The summer of 2005 was a strange one in our gardens. Flowers that usually bloomed early were late, and late bloomers were done and gone weeks before their usual season. It was difficult to get any shots of "peak bloom" because there didn't seem to BE any "peak". Regardless, we hope you will enjoy the few shots we did get......
This is our first and original flower bed. It started out with roses, and was about two feet deep. As we found out that roses were NOT our best endeavor, [between black spot and Japanese beatles], we turned to daylilies and other tougher perennials.
This hillside used to be almost all daylilies, but as advancing age and old knees makes it more difficult to navigate this slope, we have gradually replaced the daylilies on the harder to reach areas with shrubs and flowers that do not need daily dead-heading. You may also notice that this bed is also no longer 2' deep. That can be attributed to a wonderful little tool called an edger. I found that each time I used this little half-moon, shovel-like thingy, I could cut out a few more inches of grass. I managed to sneak about an extra foot into the garden before Richard noticed, and from there it got gradually bigger and bigger.
This is a mid-summer view from our upper drive-way.
We created this small bed to hold favorite breeding stock, It was built in the spring of '04, and this is a handy spot for someone with bad knees to do some pollen dabbin'. In this shot all the plants have only been here one year, and unfortunately, we couldn't catch a day when all of them were blooming at the same time. All of our gardens change as new varieties are purchased, and this one will probably change more often than most.
I've promised Richard that this will be the last bed that I will enlarge. It's just getting started, and when I decide what shape I want it to take, I'll get out my handy-dandy little edger, and dig away. It was designed for the Tri-Color Beech to be the focal point, but the poor tree has been a major disappointment. First of all, it's supposed to be PINK! It was, for the first year...since then it's been pretty much the color you see here....whatever THAT is. Last year was the year of the 17-year locusts, [very noisy cicadas], who lay their eggs in slits in young limbs on small trees. Every twig on this tree is suffering severe damage, the top has died out, and we are frankly surprised it has lived at all. THIS year it was attacked by some mysterious, and obviously huge caterpiller, [judging by the size of the poop it left behind!], and I've chosen to crop off the upper half of this picture, 'cuz the leaves are chewed down to the stems! I look for the "Beech Bed" to be renamed if this keeps up, and I'm already shopping for some other ornamental tree to replace it with, just in case. For now, the Tital Wave petunias will have to be the bright spot in this little garden.
UPDATE! To see what the Tri-Color Beech SHOULD look like...visit the COMPANION PLANTING page.
Here is where we are putting our 'babies' from our very small-scale hybridizing program. These two beds are the first of four planned beds to make rotation of each year's seedlings possible. The front row of each bed will be mature daylilies, so the view from the road will be attractive. Those plants hide the tiny, scraggly seedlings while they grow.
This picture was taken two weeks before peak. The real color display around here is typically the first two weeks in July, but 2005 had a very late peak. We hope to do better camera work next year.
Many of our first 'babies' and our other flowers can be seen on their own pages. Visit as often as you like.
Here are a few of our favorites. This one is named "GREAT WHITE". This one is described as...."It's not really 'white'. But it IS great!"
This is "DRAGON KING". This is the red that was late to start in the little breeder bed above. This may always be one of my favorite reds. The substance is incredible, the color holds well up all day, and it has a bud count that keeps it blooming long after everything else is done. We haven't used it a lot, but it sure brightens up the garden.
LAYERS OF GOLD is a Tetraploid double that seems to be very fertile. We used it some, but though we like doubles, they are not a top priority with us.
Some "visitors" to our garden can be seen by clicking HERE.
This is the same view, one month later. The "Alabama Sunset" Coleus are a favorite that we try to find each year, and by August they've gotten enormous. The Black-eyed Susans take up where the daylilies left off, but they tend to get out of bounds, and many of these will be pulled out to let the daylilies breathe.