Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mowed Down and Rusted

... is the country song hit that my Hollyhocks were singing last year.

When we moved here just under three years ago, I noticed some Hollyhocks growing up through the lawn on the south side of our house. "Who would mow down Hollyhocks?" I immediately notified my lawn caretaker (aka husband) of the NO MOW zone.

Eventually, I removed the lawn around the Hollyhocks and made a small bed as our property line is just about four feet from the house on this side. The Hollyhocks grew up and up, and the beautiful buds I was so anticipating ... turned brown and fell off! The leaves turned brown and withered. I plucked them off here and there and left them to stew in the new withered and brown bed completely disappointed.

The next year, the Hollyhocks sprouted up again, and AGAIN, the leaves turned brown and withered but were oh so much worse! I concluded that THIS was why they were mowed down!

After a little research, I then determined they were infested with rust. Not being familiar with rust, I didn't realize that I had only made the problem obviously worse by leaving the infected leaves and buds to stew in the dirt. Now that I was armed with knowledge, I brutally hacked those Hollyhocks down to nothing - not wearing gloves or anything else that the dreaded rust could infect - and put all the leaves and stems, any type of debris, into the garbage (you could also burn them). I then disinfected my tools and washed my hands making certain that I did not touch any other plants after my slaughter. After a fresh layer of compost and a sprinkling of corn meal (yes, cornmeal - the kind you make corn bread with or sprinkle on your pizza stone), I once again, left the now empty bed with the squeaky clean dirt (oxymoron) to stew. In a few weeks, a couple of brave, new leaves appeared and they looked really good BUT winter was coming. [Big, heavy sigh.] Another year without beautiful blooms.

But THIS year ...

... my Hollyhocks are singing "I Will Survive!"

I'm not the only one enjoying these big, beautiful blooms. And they're white - not brown!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010













 The finale!

Yeah! (Clap, clap!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

June's Featured Bee

Happy first day of summer! If there ever was a time for bees, it's now! The month of June in my North American Native Bee Calendar purchased from the Great Sunflower Project, features the Leafcutter Bee, genus Megachile. They emerge in late spring through summer. About 140 species of this bee occur in the United States and Canada.

Leafcutter bees are medium sized with dark abdomens and varying degrees of light to silver colored banding. Males have more rounded abdomens and will guard a group of mate-attracting flowers from other male bees. Most species of leafcutter bees nest in pre-existing cavities in wood or hollow plant stems. The female will chew off pieces of leaves to construct her nest. So, if you spy leaves with big rounded holes in them, it just may be a leafcutter bee at work!

To view photos of leafcutter bees, visit

You might spot a leafcutter bee in your garden if you grow the following: grindelia (gumweed), erigeron (fleabane), gaillardia (blanketflower), symphyotrichum (aster) and helianthus (sunflower).

Daisy Fleabane (Weed or bee-friendly flower?)

This week is National Pollinator Week. To celebrate, try to choose plants for your garden that will support bees and other pollinators.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blooming Blooper

I forgot to include Baptisia 'Twilite Prairieblues' among what's blooming and I must share it with you. It is now two years old and the colors of the blooms really do remind me of twilight and golden grass fields.

Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens the 15th of each month. Visit Carol's blog and add your blog to the list so we can see what's blooming in your garden!

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's Bloooming

This Columbine is just about done now. I believe I brought this one with me from Maine. Not sure of the name.

Another Columbine. Not sure of the name of this one either. Some are light pink and others are very dark.

Geranium 'Espresso.' I just put this in last fall and can't wait to see it living large.

Cornus Cardinal Dogwood, two years old. It is planted next to the Blue Spruce to accentuate its bright red stems in winter.

Goat's Beard now in its second year.

A bumble bee enjoying white Jacob's Ladder against Chocolate (which would go well with some espresso!) Joe Pye, Eupatorium.

Jack in the Pulpit. It was given to me by my mother. They volunteered in her yard!

Evening Primrose surrounds the young Pin Oak.

Dancing Dianthus, Pixie Cheddar Pinks.

Black Lace Elderberry in its second year.

Clematis - I'm still guessing Nelly Moser.

Allium Caeruleum ready to bloom against 'Morning Light' Miscanthus.

Foxglove Apricot Beauty.

Foxglove Strawberry (hmmm, that would go really well with the chocolate and espresso!)

A surprise rose among the Deadly Nightshade in the new Rhubarb patch! How did that get there? I'll take it!

Husker Red Beardtongue.

Achillea Coronation Gold against a backdrop of May Night Meadow Sage.

I love to walk the garden everyday because everyday there is something new to see!

Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens the 15th of each month. Visit Carol's blog and add your blog to the list so we can see what's blooming in your garden!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What's Growing

Bush beans. Two varieties.  Purple Royal Burgundy has purple bean pods that turn green when cooked.

Jewel-toned beets - red, gold and candystripe.

Brussels sprouts, Jade Cross E.

Red cabbage, Ruby Perfection. This will become homemade sauerkraut.

Carrots, yellow and orange, Sunshine Mix.

Red cherry tomatoes, Sweetie, and a gold variety.

Northern pickling cucumbers tucked among nasturtium and marigold.

Fingerling potatoes. A first for me - unsure how/if the harvest will turn out.

Garlic! Hard and softneck varieties. The hardneck is just putting out scapes - yum, my first taste!

Lettuce mixes, Ovation Greens, Mesclun, Black Seeded Simpson. Picked fresh every night for dinner.

Peas. Can I have more, peas?

Rainbow radishes, Easter Egg II. These look ready!

Baby leaf spinach, Catalina.

Swiss chard, Multicolor Bright Lights.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...