Saturday, July 2, 2011

I Slid Off the "Grid"...

I'm quite sure I stepped into the 'Twilight Zone" or a "Space-Time Continuum"?  How it got from June 11th to July 2nd in the blink of an eye is beyond me - but the fact remains, it is officially July.

The rain has backed off a bit, but the weeds continue to thrive.  (Is there any climate they don't thrive??)   I haven't taken 'full garden' pictures - because there hasn't been a time where there aren't weeds in one corner or another!  (It's embarrassing to claim to be a 'gardener', while a big chunk of the landscape is riddled with the 'weed de jour'.)   I was even temporarily disheartened by all the weeding I've been doing - only to look out the next week to ... more weeds.  Then I found out you can burn 350 extra calories and hour - just weeding - and I was cool with the workout.

...In Training... for "Weed Slaying"!...
(Thanks to the imagery of Microsoft ClipArt)
In spite of it all, I do have some wonderful rewards - both blooms and more planted perennials:

Monarda didyma "Marshall's Delight" (Bee Balm)
3 perennial plants introduced to the 'Cottage Garden' this year

Hosta Fortunei flower bloom - either Albomarginata or Francee?

The Sunny Faces of Moonbeam Coreopsis
(there is no such thing as too many)
I love my 'Crimson Pixie' Asiatic Lily so much, when I found
this "New Wave" Asiatic Lily yesterday - it was a 'must have'.
Here's a quick "Nickel Tour" around the garden - via the latest photo collage:

Believe it or not - the Monarda didyma was taken in natural sunlight...
Perennials - established or new - are coming along well.  It's interesting to see how 'leggy' new perennials are in their 1st year of growth in the garden - tall and lanky.  I've been ghosting around a few of my favorite nurseries lately - both Platt Hill Nursery and The Growing Place - judiciously selecting 'wishlist' plants.  I found the Amsonia (Blue Star) at Platt Hill - and was thrilled to see an established plant in their sample gardens.  It's an amazing plant - highly recommended to anyone in it's favorite 'grow' zones.  I treated myself to a Butterfly Bush too...

Blooming underway on the new Butterfly Bush
The "Morning Light" Maiden Grass is starting to stretch for the sun.  I can't wait to see it at full height, especially knowing it's an Illinois native plant (now showcased in many nurseries).  Platt Hill also treated me to the variegated Jacob's Ladder I've been looking for.  Just yesterday I took a spontaneous run to The Growing Place (a 'must visit' nursery in north-eastern IL).  I was delighted to find a true perennial Hollyhock - Alcea Mars ("Magic") Red for the 'Cottage Garden'.  It is said to grow up to 6' tall - on sturdy stalks with silky dark red flowers mid-Summer.  I love the leaf structure alone - much less the flowers to come.

Alcea Mars ("Magic") Red Hollyhock
Even the "Fireball" Hibiscus (Rose Mallow) is robust.  The leaf structure on this one is so cool (I'm such a geek).
Rose Mallow ("Fireball" Hibiscus)
Sweet Autumn Clematis
(After weeks of rain ...finally planted and happily growing up  a new trellis)
So, I'm back 'on the grid' again and looking forward to catching up on the Blogosphere.  Happy Blooming...


  1. I have been off the grid quite a bit also. It seems weeding and constant watering has taken the place of reading and writing these days. I love your close-up photos (I have a panorama of weeds also) and I am in total lust for that red hollyhock. Must see it will grow in 100 degree Texas.

  2. I just over plant and let the weeds duke it out with the perennials. Every now and then one grows tall enough to be detected, then it gets the heave-ho. It is those sneaky dandelions that are the garden contenders and win a place in the garden in the end.

    I just got a mini butterfly bush this year and would you just not know makes minute flowers too. Not like the description. I wonder if the butterflies will even see it. I hope yours is a winner.

  3. Tufa Girl - thanks for the props on the photos! FYI on the Hollyhock - it's good for Zones 3-9.

    GWGT - I love your philosophy on planting; weeds getting the 'heave-ho'....oh, ya! The Cottage Garden is the "weed magnet"; it needs more plants.

  4. Shyrlene, I'm so far behind in blogging, it's a shame. But, life takes over and you have to go with it. Your blooms are fantastic, especially the bright and cheery hollyhock. Thanks for the good news about weeding. Now if I could see the results......! :D

  5. Weeds are rampant in my garden, too. I just try to make sure they're not so big as to kill a desirable plant! :O Looks like you've got some beautiful blooms. Welcome back to 'the grid'!

  6. you really like that halo fade don't you? hehe. Looks good.

  7. 350 calories! That's it I must get out there and weed more ;) Sometimes I think as long as a weed is green/healthy and hasn't gone it to seed and not competing with my plants, it can stay a while. Love your pic's the lily is beautiful!!

  8. Hello dear Shyrlene! I wandered off myself, so timed it nicely to come back around the same time :)
    I've got Hollyhocks I'm hoping will do a little better this year than last year when I grew them from seed...they didn't even flower last time around!

  9. I lost track of June as well. Things are looking good in your garden...lovely photos and collage!

  10. Your collage is lovely! Amsonia is on my wish list. Monarda, however, makes me feel like a failure. I can't get it to do anything, though I've read it can become weedy. I've killed it a couple of times, and now I put it in what I thought was the perfect place, and it won't bloom!

  11. Lovely pics, I love the angles you take them from. If I try to take close ups they seem to often end up blurry.

  12. Kimberly - I am so glad to know I'm not the only one that got lost in June! It's been nutty - and I really missed my blog buddies.

    Holley - I like your idea of being more 'weed-tolerant'; usually I can look the other way - but the 'Cottage Garden' is so new, there aren't many perennials to hide the weeds! ;)

    Greggo - you made me smile! I confess, when I took my camera outside the other day, it was so humid out that the lens fogged up. That's what gave me the idea to take advantage of my photo software. :D

    Julia - 350 calories rocks, doesn't it?! I'll have to take a shot of the Lily in it's new home. It greets me every time I pull up to the house! Thanks for the kind words!

    Gippy!!! SO good to hear from you! We'll see how the Hollyhock does - I'm hopeful. Here in Zone 5, they are usually bi-annual - and I don't have the patience for tender plants. The nursery I bought it from ensured me this plant was 'truely' a perennial.

    Rosey - Thanks! Kids, work and all the other crazy stuff makes time evaporate, doesn't it? I do actually feel like a "real" gardener this year - since the gardens are starting to fill in (after starting from scratch in '09). Not just Stella D'Oros anymore!!

    Deb - Thank you so much! (I can't wait to see the Amsonia next season - all filled out!) I bought the Monarda because it reminded me of a close friend. She just told me the other day - she could never keep it alive! (Ah oh!)

    Bridget - Thank you! I am so excited you came all this way for a visit to my blog! Welcome! I hope other visitors will click on your link for a visit out to Arigna Village, IRE. :)

  13. I hear you about the weeds! We've had a lot of rain and when it isn't raining, it's been hot and humid. There are days that my garden looks like Jurassic Park! I love your photography and especially that hosta blossom just beginning to open.... our butterflies are way behind yours though. We won't see blooms there for another few weeks. I'm enjoying visiting your blog and look forward to your future updates!

  14. Time does pass, especially when I am weeding. With the rain we've been having, the weeds are having a field day. Your blooms are showing such lovely colors!

  15. Welcome back from the twilight zone, Shyrlene. Your garden looks as though it is about a week ahead of mine. I suddenly have lots of tall flower scapes on hostas, but no flowers yet. My coreopsis verticillata is full of buds, but the first flowers are just beginning to open. 'Marshall's Delight' monarda is a favorite of mine; love that color. -Jean

  16. Welcome back indeed - this time of year we want to be out weeding and burning calories! Looks like there is a lot of wonderful happening outside to keep you away from the computer.

  17. Jean - Thanks (it was a long 'space' trip!). I can't wait for the Monarda to plump up next season - with LOTS more flowers (there are a lot of happy bees lately).

    GA - as you can imagine: the weeding / burning calories is a crazy-mad cycle; and it is perplexing that I'm not a "size 2" with all the calories I 'should have' burned & tons of weeds I've hauled away?? (hum...)

  18. I haven't been on your blog for a while... Here we are.. July 20th. Where does the time go?

  19. Indoor Fount. - thanks for coming by! I'm still stuck in that time warp...


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