a few cucumber flowers. But everything else is either getting eaten or just dying due to lack of sun. If anything, we will have a very late harvest this year I'm sure.

I hope I didn't go too crazy with the pictures, and you enjoyed my garden progress. Its actually good for me to do this as it helps me to remember what I've put where come next year!


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