I had a rhubarb with the owner of the duplex next door over the jasmine and grape on the arbor that borders their fence. It did not go well.
I gave in to temptation at the market and bought three good sized delphinia. Two deep purples and a baby blue, all with white bees. I'm incorrigible.
The jasmine is in full bloom and is heady, particularly on warm evenings.
I plugged some gladiolus bulbs in some of the larger unclaimed pots and the fist bloom is about to open.
The second round of weed removal in the back garden proceeds apace. The thing is, I shall be back to doing it on my own, as my hired hand has decided that she is too old to struggle with the challenges of my garden. Chewed through that one and spit her out. She started out so strong and bold, only to surrender.
I've got hundreds of dandelion lookalikes all over my lawn. I told various visitors that they weren't actual dandelions because they didn't look quite right to me, but everyone insisted that they WERE dandelions, and I was wrong.
So I looked them up on line, and found that I was right and they're actually catsear. They have a stronger stalk than true dandelions and a slightly spikier flower. The other distinguishing feature (which I'd not noticed until I did the research) is that the leaves are slightly furry - whereas true dandelion leaves have a smooth surface. The slightly furry leaves have a slight resemblance to the inside of a cat's ear - which of course is why the plant has the common name: catsear. The flowers eventually turn into the white fluffy seed things - just like dandelions - and they can be blown off in the same way to create a cloud of tiny parachute-equipped seeds.
Like dandelions, the entire plant is supposed to be edible, but I've not tried eating any of them yet.
The flowers close up at night, or when it's raining. When they're fully open, they do look more like dandelion flowers than that photo would suggest. But like I said, they didn't look quite right to me, and the stalks don't have that hollow rubbery texture that dandelions have. I'll take a photo of my lawn and post it here if it ever stops raining before the catsear flowers have all gone to seed! Right now, they're all closed up.
I'm waiting for the alstromeria to finish blooming so I can lift the Chinese iris that are planted amongst one clump of alstromeria.
I cleared the space about twelve feet north of where the Chinese iris current are located, but that twelve feet means the difference between mostly sun after noon and mostly shade after noon...before noon, neither location gets sun because of the six foot fence.
So, I am poised to do a major location shuffle. I'm still toying with pruning back the lilac to allow more light in to the south and trying to move the raspberries parallel the fence where I've removed the Chinese iris. In this process, I also decided what to do with my fern volunteers where I don't want them....put them in the back corner, behind the lilac, which is presently a weed generation space.
Also, with the chook chalet reoriented along the back fence, I thought I was going to be able to transfer rudbeckia to in front of the structure, but testing shows that there is too thin a layer of soil before the impermable layer of concrete to dig holes to plant. Just to sustain seed sown rudbeckia in that location, I'd need to build the soil level up with the addition of more compost....like I just did along the base of the east side of the base of the garden shed, where I plant to plant sweet peas next year.
While all this is going on, I'm trying to clear away growth which keeps the iris rhizomes from getting sun and air....that means weeding the iris beds. That is all in mostly full sun spots, so, for me, it means getting out early, and when the days are overcast, to cull while the sun doesn't shine.
I took lots of photos of the catsear in my garden, and tried to share them in a post. I put them on my website and linked to them in the normal way. I could see them in preview but they disappeared in the actual post. Here are some links, if you want to see them.
No catsear here. I'm presently overrun with nipplewort. It is yet another weed which produces a dandelion-like flower, only its much smaller, higher, and numerous per plant. Also, in damp soil, it can be readily pulled up by hand, while a dandelion requires a tool.
I got my clematis Jackmanii superba in the mail today. I've extracted it from its packaging, unbound it from the wrappings, and given it a long drink of water. So far, it looks as if it shall survive. The instructions say to give it five days to rebound from the trauma of shipping before planting.
I finished the removal of the skeleton of the dead honeysuckle. The existing Prince Charles clematis was rescued and remounted on the fence. The new Jackmanii will be placed next to the Prince Charles, with the intent that they shall proliferate together and provide two contrasting blooms, dark purple and light pastel purple.
In the process, I noted that the honeysuckle had died and the lilac is looking increasingly more peaked and wan once they had come into contact with the leading tendrils of the Boston ivy which has been slowly advancing northwards along the top of the eastern fence from where it had covered the wall of the back of the back neighbor's garage structure. A stop to do online research confirmed that Boston ivy does indeed have allelopathic tendencies. **deep sigh** The Boston ivy was, most likely, the killer. And, now, it is threatening the lilac.
I have been impatiently awaiting the completion of the bloom of the alstromeria because it looked so nice against the gray of the eastern fence. That has arrived and the move of the Chinese iris is nigh. In clearing weeds away today, I can see that I need to do some Maidenform work in the Fenceline iris bed. It looks like I shall have deep purple selfs and Graphic Arts rhizomes to distribute amongst the needy.
Seeds...I'm not good with seeds. My experience has been a lot of nothing with seeds. Poor germination rates. I'd much rather allow some other gardener, with a greener thumb than mine, start seeds in sphagnum blocks, or whatever, and sell them to me as 'plant sets'.
Things which can go wrong: 1. Too much rain and the seeds rot, that happens a lot here; B. too much sun and not enough moisture, blasted into failure to germinate; 4. birds eat all seeds soon after planting; 3b. mice, or other small rodents, eat your planted seeds; K. slugs or snails eat all your seeds; 3f. toxins in the soil; xvii.ss(c) bad seed to begin with, and of course, that ever present X. a killing frost at an inopportune moment.
The only thing I've really had good luck with in terms of seeds for flowers was cosmos. They came up everywhere and reseeded poorly for several years before disappearing completely.
Bulbs, rhizomes, corms, shrubs, vines, rooted plant sets...I do fine with all those, but seed germination is very 'hit and miss', mostly 'miss'.
Once I transplanted the Chinese iris, my need to clear the area behind the lilac, along the eastern fenceline, back to the back of my back neighbor's garage, took over. Back there, leaning against the foundation of the garage is my stock of loose concrete walkway pieces; stepping stones. The intruding Boston ivy was cleared entirely from the top of the fence. The weeds were stripped and the ground level suckers of the lilac pruned out.
I also decided that, in the near term, I did not wish to keep the pink Rose of Sharon, which is wedged in too tight just west of the lilac. It is a scion of the original, which died on me some ten years back. The original was a 'Red Heart' variety, which a white flower with a red center, the pink was a common sport of the variety. I'd allowed it to grow because I thought I was not going to get a white scion. I was wrong. Two years back, an overlooked volunteer produced a white with red center flower. If I want to save it and allow it to flourish, I will have to take out the pink one. I'm trying to give it plenty of time to fully bloom, though. I just made sure that the new, younger Red Heart has enough room to flourish and straighten up. It shades the eastern end of the chicken chalet, which now sits with its back to the back fence.
Over against the eastern fence, I moved two clumps of columbines and a sword fern out of the iris bed. I transplanted my new little clematis Jackmanii superba in to its designated spot in the roots of the former honeysuckle. I then added a guard of three sentinels of new iris rhizomes. I pruned out the most northerly branches from the lilac, which is still looking quite peaked after its confrontation with the Boston ivy. I've never been particularly fond of it, especially when I found out that it is not notably fragrant. I'm thinking of removing it and then moving the raspberries to over next to the fence...running along the fenceline from the clemati to the back of the garage.
In this process, I have unearthed not just the Chinese iris, but several other iris, presumed to be various shades of purple, along with the aforementioned columbine and ferns. I expect to move more ferns as I continue, as they certainly do not need to take ups space in a 'full sun' portion of the garden. Also, along with the plant matter, I am unearthing various rocks and chunks of concrete I had deposited decades ago in the vain hope of creating a 'seating area' under the lilac, or pathways behind the iris bed. It was under a inch, plus, of accreted duff. Ancient societies...obviously cult objects.
Just a couple yards away, I've managed to keep the now established strawberry field fairly well weeded, but the adjacent space made of chunks of recycled concrete walk (the 'mozaic') has been pretty weedy for too long. Much of it is rudies that will be allowed to seed out, but the rest of the usual load of unwanted weeds has been beaten back. I even applied some hot water to some real problems. I've got my eye on getting some more compost and salting the interstices with it to start more Irish moss....there's enough sun to support it. Where I've already started, on the north edge, with plugging in Irish moss last year, is going quite well, and I've managed to cut sections out and transplant them for expansion.
Tomorrow I should be at 'Full Rudy'. The second bloom of the roses is about to happen, too. The crocosmia is happily blooming flame colored flowers at the base of the front steps.
So, the oriental lilies are fading and I will deadhead them soon.
I just deadheaded the majority of the second bloom on the first rose bush. My red Olympiad is presently the showoff of the roses. Everything else is being outclassed by the rudies. I also did the deadheading of Cecile for the first time this season...no small task. She is still in bondage and will remain so.
I collected my first two zucchini, and I shall have steamed summer squash for dinner. I've been sampling off the raspberries, too.
I purchased 12 more cubic feet of compost and 2 cubic feet of chicken manure.
The cannabis is starting to bloom....These buds are for me!
And, the real excitement is that I have melons on. Watermelons! At least two that have distinctive little striped bulbs the size of the end of my thumb. One is suspended a good ten inches in the air, as the vine it is growing on found an iris stem to jump up to above the rudy blooms.
Deadheading of the second bloom of the roses proceeds apace. Only 'French Lace' and the scattering of outliers remain.
The full rudy continues unabated.
I've decided to take the lilac down. I will also be taking out the pink Rose of Sharon. The white 'Red Heart' Rose of Sharon will be fostered. At this point, the bullied 'Red Heart' start is being encouraged to a more upright position with orthopedic measures.
The wren clan dropped by the back garden this morning, using my bushes and the back fence as a staging area to raid my back neighbor's berry bushes. There was enough communication between them that I now know how to identify their chatter, if not their song. I heard the ever-present chickadee in the background, as well.
Wow....It's been a week and a half since I've spent and appreciable time outdoors, in the garden. I did a couple of pot watering ventures, but hurried back inside without making much of a survey. The good news is that the contractor I hired to repair the southeast corner rainguttering managed to get in and out yesterday and the new setup now dumps the rain drainage in to the center of the balcony rosegarden bed. I will assess the results over the coming wet season.
The most immediate news is that my only remaining cannabis plant is ready for harvest. It's covered in dew at the moment, but all the tiny flower 'hairs' have gone brown...That's 'the sign'. Once it's dry, I'll cut it down, remove the sugar leaves and hang is to dry in the basement.
This will mean that all pots will be ready for reworking. The Great Reshuffle can begin! I still await the arrival of all the spring bulbs meant to be added in...