Belle of the Ball

My Youngest gave me hollyhock seeds at last year. 
Lush plants grew but did not bloom.
But THIS year - showtime!  
Light pink, dark pink and white. 

As a child, my mom and her sister made tiny dolls out of these blooms and 
created a cotillion for them on the dusty doorstep of their grandmother's home.
She showed me how to make a hollyhock belle once - the wide open bloom makes a skirt and 
the tightly curled bud forms a coiffed head.


Garden Notes 6/19/14

 Last year's dead hydrangea canes have made some nice mini-teepee poles -
the perfect size for a container. Gotta get SOMEthing good out of all those 
frozen canes!

- The Don Juan rose is BACK!!! Thank goodness I was too lazy to dig up the entire bush and only cut it off! One nice red cane coming up from the heart of the root ball.
- I've been longing for cleome this year - planned it out last fall. A big patch right where some nasty black eyed susans had spread. Have sewn 3 x in various areas from last year's seed. Nothing. Then along a bed edge where I usually spray weed killer - a whole bunch of mid-sized seedlings!  I transplanted them to the spot where I originally wanted to grow them. Felt like the Lord gave me a sweet gift.
- A clicking/knocking sound in a certain area in the long bed, near neighbor's wisteria. What is it???
- The sun flowers are killing it! They might make 'mammoth' status this year.
- Different stem colors for different zinnia seeds - never noticed that before.
- Red coneflower - sigh!  :0)  Wonderful!
- Cut back the r. sage ready-to-flower growth. The similarly trimmed b. e. susans are frantically sprouting new bloom stems with much smaller leaves - interesting conservation of energy on the part of the plant in order to achieve bloom 'on time'.
- Datura is gone gone gone. (Guess I shouldn't have said "thank you"...)
- Very delicate columbine seedlings coming up around the two main plants. Going to try to keep these open to the sun, and see if I can establish some new plants.
- I think the potted blackberry hydrangea has a small side growth that could be separated to make a new plant. Separate them in the fall. How to make the more raspberry color darker blue blackberry again? Try the old rusty nails trick?

We spent a whole day of our vacation hobnobbing with people like this.
They all had alot to say and with such DRAMA!
 It was fascinating - every. single. minute.



I had hoped to put up a 'cuttings' photo once a week when the spring finally really came.
But the best laid plans and all that, you know - stuff!
Here's one to enjoy, even though none of these flowers are in bloom any longer.
Peonies (pie-knees not pee-on-knees) star in this show with Wine and Roses weigela and a few stems 
of the blue false indigo (baptisia) mixed with speedwell.
The combination is almost patriotic!
Oh the creamy dreaminess of a peony bloom!

Side Note:
My Bible reading this morning was in Mark, chapter 13. 
I think Mark might be my favorite gospel, although I hate to commit to picking one. See verse 33 through 37 for the big message which Jesus does not hesitate to repeat and emphasize:
(keep watch / stay alert)
I have to admit in the business of everyday summer life, I get spiritually sleepy. 
Isn't it odd that while extra BUSY I can be SLEEPY at the same time? 
Imagine a frantically animated sleepwalker and you might get pretty close.
The Mary/Martha Lesson is applicable here, I think, if I may mix Bible stories within such close quarters and not offend. Martha was busy, busy, busy doing, let's face it, necessary stuff, yet the Lord said Mary was the one who chose the "good portion". 
So I've knocked myself in the head over here. I've shaken myself back to a higher state of alertness, and I'm making more time to sit at the feet of the Lord.

Join me?


Home Again

A week is  along time to be on vacation. 
It can get a little big jiggy at the end.
Three adult-sized males 
crammed in the rear of even a generously sized (rented) SUV can be 
unenthusiastic travel companions when facing an eight hour drive home.
 It makes coming home all the sweeter, doesn't it?
Vacation photos of the fun part - - - soon to follow.

My speedwell was going strong a couple of weeks ago. Bees love the purple-blue spikes which are upright and colorful all the way to the end of their bloom time. When they're finished though, they're like  old ladies who've been too long at the ball - they lay all over gasping and taking up too much room. I trim mine back to about three inches. They look awful for a couple of weeks, while the other plants fill in and disguise their rough mornings. But soon speedwell will green back up and make nice foliage plants with a stray bloom here and there for the rest of the summer. They love the sun but will also bloom in pretty deep shade.



How Miss Saigon Got In My Cart

'Miss Saigon' Dutch iris bulbs. 
The name sucked me in, but the photo on the bag 
forced me to find room in the grocery budget for these.

If they don't come up looking EXACTLY like this - 

then I'll dig up every one and dump them in the Walmart parking lot.
The majority of the bag went into a summer container, a few in the patio garden, and a couple
out in the border garden, as a reserve. 
So far, I've only gotten a few teasing signs of life in the container, nothing more. To tell the
truth, I've forgotten exactly where I put them in the border garden, so those probably
won't survive the summer's hoeing. 

ANYway, at the same time, I finally had THESE!!!

Thanks to the seedpods Kate generously gave, and many frustrated attempts 
at sprouting false indigo. I've had two or three thready stalks for the last two years, and I expected them to 
be completely gone after the winter we had. But this year ... there's a big stand out there!
Turns out they're sturdy and long-lasting in an arrangement or small bouquet.

*Several American Indian tribes have made use of the plant for a variety of purposes. The Cherokees used it as a source of blue dye, a practice later copied by European settlers. They also would use the roots in teas as a purgative or to treat tooth aches and nausea, while the Osage made an eyewash with the plant.