Sunday, September 20, 2015

Garden Chit-Chat

The last month (and more) has been unusually dry.  We got about an inch of rain a couple of weeks (or so) ago, but the ground was so parched that it slurped it right down, and it's already uncomfortably dry again.  Most of my flower garden is in fairly sandy soil, so it's on the dry side to begin with.

Though I've let the weeding go, in some spots, I'm keeping up with the watering regimen.  Ideally, I'll water at least every third or fourth day, if it hasn't rained.  Newer, potted, or otherwise more drought-sensitive plants may get extra attention-- water each morning or every other day, depending on how they look.

Even watering just my relatively small "main flower garden" can still take quite a bit of time (if done "right", i.e. deeply), and wrestling with heavy hoses is not a favorite job.  I'm seriously considering putting soaker hose in at least a few flower beds.  If I do it, early spring is probably the best time for installation.  I'd still end up hauling hoses (to hook up to the soaker hoses on watering days), but at least it wouldn't take nearly as much time and effort as what I'm doing now.

No definite plans, yet, but it's certainly a possibility I'm keeping in mind.

Mina Lobata / Spanish Flag

Mina Lobata / Spanish Flag

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Last week, Mom brought me a division of a plant she got this year from a friend.  I think she called it "swamp daisy".  It seems like it could be either Helianthus simulans (aka "muck sunflower") or Helianthus angustifolius (aka "swamp sunflower").  I'm not sure which-- though I'm leaning toward the first, based on the width of the leaves-- and of course I haven't seen it in bloom, yet.

It's looking pretty droopy, but with daily watering, maybe it'll pull through alright.

Swamp Daisy

For future reference, it can get up to 10 feet tall, but to keep it to a more reasonable size, you can cut it back in the middle of summer (or whenever it seems necessary).  Yellow flowers appear in late summer/early autumn.

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At the same time that she brought the swamp daisy, Mom gave me a handful of cuttings from one of Granny W.'s roses of Sharon.  She says the flowers on this one are usually pink and relatively "full", reminiscent of a carnation (if I recall correctly).  In full sun, the pink can be washed out to nearly white, and she has another that has blotches of pink.

Oh, and she says this particular variety doesn't get as tall as the purple rose of Sharon already in our garden.

I hope I can get at least a couple of these cuttings to root.  Apparently they have a reputation for rooting very easily, so chances are good.

Here's my favorite spot for rooting things in water-- right by the north-facing window over the kitchen sink.  I'm also trying to root a few cuttings of coleus.  (Please excuse the dirty window; I'm waiting for cooler weather to give the windows a good cleaning.)

Rose of Sharon Cuttings

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Here's our progress to date on the gravel path:

Path Progress Shot

We worked on spreading gravel in the parking area (around Mt. Gravel) last weekend, but this weekend, I've been slacking resting.  Donald spent a little time marking the rest of the path with string and starting to dig it.

The path will stop at the projected location of a gate in the fence we plan to build between the existing fence-line and the corner of the house.  However, I'm planning to extend the flower garden beyond the (future) fence, so we'll probably put some stepping stones (or similar) to connect the gravel path with the front lawn.

Looking Down the (Future) Path

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Still thinking about the boundaries of that flower bed extension...

Front Yard (Partial)

Front Yard (Partial)

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I'm waiting (impatiently) for autumn weather to arrive and stay for more than two days at a time.  At this point, I'd be happy with just a day or two of clouds and rain!

(Confound those local TV weather forecasters gloating over the wonderfully dry weather!  Because of course rain is always bad, since all anyone cares about is barbecuing, football games, and-- evidently-- sitting outside, enjoying the 90+ degree heat. *sigh*  I dreamed last night that we'd bought another house and were thinking of moving-- a bit backwards, admittedly.  If I were to consider moving "irl", I'd rather it be to somewhere cooler and preferably less humid than coastal Alabama, but the new house we'd bought was in central Florida!  No relief, even in dreams!)

In the meantime, I'm slowly working on an overhead map of our yard.  It won't be perfect, but it might be helpful in planning things like the flower garden expansion(s).  More on that another day.