Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bucks County

I visited Upper Bucks County this week. It reminded me how much I love the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside.

I’ll be away for a few days. I hope you have a great 4th of July. I’ll be back here next week
. I hope you will too. .

Saturday, June 26, 2010


(Zinnia pot from 2008)

Every year I plant a happy pot of zinnias on our sunny patio.

On May 23, I planted ‘Giant Flowered Mix’ and ‘California Giant’ seeds. I poked shallow holes in the soil, placed a seed in each one, covered with a little soil and watered. Later in the summer they may get a little mildew or attract Japanese beetles. I fertilize with the other annuals and deadhead as the flowers fade. I’ll have color all summer.

I’ve been watering twice a day since the weather has turned hot. In this 90 degree heat, they tend to dry out but recover quickly.

Here’s how they looked at 11:20 am.

They made a complete recovery by 11:50 am.

After a month, they are ready to bloom - another year with a happy pot of zinnias.

The zinnia story from the University of Illinois Extension.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Cynoglossum amabile, Chinese forget-me-not .

One day my husband asked, “What are those blue flowers?” “That’s forget-me-not,” I told him. “Oh," he said, "I forgot.” – a funny man.

My forget-me-not fits the description of Cynoglossum amabile. I got the seeds from a co-worker about 10 years ago but I didn't write it down. They have self-sowed and bloomed every year without any special care - one of the few blue flowers in my garden.

The prickly little seeds stick to socks, pets, jeans or any piece of cloth they come in contact with. I try to keep them back from the paths. In spring, I pull the plants that are near human traffic (although I don’t have the heart to pull them all).

It is almost inevitable that I’ll be picking seeds out of my shoelaces later this summer.

I’m willing to put up with the seeds for the brilliant blue flower.

Rob’s Plants from his Lehigh Valley Gardening blog has a good description and great photos.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Garden Tour

I’m on my way to Bethlehem Garden Club Garden Tour “Paradise Found”. The tour benefits the club’s community projects and scholarship fund. I had a short preview yesterday.

There are 8 gardens on the tour - from a small city garden with a koi pond to a rural oasis.

Some of the lush gardens on the tour will offer complimentary attractions such as a wine tasting, light refreshments, a raffle featuring gift cards to local garden centers and a plant sale.

There are some beautiful gardens in Bethlehem. It is "Paradise Found".


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - June 2010

As I walked around the garden clicking, collecting photos, I remembered a little of my garden’s history. I’m in the garden every day but I guess I usually don’t take the time to have a really good look. Bloom day changes that. Every plant has a story.

The Heavenly Angels Poppies are now in full bloom. Yesterday I called the friend who gave them to me to thank her for her spectacular gift of seeds. She didn’t answer. I'll try again. Maybe she’ll read this blog.

Roadside Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) came with the house. It spreads. I dug most of it out and left two clumps near fence posts.

This unnamed deep orange lily adds a pop of color to a sea of green. It was purchased as tuberose. It’s obviously not that.

Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’ daylily – common, everblooming, reliable. It was planted to hide the spent foliage of the daffodils. One plant is now three.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis), another gift from a friend, has been reseeding in this spot for many years. My grandmother grew them. I think of both of them when I see the yellow flowers.

Coreopsis, sold as ‘Moonbeam’, may or may not be ‘Moonbeam’ depending on who you ask. Every year it gets wider and wider. Since 1998, I’ve divided it with an axe, given it away, planted it around the garden and composted it.

Crane’s Bill Hardy Geranium ‘Splish Splash’. I’ll dead head with a hedge shears when it’s finished blooming to minimize reseeding. I have several clumps from the original plant. It doesn’t help to tell it “stay”.

Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’ has been making an appearance every year since originally planted in 2004. I’ve never gone out in the garden at night to check its scent.

Coral Bells Heuchera villosa 'Tiramisu' PPAF - the first Heuchera to bloom in my garden. It’s a new plant in its third year that I bought on a trip to a garden center with good friends.

Chrysanthemum 'Clara Curtis' - Garden Mum blooms all summer. I’ve shared many pieces of this early blooming mum.

Anthony Waterer spirea - an original shrub. I’ll trim it back when it’s finished blooming and it will re-bloom later in the summer – another reliable old friend and one of my husband’s favorites.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my garden as much as I did.

Many thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day every month. It makes me stop and actually look at what is blooming in my garden. Check out other garden blogger’s blooms at Carol’s blog. It should be an exciting month.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Old Rose

Rosa 'Zephirine Drouhin' (Zeff-e-REEN Drew-HEEN) thornless Bourbon rose

I seem to be enamored of roses this spring. Or maybe it’s a very good year for roses. Or maybe I’m just taking more time to stop and smell the roses.

This pretty rose is on an arbor at Miller’s House Garden behind the Lukenbach Mill in Bethlehem’s Colonial Industrial Quarter. 'Zephirine Drouhin' was introduced in 1868.

Jill M. Nicolaus on wrote, “Sweetly scented, fluffy pink blooms, tough as nails, shade tolerant, and nearly thornless…does that sound like your average hybrid rose?” Jill explains her experience with this rose.

‘Kathleen Harrop’, another old Bourbon rose. grows on the opposite side of the arbor. It is also thornless and a sport of ‘Zepherine Drouhin’.

Most of the plants at Miller’s House Garden are labeled. You can pick up a plant map in the little message box on the left side of the entrance path. The garden is maintained by the Bethlehem Garden Club.

(More info on 'Zephirine Drouhin' from NC State University here.)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

June Garden Progress

The garden is starting to look good. I have finally spread about half of the mulch that we got at the end of April. A lot of snapdragons and other re-seeding annuals have been pulled or transplanted. The snaps that survived the winter are in full bloom.

Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa ‘Siskiyou’) , in all its glory, blooms and oversteps its bounds as usual.

All the pots are planted. I used mostly coleus and fuchsia cuttings from last year’s plants and canna tubers that didn’t fit in the garden.

All seeds are up. Lettuce in the fish box has been cut a couple of times.

Beans are growing.

The tomato is growing but doesn’t have any flowers. It’s a little behind the rest of the neighborhood. The tomato is called ‘Dan’s Favorite’. It thought it sounded interesting. It was labeled “mid-season slicing tomato”. I really don’t know what that means. I’ll have to wait for a taste test to see if ‘Dan’s Favorite’ is also mine.

The first Heavenly Angels Poppy opened. There are many walnut sized buds promising a colorful show.

So far it’s been a busy week. The forecast predicts rain today. I am looking forward to it. So is the garden.

Saturday, June 05, 2010


(Levisticum officinale)

I planted this perennial herb last year. It remained a respectable size at about 2 feet all summer. This year it turned into the Lovage monster. At almost 5 feet, it resembles a small shrub.

It’s an attractive plant and flowering now. The flowers are an unspectacular greenish yellow. I’ll cut those off soon. I don’t want seeds. One lovage plant is enough.

All the advice I’ve read says that, in cooking, a “little goes a long way”. I have enough Lovage to feed the second army division.

It tastes like celery I’m told. I haven’t tasted it since cooking isn’t my favorite thing. The best thing I make for dinner is reservations – ba-dum-dum.

If you have any experience with lovage, please leave a comment and let me know.
More Lovage information from Sharron Coplin, Ohio State University Extension, “No Lovage Lost with Home-grown Herb”.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Coral Bells

(A piece of ‘Purple Palace’ divided from original plant added alongside new ‘Tiramisu’ in 2008.)

The combination of Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’ and Heuchera villosa 'Tiramisu' PPAF caught my eye this week. They grow happily without much care. They spread slowly and are easy to divide in spring when needed.

Planted in partial shade, ‘Tiramisu’ has started flower spikes. The ‘Purple Palace’ leaf color is best in spring. It turns deep green with purple undersides as it blooms in July.

('Purple Palace' with Coreopsis and orange impatiens in July 2008.)

Kathryn Wadsworth, author with David Deardorff PhD of “What’s Wrong With My Plant (And How Do I Fix It?”), relates a Heuchera story well worth the read here.

More Heuchera growing information with a list of varieties at Dayton Nurseries.