Swamp Four Seasons

Swamp Four Seasons
Blessed by the beauty of Creation -
Sharing what I see from my little place in His world!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Garden Tour

It's been very hot here lately and I haven't strayed too far from the house.  So, I thought for a blog post... how about a garden tour?  
Early mornings are the best times to be in the garden.  It's a little cooler and the gnats and flies aren't out yet.  That's when you are apt to find me wandering around the yard looking at flowers and snipping off dead heads... or sometimes with my coffee cup in one hand and camera in the other.  My trusty companion, Gizmo, will be around somewhere, too.
You can see the long flower border behind him, but you can also see that we like flowers in our grass.  Honey bees like the white clover.  It's shady on that side of the house in the early morning, but gets quite hot once the sun comes over the trees.  Then it's best to head over to the shadier side of the garden.
This year the deer have not eaten off the hostas, so they look pretty and we've seen a hummingbird sipping their nectar. 
  There are more hostas, along with ferns and violets, in the shade along the side of the house.
The bed you can see in the background of that photo is part shade and part sun.  You can see the sunny side in the above photo.  In the next photo, is the shady side, with native dwarf crested iris, Japanese silver fern, plus a few annuals that like shade... begonias, blue lobelia, and torenia.
Something has caught Giz's attention...
... there are a couple of bunnies down in the driveway (past where Giz can go).
"Hi Gizmo" one seems to wave a greeting!

"It's okay if the bunnies are down there, Gizmo... just don't let them come up here and eat the flowers." I say to him.
Along with blue lobelia and pink begonias in the partly shady spots are yellow corydalis, which is another native plant.  They have seeded themselves into quite a few places, including cracks between rock.  I don't mind them self-sowing, because they are so attractive-- and easy to pull if they do happen to grow somewhere I don't want them.

With the disease problems with impatiens the last few years, I've had to change what I plant in the bed right in front of our house.  Early in the spring, my husband brought me some beautiful violas, which did well until the summer heat got them.  So I went to our local Agway and got some clearance annuals.  They are a little small yet, but they are coming along and I think they are going to eventually fill the spot nicely.
Sweet Alyssum, blue lobelia, torenia, and begonias
Near them, but in the full sun, are my hens and chicks.  The soil was not so good in this area and I got tired of struggling with other flowers.  Plus, I do think the hens and chicks are neat.
Looking up, you can see the deck boxes.  I love Geranium 'Vancouver Centennial' and so do hummingbirds.  I wasn't sure what to put with them in the planters.  I usually have regular geraniums in there and these geraniums have rather unique colors.  When I saw some yellow calibrachoa plants at the garden center, I thought they might work.  
Kind of a different color-combination, but I like it!

I also have three pots of 'Vancouver Centennial' on the kitchen deck.  Typically, we have hummingbirds coming to them like crazy... this year we don't seem to have as many (yet? I'm still hoping more will show up!).  Click here for a post from last summer of our hummingbirds.
I think it's too late this year for them to need spider web material for their nests, but there was plenty of that available at our house!  I read recently that for hummers to like your yard, besides flowers, it's good to have spider webs and sapsucker trees.  They use the webs in nest-building and like the insects which are attracted to sap dripping from the holes made by sapsuckers.  You can see in the above photo that we have spiderwebs, and if you look at some of the tree trunks in this post, you will see lots of sapsucker-drilled holes. Back in 2008, I took this photo of a female ruby-throated hummingbird at a sapsucker tree.
Hummers also like a spray of water.  While I don't have a sprinkler, we have natural showers from time to time... like the day it rained hard from one dark cloud while the sun was still brightly shining.

It has been a very dry summer here and if not for my husband putting a gravity-fed hose from the pond for me to water the gardens, the plants would be dried up by now.
In the past, we've used the pond to water our vegetable garden (you can see it inside the fence to the left of Gizmo), but at the beginning of the drought he bought extra hoses so I could also water the flowers.


Another change in the garden this year is that I started switching this bed from an herb garden to one for pollinators.  So far it's been used by bees and butterflies and....
... a thirsty dog!

Gizmo is not always the only dog in the garden.  On Thursdays, his cousin Ruby comes to visit for the day.
After a romp around the yard, Giz, Ruby, and I came back inside the house so they could take their first naps of the day.  Just before I started writing this post however, I happened to look out the back door and saw one more thing I want to show you.
The scarlet passionvine had a flower!  These flowers only stay open for one day.  My vine has not had a lot of flowers yet, so it was good timing that it had one today.  We bought it at a nursery in Florida and brought it home in the back of our car on our last trip.  It will have to live in our sunroom over the winter as it's not hardy here, but I think it's worth the work of digging it up and replanting in spring and fall. 

The gardens do take time and effort, but I enjoy them so much.  Giz, Ruby, and I hope you enjoyed our tour!