Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Alaska 2017 ... Nature's Masterpiece

This past August, my husband and I took a Once In A Lifetime Vacation. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The beauty of Alaska will leave you ... Spellbound.
Alaska is Glaciers

Ice Flows and Blue Ice

Huge Icebergs
Misty Shrouded Mountains and Forests

Beautiful Waters dotted with Sailboats

Sleepy Fishing Villages

Quaint Old Streets from the Gold Rush Days

Rushing Creeks

Filled with Pools of  Wild Salmon. 

There are beautiful Totem Poles 
Train Rides into the Past
An unexpected Waterfall at the bottom of a huge Forest

Places where the water is as Blue-Green as the Caribbean

Humpback Whales

And Sterling Sea Lions living  ... Free.

Once you EXPERIENCE Alaska, the memory will STAY with you FOREVER.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Deadheading? Make Mini Bouquets!

It's mid-summer and most plants and flowers start to look a bit wild and overgrown. Cutting them back makes them look neater and will often make the plant produce a second flush of blooms.  And what do you do with the cuttings?  Like most people, I bet you toss them in the trash or into the compost pile.  Well, I decided to try something different. How about making mini bouquets?

You can use anything you like as a vase.  For this particular mini flower arrangement, I used  a recycled small jelly jar and tucked in snippets of flowers that I took from flowerpots on my back porch.  This one is a mix of cosmos, marigold, candytuft, and lemon thyme. 

Petunias  get very leggy in mid-summer and definately benefit from a  hard pruning.  In just a few weeks they will look robust and full again!  Since these red petunias are very short stemmed, I chose to put them in a recycled glass candle holder.  

Get creative!  Use containers you already have in your home.   A little white milk pitcher makes a cute vase for this small assortment of dwarf snapdragons, cosmos, lambs ear, a bit of lavender, and viola.

Wine glasses aren't only for wine.  Fill them with cuttings from red petunias.  

Display your mini bouquets any way you like.  Alone ... or grouped together.   The choice is yours!

Happy Gardening!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Some Pocono August Blooms 2017

It's early August and the weather hasn't been all that cooperative. This summer has been cooler with more rain than in past years. Yet, many flowers are happily blooming their heads off!
Don't you just love Marigolds?  They are always bright and cheerful and continue to flower well into early October. Found a few Japanese beetles on them, but just plucked them off and plopped them into a cup filled with some soapy water. Adios!
Have some Lauren's Grape Poppies blooming ... the flowers are not as large as last year's, but I do so love the color!
My Zonal Geraniums haven't hit their stride yet, but late August usually brings the hotter weather.  They are planted in window boxes in a mix of  ... red
and white. If Geraniums came in blue, I would do a mix of red, white, and blue and be very patriotic.
My Hollyhocks have been my biggest delight this summer. It's the first time they've bloomed and they're still going strong. I do see some seed pods forming. Hopefully, they will drop some seeds and self sow. I'm also going to try and salvage some seed pods as well. 
My Tall Garden Phlox are really pretty this summer. I bought 2 small plants on clearance from either HD or Lowes last summer and planted them. They did bloom, but this year they were much taller and really spread. They are just so pretty, and the scent, is heavenly!
This is my Morning Glories Summer! Got a red, white, and blue combo of Morning Glories climbing steadily up both trellises. Also got 2 Moonflower Vines in the pots, too. In the center, is a pot filled with Red Mini Roses and Nasturtiums. Pot on the left is filled with Red Petunias. Sadly, Tunes aren't doing too well. Bought them on clearance and they weren't looking too good then. Should have known better.   :-((
More Morning Glories ...  with a pot of yellow zinnias for company.
Side note: Have 2 similar trellises in front of the house that had Morning Glories covering them nicely until the deer got to them.  Also had a nice Nelly Moser Clematis growing on one of the trellises. Deer got that too! 
    Lastly, on the other side of the back deck, in the foreground, is a large pot of Catnip for a special buddy.       
 On the right is a pot of tall climbing Nasturtiums. On the railing... a window box filled with red/white Geraniums and two pots of Marigolds. On the railing on the far right .... Red Million Bells Petunias in a very UGLY flowerpot decorated with a pair of Cardinals.

Funny, I used to like that pot. Now I find it ugly. The pair of Cardinals have a RODAN look to them.  If you are familiar with OLD SCI-FI movies from the 1950's, you'll probably know what I'm talking about.  If not, for your viewing pleasure, RODAN is a 1950's black & white Japanese Monster Movie about 2 enormous flying reptiles that gleefully destroy Tokyo. Nuff said ....

Happy Gardening

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hallelujah! Hollyhocks 2017

It's July 2017, and finally, blooming Hollyhocks! What a long road. In 2015, I started seeds in peat pots in early summer. Come early fall, I transplanted the seedlings to their permanent spot in my back corner garden.
 My tiny sprouts were still hanging on in March 2016, but by June the slugs had gotten to most of them. A few of my young hollyhocks survived, just barely. I was so frustrated, but I babied them for the rest of that summer. Slug bait had become my best friend right through fall. 
May 18, 2017 ... just look at my little patch of remaining hollyhocks! Slug bait and I are still best friends. 
Oh, no! Mid-June and now dreaded Cabbage Worms were attacking my babies! Like an overly protective mother, I painstakingly examined every inch of the leaves on my two growing stalks. Luckily, I only found a few of the little chewing monsters. I quickly picked them off and gleefully drowned them!
I kept up the slug bait and my Hollyhocks continued to thrive! July 5th, and the plants are now about 5 feet tall.
 Nearing mid-July and buds have formed all along the stalks from top 
to bottom. Hollyhocks are such strange looking plants.  Jack & The Beanstalk comes to mind ....
July 14th and ...  color! I didn't remember what color the flowers were supposed to be since I hadn't keep the original seed packet. 
Love the color! Now, a bit later in the day and more petals and color showing.
          Ta-Da!  What a beautiful lady!  And the parade continues on ....
It took quite awhile to have these darlings finally growing and blooming in my garden, but it was so worth the wait!

Flowers always make me ... smile.  jr

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July Hits & Misses In My Pocono Mountain Garden 2017

What's going on in the Poconos in mid-July you might ask? Not much. For weeks, the weather has been stuck in a holding pattern of ... cool, on and off rain, cloudy,  sometimes T Storms, and occasional glimpses of sunshine.  For the most part it's been ... blah. Yet, there have been some bright spots in the garden.
The Astilbes don't mind the coolness or the rain. Along the back of my front deck garden, I have a white astilbe flanked on both sides by dark red ones. 
By the street side garden, the Bleeding Hearts in the back of the bed are now waning as spring has turned into full summer.

 On the plus side, the catmint plants in the foreground are blooming well.  I guess there's been enough sun to keep them happy. A year ago, I originally started off with the one plant on the right. Early this spring I divided some of it to make another 2 plants.  I'm not surprised about the small size of the plant in the center, but didn't expect the the one of the left to grow as large as it has in such a short amount of time. About 2 weeks ago, I  also decided to do a bit of layering with the larger plant. Hopefully, by late summer or early fall, I'll have 4 more little starter plants to tuck in here and there. 
The perennial tall, purple Phlox are finally starting to show color. I wasn't even sure if they were going to come back this year. I bought them last summer on clearance at Lowe's. I'm sure you know how clearance plants go. I was happily surprised when I saw the new growth coming up in the spring.  
My one and only Hollyhock plant has buds! I've tried for 4 years to grow Hollyhocks. Every year was a bust. I started out with about 5 plants grown from seeds and ... Nada. Sometimes, I would find huge holes in the leaves. The plant would eventually wither and die. Other times ... something would strip the plants bare. No leaves, no buds, no flowers. A skeleton. Sick plant equals ... dead plant. Even more mystifying would be plants with no leaf damage whatsoever, but the plants would be knocked down with broken stalks. Go figure.
Whatever. This year, though, I have one healthy plant (to the left in the photo) and it's about 5 -6 feet tall! With buds! I have it in my little back corner garden surrounded by fencing and make-shift barricades. Reason for defending the garden like it was Fort Knox? Lots of groundhogs this year. Oh, almost forgot. I did find one large Cabbage worm ( at least 2 inches long) on my one and only hollyhock about 2 weeks ago. Picked that sucker off pronto and drowned it! I've since been checking my one determined plant for any kind of problems, and so far so good.

One thing that the fickle weather really hasn't effected is the Wildlife.
New fawns are showing off their spots and sometimes can be found resting in a shady part of my yard.
No, I don't have Ospreys in my yard!  These 2 birds are the new fledglings for this summer season at the Osprey platform in Hawley, PA. They are so interesting and fun to watch.
Can't forget to mention crafts to use in the garden.  Seashells and dried 
or silk flowers look lovely together. Originally, I had tried using live plants in the seashells, but the plants didn't do well.
I recently filled these tiny clay flowerpots with silk flowers to use in my Fairy Garden.

When my summer gardens finally take off I'll be back to post more pics!

Happy Gardening to all!