Posts Tagged ‘tree peonies’

Darn. My wallet is lighter this evening because I saw two perennials I just “had” to have for my garden. It’s an addiction.

First off, I want to say I did not intend to buy any plants this weekend unless I stumbled upon some sunflower starts. For some vague reason, my sunflowers are not coming up (again) this year. I had the same problem last year but I thought it was because I came home on Memorial Day weekend and I didn’t get any sunflower seeds in the ground until then. This year, I have planted sunflower seeds several times and nothing comes up. Either it’s too cold, the birds are getting my seeds, or…?

I only browsed the plants at the grocery store because I was looking for possible sunflower starts.

And this caught me eye. It’s beautiful. It’s a perennial. It was $6.99.

It’s a mullein and it is going right here, next to where the sunflowers are supposed to be coming up in my front yard. I lost the little plastic name tag, but I *think* it is verbascum ‘Southern Charm’. It’s beautiful.

I then stopped at the Farmer’s Market. I was looking for the hazelnut mulch stand. Yes, it is time to start buying bags of hazelnut mulch and finish mulching all my flower beds. I figure if I buy 5 bags at a time, I can manage this little project of mulching my garden all by myself.

I was only two booths in when I saw this.

Honeysuckle. A gallon plant for $10. I love honeysuckle. One of the first rentals Don and I lived in had an old honeysuckle vine over the front door. They smell amazing and hummingbirds love them.

I have looked for one off and on over the years. Usually, I haven’t had the money to buy one. Or I simply can’t find a mature-enough plant to make the purchase worthwhile. But there it was: a ten dollar mature honeysuckle.


I picked up the hazelnut mulch, too.

Then I came home and hoped it wouldn’t rain.

I edged and weeded and dug and planted.

I planted my fothergilla in the back yard. I mulched it, too.

This is the flower bed I worked on Saturday. Too bad the Shasta daisies are not yet in bloom and the Oregon grape is past. I don’t know about that Oregon grape: I planted it expecting low shrubs and I got these huge commercial variety of Oregon Grape that seem to go viral. They are over 6′ tall!!

It’s peony season in my garden. Just a few of them are in the island flower bed. I have a lot more in peripheral flower beds.

This double-peony is stuck up against the garage. The photo doesn’t do it justice: it’s a soft purple shade that somehow translated to pink in the camera.

This double bloom translated nicely to the camera.

A single pink peony.

I have yellow, pink, burgundy, red, salmon, red-and yellow, single, double, triple, plain and tree peonies.

One can never get enough of peonies.

Except they are done blooming mid-June.

Another plant I love. I transplanted a few wild foxgloves (pink and white) to my garden. I love the wild ones, not the commercial ones. Foxglove is a biennial, meaning that the first year it is only a lot of leaves, but it blooms the second year and thereafter. It’s a great cut flower, will bloom all summer if you do cut it, and the bees go nuts over it.

Idaho blue-eyed grass. No, I do not know why it is named “Idaho” because it is an Oregon native as well. Not a great cut flower: the blooms are there in the day and close up at eventide. But the fragile beauty that is blue-eyed grass is appealing to me.

And, yes, I really have an old hanging basket frame turned upside down over the plant. That way, I know where it is. Doesn’t everyone mark their plants like that?

This lovely insect (according to my Audubon Field Guide to Insects & Spiders) is a Cottonwood Twig Borer (Oberea quadricallosa). I included the scientific name because when I tried to do an online search for the same insect, the Cottonwood Tree Borer came up with several different scientific names.

Whatever: it doesn’t harm peonies. It’s just tucking in for the night.

A dead wasp in the peony bud. No doubt there is a spider behind a petal.

Spider: 1. Wasp:0

A blood-red Lady Beetle. No doubt she is looking for an aphid snack.

Are there male Lady Beetles?

That was a rhetorical question.

I love the seed pods of my tree peonies. The bloom is past and the petals have fallen: this funny little item is what is left. They harden when they dry out.

All I can tell you about this critter is that it is a moth. It is most likely a bark moth of some sort. It is probably not a beneficial insect, but it is trapped inside my house and not in the litter under the rhododendrons. I usually find bark moths under the rhodies where their caterpillars have no doubt been wreaking some sort of havoc. I bear them no grudge since any apparent damage they do is minor.

At least as far as I can tell.

Last night, just as the sun began to set, the light graced the trees with a yellowish tinge. The dark clouds over Vancouver, Washington, were just beginning to build up and slowly roll southward. Shortly after all turned dark and we were settled down in front of the television to watch a movie, that cloud rolled over Portland and dumped an inch of rain in an hour’s time.

It dried out again today and I spent the afternoon digging, edging and mulching. It’s a full-time job that I love.

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It’s another colder-than-normal summer here. Woke up this morning to rain on the tree peonies. I’m pretty much done with rain but I guess the skies aren’t, so rain it is.

The rain knocked my oregano around some. I grow the oregano more for the honey bees than I do for use as an herb. No honey bees out in the rain, though. They’re fair-weather insects.

Somehow, taking those two photos this morning evolved into a photo essay about the shape of my garden as of the middle of July, 2011. My hollyhock hasn’t bloomed yet but it does have buds. It’s a deep purple hollyhock (“black”). When I was a little girl, I learned that my dad hated hollyhocks. I love them. What he made us pull out of the yard, I purchase seeds for and plant in my yard.

See that funky metal stuff in the background to the hollyhock? You’re looking at my future pond. More on that in a future post.

One upside to the cooler temperatures and the never-ending rain is that my evening primroses open up in the day time and I actually get to enjoy them before dusk. Gotta look on the bright side, right?

I think this is the best my prayer garden has ever looked. I’m discovering that a benefit to opening it up to allow the dogs access is this: they have beaten a pathway through it. I used to have to figure out a path between the plants. Of course, the down-side is that the dogs have beaten a pathway through it.

My future pond will be right where those yellow sedums are right now. I’ll have mosquito fish in the pond & hopefully we’ll attract some Pacific tree frogs into the neighborhood. I want a water feature with the water spilling over that big rock that is balanced above the sedums. Dreaming now…

Eventually the rest of my little picket fences will go around my Shasta daisies. I can see the flower bed needs weeding again. Never-ending job. The cool weather and rain is only encouraging the weeds to grow.

I fell in love with Shasta daisies when I was in high school. The elderly woman who lived across the street (her name was Hazel and we corresponded for years after I moved out on my own) gave me a gift of a clump of Shasta daisies one year. They were my first attempt at outdoor gardening. I was fourteen. They brightened my life when they actually thrived and bloomed. I didn’t know then that you have to try real hard to kill daisies. They’re a little too easy to grow.

I lost one lavender plant last winter but the one in my north border is thriving. And I am thrilled to see my gladiolas have returned despite the fact I did not dig them out last fall. I guess you’re supposed to dig them up every autumn. Mine will just have to hope we don’t have a deep freeze.

I almost pulled this out back in early June. I was certain I’d lost my grape vine. I’m so glad I didn’t act rashly because my grape is doing just fine. I probably won’t have grapes for years, but I have a grape vine starting!

This is Harvey’s hobby now that he is allowed the freedom to wander around the yard without being tied up: looking through the fence and dreaming of escaping. I’ll never be able to fully trust him alone in the yard because he has a bad case of wanderlust, but it is nice to know that he isn’t really trying to get out. He’s just day-dreaming about it.

I would never leave Harvey out unsupervised any more than I would allow toddlers and little children to roam my back yard unsupervised. Some things require constant vigilance.

People are always stopping and asking me what breed of dog Harvey is. He’s an English Setter. I always thought English Setters were pretty cool dogs. I think God looked down and smiled on me when I met Harvey at the dog pound. Or maybe He looked down and smiled on Harvey because he was on Death Row. Harvey has turned into an awesome companion and friend. I am so happy he came into my life.

He looks happy, too. 🙂

The little triangle garden by the garage is doing pretty well this year. The tree peony and the other peonies are fading as is the voodoo lily, but the asters are up-and-coming. I moved the hummingbird feeders in hopes of attracting more hummers.

They prefer the feeder by the back door.

There’s a random sunflower growing in the hanging planter by the back door.

I planted the sunflowers out front. Usually I have giant sunflowers planted out there but this year I just didn’t get any seed into the ground in time. But the little sunflowers work well with the garden art so I can’t complain. At least not too much.


Another bright spot in the cooler temperatures is that my violas in the little pots are still blooming. It’s probably a miracle that they are still alive, but it really hasn’t been hot enough or dry enough and I haven’t forgotten to water them. Yet.

Those are Don’s bonsai trees. He has an entire forest of bonsai. Really. Some day I should do a blog post about each one of his trees. Some day.

Speaking of a forest in the back yard, how many people have a log in their back yard? Just a log. It’s about five feet long. Don practices crosscut sawing on it. Mostly, however, it is just a log. In my back yard.

Also speaking of forests, there’s this in my yard. It’s a forest of it’s own: a mess of a male variegated holly tree that someone topped years ago. Grown up under and through the holly’s canopy are a couple wild hazelnuts, a tangle of Himalayan blackberries and an infusion of nightshade on the vine. It’s an eyesore.

It is also the site of our future two-dog chain link dog run. The dogs will have their dog houses set inside the shelter of the shed and a play yard of 8×12′. It will have a cover and a concrete floor.

I regret to say I should be cutting on that holly tree this weekend. it just looks so intimidating. Daunting.

It looks like work.

Tomorrow I’ll tour my front yard. It looks like work, too. I’d rather take photos and bore you with my plans than actually work on them.

Thanks for letting me procrastinate and for allowing me to bore you with my greenery.

ttfn –

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