Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Slice Of The Pocono Mountains In The Fall 2016

                Hay Bales are starting to dot the rural countryside everywhere.

Farmers are attending to their livestock whether it be horses

or cattle.

Country roads are awash with color.

Lake Wallenpaupack is no longer busy with boaters and fishermen as it was during the height of summer. Come winter, if it's cold enough, ice fishing will once again be in full swing.

The Ospreys are gone. Both the adults and fledglings have departed for warmer climes.

Bald eagle are year round residents. They will begin nesting once again in late winter, early spring.

Resident Black bears are putting on weight rapidly to prepare them for their winter hibernation which usually starts in late December. They won't reappear again until March or April.

We have deer visiting us all year long. It's now mating, or rut season, when all the bucks are actively competing for does.  We hope to see many

new fawns next summer!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pink Flowers To Spotlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Get your pink on .... from flowers still growing in the garden.
Pinks, lavenders, mauves ... I love mixing them up. Tall lavender Phlox and dark pink Impatiens brighten up any corner of the garden.
 Pink Yarrow is still hanging in there. Yarrow is such an easy care flower. They bloom happily in even the driest conditions.
Mums are definitely Autumn flowers. They come in a variety of colors, but I'm partial to the dark mauve ones. 
These medium pink Million Bells Petunias have been blooming all summer and are still going strong.
Coneflowers are late season bloomers. They are just so bright and cheery.
My Mini Roses are my favorites ... especially my pink ones. I grow them in pots and overwinter them each year. This coming winter will be their 5th year. 

As you can tell, I love pink flowers. Pink Roses are flowers often used to honor those who have lost their battle with Breast Cancer ... as well as the long term survivors of the dreaded disease ... and also  those who are currently fighting the fight. Recently diagnosed with Stage 1 - Triple Negative Breast Cancer, I have joined the ranks of the fighters. I had a lumpectomy in September and today I had my first Chemo treatment. 

I am proud to wear the Pink!! If you would like to read about my journey check out my blog Janie's Journey With Breast Cancer.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

This Flower Bud's For You

I have always been amazed when I first see a flower bud starting to form and then see the beautiful final result.  Just as no two flowers are alike ... neither are the buds.  How about a little photo magic?
                     This is a Nasturtium bud with just a tiny hint of color.

This is a Nasturtium bud further along. Now let's see

the pretty lady in full flower. I love Nasturtiums! They are bright, cheerful and when they flower they last for quite a long time.
Best of all, they are edible!

This is a annual Somniferum poppy bud. Lauren's Grape to be exact. Poppies are pretty amazing to begin with. The buds start off tiny and slowly begin to grow out and then upward. Some poppies, like perennial Oriental poppies, have fuzzy buds and leaves. The leaves of the Lauren's Grape poppy are smooth and soft. 

This is Lauren's Grape in all her glory.  I had been dying to try growing this particular poppy. I love mauves and purples, and I was so happy with this one. It is absolutely stunning don't  you think? Sadly, the flower petals seem to begin falling almost as soon as the flower opens. A stiff breeze or a drenching rain only makes these poppies fade even faster.

It's not a bud, but the seed pods of Somniferum poppies are almost as beautiful as the flowers. The pods have started to dry out now and I have been collecting the seeds for next year. 

This was my first year growing Moonflowers. When the buds begin to form they are really quite strange looking. At first, I didn't even realize that the buds on the right were actually moonflower buds.

After I did some research, I learned that the bud continues to evolve for quite a long time.  The bud pictured here was about 2 1/2 inches long. I was so impatient for this one to open. 

Oh, but let me tell you  ... it was so worth the wait! 
It's funny though, although they are described as opening after dusk, for me they seem to open whenever they felt like it! My very first one opened about 4:30 in the late afternoon. Others at 7pm. Some between 8 and 10pm. Some even later. Come morning when the sun begins to shine brightly they begin to curl inward. On cloudy days, I noticed that they stayed open well into almost late afternoon.  How about 2 more buds?

Know what this is? I bet you do!

It's a French Marigold!

How about this one?

It's a flower from the Black-eyed Susan Vine.

                                      Hope you enjoyed the BUDS.  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Growing Moonflowers In The Poconos

For the longest time I had wanted to grow Moonflowers. So ... this year I decided to try. Moonflowers are vining plants with 6 inch, pure white flowers which open after dusk and stay open all night long. They slowly begin to wither with the morning light. 
   In warm climates moonflowers are tender perennials. In our cold mountain region, they are late summer blooming annuals. So the seeds are best started indoors. I wish I'd taken a photo of the seeds to show you. As a simple comparison, they kind of look like feed corn kernels, only a bit larger.  Since I would need to start them about 4 weeks before moving them outdoors, I planted the seeds indoors in 3 inch peat pots on April 3rd. Because moonflower seeds have a rather hard seed coat, I first nicked the seeds with a nail clipper and then soaked them in a water/peroxide mixture for about 36 hours before planting.
It's now April 14th. The moonflowers are the young seedlings pictured in the center row. In the back row are Heavenly Blue Morning Glories. Black-eyed Susan Vine seeds are just starting to push through the soil in the front row. By mid-May all the seedlings were large enough to move outside to begin hardening off for a period of about 10 days.
May 26th. Deer are a major problem where I live, so I grow many of my plants in pots to keep them out of their reach. Since I didn't have a tall trellis for my moonflowers to climb, I improvised and used a tomato cage instead. For extra climbing supports, I attached additional strands of fishing line to the framework of the cage. A day or so later, I also added some indoor sown Heavenly Blue Morning Glory seedlings to the pot.
It's now a month later, June 26th. The vines have definitely grown. Since there are Heavenly Blue Morning Glories also planted in the pot with the Moonflowers, I really can't tell which is which right now.
July 28th.  The vines are beginning to climb over the top of the tomato cage now. The purple flower in the yellow pot is a poppy, Lauren's Grape. I tend to group a lot of  different flowerpots on my front porch.
August 26th. Moonflower buds. Notice the bottom bud? The bud is much more pronounced.
Later the same day. August 26th ... There is another Moonflower bud on the vine that is about to open.
Ta Da!  My very first Moonflower!
Who could ask for more? Heavenly Blue Morning Glories to welcome the day.
And gorgeous Moonflowers to brighten the onset of evening!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

My Pocono Mountain Flowers In September

Usually by late August into early September most flowers start petering out. Some, on the other hand, are just starting to show off their beautiful blooms.
My Moonflower vine has just started producing flowers. I started them from seeds in mid-April. Then planted them outside in a large pot along with some ...
Heavenly Blue morning glories which I had also sown from seed. What a treat to see the morning glories open in the morning, and then watch the Moonflowers open at night.
I love Marigolds. They are such cheery flowers. They bloom late in the season and last right up until a hard frost. Added plus - deer don't eat them.
My mini roses are doing fine,but I did notice a bit of black spot on some of the leaves. A squirt of a fungicide spray on the leaves definitely helps.
The yarrow is still hanging in there and getting very thick. I probably will have to thin out some of it next spring.
The sweet alyssum is still pretty. I had sheared them down twice during the course of the summer.
The tall, light purple-colored phlox planted with dark pink impatiens has spread out nicely. I have trimmed them both back a few times to keep them looking their best.
I'm still getting a flower or two from my Lauren's Grape Poppies, but they have really slowed down now ...
but the seedheads are actually pretty in their own right. I'm now leaving the seedheads on the plants so I can collect the seeds for next year.
My Calibrachoa (Million Bells) are still going strong.  The bees love them!
I love Nasturtiums! This year I planted Empress of India in a windowbox
and tall vining Nasturtiums in a large flower pot. They quickly outgrew their trellis, so I had to improvise. A tall garden rake turned upside down solved the problem temporarily. A few days later my sweet hubby was nice enough to go out and buy some new trellises for me and will put them up next spring.

Hope you enjoyed my flower tour ....