Monday, July 6, 2015

Black Cohosh

Actaea racemosa is all over this mountain. There is none in my garden and I need to fix that. I do have one of the dark leaved Actaea simplex in the atropurpurea group. One is not enough.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Some Settling Of Contents

The Great Lawn is sinking.

The rain held off long enough today for me to whack all the paths in my part of the garden and the sunny utility meadow. The garden is ready for visitors.

It will be Lush. In just two months this is what the barren ground becomes.

The vegetation is already shoulder high. The snake in the grass is well hidden from most vantage points now.

The Great Lawn has never been a sports quality surface, much less a flat and level lawn. It has always been on the undulating side. It has been perfectly suitable for me and all the other varmints that wander through.

I noticed today while mowing that quite a bit of settling is happening. There are many more small depressions. I'm not surprised. I did nothing to it except whack down what was there. The ground was not touched. It exists in what was a small stream bed at one time. On a geologic scale my house sits on what I think are the remnants of an old alluvial deposit from once much higher mountains. The Great Lawn is sitting in an erosional valley of that.

I have pulled quite a few rocks out of it for my various projects. More are rising to the surface. There are plenty more below that I can't see. Time no doubt deposited a lot of organic matter. That is decomposing. Between decomposition and filling in between the rocks, some settling of contents is happening.

My hope is the freeze thaw cycles will smooth it out. My fear is I will have to drag sand down there and fill in the holes if it gets too bad.

I don't need to worry about that now though. Today I have the very last of the azaleas in bloom. It has a powerful scent.

Liatris throughout the garden are coming into bloom.

The weed flowers are gaining momentum.

No one will notice the settling of contents except me. There are too many other distractions in the wild cultivated gardens.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


It has rained All...Day....Long.  I am now the proud owner of more clean folded laundry. My house is freakishly clean. Good thing. I found out this morning company is coming sometime in the next five days. Details to be revealed later it seems.

I hope it dries up enough tomorrow so I can vacuum the paths and Great Lawn before the company arrives. I would have done that today, except rain. A tidy garden is more important to me than a dust free house.

The ten foot high Joe Pye won't be blooming.

But the 4th of July truly marks the end of the lull, the flowerworks are well under way and will continue until frost.

The rain did not stop me from taking in the show.

With an umbrella overhead, out to a wet meadow I went.

All the daylilies Bulbarella has stuffed in there over the years are starting to make more of a show now that the horrible smothering clematis vine has been sent packing.

The beebalm can grow tall as intended and spread since it has been set free.

Lucifer lurks in the meadow.

I couldn't decide which picture was better.

In another week or so, a great swath of Black Eyed Susan will join this tableau.

All this rain has made for a very quiet day on the scenic byway for a 4th of July weekend. That means there should be less trash to pick up.

But those poor folks, they missed the flowerworks high on the low spot for their holiday weekend.

It is always my hope the grand display of weed flowers makes a few people think a bit past, oh that's pretty.

Wow! How did they do that is more what they need to think about.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Second Chances

I spent pretty much every penny I had fixing the truck. The best way I know to fix a pain like that is to treat myself to some store bought plants. Then it proceeded to rain all day and I couldn't even work to make more money. I came home and planted my new plants in between showers. I feel fine and all my clean laundry is folded and put away.

I bought more plants because I need more of the meadow filled with flowers earlier in the season looking like this.

Or like this.

This is what the main chunk of my part of the Tall Flower Meadow looks like at the moment. There is too much green and not enough chaotic color.

There is some impatience happening here. Rest assured the meadow is going to explode with color in another month. It is largely an end of summer/early autumn event of staggering beauty. There is some earlier color. A number of perennials are hiding in there that are already blooming else where. It just takes a bit longer to rise up the mountain.

I want more color now, but I don't want to do it with more daylilies. They are really too short for the Tall Flower Meadow and I don't want to edit around them. Then there is the competition factor. Wimpy plants just don't make it in the meadow. I need plants with good vigor.

I came home with two Helenium autumnale 'Fuego' and three Rudbeckia maxima.

I have seen common H. autumnale, Sneezeweed, in the wild and it is in the Goldenrod category of vigor. It was so vigorous and has such a sturdy, hard to pull root system, I was not interested in bringing it into the garden. My hope is this bred cultivar is vigorous enough to compete and thrive in the meadow without taking over.

I planted them in two different locations. I will see what happens.

I had already planted a couple of the Rudbeckia maxima several years ago. They come back every year, but have failed to thrive, much less bloom. I have not been impressed. I want that leaf, flower and height though. I read they tend to favor moist soils and this is my driest slope. Too dry or too much competition? I don't really know.

I didn't want to move the older ones. I bought more and planted them in wetter ground. I will see what happens.

Now that I write this, I realize I bought two more late summer bloomers. That won't help with getting more color in the meadow now. I guess I will have to add something else.

I did move a Dan Hinkley introduction Golden Crane Hydrangea angustipetala that was failing to thrive. It is rated to zone 6. It has frozen to the ground the last two winters. It is root hardy to a real zone 6 winter.

I moved it to more sun. My hope is more sun will help it grow bigger and faster in the short window of opportunity it has to do that. A bigger healthier plant will survive the winter better even if only the roots survive. The plant looks more like a H. arborescens or H. paniculata than a H. macrophylla. I really expected it to be hardier than this.

I'll move a more expensive shrub before I buy another one. Four inch perennials are cheap. I can buy more of them and leave the old ones where they are.

The echinacea, rudbeckias, liatris and Shasta daisies are getting read to bloom. I have more color on the way.

This is my playground, a living canvas to paint on. I keep experimenting with colors to find out which ones will stick to the canvas. When I find one that sticks, I start making bold strokes.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


My truck got out of the hospital this the morning. It went back to work immediately with a new rear end and water pump. It was a very short first day back due to non-stop rain. After two weeks driving my mom's land yacht, my truck felt different. The brakes were different of course with a new rear end, but it has a new hesitation/stutter in first gear. What's that about? My other mechanic is going to have to take it for a test drive.

I hope to be going back to work completely focused on Monday after the holiday weekend. I slipped into some sort of semi-coma when my truck died. It felt nice so I didn't fight it. I just want to drive the thing without thinking about it. Not quite there yet.

Rain, rain, rain and the clouds roll over the mountain after another passing thunderstorm. Regular rain makes for billowing Lush.

The Rudbeckia hirta is starting to bloom. This plant barely qualifies as a perennial. Two to three years is all you get from a plant. Good thing it is an abundant self seeder.

Other perennials are much more durable and long lived. You can't kill day lilies with dynamite, unless you take them to Florida. In Florida they drop dead.

It is important in my wildness to have a large number of stable and durable perennials that don't wander much and just get bigger with time. They provide a dependable backbone to the fluctuations of the Tall Flower Meadow. Grasses are quite stable, particularly if they don't set viable seed.

The Yucca filamentosa cultivars are good too. They are even evergreen which makes them a key player in the winter under garden. So far the liatris looks to be long lived. It sets seed and spreads which I am fine with. My one complaint is they don't always bloom every year.

When there are stable shrubs and perennials in the garden, the wanderings of the annuals and biennials like Queen Ann's Lace are much more enjoyable. You never know where they will show up and how happy they will be in a particular spot.

Put all the parts together and you get this astounding Lush full of fireworks in the short six month window of the time of vegetation. Just add water and watch out.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

With White Grasses

I have been adding grasses to the Tall Flower Meadow for several years now.

Most of them have been white variegated cultivars.

The height is needed to rise above the Lush.

The color alone is a nice contrast when the meadow is still mostly green.

The blooms also add a new texture in the mix.

The shorter Feather Reed Grass is an early bloomer with great staying power. The blooms stalks will last all the way until next srping when the grasses finally get cut down.

My new sign has been unveiled. I knew it was orange, but that is just shocking. It hurts my eyes.

Uncle Ernie flows much better with his surrounding in all four seasons.

I may need to do something to fix that blaring orange obtrusion. Flower stickers was one suggestion. I like it. Simple, quick and sticky. That will make it flow with the wild flowers much more better.

White grasses in the wind.

Out front the sky blue of chicory with the 'Morning Light'.

It is a lovely blue to start the day.

Beebalm now mingles with the most recently planted grasses. I wander into the meadow most evenings to have a look.