The Garden Appreciation Society Week 16 -- Link up!

This got late again this week but only because work got totally crazy this week. Really, work? In summer? For the birds, I tell you.

Anyway, welcome to Week 16 of The Garden Appreciation Society. We're in the home stretch folks so hang with it!

There are very few flowers I grow specifically for cutting. In fact, I can't think of any other than zinnias. I sort of wish I had a specific cutting garden, because zinnias tend to get a little rangy and probably aren't the prettiest. All the better to cut them, right?

What amazes me most about zinnias is the variety of colors they come in. I'm particular enamored with the coral and chartreuse ones (that green one is Green Envy, I couldn't tell you the varieties of any of the others).

The Impatient Gardener -- The Garden Appreciation Society -- zinnias

The Impatient Gardener -- The Garden Appreciation Society -- zinnias

The Impatient Gardener -- The Garden Appreciation Society -- zinnias

Now's you're chance. Link up now!

Got 2 minutes? How about a garden tour?

I am horrible when it comes to logging what goes on in my garden. Honestly I started this blog partly to force me to take at least a few notes about the garden, but beyond what you read here (and you know that that's not exactly a log) I don't do much in the way of keeping track of the garden. But when I'm trying to figure out if a plant is late or early or what it did in the past, I often look through my old pictures, which of course are date stamped these days. I figure that method is better than nothing.

Last week while I was making dinner I decided on a whim to quickly grab a few photos of the garden. Something was on the stove cooking so I knew it had to be quick. And out of the blue, I created a two-minute garden tour.

I snapped as many pictures as a could with my iPhone and then uploaded them to Instagram and Facebook. But several people told me they loved the pictures so I thought I'd share them here too. I'm thinking this might be a very easy and quick way to log what's happening in the garden. I've never been good about keeping notes, but date-stamped photos could let me know what was blooming when.

Here's what I came up with.

The Impatient Gardener 2-minute garden tour --Echinacea

The Impatient Gardener 2-minute garden tour

The Impatient Gardener 2-minute garden tour

The Impatient Gardener 2-minute garden tour
The Impatient Gardener 2-minute garden tour

The Impatient Gardener 2-minute garden tour

The Impatient Gardener 2-minute garden tour

The Impatient Gardener 2-minute garden tour

The Impatient Gardener 2-minute garden tour

The Impatient Gardener 2-minute garden tour

The Impatient Gardener 2-minute garden tour

How do you keep track of what's happening your garden? Do you swear you're going to remember something only to forget it a couple months later or do you keep a detailed log?

The garden will keep, summer will not

We had our annual master gardener picnic last week in which we visit members' gardens and then eat a lot of food. I arrived early at the main garden to help set up the food and got a good look at the garden and property and realized that its owners had been putting in a lot of time getting it spiffed up for this event. And that's why I don't think I could ever have this group at my house.

If you look around my yard you will see there is plenty of gardening to be done. There are weeds. Endless weeds. In the garden and now, especially, on the edges of the garden. There is deadheading to be done, pruning to contain some overzealous plants, edging, watering, you name it. Suffice to say there is no dearth of gardening that needs to be done at my house.

Last weekend was about as perfect as summer weather gets in these parts. Sunny, mid-70s, a light, warm breeze and basically just beautiful. It was certainly as good as weather gets for gardening.

But good gardening weather is good everything-else weather (except some type of house cleaning).

So I should have been planting these perennials waiting for permanent homes (my goal is to go into winter with nothing in pots this year)...

Or pulling out the oxalis that is particularly aggressive this summer ...

Or disposing of the piles of weeds stacked up around the garden ...

Or cutting back the floppy Russian sage ...

But I didn't do any of those things. In fact, I'm not sure I so much as picked up the hose to water the containers.

Instead I paddleboarded (lots), went for a sail, sat on the beach looking out over Lake Michigan, swam in the lake, swam in the pool (my first swims of the year, sadly), cooked lots of yummy food on the grill, celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary and sat outside just enjoying the summer night until well past 10 p.m.

Monday morning I went outside to water my neglected containers and looked at what a mess the garden was. I saw the wilted container plantings, the piles of weeds laying a foot from where they had been pulled, the weeds that enjoyed a few more days in the ground and the spent blossoms hanging from stems waiting to be deadheaded.

And I didn't regret not doing any of that all weekend.

Summer is short. You have to savor every bit of it while you can. Even if that means letting the gardening chores go undone for yet another day.

The Garden Appreciation Society Week 15 --Show us your blooms!

Week 15 of The Garden Appreciation Society! Can you believe it? I  What's even more amazing to me is that for 15 straight weeks I have had beautiful fresh flowers in my house. I will miss them so much in the middle of winter. But let's not think about that, now. We have to savor every single moment of summer while we can.

After last week's riot of color in a tiny bouquet, this week couldn't be much different. It's a much larger bouquet and a little wild too. I think for me this is when the Limelight hydrangeas are prettiest. They still have a lot of chartreuse in them, which I think is a stunning color in a flower. I added in several spikes of Russian sage, which has completely flopped over and needs to be cut back anyway. The little blue flowers are dropping all over the table, but I forgive them because I think they are pretty.

So pretty, in fact, that I couldn't resist a bunch of close-ups.

The Garden Appreciation Society, The Impatient Gardener, Limelight hydrangea + Russian sage

The Garden Appreciation Society, The Impatient Gardener, Limelight hydrangea + Russian sage

The Garden Appreciation Society, The Impatient Gardener, Limelight hydrangea + Russian sage

The Garden Appreciation Society, The Impatient Gardener, Limelight hydrangea + Russian sage

Speaking of enjoying summer, I get the feeling that you are all enjoying it quite a bit because you're not doing a very good job of appreciating your gardens in new ways. Come on, gang, make this week the week and link up!

There were three lovely bouquets last week and it's amazing to me how different they all are. A good reminder that all of our gardens at at different stages. Libby's hydrangeas are already at the end of their season and have taken on that gorgeous dusty pink color. Susie has some gorgeous hydrangeas just starting to bloom. But I think my favorite from last week comes from Kate at Heir and Space whose bouquet is a good reminder that sometimes simple is best. She always puts her bouquets on a piece of furniture that she's done an amazing restoration or reinvention on and I love how the rudbeckia on the table (in a perfect aqua jar) look like they were just plucked from the bed right next them. Great job, Kate!

Photo by Kate at Heir and Space

Now it's time to link up! I know you all have a garden full of blooms so let's see them!

And don't forget to check out previous weeks:

The Garden Appreciation Society Week 14 -- Link up now, gang!

Hey kids, guess what time it is? Time for this week's Garden Appreciation Society! (cue cheering)

I really love this week's bouquet and not just because it features one of my favorite flowers: nasturtiums. I won't blab on about them because you're probably thinking, "Cripes, does this girl talk about anything other than hydrangeas and nasturtiums?"

I love it because it was so incredibly easy. It literally took me 8 minutes to pick, arrange and photograph this bouquet. I just snipped off the stems with my fingernails, stuck them in a drinking glass (I love the aqua glass with the orange blossoms) and called it a day. It's hard to get that much cheer in your house that easily.

The Garden Appreciation Society -- The Impatient Gardener -- nasturtiums

The Garden Appreciation Society -- The Impatient Gardener -- nasturtiums

The Garden Appreciation Society -- The Impatient Gardener -- nasturtiums

The Garden Appreciation Society -- The Impatient Gardener -- nasturtiums

Last week's Garden Appreciation Society "meeting" was not that well attended. Is it summer vacation? Are the snacks not good enough? If I promise cocktails, would that help?

We did have three great contributions, however, and I particularly liked Susie's from Viva La Hosta (excellent blog name, by the way). I am not a fan of dusty miller, but I think it makes this bouquet. 

Viva La Hosta photo

By the way, you'll notice that the past few weeks I've been featuring some of the entries from the previous week's Garden Appreciation Society. I always link back to your site and give credit for the photo, but if you'd prefer I don't use your photo in this way, just leave me a comment or drop me an email and let me know that.

OK, so now's the time to link up folks. I can't promise cocktails but I can promise that you will love that you did it. So do it, OK?

And don't forget to check out previous weeks:

Secret roadside gems

I have been such a bad blogger lately. I'm so sorry. Basically I'm suffering from a lack of interesting things to write about. And I hate writing about boring stuff. I'm working on it. Honest.

In an effort to get a little more active, I've been trying to walk more, which means that I've been seeing the neighborhood in a whole new way. And it turns out there's a sweet little secret on our road.

Do you see it?

Look closer, below the sign.


They are itty bitty wild ones but they are such a sweet little treat on the way. I'm convinced I might the only person who has found them but they are so little I'd have to pick a lot of them for my morning smoothie. Best I keep them for a mid-walk treat.

The Garden Appreciation Society Week 13 -- Link up!

Getting a bit late on The Garden Appreciation Society this week, aren't I? Sorry about that. I had a bouquet all made Tuesday night and then left it outside and and overnight storm pummeled it. 
For me, purple coneflowers (the native ones, not the new fancy cultivars, which have stolen more money out of my pocket than any other plant because they do great for a year and then don't come back) are one of those flowers that are a must in the garden. They are easy and pretty and last forever in a bouquet (a couple of these I pulled out of last week's bouquet). 

So this week's bouquet is mostly purple coneflowers, a couple white ones and a few stems of the pretty clematis that grows by the front door (I forgot to look up its name and it escapes me right now). 

The Impatient Gardener -- The Garden Appreciation Society

The Impatient Gardener -- The Garden Appreciation Society

The Impatient Gardener -- The Garden Appreciation Society

The Impatient Gardener -- The Garden Appreciation Society

Last week's Garden Appreciation bouquets were so lovely. It's such a good time of year for flowers, isn't it?

I really loved My Flower Journal's zinnia entry. I'm growing these same zinnias, although I planted them late so I hope I get blooms these beautiful.

My Flower Jounal photo

And I LOVE That Bloomin' Garden's dahlias, especially that Mango Sunset on the left.

That Bloomin' Garden photo

OK, folks, now's the time where I cajole, beg, demand and encourage you to get out in your gardens and bring in a few flowers to enjoy in a new way.

Check out previous weeks for some great inspiration.

Those are some big Incrediballs!

Last year my mom and I had a little to see who could grow more tomatoes at our shared community garden plot. I don't remember who won. I'm not sure anybody did. Tomatoes were plentiful last year, unlike this year, so really we all won.

Suffice to say, our family is just a wee bit competitive. Anyone who can turn gardening into a competition obviously likes to win.

Plant toucher -- The Impatient Gardener
I sent this photo to my mom to brag about the size of my Incrediball hydrangea blooms. I also shared it on Instagram and Facebook so if you want to follow all my plant touching exploits, you can do that there.
So I guess I shouldn't been surprised when I sent my mom a photo of my feeling up the largest of the Incrediball hydrangea blooms in my year and I got this reply.

Oh, game on, Mom. Game on.

So like any self-respecting overly competitive daughter I decided to take care of this "Mine's bigger" discussion immediately. No need to let this sort of thing fester.

I measured the biggest Incrediball bloom I could find: 11.5 inches in diameter. For reference, a basketball has a diameter of 9.39 inches.

I figured there was no way my mom's bloom could be bigger than that. In order to get photographic proof (I wasn't just going to blindly trust her measuring), I ran out to her house. And there I saw an enormous Incrediball hydrangea with probably 20 larger-than-a-basketball-sized flowers. (This is the part where I point out that she bought her Incrediball hydrangea as a two-gallon plant at about the same time I bought my little pint-sized Incrediballs. So you know, pretty much she's cheating smart.)

My mom's Incrediball hydrangea.
I knew I was in trouble.

Sure enough. The biggest bloom I could find (and trust me it was hard figuring out which one was the biggest) was 12.5 inches in diameter.

I guess it's clear who won. Perhaps this should be lesson to not get competitive about gardening. And certainly not with the person who taught you most of what you know about gardening. And DEFINITELY not when that person is your mom.

And yeah, I felt it up a little before I left. Sorry, Mom.

Thinking of a new garden, but it's not my fault

I have a bad habit of adding gardens. I certainly do not need anymore gardening space right now. I find it hard to keep up with the maintenance of what I already have and there are plenty of holes in the existing gardens that need to be filled. Plus I already have my eye on an area in the back yard that I was planning to focus my new gardening efforts on.

The problem is that I don't really embrace "naturalized" areas other than where the ostrich ferns have taken over. I just can't stand looking at mass quantities of weeds. But in some areas I do, if only because I just don't have the time to take on another massive de-weeding project.

And then something changes and sort of forces my hand.

And last week "something" came in the form of the electric line tree cutters.

To be fair, I knew this was coming. I just wasn't prepared for what it would look like. People who live in the city, especially in newer areas where power lines are buried, probably aren't familiar with the crews who come to trim trees around power lines every few years. Seeing these guys, as nice as they are, in your neighborhood is not a good thing. They are hired by the local utility to do the bare minimum required to clear overhead power lines. They aren't arborists. In fact, I believe their contract with the utility forbids them from doing anything beyond the minimum.

Fortunately they seem to have started taking a kinder, gentler approach, probably because of all the irate homeowners stalking them. About a month ago we got a note on the front door telling us that several of our trees needed trimming. I was able to set up an appointment to have them come out and discuss exactly what would be done. The original notice called for trimming an oak and I was able to point out to them that the branches of this enormous tree are so far away from their power lines, even a hurricane wouldn't be a problem. And I was also able to request that instead of topping the two evergreens (spruces, I think) that flank the entrance to our driveway, they just remove them. In fact the trees had already been topped about five years ago and they were already wider than they were tall, but they had continued to grow and the tree trimmers were planning to just lop off another 8 feet.

I was actually happy to see them go as the trees has been ruined with that first pruning several years ago and I didn't want to have to worry about having it done.

Anyway, all of this is a long way to say that those two trees are gone, as well as several branches on other trees, but there's nothing to be done about that. And with those two spruces gone, the end of the driveway is looking rather shabby.

This is the view from our driveway looking at the road (it's a small, one-way private gravel road maintained by all the homeowners on the road). The driveway is in need of some new gravel I think, but in general, it's pretty rustic. Off to the right is where the jewelweed is busy propagating with reckless abandon.

To the right of the driveway if you're standing in the road, you can see where one tree was removed. Unfortunately between the tree behind it not getting any light and the tree guys trimming off many of the branches on one side, you can see what's left is not pretty.

On the left side of the driveway you can see it looks like a swamp. The small creek that runs through a culvert under the road actually pops up there, but everything growing there, save for a few ferns, is ugly weeds.

 Here's a close-up. It's bad news.

So I need to do a bit of gardening there. It's a tough area because it doesn't get a ton of light and it's too far from the house to be easy to prevent deer attacks. I have decided that I can't spend all my time trying to keep the deer from eating everything so at some point I have to draw the line on where things have to fend for themselves and where I'll fight off the deer for them. 

Low maintenance would be lovely, so I'm thinking about some shrubs. Even something that gets a bit rangy would be ok. It doesn't have to be a showpiece, I just want to not look like Bigfoot might pop out at any moment.

It's not going to be a particularly fun project so I'm going to stew on it a little, and maybe put down some cardboard or paper to work on smothering some of the weeds this fall and then try to do some planting in spring. 

But I don't think this should count toward my "new garden" ration.