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Well…I’m back from vacation. It was wonderful! I love Hatteras. I’ve gone there for at least one week every year as long as I’ve been alive. We usually stay on Avon, but I also love Ocracoke. It’s heaven to me…but I’m very protective of it, so you can’t have it. Don’t go and don’t tell your friends. Here are a few pics from vacation, including some plant pics. (I was going to make a slideshow, but wordpress.com is weird about stuff like that and the places I used to use don’t seem to support wp anymore – boo. And now wp’s captions are acting weird. oh well…I’m sharing.)

This is the garden I was so impressed with last year (we happened to stay next door to it this year) - sadly no garden this year.

This is the garden I was so impressed with last year (we happened to stay next door to it this year) - sadly no garden this year.

beach morning glory?

beach morning glory?

wild Hatteras Island sweet pea - the namesake of Pea Island Nature Preserve at the northern end of the island

wild Hatteras Island sweet pea - the namesake of Pea Island Nature Preserve at the northern end of the island

one of many wild gaillardias on Hatteras

one of many wild gaillardias on Hatteras

My dad, my mom, and me getting ready to go up the Cape Hatteras lighthouse

My dad, my mom, and me getting ready to go up the Cape Hatteras lighthouse

Cape Hatteras lighthouse - view from the bottom

Cape Hatteras ligthouse - view from the top

Cape Hatteras ligthouse - view from the top

These things are pure evil.

These things are pure evil.

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our Mennonite neighbors walking to the beach

our Mennonite neighbors walking to the beach - check out her flowy dress!

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me and mom and me and hubby

me and mom and me and hubby

I caught a fish! Actually my mom and I caught about a million croakers. But the guys even caught "real" fish on the ocean!

I caught a fish! Actually my mom and I caught about a million croakers. But the guys even caught fish on the ocean!

So now I’m back to the real world and it’s fall. This weekend I’m going to rip out a bunch of annuals, maybe plant or pot some mums, and get ready for the season. Will take pics!

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I’m actually at the beach right now! Hatteras Island, North Carolina – heaven!

Still blooming in my garden at home is the gaillardia Arizona Sun…which I first fell in love with at the beach! When I finally figured out I could grow it at home, I was thrilled!

wild gaillardia on Hatteras Island from a previous beach trip

wild gaillardia on Hatteras Island from a previous beach trip

gaillardia in my garden this summer

gaillardia in my garden this summer

And just for inspiration, I’ll share this one. I may have mentioned it before, but a couple years ago I was SO impressed by this garden beside our rental home. Right on the ocean, I can only imagine how much work it must have taken to amend the soil and have this garden. A lot of us don’t know how lucky we have it! (and UPDATE! Turns out our house this year is right next to last year’s house (weird)! Looks like whoever tended the garden last year didn’t do it this year 😦 – will post some pics of that later).
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Back at home, the gaillardia is really the star. Mums should be in full force when I get back, but something (bunnies? caterpillars?) has been going at my asters, so I’m not sure if they’ll bloom this year (also, I pinched them back like mums because they got SO big last year they were floppy – maybe I shouldn’t have done that?). The various rudbeckia are also slowing down, and so it the mardi gras helenium (sunshine helenium is done). Spireas are still blooming a bit, and a few carnations are sending up blooms again since it’s been cooler. Also some of my spring bulbs! That kind or worries me. Alpine rosy bells look like they’re trying to come up again….hm…

So happy LAST Bloom Day of summer, everyone! (I’m future-posting things, but if this is Mr. Linky’d, then you know I’m checking my computer on vacation!)

Back from Hawaii (sadly). I took tomorrow off (and gardened, actually), but I’m back to work tomorrow. sadface. I’ll share a bunch of Hawaii pics in the coming weeks, I’m sure, but here’s the first batch! (And here are the rest of the almost 500 pics, if you’re inclined to browse!)

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These were taken at the Waimea Valley gardens on Oahu. I definitely recommend it as a must-see for gardeners in Hawaii. It’s I think about a mile long hike to the top, but it’s all paved and gently sloping. We did it in flip flops, no problemo, and there are benches along the way to stop if you want. The gardens are GORGEOUS! It’s so fun to see all of the neat tropical plants, plus the ones you treat as houseplants growing like crazy outside. One of the things I was most amused about in Hawaii was the HUGE AND LOVELY pothos growing everywhere as ground cover! Humble pothos! I SO wanted to steal a sprig and start a plant with it, but I didn’t want to have to go through declaring it to the agricultural dept and stuff. Oh well. Also big giant swiss cheese plant everywhere and bougainvillea used like we use azaleas here. Now I want one of both of those!

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Anyway – at the end of this trail there is a waterfall and a small pond. I really wish we’d brought our suits and gone swimming. My friend (Jessica) asked if we wanted to and we said nah (we were driving around after and didn’t really want to do it wet), but I now wish we’d done it. Oh well. They have a lifeguard there and little changing rooms and everything! Next time I’ll do it 🙂

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The gardens themselves are arranged in specific ways at the beginning – there is a whole area for peperomia, one area that goes over the history of the hibiscus, etc. A lot of native and rare plants – cool to see ones that are “last known” or “may prove to be a new species” etc. Once you go farther on the trail, there are just pretty plants with little side gardens you can veer off into (also wild Hawaiian chickens, which are fun). There are also some native Hawaiian artifacts along the way – some stone monuments etc. I think you can actually go to an educational program if you pick the right day/time.

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The food there is also great, incidentally. There is a beach nearby, so a lot of beachgoers go to Waimea’s little outdoor lunch counter to eat lunch. I had a really great salad, Jessica had a taro burger (like a Hawaiian veggie burger) and will had a burger (they were out of kalua pork, boo). They also have smoothies and booze, if you’re interested. We got an acai smoothie on the way out that was really good.

More later! Also – darnit, I wish I’d remembered about the cool color isolation feature on my camera that day! But props to my hubby for running back to the car to get me the spare camera battery after my camera died in the hibiscus section! ❤

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Hawaii!!! omg.

Hawaii!!! omg.

I got most everything I needed to done on the checklist. Plenty of gardening to do when I get back though still. My mom got a tone of stuff at the Sotterley sale, and I ended up with 2 white coneflowers and some mini irises. I am DEFINITELY going to do the plant exchange next year! They had SO much stuff. I talked to a volunteer, and basically as long as you bring something, you can take whatever you want! They really had a ton of stuff and a lot of people in line. I wonder what they do with leftovers – maybe split them up between volunteers? Who knows.

I said I was going to bring some stuff next year and he told me I should just go ahead and jump in line this year! Aw how nice. I totally would have, but knowing that I’m going on vacation, I didn’t want a ton of stuff I had to plant today. I saw a ton of stuff I could have taken, though – daylilies, periwinkle, tons of herbs and stuff – fun! Now I’m really looking forward to it for next year. I was actually going to maybe bring a couple sages and a baby aster and do the exchange, but I ended up giving them to my mom before we went 🙂 – which is fine anyway, since she’s driving me and hubby to the airport on Mother’s Day!

So anyway – now I’m off to Hawaii! That pic is actually a pic that my friend who I’ll be staying with sent me to “tease” me! I’ll have my computer (we’re taking it on the plane to watch movies etc) so you might see a tweet or two! And I’ll have surely have fun stuff to share when I get back.

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I leave for Hawaii soon! SO excited about it. As of today, I have never been farther west than Philly! A lot of my flowers here are just starting to bloom, and thankfully I have my mom and dad to take care of my plants and cats while I’m gone. It’ll be interesting to see how much grass pokes through the heavy mulch in the new garden while we’re gone and how many of those awful locust trees and arrowhead vines start to pop up everywhere. boooo. (Sorry for the boring no pics post. It’s still raining. I will make up for it with jealous-worthy Hawaii pics in a couple weeks. I think I’m actually going to take the computer to Hawaii so we can watch movies and stuff on the plane, so I can REALLY make all you twitterers jealous!!)

Blooming today:

  • spiderwort – sweet kate and another variety
  • carnations are finally bursting into bloom – pink ones are first
  • new creeping phlox
  • other dianthus – a creeping one and a new one I need to remember the name of
  • sweet potato vine and lobelia
  • million bells are just starting
  • marigolds and new guinea impatiens

Things I should do before Hawaii:

  • plant royal burgundy bush beans – probably one in a large pot and one in the garden.
  • hang container that has sweet potato vines and lobelia in it
  • plant candytuft, liriope, stonecrop, red coneflower, bee balm, and whatever else I buy on Saturday for the new garden
  • plant as many of the new seedlings as possible (opal basil, poppy, cilantro, cosmos, zinnia) – the rest will go to my parents’ house for the week to make sure they don’t dry out without being watered all the time.
  • possibly mulch the back bed
  • possibly divide the giant frigging daylily on the corner of the front bed that I’ve divided TWICE A YEAR for the past 2 years since I got the division from my mom. The thing is a mutant! Not sure the variety – I think this is a pic of that one up close. I know this is a pic of it later in the season. (I can’t believe how much bigger the dianthus are that are in this pic! I’ll have to try to remember to take a comparison one on Saturday.
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