Monday, July 28, 2014

Sometimes Rain Spoils The Kiddie's Fun

I enjoyed my morning coffee this morning watching this mother turkey and her three babies.  It's easy to see these birds since Mom thinks she lives here. In fact she spends nearly all her time within our sight out one window or another.  She is very wary however and notices even small movements inside the house.  She issues a couple of clucks at the slightest provocation and the three babies scatter pronto.

Sometimes they run, sometimes they fly, sometimes they fall all over each other.  Generally it is a bad idea to name wild animals but never the less these three have been tagged with Larry, Moe and Curly in no particular order since I can't tell them apart.  The names just fit since since the youngsters frequently run into each other!

I love an overcast day for working in the garden and Ed and I decided to go down and work on the flowerbed by the road.  To people who speed by at 50 plus miles an hour, I'm sure this bed looks perfect. The masses of color are great.  However the gardener knows that weeds are always moving in by land, creeping rhizomes, by wind, especially dandelions, and by aerial bombardment.  Birds eat berries and drop already well fertilized seed.  It was a delightful morning rescuing all that beauty from the intruders.  That nasty grass that you see in the foreground of this picture is no longer there.

Garden beds and pasture grass are not good neighbors.  Coarse grass quickly reclaims garden soil as its own.  The deep mulch moat that surrounds the bed is intended to make the invaders easy to remove.  That is proving to be the case.  The grass rhizomes can be removed intact before they reach the planted area.  Weeds from seed also can be pulled complete with all roots still attached.  Hand weeding is required but the job is easily completed working the deep loose mulch.

I was happily working on the west side of the bed and Ed worked on the other side.   I was having a wonderful time.  We had just enough rain overnight so that the weeding was going great.

Ed was working on the other side of the bed.  I was oblivious, but he saw the rain coming.  At first I didn't think much about the few raindrops, but by the time I realized what was coming, it was too late.  Ed and I are accustomed to wearing white to work in the garden and today was no different.  By the time we had gathered our tools together, we were both soaked to the skin with our clothes clinging and relatively transparent.  Both of us are long past the age where participation in a wet T shirt contest is a great idea.  Fortunately there was no sign of the neighbors and a lull in passing traffic!  We headed up the hill to the house and a change into dry clothes.  We are getting more rain now so the kiddie's fun is likely over for today.  It was great while it lasted!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Nearly Perfect

Daylilies are frequently described as the perfect perennial.  For those of us that try to garden where polar blasts of frigid air are frequent visitors during the early days of the growing season, these plants are survivors.  Early tender growth blackened by frost is simply replaced with new growth.  Providing frost protection with plastic buckets or tarps is not necessary if hardy daylilies are planted.  This Prairie Blue Eyes is a visual treat.  White midribs combined with a light ruffled edge create a sharp contrast to the yellow eye spot.  It endured several late frosts but looks perfect now.

If bark mulch is used to suppress weeds and conserve soil moisture it should be pulled away from the crown of the daylily early in the growing season to reduce problems with leaf rot.  Leaves that do brown can either be pulled clear or cut away.  That is the only care that these Frosted Vintage Ruffles required this year.  This beauty is pleasantly fragrant in addition to its complex flower configuration.  In this instance the rewards from the blossoms far exceed the work required to maintain the plant.

Ordinary orange flowered daylilies are frequently seen along roadside ditches.  They appear there as escapes from colonial gardens.  The number of multicolored new varieties now available is in the thousands.  Cost can seem excessive for some of the newer varieties but many inexpensive attractive and hardy varieties are available.  A daylily clump will increase in size each year and soon supply more plants by division.  This Spiritual Corridor was an early purchase here and it will be divided early next year.

The only downside to daylilies is that the flowers only last for one day.  What was a beautiful flower becomes a slippery slimy ugly mass.  Left alone it will dry and drop to the ground or hang up on an unopened bud.  It is not a totally unpleasant task to walk near the bed each morning snapping off spent flowers.  That activity places one near the new flowers and their scents on what could be a daily basis.

We need to complete the foundation plantings in front of our home.  Part of the reason that this task has remained undone for so long is that I wanted to do it right.  Many different varieties of daylilies will anchor the flower bed to be placed in front of the living room wall.  Pleasing scents from the flowers will drift into the house via open windows.  Our daylilies will continue to bring us pleasure after we have come inside for the remainder of the day.