Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh Joy! Oh Rapture! Oh Pampas!

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted some of this fairy-tale-esque grass in my garden. Finally, after a spring trip to Colesville and very little attention, here are the plumes!

dwarf pampas grass (cortaderia selloana)

Her beauty makes up for the nearby "struggling border" -- next summer this wildflower patch will be alive with butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, but for now, I hope, seed, and water.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Backyard Parties

The wonderful Sustainable Gardener and Garden Ranter Susan Harris has asked readers to show her some pictures of "party gardens" or spaces in the garden for entertaining. So here we go ....

Preparing for a party for Rosie's class this past spring

Since all of our parties and gatherings include lots and lots of kids, we use every square inch of our garden. Most often, the kids attack the paths, swings, and old tree stumps while the parents hang out on the patio or in front of the pizza oven. For unfussy dinners, we simply thow a tablecloth over a folding table. For our larger parties (150+), guests find space wherever they can!

We had our patio installed six years ago, right before Rosie was born. It looked so small and insignificant surrounding by the sparse plantings and scruffy lawn. One friend actually questioned why we had payed so much for the patio when our yard was so unpleasant (she used nicer words).

Four years ago in May ...

A bit lusher in August, 2008

Today, the patio is my favorite part of the entire house. I would rather be sitting on the patio than anywhere else -- with the possible exception of right by the oven when the pizza are cooking!

Friday, August 15, 2008

August Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

Thank you Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting GBBD! Please visit her website and check out all the wonderful gardens!

I dreaded going out to the garden this morning knowing that I would find few post-worthy blooms. And yet, when I took the time to overlook the drooping hydrangeas and brown patches, I found some gorgeous flowers.

My favorite flower right now is this mystery hosta that I got from my mother. It is intensely fragrant and seems to be the hummingbirds' favorite as well. I have them planted all over since they tolerate sun fairly well but have most of them outside the kitchen window by the patio. Since we've had cool weather recently (what a blessing) and the windows have been open, the kitchen is filled with their wonderful perfume.

Here's a rundown of the August bloom action ...

My mystery sunflower -- it stands about 6' tall with multiple blooms on each stalk

The phlox is still hanging in there.

The scarlet runner bean won't stop! It's incredible!

My garden stalwarts -- what would I do in August without these little soldiers?

The blue haze by the patio is actually this caryopteris "Longwood Blue" which I love, as do the butterflies and hummingbirds.

Mandevilla climbing up a birdfeeder pole.


The weeds are growing nicely.

Sedem Autumn Joy

Is this Costa Rican Salvia? It's been here a few years and I've forgotten what kind it is ...

Wild, unruly campanula -- it lives in the alley since it can't behave itself.

The glads are still going strong, this one is just starting to open. They are just lovely.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Where's My Plant Mojo?

Hard to believe, but I've been avoiding the garden. With the remarkable exceptions of today of yesterday (beautiful temperatures and low humidity), August has been the typical hot and humid. The city of Richmond has begun voluntary water restrictions and the river is low and mucky. Our favorite kayaking spots are drying up.

Instead of spending time in the dry yet mosquito-y backyard, I've been busy with knitting and food, only stepping into the garden to water the most vulnerable and harvest seeds.

The Knitting -- see details here. That's the lovely Kindness Girl as my model!

The Food -- besides all the canning we've been doing, I've been making delicious chocolate ice cream with cream and eggs fresh from the farm

The Seeds -- I wish I knew this sunflower variety, maybe Velvet Queen?

Now, with some cooler days, I'm back in the garden, trying to clean things up a bit and looking for my plant mojo. I know it's around here somewhere ...