Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Rare Daylily Happening -- Golden Compass

It was a rare daylily happening in my garden this morning.  Golden Compass, a single tetraploid, produced a huge double bloom.  I wish it would last forever, but (sigh) it is a day lily after all. What was most surprising is that this should happen in the first year after the split and replanting and that we are having such a dry and daylily diseased summer.  I could sit out there are look at it all day!

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Daylilies are Growing!

Yes!  My garden is beginning to thrive. (not my house in the background)
This was the only place in the yard that was somewhat flat and always sunny, so the garden is close to the street but I live on a quiet cul de sac and my neighbors seem to appreciate the upgrade to the neighborhood.  They are, in fact, curious about the daylilies.  I've discovered that most people think of daylilies as the common orange or "ditch lily." I can only imagine what they thought I was doing planting this many tall orange lilies.
I have had at least 8 of my regular standbys bloom in their new location already. The biggest surprise was one that was only planted in May.  It was a bonus plant, called Without a Doubt, that I received in the mail from Gilbert H. Wild nurseries. I had purchased Primal Scream on sale with free shipping included and this one was sent along for the ride.  That's what I love about dayliliy growers -- it is common to give a free plant with a purchase of 15-20 dollars and sometimes less, depending on the grower. I have received free daylilies for purchases as small as $10. (this is not a paid endorsement for this particular grower.  I was just pleased with my purchase)
Here is the first and probably only, bloom for Without a Doubt:

You can see how small this plant is and yet it still produced a beautiful creamy bloom after all of the trauma it has gone through.  I think my "freebie" is going to be a real trooper.
I'll keep you posted on any new blooms as my daylilies are growing.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Planting Zinnias from Seed

I love to have annuals mixed in with my perennials to keep a constant color flow.  This year was a little more difficult than normal as far as purchasing annuals. My husband is retired and my income took a nosedive along with the economy.  Buying flats can be expensive if you have a large garden area to cover. Also, we are in a completely new location so there is a lot to get done with the yard as a whole -- grass seed, fertilizers, new sprinklers and hoses, birdseed, etc.  Then add all of the new items needed to update our new home and the outgoing cash seemed never ending.

Planting seeds was one way I could fill in this driveway border garden. It had been started by the previous owner but never kept up. They had changed their minds a few times from mulch to stones.  We had to dig out all of the small stones we could, and rake out the old mulch.  It was a lot of work, but I hope to use this area for more daylilies as they are moved from my daughter's house a little at a time. Planting seeds was a good and inexpensive option. This long driveway now is sprouting Zinnias, as well as, Sweet Williams, Shirley Poppies, and Cosmos.  I saved seeds from plants at my old house the fall before I moved for the Cosmos and Sweet Williams. Rudbeckia and Echinacea seeds will be planted in the back yard later this fall.

Planting seeds requires patience, something we rarely find in gardeners these days; it's so much easier to buy greenhouse plants for our starts.  I, too, usually do the same.  But I recalled my early marriage days when extra money then, too, was  hard to come by and planting seeds was my only option other than give up gardening all together. I remembered how rewarding planting seeds can be.
I'm looking forward to my flower border which won't bloom until sometime in July.  So my daily prayer is "God, grant me patience.  But please hurry!"  Can't wait for those Zinnias!

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Daylilies Survive

It looks like my daylilies will survive.  The blooming season has begun and although it's not as spectacular as it will be in a few years, there is hope.  The leaf streak does not look attractive but the strong scapes keep reaching for the sun and a few blooms have opened. The earliest and prettiest so far is Allspice Spice.
I love the colors on this one.  The eye is so bold going down into a throat that calls you to look closer.  And that is the big secret about daylilies.  Even though they are beautiful from the road and you can wow your neighbors, they really should be studied up close. The shades and hues are even more spectacular when you are "eye to eye" with a new morning fresh blossom!  And with that I will take my morning stroll and see what's blooming today.  It's so good to be gardening again!

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daylily Leaf Streak and Spring Sickness

Daylily leaf streak.  Daylily Spring Sickness.  Daylily Aphids.  I've been growing daylilies for years and never heard of these three things. I know about them now.  I have all three!
I knew about daylily rust but never concerned myself with it because we don't have it in Michigan.  And I was told that if it ever did appear it would not kill the plant and would disappear in the winter cold and would not return the next season.  So I felt safe and bragged about my disease resistant daylilies.  I told people that said they did not have a green thumb to try daylilies -- a never fail plant.
BUT this year I have problems.  And it is the first year with my new garden in my new location.
We had a crazy spring, weatherwise.  March brought weeks of 70 and 80 degree days.  Then April swooped in with winds, rain, followed by a freeze/thaw routine that had three go-rounds.  One day in April, the temperature was 75 degrees, the sun was shining and it began to hail. I was worried about the vegetable plants because they were young and tender but never thought about my resilient daylilies.
I had been anxiously awaiting to see what will bloom this July, watching for the scapes and new buds, when I realized there was more to those yellow leaves than just a little winter kill.  After researching on the Internet and comparing pictures, I knew I had a problem.

Leaf streak is one of the results of the freeze/thaw cycle. The leaves begin to yellow in the center and radiate out to the tip. It does not kill the plant but without the proper amount of chlorophyll the plant will weaken and not produce the usual amount of buds and flowers.
Spring Sickness is similar with the yellowing more on the edge of the leaf and produces a curly leaf.  Sometimes the leaf is curled so lightly that the scapes cannot "escape"  thus preventing your beauties from blooming. Often the young tender leaves will turn to mush and die off.
In both of these cases I discovered I should cut as much of the damaged leaves off as possible and remove any dead leaves from the garden area to avoid the damage from traveling further. After a good cleanup, the garden area was much more attractive, but I noticed that some of the leaves continue to yellow. I can't cut the plants back any more or I will lose all chance of producing energy for the flowering season.  Now I just hold my breath.  I'm hoping these blights also disappear with the winter temps.

And then there are the aphids.  I had no idea that daylilies had their very own aphid species. While tending to my ill plants, small bugs, which I thought were gnats at first, were annoying me.  When I stopped moving for a few minutes I saw them land on the diseased leaves.  They are an almost transparent light green and difficult to see when they are still.. I've sprayed a few times with an all natural pest control from the Safer company.  I am trying my best to avoid using chemicals.  But that, too, now needs a close watch. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Stay tuned for the results and see where how my garden grows.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bird Cages in the Garden

Please welcome my guest writer, Robert. He has some great ideas on how to use bird cages in your garden!

Using Bird Cages to Decorate Your Garden
Finding interesting, charming, distinctive items around your home or stashed away in your attic and placing them strategically in your garden is a fun and thrifty way to create a one-of-a-kind space that fits your personality. Bird cages are one such item, as they are typically dainty and elegant enough to fit in with your favorite flowers or hang from a tree. They are especially delightful if you are an avid birdwatcher, as they call to mind some of the colorful songbirds you might see around your yard. If you like the idea but are not sure how you would use them, consider the following suggestions to spark your own creative designs.
Use bird cages as unconventional bird feeders. Hang them in trees or from hooks around the yard. Fill the bottoms of the cages with seed. Keep the doors to the cages wide open and let the wild birds enjoy.
Suspend several bird cages anywhere you have trailing plants such as begonias, impatiens or ivy. Allow the tendrils of the plants to grow around, over and through the bars of the cages. Even if they appear rusty or show patina over time, they will look lovely among the flowers and greenery.
Use bird cages as hanging planters. Dangle them from hooks on your porch or patio and place pots with flowering plants that will grow through the bars and hang down attractively, such as verbena, fuchsia or geraniums.
Create a custom outdoor chandelier by hanging a bird cage over a picnic table or on your porch ceiling. Place several votive candles in side of the cage and light them whenever you desire some romantic illumination. Another option is to hang several cages around your garden and wrap them with strings of white holiday lights. When lit, your yard will look like something from the pages of a fairytale.
Once you start thinking of ways to adorn your garden with bird cages, you may find that you want more of them. Fortunately, you can find bird cages for sale at pet stores, home design shops and even yard sales.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.