Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer Rain

It's been a mild summer here in northwest Oregon, which I am all for after the past few years of horribly hot summers.  We had rain overnight and it made for pretty picture taking this morning. Join me on a walk around the Rainy Day Gardens...

Juncus patens 'Blue Rush'
Agastache 'Apricot Sprite'
I think summer rain is the most delightful. The colors of the garden are vivid and yet softened at the same time. The smell of summer rain in the garden is my favorite; sweet beyond comparison.

Panicum 'Shenandoah'


The grasses have begun to ripen with color and the faintest of seed heads is emerging from the panicums, my favorite of ornamental grasses.

The coneflowers look drenched, but it was only a soft mist when I walked about the gardens this morning.

echinacea 'Purple Coneflower'
rudbeckia and helenium
Rudbecka 'Little Henry'
The trees where happy for the moisture. I have not been watering as regularly as I should be. 

Coral Bark Japanese Maple 
Louie, White Pine
Chamaecyparis Lawsoniana 'Blue Surprise'
Even plants that don't quite need a summer drink seemed refreshed.

Calluna vulgaris 'Firefly'
Euphorbia rigida
Verbena bonariensis
I really loved how the petals of verbena bonariensis caught the raindrops and held onto them. They look like little cups of glass.

The rain showers are over and while it will be cooler today, tradional summer weather arrives soon. For now, I'll enjoy the moisture on the plants with a warm coffee in hand. 

Cheers, Jenni

Friday, July 15, 2016

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, July 2016

It's already mid-July and due to the cooler temps this summer, my garden still looks stuck in June. It's uncannily green and as we've had rain nearly every week..my water bill is peanuts compared to the heat of last year. However slowly, the summer blooms are coming along and I have enjoyed spending time outside watching the hummers and dragonflies buzz about.

Back yard gardens
The jacob cline monarda is blooming and the humming birds are delighted. While I am not a fan of red in the garden, I have choosen to embrace this color, or specifically, this plant and I have clumps throughout the garden. It's height keeps the hummers safe from prowling felines and they just seem to flock to the blooms.

echinachea 'Cheyenne Spirit'

Coneflowers are my all time favorites of summer....pictured above is 'Cheyenne Spirit'. They are finally starting to bloom and for me..once the coneflowers blooms, it means summer has arrived.

Echinacea purpurea
echinacea 'White Swan'

The butterfly weed is a haven for the bee's. My mother was over for a visit recent and told me that she remembers walking through fields of it in growing up in southern Ontario. I can only imagine how beautiful fields of butterfly weed must have looked.

Asclepias tuberosa
Tried and true in the summer gardens are the daylilies, which are enjoying a banner year. I grow dwarf, reblooming daylilies (hermerocallis). I moved these plants from our previous home, four years ago and they have rebounded and made my cottage gardens a cheerful, fragrant place.


I believe this one is 'Optisima' and it is very fragrant.


Verbena bonariensis has become a summer staple in my garden. The first two years I could not get a seedling to save my life. However, this year, I have them coming out of my ears. I transplanted many of them around the gardens this spring to further their presence. I really adore their height and simplicity.



Verbena bonariensis
In the wildflower boxes, my all time summer favorite, 'Bachelor Buttons' are blooming. I love the 'true blue' hue.

Bachelor Buttons
And, Queen Anne's lace is also blooming. It's not just for roadside ditches....


And finally, the phlox, gifted to me by a fellow garden blogger is blooming. I have two large clumps that I may seperate and spread further around the garden.


I try not to move plants in the summer, but to just sit back and enjoy what is blooming....difficult as it is. Being in the 'moment' isn't as easy as it sounds but it's a good thing to practice.

So 'cheers' to summertime! A time for contemplating all of my fall plant moves, additions and depletions. Join Carol over at May Dreams Gardens to see what else is blooming around the world.

Jenni

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The State of the Vegetable Garden

The rufus hummingbirds arrived a little late this year and as did my vegetable garden. I have always had my vegetable garden planted before Memorial Day weekend in late May. Growing up here in NW Oregon, as a kid, my immigrant-Dutch grandparents always had a lush and diverse vegetable garden and it was generally Memorial Day weekend, back in the day, before it was truly warm enough to plant tomatoes.

The past few springs have been quite warm and have found me getting the vegetable garden in before Mother's Day weekend here in the US. Not this year. Truth be told, I can't blame it on the weather..just life and too many other responsibilities. But, with the help of the husband this year, we cleaned out the raised beds and got a few things planted the second weekend of June.

2016 Veggie Garden
The vegetable gardens are in the far back of our long, city lot. Neighbors to the back have a massive overgrown mound of invasive himalayan blackberries which makes it challenging to keep the area weed and berry cane free. We would like to put up a nice fence, but until the neighbor's to the back clean up, it's rather useless.

This year we planted a very small crop. Three roma tomatoes, three basil and two sugar pumpkins. I have a few onions and a box full of potatoes as well. Tomato sauce, pesto and pumpkin pies are on this year's list of yummy food to create.

The early season work I did perform this year was to clean out and seed two boxes of wildflower seeds to add to the one box I experimented with last season.

Wildflower box, just for the bee's
Last year's wildflower box reseeded itself and has provided a nice haven for the bee's. While I have been sad about scaling back my vegetable garden, I have been delighted by the wildflowers.

I firmly believe there will be a chapter in my life again, where life slows down and I can really enjoy growing a diverse vegetable garden, but that is not the current chapter of life I find myself in. Giving these otherwise unused veg boxes to the bee's...has been good for both my sanity and the pollinators.


I used Botanical Interests seed mix called 'Bring home the Butterflies'  I noticed in my original box that I used the mix on last year, that the borage, calendula, parsley and sweet william have come back, but not any cosmos or bachelor buttons. I had hoped the later would reseed itself but it didn't. I think I will change up my seed mix next year and add more variety for next year. I do have a nice, fat, purple coneflower growing in the box and I am looking forward to it's blooms.

Sweet william, borage, clover and parsley
Now, instead of coming home after soccer or tumbling practice and dreading the nightly watering regime, I come home with a need to water less (and it's been much cooler this June too) and can go back and enjoy my flowers. I simply plop down in an old chair and watch the bee's buzz around.

bee watching
I've seen a variety of dragonflies too. It's my new 'zen' space.


So, the point is...my vegetable garden is now a wildflower garden. It's perfect.

Cheers, Jenni

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday Vignette 6.22.16



Verbena Bonariensis
I like how this stem of verbena bonariensis looks like a cheerleader of summer....purple pom poms waving with gusto to announce the summer season has arrived.

With our neighbors to the southwest scorching in the heat, NW Oregon weather feels...perfect.

Welcome summer. Visit Anna at Flutter and Hum to see more fun Wednesday Vignette posts.

Cheers, Jenni


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June Bloom Day 2016

The blooms between May and June are quiet in my gardens. However, it's probably the busiest time of year in my gardens as far as physical labor goes. Cleaning out the spring blooms and old foliage in the flower beds and then, getting the veggie gardens cleaned out and planted with summer crops. I complete all of this work only to turn around again and feel as if I have weeds knee high....again. But, back to the blooms.

Wildflower in the veggie boxes
I planted a wild flower mix in a few of my raised vegetable beds. I really can't manage 8 raised beds while I work full time, so I've converted half of the boxes to blooms. The wildflowers have been a source of wonder. I love to see what will come up and they attract all the bee's and butterflies. I can literally waste away an hour or more just sitting under my maple tree watching all of the activity surrounding my wildflower boxes.

Parsley and borage in the wildflower box
In the perennial beds, one of my all time favorite spring blooms is that of astrantia major. Delicate, long lived, sturdy blooms. Love them.

Astrantia major 'Hadspen's Blood'

Astrantia major 'Alba'

Astrantia blooms dry really well. I think I need more.



My sambucus nigra 'Black Lace' is finally blooming. I've had the darn thing potted up, cramped and waiting for a home for two years. Then, in a moment of brilliance, I found a place for it last fall. It has rewarded me with large, delicate blooms that really do look like lace. I am using it as a privacy screen so I am willing it to grow, grow, grow!

Physocarpus Opulifolius 'Center Glow'
The ninebarks have been pretty this spring. The past two springs were so dry that I hardly had any blooms on my different ninebarks. This year, the weather has been a nice blend of warmth and rain, thus I have pretty blooms atop the brilliant foliage.


In June, the lilies bloom. 


I look forward to the asiatic lilies every year. They are just so brazen.

mums and panicum 'Shenandoah'
The weather has turned cool again in mid-June. We haven't had a wet June in quite some time. It's welcome.


Late spring is a beautiful time in the garden.

Join Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see what is blooming around the world on the 15th of every month.

Cheers, Jenni

Sunday, May 15, 2016

May Bloom Day 2016

It's the 15th of the month and time to take a tour of the garden to see what is blooming in May. We've had spots of unseasonably warm temperatures this past month, which for 'cottage' style gardeners like myself...isn't the best. It pushes those sweet spring plants into a quick bloom and singes the tips of petals. However, I have enjoyed quite a few evenings outdoors, enjoying the warm temps with a good book in hand.

Here is a view of seating area in the back garden. The snowball tree is finishing it's blooms. This is my favorite place to be after a day at work.


Meanwhile, in the front gardens, the side strip of early spring blooms finds the hellebores begging for a trim.


My absolute favorite bloom in May, is my heirloom peony. It reminds me of the peony my Oma (Dutch grandmother) used to grow. It has the sweetest scent and is so 'unfussy' for a peony. Usually I have delphinium blooming behind it..but sadly this year, the plant was attacked by slugs before I could come to the rescue.


Aquilegia are the main players of the May garden. My personal favorites are the yellow ones, but I love them all. Their dainty blooms dance in the spring breezes. I love yellow columbines so much that I have two new plants to cram - err, find a spot for - in the gardens.

NOID Yellow Aquilega
But there are a few more blooming about:

NOID white aquilegia
Aquilegia 'Red Clementine'

Aquilegia 'Leprechaun Gold'
Spanish lavender is brightening up the back gardens. It does not provide scent, but it has great form and color.

Lavandula stoechas
May is an interesting month in the garden as it's becoming a transition month from spring to summer blooms. Hardy fuchsia's, geraniums. lupines are staples in my cottage gardens.

Phygelius Funfare Wine
Geranium 'Max Frei'
Hop on over to Carol's at May Dreams Garden and see what is blooming around the world. 
Cheers, Jenni