This year, the horrible weed was taking over, so I dug out the monkey grass (and any areas of torpedo grass in the neighboring flowerbed areas), picked out as much of the torpedo grass roots as I could find, and thinned the monkey grass before replanting.
I'm sure I didn't get all the torpedo grass, but it should make a difference for a while, at least... As a bonus, since I divided the monkey grass, I ended up with enough to start edging another flower bed. The curve looks a little crooked and inelegant in the photo below, but I've since adjusted it. It might need even more adjustment, later, but at the time, I was satisfied just to get the stuff back in the ground. Hot, tiring work!
Here's the circle stone bed.
I didn't make it all the way around the circle, so I'll eventually go back and continue dividing the monkey grass. Also, I need to work on moving some more stones and spraying some annoying weeds that keep popping up in the stones. (I pull the weeds, but it's just not enough...)
Ugh. That torpedo grass is the bane of my gardening existence! Really tough stuff. Reading about it online is depressing, too. It sounds like it's all but impossible to completely eradicate, unless you want to kill your whole lawn and start from scratch. I'm really not a lawn fanatic (as anyone who has seen our lawn will know), so I don't care that much about weeds in the lawn-- except that weeds in the lawn tend to creep and seed into my flowerbeds. That I do care about...
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On a happier topic, I was surprised, recently, to see that some more of the seeds from Nan Ondra's seed give-away (last autumn) had sprouted. I'd all but given up hope on these. They're pineapple lily seedlings. Eucomis comosa ex 'Oakhurst' and 'Sparkling Burgundy'-- which means that they're a little unpredictable-- a hybrid of 'Oakhurst' and 'Sparking Burgundy'. I'm sure they'll be beautiful plants, if I can nurse them to maturity. That can take a while, though. Depending on which source you trust, it can take anywhere from three to five years for seed-grown Eucomis to bloom.
It just so happens that the pineapple lily seedlings popped up right about the time that I added pineapple lily bulbs to my garden. Now, these should be ready to bloom right away-- even this year, if I'm lucky.
We have three Eucomis comosa bulbs-- just the plain species of the plant, not named hybrids. (I'm still waiting for signs of life from a fourth bulb-- Eucomis humilis 'Twinkle Stars'.) They're still just tiny sprouts of green, but they're growing quickly. I haven't decided yet whether to try to plant them into the ground or keep them in pots until autumn. I potted them so I could keep a closer eye on them until they at least sprouted, but now I'm thinking it might be best to keep them in pots until the weather finally cools. Still deciding...
Some of our new-this-year canna lilies have begun to bloom. I think these were some of an unspecified mix. They're very tropical-looking-- very "primary-colors", too. I'm not sure how I feel about those primary colors. They're not usually my favorite crayons in the box, to be honest... A little lacking in subtlety-- but on the other hand, bright and cheerful. I'll wait and see how they do this summer. If they're not right for this particular spot, I'll find another place for them to live.
Just a random photo of a flowerbed...
Speaking of eye-searing primary colors, that red gladiolus is taller than I am, now.
A white spider lily (Hymenocallis) has been blooming. Very delicate flowers that don't last long before melting away. They do have a graceful shape, though, and the thick, strappy fountains of foliage have sculptural appeal all summer long.
I was poking around online, looking at hydrangeas, and I think I may have identified my mystery hydrangea! I'm not certain-- some photos look like a perfect match; others don't-- but I suspect this may be 'Merritt's Beauty'.
From what I understand, 'Merritt's Beauty' tends toward pink and is one of the easier hydrangeas to keep purple. This hydrangea has usually tended toward pink/violet-red in our garden, but it's not really predictable. It seems to be slightly different, every year! This season, it's trending toward definite purple.
The bog sage has grown unbelievably since I planted it less than three months ago (early April?). The bees love that thing, and it feels like a plant with a real enthusiasm for life (if that doesn't sound completely pretentious or downright kooky).
I think it's safe to say that it's in a good spot that makes it happy. Which reminds me...
I've been noticing, lately, that many times if a plant is described as a "bee magnet", people recommend placing it away from paths-- or maybe not even growing it at all, if there are children and pets to consider. That abundance of caution makes since for people with a bee allergy or maybe very small children, but bees aren't that bad for most of us, are they? I'd be more concerned with a plant that was a wasp magnet-- but bees?
Maybe I've been lucky, but so far, the bees have been too focused on the flowers to care much about me. I hope that continues, because I have a lot of bee-magnet plants-- such as blanket flower and bee balm-- that are planted right along my major pathways.
Some of my purple coneflowers are upstanding citizens of the garden. Others have demonstrated a disappointing tendency to flop over-- often right into the gravel path. I try to prop them up with bamboo stakes, but I'm a little confused about why some of them flop and others don't. Maybe some of them have been getting too much water. (It wouldn't be the first time I'd over-watered...)
There's something "retro-vintage" about that color combo of light pink petals and burnt orange center. (Yes, this is another time when the plant-namers lied. I've yet to grow a truly purple coneflower. This, dear reader, is pink.)
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Here's a more recent photo of the trombone squash vines.
I was listening to a recording of a local gardening radio show-- one of the first places I learned about other types of summer squash-- and the host was talking about squash again. He mentioned the tromboncino squash, but he seemed even more excited about something called "ball squash" or "Korean ball squash", the seed of which seems to be rarer than the trombone squash seed. Apparently these ball squash start producing earlier in the season, produce a lot, and have more flavor-- which he described as buttery. Could be interesting to try, sometime... (For future reference, he said he'd had good luck ordering ball squash seed from Kitazawa Seed Company.)
These trombone squash grow large quickly, but something's been damaging most of the little fruits. I suspect stink bugs are to blame for at least some of the damage.
I picked the big one in the photo above right after taking the picture; here it is beside a couple of rulers. About 22 inches long, looks like. (The clear ruler has centimeters, if you think in metric, which I don't. Let's see... 22 inches = nearly 56cm.)
In the same radio program, they were discussing some mild type of habanero. If I can figure out which type he's talking about and track down the seeds for next year, that might be interesting to try, too. Apparently they're mild enough that the host compared them to tomatoes. (Then again, maybe he's crazy.)