Garden Walk – Day 5

Before we amble about today and look at more flowers, I want to thank all the people who have helped make my gardens possible. Knowing how to garden is one thing; being able to carry out the physical tasks inherent in gardening is something entirely different.

Over the years, many people have generously taken on the tasks that my physical limitations prevent me from tackling – digging holes, ripping up or putting in fencing, pulling weed patches, planting shrubs and plants and bulbs, mowing, trimming, creating raised beds and all those ordinary tasks that one doesn’t even think about until they are beyond one’s limited physical capabilities.

So, to Michael, Mary, Pat, Andy, Tina, Holly, Chuck, Mom and Dad S. and Dan: Thank You! Without your willing hands, sturdy backs and strong legs none of this would exist!


I have a love/hate relationship with Nannyberry bushes. Ordinarily, a Nannyberry is lovely, with thick glossy leaves and these unusual white berries that the wildlife love. We have three Nannyberry bushes, and two of them happly coexist with our climate without a single complaint. The third, however, turns into a living example of powdery mildew run amok by the end of every summer. I had thought to remove that one this year, but it’s received a stay of execution as it has been perfectly mildew free so far – for the first time in seven years. One can hope…

Pink Zinnia

This Pink Zinnia and

White Candy Cane Zinnia

this white Candy Cane Zinna are more examples of just how gorgeous these ‘common’ flowers are – and have I mentioned recently just how much I love Zinnias?

Sea Lavendars

I’ve grown delicate Sea Lavendars for years, and am always surprised by the plumes of tiny flowers these sturdy plants send out. Each plume is made up of hundreds of little flowers like these, with each individual flower no more than a quarter of an inch in size.

Purple Coneflowers

The Purple Coneflowers are almost done blooming for the year. The goldfinches will start to pick apart the seedheads soon. Many birds will happily pluck seeds from them all winter long, if you leave the plants alone instead of cutting them back to the ground in the fall.


For the last several evenings this cricket has been chirping away in our garage. I saw him tonight hopping along the top of some lumber, and with the help of an empty yogurt container managed to transport him out to the garden, where he can join the cricket and little gray tree frog chorus that has been singing for several weeks. One of my favorite books is The Cricket in Times Square – if you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it. The text, accompanied by Garth Williams’ memorable drawings, is truly delightful.

White French Vanilla Marigold

I love marigolds, but can only grow the pollenless White Marigolds, as other varieties can trigger asthma attacks. These remind me of carnations, and in the right conditions are just as large!

There’s still a little more for tomorrow…

Garden Walk – Day 4

Our drought broke over this weekend and it’s still raining, so you might want to carry an umbrella with you today as we splash our way through the next set of flowers!

Black Eyed Susans

One of my favorite flowers that opens in late summer here is the Rudbeckia Goldsturm, or Black-eyed Susan. The blooms stay open for weeks, and they’re virtually carefree, which makes them even more loveable!

Wine Delight Daylily

We’re getting a second round of blooming from a daylily that is new to my yard this year, the richly colored Wine Delight. I have over twenty different varieties of daylilies, in colors that range from white to palest pink ice, lemon yellow, orange, deep gold, salmon, a number of different shades of red, maroon, and even some shades of lavendar. Because different daylily cultivars bloom at different times, we have a continuous show of daylily blooms from early spring through autumn.

Yellow Candy Cane Zinnia

The zinnias are continuing to put on a show, from this speckled Candy Cane Zinna to

State Fair Zinnia

this lovely pale yellow State Fair Zinna. New blooms are opening daily, in pinks, whites, reds and purples, making delightful splashes of color.

Yellow Portulaca

Portulaca, or moss roses, fell out of favor decades ago in gardening circles, but I usually grow a container or two of them every year.

Moss roses

Moss roses are unabashedly wild in both their colors and foliage, and definitely not for a gardener who wants neat, trim, orderly plants! My grandfather grew an enormous border of moss roses alongside his driveway, and they always remind me of him.

Pink rugosa rose

In addition to my climbing rose bush, I also have an entire hedge we’ve grown of Rugosa roses. These aren’t named hybrid rugosas – they are the original native rugosas – and mine flower in shades of pink and white. The bunnies love to eat the young canes these roses send out, even though the canes are covered with thousands of needle-sharp thorns. Go figure!

White rugosa rose

The rugosas bloom continously, from early summer through fall, and aren’t susceptible to the diseases that attack hybridized roses. Their fragrance is heavenly, and at times the hedge has literally hundreds of roses blooming at a time. Their foliage is quite unique, with beautiful crinkled leaves that open in palest shades of green and gradually darken.

Garden spider

I neglected, when talking about the garden critters, to mention that we have a thriving population of spiders throughout the yard. This gal has spun a web next to our back door, and I’ve come to greatly admire her markings, which are almost irridescent in the light.

There’s still more to come…

Garden Walk – Day 2

Have your wide-brimmed hat on and iced tea in hand? Yes? Then let’s continue touring…

Candy Cane Zinna

Candy Cane Zinnia: I don’t understand why gardeners call zinnias ‘common,’ and so few gardens include them. What’s common about this glorious bloom? It’s one of my favorites!

Red Runner Bean

Red Runner Bean: I’ve grown these on our fence for many years, harvesting the beans each autumn for planting the next spring. These are a nice plant for children to grow. The beans are huge and easy for a child to hold and plant, plus they grow quickly ala “Jack and the Beanstalk.”


Yarrow: These grow like weeds for me, which is a blessing and a curse. I love the foliage, but there’s something about the flower’s color that just screams “baby poop yellow” to me. If you don’t know what I mean, then you may not have changed enough diapers in your life to fully appreciate what I’m suggesting! To add insult to injury, I have yet to take a photograph of the flowers that I like – they reflect light in an odd fashion that somehow drives my camera buggy. Bah!

UPDATE: Oops. These aren’t yarrow. They’re tansy. Mea culpa! h/t to Katrina for correctly identifying them!

Black Knight Butterfly Bush

Black Knight Butterfly Bush: I’ve never grown butterfly bushes before this year, and I’m delighted with the flowers. We’re in a drought, so butterflies are scarce, but the blooms on these are just gorgeous. We’ll see if I can winter these over, as we’re a tad too cold for their tastes.

American Highbush Cranberry

American Highbush Cranberry: Some things I grow have it all: nice foliage, lovely flowers and wildlife-friendly fruit. The robins in particular love the berries on this bush, as do the chipmunks. And me? Heck, I even like this shrub’s name!

Frans Hal Daylily

Frans Hal Daylily I am a sucker for daylilies. The rabbits don’t eat them, they grow on their own with minimal fuss, you can yank them out and move them any time of the growing season, and they make more of themselves without any fussing or bother. Plus – they come in all sorts of colors and flowering periods, from early spring to late autumn. This is my kind of plant!

More again tomorrow… but before I forget…

Obligatory Bunny Photo

Obligatory Bunny Photo: look who volunteered to keep an eye on the yummy flower garden for me!

Feed A Cold…

Favorite Homegrown Zinnias

“So,” says you, “how’s our Mr. Snott doing?”

“Recovery has set in, and thank you for asking,” says I.

Today, he mustered up the strength to glare at me when I offered to document his misery. All I wanted was to take one tiny little photo as he sat at the kitchen table, huddled in his flannel jammies and thick terry robe.

“Don’t take my picture,” says he, and coughed a lesser version of the very worrisome cough that settled into his chest almost a week and a half ago.

Believe you me, that cough, awful as it is, sounds less alarming than it has for days, and no, he doesn’t have pneumonia although his worried doctor checked his lungs quite thoroughly late last week and made sure that we understood that this virus is indeed Nothing To Be Trifled With and that Mr. Snott had better lie low or he would indeed be fighting pneumonia.

“I wanted something so people who’ve asked about you could see you’re getting better, even though your eyes are still sunken into your head and you’ve got the color of a dead flounder,” says I, as supportive and loving as always. “Wouldn’t a picture of you on my blog make you feel better?”

“No,” growls he.

Aha! That proves he’s getting better! A week ago Snotty merely would have muttered, “Go ‘way unless you’ve got more hot milk with maple syrup,” and never moved from under the bed covers.

“If I can’t take a photo of you, then what am I going to use for a picture in my blog?” says I.

“Flowers would be nice.”

Flowers it is.