Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I took a walk around the gardens today.  IMG_6752It was HOT out there!  The plants are feeling the heat as well.  Fortunately, most of the gardens are being watered by drip and spray, set up by our wonderful landscaper.  However, it is SO dry and hot, that the plants will enjoy any extra beverage we can supply.  (Just like us!)


IMG_6756

There are a few things I noticed that would probably help our gardens survive and look better.

  • Quite a few gardeners are forgetting to “dead-head” their flowers.  It is important to do that.  A plant is always trying to generate more of itself.  If it’s neglected, it thinks it’s out in the wild somewhere, and will try to generate seeds so when the plant dies, it will be propagated.  The flower is where the seeds are formed.  So, get rid of dead flowers.  Not only do they look unsightly, they will ultimately weaken the plant.  (Having said that, if you really want to get seeds leave them alone.  But, it won’t be pretty!)
  • I noticed in a number of beds, tall plants are planted in the front, hiding the little guys.  If you want to see those little flowers, put the tall plants in the back of the bed, or if you have  center, free-standing bed, put the tall ones in the center.  Smaller plants should always be planted in the front.
  • Many of the tall plants are not staked.  As they grow taller, they become vulnerable to tipping.  All they need is a stiff breeze, and “bang” those tall stems bend, leaving the plant looking pretty sad, and the garden unkempt.
  • If you do water, remember to water DEEPLY.  The roots should be heading downward, where it’s cool, rather than up, toward the hot, dry surface.IMG_6755
  • There are many lily’s that are either still gorgeous, or some having gone by.  In all cases, should you pick them, be VERY careful of those rust colored stamens.  If they brush against your clothing…you’ll be very unhappy because they stain, and you’ll never get that stain out!  It will not hurt their looks at all if you carefully just snip those rust colored stamens off.
Advertisements

When we lived in New Hampshire, my garden was pretty large.  Actually, I had quite a few small gardens within our acre and a half lot, so when I was going to take a real walk, and check ALL the gardens, I’d tell Joel I was going to “check the fences”.  Then he knew not to expect to see me again for at least an hour!  I wasn’t going to work in the garden.   I was just going to LOOK.  I wore my gardening gloves and carried my pruners.  I was always happy for the gloves, and even happier for the pruners, which I used OFTEN!

When we moved to Horizon House, I no longer had a garden.  However, I soon became the Chair of the Garden Committee.  Horizon House has about 40 raised garden beds available for residents to tend.  It took me awhile to sign up for one of them, but I finally took pity on a bed that was root bound by a Japanese Maple, nothing could grow there.IMG_6654  I placed some pots and planted mostly succulents, so I wasn’t bound by time and energy, neither of which I now have in any quantity!

So, what does that have to do with “checking the fences”?  Let me explain.  Those 40 aforementioned gardens are arrayed over three garden terraces, on three different levels in the West Wing of Horizon House.  Levels C, D and the Secret Garden, which can be found on the E level…with a little journey through the garage (which is why it’s called the “Secret” Garden).  Some people are not even aware of it’s existence!

 

“Checking the fences” at Horizon House means I visit each of those levels and see how the gardens are faring.  It is always a gentle surprise, and instead of pruning…I take pictures, which I post here or on the Horizon House web-site.  The gardeners always do a wonderful job with their gardens, and I love visiting them.

Again, when I tell Joel that I’m going to “check the fences”, he knows exactly what I mean. There are “fences” in Washington as well as in New Hampshire, even if there are no barriers in either place.  I have posted pictures of my journey this week, and hope you enjoy them.

I’ve been sick.  The last month and a half I’ve been definitely flying “half-staff”!  And of course, it coincided with “June in our Gardens” here at Horizon House.  Fortunately all the activities had been set up,  It was supposed to be time to sit back and enjoy.  Unfortunately, I was so miserable, I only got to about half of planned events.  That’s what pneumonia does to you, I guess.  I’m still struggling, but every little step toward health gives me hope that this too shall pass!

My normal weekly activities usually take me on, what I call, “checking the fences”, when I travel to all three garden levels to see how everything is growing, if there are things that need attention, or mysteries I can perhaps help the gardeners solve .  I haven’t been able to do that.  The last week I have gotten to my own little succulent garden, but I can’t do much except fill the little birdbath.  I got my husband to accompany me once, and he helped me schlep the hose over to give everything a good soak.  What would I do without him???  Anyway, even the thought of dealing with a blog has not enamored me, or “called out” to me.

green8-edit_custom-7d4826e40d0a8898c4bb931e5da33f2a3582fcca-s300-c85

NPR-(Woitek gurak/flickr)

This morning, however, I saw an article on my NPR page about Madrid’s (Spain) “Wall Gardens”.  They are vertical gardens that actually help with the soaring temperatures in the city.  How neat is that?

I don’t think it’s easy, by any means, but what a concept!  I loved it!

Doing this with vegetables seems to be a more common idea.  Here’s an article by the NC Extension Service.  Nebraska Extension Service also has an informational page concerning this concept.

Is this something we could think about doing in our own gardens?  I’ve been trying to think of a wall here at Horizon House that might be able to support something like that.  I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’m not giving up on the idea!

Yesterday our gardens were highlighted at the Residents’ Council meeting.  I began my remarks with this Digital Story.  I thought you might all like to see it.  Here is the link!

 

IMG_6256Daffodils are wonderful when they first pop up out of the ground.  They are among the first flowers to appear in our gardens and they are SO welcome!

IMG_6131When we get to about now…the flowers start drying up; dropping off; and beginning to form seeds.  They are not so pretty any longer!  So, now what do we do?

If you had a meadow’s worth, I’d suggest just leaving them, but we don’t have meadows of daffodils.  Ours definitely do not look grand among the other flowers that are coming into their own now.

So get out those pruners.  Cut each flower stem down as close to the ground as you can.  Don’t leave any unsightly ‘sticks of stems’ poking up.  They are not at all attractive.  BUT  DO NOT CUT OFF THE LEAVES!

The bulbs that you planted need those leaves to generate food for themselves.  They collect sun rays and fresh air. I’m sure you know the leaves are doing this.  You also have to understand that those bulbs are drawing nutrients from the soil, so this is a wonderful time to scratch a little fertilizer (or compost) into the soil around those leaves.  The leaves should stay until they begin to turn brown.  If it bothers you to watch the leaves just sitting there, seemingly doing nothing, notice that some gardeners fold them over and tie them together.  There are even folks who braid the leaves.  It’s a bit “labor intensive”, but it does work.  The garden looks a whole lot neater, and the bulbs continue to get their nutrition!  (This same technique works with other bulbs like tulips and hyacinths.)

Some people figure they’ll let seeds grow and plant them.  Don’t bother!  The seed will suck the life out of the bulb, and it will be years before you get a flower worth your attention.  You will be better off to be rid of the seed (what becomes of the dying flower) and nurture the bulb you have for an even more glorious flower next year, and years following.

When you are done, the spent flowers and stems can be dumped into the compost bins.  It couldn’t be easier!

PEONIES

Today when I walked around our gardens, I saw a number of peonies in various gardens.  BUT, only Drucilla’s had a cage (support) in place.

This is the time to get your peonies supported.

The flower stems which are already forming, are LONG and HEAVY!  They need support, or the first rain will have them lying on the ground.  Then the flowers are so heavy, they never recover to rise again.

If you are unsure of what a support looks like, IMG_6291you can use a tomato cage, or other means of holding those branches up.  Here’s a photo of Drucilla’s peony.

By putting the supports on now, you won’t break the branches.  It allows the plant to grow into and around the cage.  This way you will hardly even be aware that the cage is there.

If you wait until it is larger, you risk breaking the flowering stems or the branches, plus it looks “forced”.

Here is a website I found which gives additional information for peonies in Washington State.  You might find something particularly interesting here.

While I was cruising around, I found Jane doing a little gardening!  Talk about throwing yourself into the task at hand!  GO JANE!IMG_6290

Last week the Garden Committee here at Horizon House had a “field trip” to IMG_6235Swanson’s Nursery to fulfill our GEM Grant.  The gardeners were awarded a bit of “flower candy” as I call it, for the inconvenience they suffered during the renovations to our West Wing.  IMG_6230Not everyone was able to go, but those who did had a good time browsing, buying, eating and

learning.

The Horizon House bus was packed to the gills with plant material.

Not all of it was able to be in the back, so was to be found all over the bus, along with some happy gardeners!

Once we got home, the staff helped us by putting plant materials on the proper decks IMG_6246for the gardeners to plant.

What followed was the planting itself.  Talk about busy bees…  The gardens are now getting full and attractive.  IMG_6249Here’s one I planted.  Now I’ll stand back and watch the magic!

Hot Saucers Ultimate

Hamilton College's Ultimate Frisbee Team

This Veggie Life

A Vegetarian | Nature Blog

A Transplanted Gardener

A Master Gardener from Northern New England moves to the Pacific Northwest. Here are all the experiences encountered along the way.

Karen Whalen

A Writer Sharing Her One in a Million Journey with Adrenal Cancer

Camp Merrowvista

The official blog of Merrowvista summer camp

G Chek Flys!

My Photography and Aviation Interests

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Wausau News

Health and Freedom News

Lyons Bonsai

A Novice Bonsai journey in Ireland

A Bridge to the Garden

Seminars for Gardeners about Gardening