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I totally missed last #GBBD, and I was going to skip this month as well, but I’ll just share one pic.

early mums

I’ve noticed signs of fall popping up more and more often. Yellow leaves on the ground, and mums that I stopped pinching back too early already working on blooming (oops). And I actually find myself wishing for fall. It’s been such a hot and miserable summer (we’ve been in a drought for most of it, then we’ll drown in rain for a few days, then back to drought), that I’ve already given up on all of my hanging baskets and most of my annuals. They just look terrible. Thankfully I put a soaker hose in my new raised beds, otherwise they’d be in the same sad state. Things are blooming – rudbeckia, helenium, and gaillardia mostly. But nothing looks great.

This year’s gardening lesson learned? I get way too much sun to use coconut coir baskets. In fact, I may give up on hanging baskets almost entirely next year. If I was home and could water them 2x a day, it would be one thing. But I’m not and I can’t. The baskets I was excited about in the front of the house look the best, but they still look nothing like I’d hoped they would in my head. I am considering buying some hang-a-pot hangers and just doing larger terra cotta pots on the deck posts. I want to see how they work anyway, since I’m looking for an inconspicuous way to hang some small flower pots on the sides of my kitchen cabinets by the sink/window, so I can overwinter some herbs.

Also, next year I’m going to forgo small pots outdoors for the same reason. I just get too much sun, and they take too much to keep up on the watering. Those pots will be for indoors only (…if only I had the room to use them all indoors!). Luckily, it’s good timing to buy large pots at good prices. A local nursery here has all of their large glazed pots at 50-75% off right now, and I got a large, cobalt blue one last week: originally $69.99, I got it for $12. I should have also bought a large white one they had, but I resisted because it had a crack and was a bit more expensive. I think I’m going to go back next week once the bills are paid though, and see what else I can find.

I was thinking about getting some of those small pyramid-shaped trellises for the front of the house, since I may not use the hanging baskets. I was planning on planting some annual vines on them – cypress vine, black-eyed susan vine, etc. I have a height issue that I was using the shepherd’s hooks to correct. Underneath each of the hooks is a euonymous that will EVENTUALLY give some height to the area. But not for a while. As it gets bigger I’ll relocate the daylilies surrounding it. I had planned on scoring some of the trellises from JoAnne’s Fabrics. This time of year they always have their gardening stuff 70% off, and you can get some great deals on trellises and pots. Unfortunately when I went yesterday, I saw I’d missed my chance. There was almost nothing left. Oh well. So what do you think? If I can find them, would that look nice?

house - August 2010

Also, an official Bloom Day announcement! I finally bit the bullet and purchased my domain name. I’ll be working in the coming weeks (months?) in my spare time on launching this blog on self-hosted WordPress, with a brand-spanking new theme and I’ve customized myself (can anyone suggest a good, basic, 3-column WordPress theme? Having a hell of a time finding one!). I’ve already set up to redirect to here, so if you’d like, you can update your bookmarks now. You may see less frequent posting here until I get the new blog up and running.

Happy bloom day, everyone!


A while back, I randomly was picked to win a $25 gift certificate from Nature Hills Nursery via a twitter contest. I browsed for a while – I really don’t want to buy any more regular perennials at this point without a plan, but they have a very good selection of shrubs that are actually sold in larger sizes. I’ve wanted a red twig dogwood for some time, but I didn’t order because I just didn’t know where to put one. I kept reading that they preferred moisture, so I couldn’t think of a spot large enough that doesn’t run the risk of being too dry. I figured I’d wait to order in the fall anyway, when it’s better to plant that sort of thing. Then I realized I had the perfect place for one!

rain barrel garden

The rain barrel garden! When we made this garden, I’m not exactly sure why, but we kind of stopped off after the a/c unit and didn’t go all the way to the back of the house. It looks fine, but it’s a pain to mow and weed whack and the grass on that side of the yard is crap anyway. I think a dogwood shrub would be perfect on that right side there. This area is east-facing, so it gets morning sun. This is also the side of the house that both gutters run off of, and the a/c unit drips to. So this is definitely the most moist area of the yard.

One problem. I can’t decide which one to get! So you get to help me decide. Below I will list my thoughts on each, then you can vote in the poll.

Ivory Halo – I love the variegated leaves on this one. Twigs are red in the winter, which I originally wanted. Per their prices, I could go ahead and get a larger size one, use my gift certificate, and just pay shipping. (I guess a 2 gallon pot is bigger than 2 feet?) My only concern here is the size – 5-6 feet might be a bit large, unless I plant it more towards the back corner of the house and not centered in that empty spot.

Kelsey Dwarf – The size on this one is ideal and it has the red twigs I wanted. But it just has green leaves all summer and spring. A bit boring. Also a bit more expensive for the size.

Arctic Sun – Yellow twig dogwood! I never even knew that existed. Are they pretty? I kind of dig the golden leaves on this one in the summertime, and it is a little smaller than the Ivory Halo at only 3-4 feet. Based on their description though, I wonder if the area will not be moist enough and if it won’t get enough sun. I think it would probably be OK. If this one had red twigs it’d be the winner, but I’m not *quite* as excited about the yellow.

Help me decide what to order in the fall! Vote below!

I totally missed the July bloom day! Oops. I kind of missed June’s as well. It was a crazy week last week. Hubby and I had gone on a trip to WVA to stay in a friend’s family cabin for the weekend. We had a great time. But I woke up around 3:00AM Monday morning with a lovely bout of what was clearly…food poisoning! Hubby’s started around 6AM. I had to call out sick from work (note: food poisoning in two people is EXTRA FUN when you only have one bathroom!).

I’ve had some things I’ve had to deal with lately that have meant a lot of days off work. Having already taken a one week vacation in May and having already scheduled another in September, that all adds up to me having to take some unpaid leave days this year. So I tried to make up as much time as I could during the week (I made up about a half a day) so I wouldn’t have to take as much leave. PLUS my parents are at the beach this week, so I had to feed and care for their plants and cats on the way home from work. PLUS it was my aunt’s birthday so I had to take her gift to her, AND it was my dad’s birthday ON bloom day! So I didn’t even realize I’d missed it until yesterday. (There are literally about 10 family and friend birthdays in July. Add in June, too, and it gets a little crazy.)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Dad, cousin Andy, cousin Mary, me

So here are some late bloom day pics for ya.

This balloon flower is in a pot right now because it didn’t work where I had plunked it last year. It might find a home in the shadier rain barrel garden, which accidentally has kind of a purple/blue theme.
balloom flower
balloon flower



One of my favorite and first “not everyone has it or knows what it is” plants, the blackberry lily.
blackberry lily
blackberry lily



(click for superbig)
side garden

(ignore the weeds – we’ve had no rain and haven’t cut the grass in weeks!)

Went outside yesterday evening and snapped some quick pics after the rain. Here’s a taste of what’s blooming in my yard for bloom day. As always (even when I don’t mention it), thanks to May Dreams Gardens for hosting. All the vegetables are blooming. I’ve already gotten some beans and my first tomato is almost ready. The rest all have green tomatoes and are well on their way. My ground cherry is also doing well and I should be able to harvest some red cherry and sweet banana peppers soon, with the others following not far behind. All of my curcubits have bloomed, including my mystery ‘came with the compost’ one, but I don’t really see any sign of fruit yet.

Early Girl tomatoes allllmost ready! That red one will probably be eaten tomorrow after I clean off hte bird poo.

tomato blossoms

blooms from the dusty miller I accidentally overwintered - cute!

gardenia bush

bee balm and asiatic lilies

black eyed susan/rudbeckia hirta - Maryland State Flower

daylily foliage

first bloom on my 2 year old calla lily

ethereal looking coneflower

not-quite-blooming-yet mango mist hibiscus i'm glad I overwintered

Anyone want to ID my mystery curcubit? Or give me tips on how to stop it from overtaking that whole garden?

And now part 2 of the series, featuring the “triangle garden.” This was a sad little patch of grass that we finally just made into more garden. It made sense. Except it’s had about a million different versions! I actually found several more inbetweener versions after getting all these pics. I think I am happy with it now, but here’s all the changes just since last year…

may 2009

After first planting in May 2009

later in May

later in May 2009

Later still in May 2009

Later still in May 2009

End of 2009


This year before moving

It was OK, but the daylilies had gotten huge and were crowding stuff, and it didn’t look cohesive. I like the cottage garden look elsewhere, but I really need some “white space” in my garden, and I like to have like things grouped together.

So I moved ALL the dianthus to one spot (almost done blooming) I took out 2 daylilies and moved them to another garden. I moved all the broadleaf coreopsis together (they look droopy in the pic – it was hot!) and moved all the daylilies to a nicer configuration together. The threadleaf coreopsis (moonbeam, etc) now line the back of the bed, where they should spread to form a nice little line of clumps back there. I also moved a white peony that has never bloomed from the side garden to beside my other peony that blooms, but not a lot (anything I can do t help that?). I chopped all the blooms of the stuff I moved. It hurts, but helps them recover from the move better. And they should all rebloom anyway.


After the move. yay white space!

Where the did the daylilies go? To the spot those spirea from a few posts back were in (which will be in my aunt’s garden soon. My uncle just picked them up!). Looks much nicer, and now I’ll actually be able to see the stuff behind where the bushes were (I need to take a panorama shot of this area. Or the whole garden, actually.)

side garden

side garden May 2010

And just for kicks, here’s a pic of the old veggie garden (at the left end of the side garden) and the raised beds. (See the side veggie garden last year here.) I really need to move all the cars one day so I can get a head-on shot of the raised beds.

side veggie garden May 2010

side veggie garden May 2010

raised beds

Please ignore the weight bench pieces that were picked up by FIL later that afternoon.

I am always moving plants. It took several moves over a couple years, but I think I am finally satisfied with the layout of the front garden.

There is a small (still growing!) yellow and gold euonymous in the center of each garden, with daylilies clumped on either side. Several gaillardia are in the front, and helenium and rudbeckia are scattered throughout the back. There’s carnation-type dianthus at either end. It’s certainly come a long way through the years. Annuals go on either side of the steps (pansies are still in and need to be replaced with marigolds). There is also a jessamine on a cone-shaped trellis (what are those called?) on the left corner, butting up into the triangle garden.

Those evergreens in the pots are what used to be planted on either side of the doorway. All the shrubs in the first photo are now in the “side garden,” along with 2 azaleas (now in pots in front of one of the raised beds) that were so small when we moved in that I thought they might be weeds!

May 2007

This is what it looked like in May 2007 when we moved in. Ick!

May 2008

In May 2008, things were starting to take shape. But I had no idea how big those daylilies would get!

May 2009

May 2009, just after everything was moved to its current configuration.

May 2010

Today, May 2010

What do you think? Improvement? (Apologies for the shadows in the last pic. Meant to go take another, then got distracted!) Later this week, see my indecisiveness with the triangle garden. It’s so bad it’s good.

So when I bought these when I moved in, I thought it was a “plant” and not a “bush.” Live, learn, etc.

I prune them pretty heavily throughout the year, and though they do bloom most of the year (pink blooms), I’m just not that crazy about them. And they’re getting huge despite trimming. And they are covering up the shrubs I DO like – the wiegela that was in front of the house (planted waaaay too close to the house) when we moved in, that I thought I DIDN’T like so I gave a bunch of it away. Again, live learn etc. Oh well.

So anyway, I need to move these suckers. I am thinking I’m going to dig them up and plant them to the left perpendicular of the old veggie garden, bordering the last bit of driveway with garden and hopefully stopping some weed encroachment in that area. I feel like they’re going to be a biotch to dig up, though. And they’ll need big holes for replanting. There are 3 of them.

What will I plant where they were? I have decided there are TOO MANY DAYLILIES in the triangle garden, and the coreopsis there are planted too close to the house. And I might want to add one euonymous there to carry around the theme from the front of the house. So I can plant some of the daylilies I will be moving where the spireas were. They’ll be very happy there, since there are other daylilies in that garden as well.


A few words – I wish BOTH of the spiderworts were “sweet kate” (the chartreuse version – didn’t realize they were different when I purchased), but this very simply garden by the rain barrel is one of my favorite garden areas (except for the air conditioner).

We’re on our way to Hatteras Island, NC as this Bloom Day is posting. I snapped a few pics today (Friday) before packing up and future posted this for bloom day. Just a taste of what’s blooming in the garden. I didn’t get any shots of the bean blooms or lots of other things. And my camera is still doing the weird thing where it flips the image the wrong way, so these aren’t as great as I want them to be. Might be time for a new camera 😦

sweet potato vine flowers

radishes! I took these with us for vacation salads and grilling.

Is it too late to sow more? I actually temporarily put some tomatoes in where these were anyway, as they needed to be in the ground while we're away.


coreopsis that needs to be moved. Going to rearrange the triangle garden when I get back. Got 2 of these on clearance last year!

overwintered dianthus aka pinks

dianthus aka carnations

ice plant. Looks like it should be on Mars!

peony and dutch? or japanese? iris. Both done blooming now, but brightened my desk at work all week.


@jennahw on twitter!


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