Sunny Sunday

I keep thinking we’re headed for an early fall. After a cool spring and a mild summer, the signs are there. The daylilies are done except for the rebloomers, which are about to do what they do in fall. The chrysanthemums are budding. The sedum Brilliant and Autumn Joy have flowered. My cottonwoods are losing leaves–not unusual in a dry August. But leaves on my tulip trees (yellow poplars) are also changing, and that is unusual.

We have too many tomatoes. Fortunately, our neighbor didn’t plant this year. Whew.

Lots of gardening still to do, and I’m also needing to put more time into my work in progress. I have submissions out that need following-up and submissions still to–well–submit.

It’s a busy time.

Here’s hoping fall comes at the precise right time for you.

Sunny Sunday

Hot and humid–just the way it’s supposed to be. This is Kansas in July. Hard to believe we have only two-and-a-half months left of summer.

Tomatoes are starting to ripen on the vine. Eggplants are fruiting. I have a baby pepper and a baby cucumber. And–so exciting–I’ve fenced a baby watermelon to keep the bunnies and deer and coyotes away.

Hope your Sunday is filled with peace, fruit and vegetables.

Hot and Humid Sunday

Walking out this morning to deadhead the daylilies was like walking into a sauna. Hot, wet, and airless. There’s not a lick of wind and I don’t like it. But the flowers love it.

Here’s what my hibiscus did this morning–three amazing blooms.

The blackberries are coming along–from green to this posy pink, soon to be black. I cut them back severely last fall, so I wonder if the berries will taste funny. That’s what happened to my Top Hat blueberries, which are as sour as lemons this year. Might be a fertilizer issue.

The Mauna Loa daylilies are out in force for just another week or two. Gorgeous while they last.

And now, I’m getting out of the heat. I have some writing to do.

Daylilies

A few years back, I discovered Smokey’s Gardens and went a little nuts buying different daylilies. My favorite is the one in the photo–Mauna Loa–a bright orange. Sadly, it isn’t an ever-bloomer or even a rebloomer. I get to see this splash of tangerine for about three weeks, and then it’s gone till next year.

When we moved here, our front garden included five Stella De Oro lilies–and I hated them. I didn’t like the way the flowers died and dropped off the plant. The dead leaves were plain nasty. Anyway, I didn’t much care for the dandelion-yellow color, and maybe should’ve cheered when, after about three years, the plants stopped blooming. Instead, it made me mad. Just a bunch of uninspiring green spikey leaves. Yuck.

I knew nothing about the care and feeding of daylilies, and yes, they take a bit of work. After yanking those poor Stella’s out of the ground and donating them to a sister-in-law, I spent about five years planting a variety of things in that space. All did well in year one and died by year two.

“Plant daylilies,” said a master gardener friend. My response was to grumble about the Stella’s. But then, out and about, I saw some amazing red and yellow spider daylilies. Had to have them. That’s when I took the time to learn about daylily care and feeding.

They need daily deadheading while blooming. The name says it all. DAY LILY, meaning the flower blooms and dies within about 24 hours. Every morning, I walk around the yard with a bucket and pick off dead lilies. Sometimes I have to fight the bees for them.

The spikey leaves turn a nasty brown as the plant begins to die back. Keeping the plant free of dead leaves is also a daily chore.

Finally, about every three years, the plants need to be dug up and divided. If the daylily gets too big, it will stop blooming.

The good news about daylilies? They grow in just about any soil, can take quite a bit of drought without watering, they’re difficult to kill, and way low on the deer’s list of favorite munchies. They come in a variety of colors, bloom times, and sizes. Usually hardy in planting zones 4 through 9, Latin name Hemerocallis.

Try one.

Heat Wave Sunday

We’re having a heat wave with a heat index at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. My plants are loving this weather–all except the cool weather crops that have given up the ghost.

Speaking of ghosts, my new Ms. Wilmot’s Ghost is kaput. In its place, I found this variegated liriope, which should tolerate both wet and drought. We’ll see how it does.

And here, believe it or not, is the start of my water lily. I did not at all believe I’d get a flower. I’m waiting for frogs to show up and sit on the leaves.

The ruby slipper hydrangeas are starting to turn pink. Last year, they went from white to brown, making this the very first year we might see red flowers.

And now for the first sign of fall. A red zinnia, the first of what looks like many from the gazillion seed packets I spread over all the beds.

And wow, I got through all that without a single daylily. But here is one. They are loving the heat and the bees.

Gardening Doldrums

Tomorrow is the first day of summer. From now until August 2, gardening is all about weeding and watering.

We’ll have to see about watering, which may not be necessary this year. We’re already a foot above average for rainfall, and the forecast calls for more rain. Or at least more thunderstorms. Frankly, I’d be happy not to haul hose around the yard.

But the weeding has already started. There’s no keeping up with it. I finish one bed, move onto the next, and by the time that one’s done, I have to go back and weed all over again in the first. A bit like revising and editing. Never really done.

This is also the start of lily and daylily season. I’ve added photos of today’s blooms, including one of my favorites. I found this bicolored lily several years ago at Flower Farm. It’s done very well, although this year is being crowded out by an inappropriately planted sedum Brilliant. I can see I’ll be moving things around this Fall.

I planted most of the daylilies about four years ago, although I’ve added new plants here and there every year since. Back then, I carefully labeled each one, only to discover the permanent ink was not quite permanent. One of these days I’ll go back through my orders and try to match up names to plants. Not today.