Monday, August 11, 2014

Rain, Finally. Maybe.

Typical for summer, we just had a two week dry period.  Lawns around me are going into dormancy and those that are avoiding it are either being irrigated or are more fescue.

My back neighbor has responded by watering twice a day--exactly the wrong response as this encourages lawn diseases, intensifies any diseases you have, and results in very short roots on your lawn.  Additionally, it costs a fortune in terms of water.

I irrigated once during this period, just a few days ago.  Even so, the lawn is dry and we do need rain. There's a 75% chance of it tomorrow, and 90% on Wednesday, and we may get up to two inches.

So from drought to deluge.  I'll take it.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Early August Images

The lawn is probably at its low point for the year, while the gardens are at their high point.  So far, the gardening season has been a little touch and go due to the weather and the rabbit invasion in May and June, but it recovered nicely from both.

First, the standard lawn shot.  You can see some shock on the grass if you look close, and rain isn't expected until Wednesday (and then not terribly much).  This week marks the third time this year I've watered.

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The general garden shot, taken from the side this time.  Yes, it's busy.  I like it that way, as do the bees and hummingbirds.

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This is an orange zinnia that happens to have lots of friends.  Out of focus in the background you can just barely see the yellow carpet (Profusion) zinnia, and some blue salvia.

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There's a ton of very happy Harlequin dahlia in the garden this year.  Harlequin grow 12 to 16 inches tall (mine tend toward 16 inches or a bit taller as I feed well), flower heavily from early summer to frost, and like any dahlia can be lifted and saved for the following year if you wish to do so.  Second year tubers tend to outperform first year plants.

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Cutting dahlia are always nice!  This is a Sky Angel dahlia that grows about four feet tall, and produces copious lavender blossoms on very long stems.  Cutting these dahlia results in even more blooms produced.  I picked this up very cheaply at Home Depot some years ago, and store the tuber over the winter in a paper bag.

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Since the cannas gave up, I planted Blue Boy, Sun Lady, and Color Spectacle dahlia.  The Blue Boy are starting to blossom, and this first flower is just opening.  The color is inaccurate, however, as in person it's almost a perfect violet, but a bit less saturated than the full color.  The open bloom (which I'll photograph), will be about four to five inches across.

Like the Sky Angel, this is an excellent cutting dahlia that can be purchased at Home Depot in late spring.

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Last but sure not least are the Easter Eggplant this year!  The first image is of the plants in pots, the second is of the developing eggs close up.  You'll note I do need to de-shag the plants a little bit and remove the yellowing older leaves.  As the season rolls on, more leaves will yellow, exposing the eggs when I remove them.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Happy Solar Autumn!

Technically, August 5th marked the first day of solar fall (or solar autumn), but I missed that.

Solar Autumn is the twelve week period of the year when the day length (in the northern hemisphere) decreases the fastest.  Between now and November 5th, the Sun's declination (a measure of how far north or south it is of the celestial equator) will change from +16° to -16°, or moving roughly 32 degrees (I rounded the numbers).  Since between June 21st and December 21st, the total change is only 47°, you can see why this period is the fastest change.

Your day length will vary by where you are on the globe.  Mine changes from today's 14 hours (and a bit) to 8 hours and 20 minutes on November 5th.

Depressing as it might be, the upside is that summer certainly isn't over yet!  We still have more than two months of gardening time left, although the last few weeks of that are touch and go.  Lawn season continues for another three months.