Monday, May 23, 2016

Garden Walk

May is my favorite gardening month.  The temperatures are cool, so much is blooming and by the end of May I have 
all my annuals planted.   
I don't plant again until fall, so during the summertime
 I sit back and just enjoy the
 hard work 
we put into the garden in the spring.  

I do weed the beds and deadhead my flowers each week.   
My sweet husband keeps the lawn green and mowed and we use the bare minimum of fertilizers and no pesticides since we live next to a lake. 

I usually start cleaning out my flower beds around the first of April and start planting soon after depending
 on the weather forecasts.  I can't wait to get a few spring flowers in the ground but by the end of May my gardening muscles are sore and I'm ready to be done with planting. 
The older I get the harder it is getting up and down to 
plant annuals!

We had such a mild winter that everything seemed to get a jump start on growing and is looking really good.    However we did  have a horrendous ice storm at Thanksgiving that damaged our majestic oaks and some of our shrubs. 

What a mess it was to clean up!  The entire state was littered with broken tree limbs and it took the city almost two months to pick up all the yard debris.  

The bright side is there is so much more  sunlight coming into our garden now.
The downside was that having our eight mature oak trees professionally pruned was very expensive!  The trees had huge limbs that had broken off high in the canopy that made it unsafe for us and our pets to walk outside.  Huge limbs would just randomly fall and one of our largest trees eventually lost almost half of it's limbs.  We had to wait  several weeks before our tree company could work us into their schedule.  

We are fortunate that we have had the same arborist for many years and he was able to make our trees look 
amazing after the storm damage.  
Never skimp on hiring an certified arborist because safety is a huge concern and the asthetics of a poorly pruned tree can take years to correct... if ever.   Our neighbors hired a company that "topped" their trees.  If you've never seen a topped tree, here is an example:

The new growth after topping will look like suckers sprouting from the trunk.

  I share this only because of neighbors are most certainly going to have to spend a great deal more to have their  trees removed in the future as the trees will eventually 
weaken and die.  

She is heartsick about their appearance, but not much can be done now.    Bottom line : if a tree company says they top trees ...stay away!  That is a sure sign they don't know
 what they are doing.  
Well enough of Tree Pruning 101, but I always like to share information that might be of help to someone else.
Now on to the pretty stuff!

I love roses and the majority of roses in my garden are  knockout roses.   The red doubles are right off my patio so I can enjoy them from the kitchen and family room windows.   We were recently traveling past Tyler, Texas on our way back from Florida.  I have long wanted to stop and "smell the roses" in Tyler and purchase a few too!  
 Mr. Bloomers was nice enough to detour off the interstate so I could visit one of the rose growers in Tyler.  
It was heavenly with so many varieties to choose from and I did manage to bring home only five roses.  (mostly because that is all we could fit in the car) 

This gorgeous buttery yellow rose is  named 
for 'Julia Child' 
the color is just gorgeous and I loved watching Julia
 when I was a young bride.  

The apricot rose is 'Loretta Lynn'
 I just fell in love with the pretty color and scent. 

This sweet single pink rose with yellow center is
 'Home Run'  

I love the fuchsia color and the label indicates it to be very hardy with little disease problems. 

The stars of my garden right now though are my hydrangeas!  After three years of late frosts they haven't bloomed well but this year because of  the mild temperatures they are full of blooms.   

I have so much shade that hydrangeas seemed a great choice for my garden and I have always loved those big
 mophead blooms! 

Even in the rain they look wonderful!  

The above hydrangeas are all 'Nikko Blue' however some
 are pink due to the soil ph.

The oakleaf hydrangeas are white and the ph does not affect the bloom color.  
I really love these large panicle blooms!   They will also grow well in more sunny locations. 

'Merritt's Supreme' is a mophead that takes more sunny spots too.  I have several plants and even the leaves are thicker and hardier.  The colors are so pretty too. 

My favorite hydrangea is 'Frau Reiko' and for some reason the plant died back last year and is just now getting re-established.   The local nursery where I purchased it has closed and I've not seen another for sale in my area.
This lacecap has beautiful frilly edges. 

The blue-violet color of this mophead is one of my 
favorites too! 

The past two years I've been working and adding a butterfly/pollinator garden on the greenbelt behind our home.  This area gets a lot of direct sunlight and is a perfect for sun loving plants that don't like our sprinkler system.
I have to hand water this area so I only plant flowers that are drought resistant back there.

Lavender and milkweed are great companion plants along with yarrow, autumn sedum joy and petunias. 

  I've added the Monarch's host plants as well as some nectar plants.  Milkweed is vital for the Monarch life cycle as the caterpillars can only eat milkweek.  
I had my first Monarch yesterday and  she went right 
to the milkweed.  I'm hoping she laid some eggs! 

This has been a fun area to watch grow.  I've learned a lot too about attracting butterflies and plan on adding more plants to help the Monarchs on their journey.  I have added a few more raised beds for veggies and lavender.

Hope you enjoyed our garden walk and I'm excited to visit lots of blogs today with 

Thoughts of Home and
 Share Your Cup

and Bernideen's Tea Time, Cottage and Garden

Happy Gardening!

My garden helpers!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spring Azaleas

Living in the south as a child I always looked forward to spring and the azaleas in bloom.  My granny had a large azalea border in her Florida garden that was always so beautiful.  She instilled in me a
 love of gardening and
 taught me so much!  Her azaleas were called the
 'Pride of Mobile' and the color was similar to this azalea
I photographed in Muskogee.  Funny how 
this plant brings happy memories of her!

Here in central Oklahoma growing azaleas can be a challenge but I have managed to successfully grow a few on the east side of my house by adding lots of peat moss to the soil.  My  Coral Bell azaleas are doing great and I love the profusion of
 pink blooms.  This plant is smaller than the
 'Pride of Mobile' but reminds of it just the same. 

This weekend we took a drive to Muskogee and visit Honor Heights Park.    This park is known for it's annual 
Azalea Festival and is a great place to see the
 azaleas that do well in Oklahoma. 

The park was full of visitors taking pictures and having
 fun with their families and taking prom pictures 
on the bridge. 

 The park has expanded to include a new Butterfly Pavilion that will open in May.  The last of the tulips were
 in bloom and the colors so pretty. 

Dogwoods were still blooming too!  I've tried in the past to grow a dogwood in my garden a few times without success but after seeing these beautiful trees in bloom I'm ready to give it another try.   

The weather here has been warmer than usual and 
I know some areas of the country are getting snow again. 
We are getting lots of rain and everything in the 
garden is growing nicely.

Hope you are enjoying your Spring bloomers!