Monday, October 16, 2017

The Last Night

First frost is expected this evening, although it's possible that we might miss it.  In that case, frost won't be expected until very late October.

Still, even a near miss will damage or kill some of the gardens.  Some has already gotten old and died, some don't respond well to temperatures under 45°. I've pulled out and composted about a quarter of the gardens at this point.

First, the standard shot.  As always, click to embiggen it.  Although we had a short drought, the grass came through just fine and has attained its October dark green.

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The front gardens are doing fairly well.

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Whether we get frost or just very cold, the Melampodium won't ilke it and will probably die tonight. They don't much like temperatures below fifty and they're extremely unhappy at 45.

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The dahlia are still doing pretty well. Here's a Jennifer's Wedding dahlia, probably on its last night. I cut off all the fresh blossoms just after photographing this and put them in vases indoors, where I can get three or four extra days out of them.
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Late September, Spinning Down

It's not noticeable unless you know the gardens very well, but they're starting to slow down and come to the end of the season.  Some plants I'm letting seed out at this point.  Plus I need to deadhead again, which is a huge job at the end of the season as the flowers don't last nearly as long.

Here's the standard grass photo.  As always, click on any image to embiggen it.

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And the standard garden shot, showing the northwest edge of the gardens.

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While still bright and colorful, plants are now a bit harder to control, and the bud production is slowing as the days get rapidly shorter.

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They're still impressive, but even the marigolds are sporting smaller blossoms.  The blue and red salvia aren't showing any seasonal changes as of yet, but that's coming.

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I've imposed the garden edge for the fall so the grass is a touch brown around the gardens.  That'll go away the next time the gardens are edged.  Still, the front edge under the fringe tree looks pretty good!

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Photos

While the gardens are moving past peak, the lawn is just coming into its own as of today.  It'll continue to improve through late October before starting to stall for winter.  As always, click on any image to embiggen it.

The standard lawn shot:

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And the standard garden shot.  No real fading is visible here yet, but things are starting to get a little leggy and weaker as the sunlight fades.

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Here's a closeup from the center of that shot, facing the house.  Again, you can see the over-growth and the fact that I have to work much harder to keep up with the dead-heading.

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Individual flowers are still doing very well, of course.  This is a Magellan scarlet zinnia, one of my favorites.

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The front garden is doing well.  This is the section north of the driveway, but I'm also more careful here since this is visible from the street and to all the surrounding neighbors.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

September Soybean Meal Down

I was up extraordinarily early today, so after a trip to the grocery store I applied September's soybean meal to the lawn while it was nice and cool.  This time around, I used up most of the spare leftovers from August, for a total of around 160 pounds (16 pounds per thousand) on the lawn.  That works out to about 1.1 pounds of nitrogen per thousand square feet, a completely reasonable amount even when delivered synthetically.

That will become available around the middle of September and continue to feed right through the end of the season (and weakly into next year).  However, there's still an October application to go yet, and winterization using urea in November.

Synthetics users should be applying their lawn feeding right about now.  Labor Day is considered the optimal time to feed the lawn.

Also, the gardens are doing extremely well for very late August, so I do need to photograph them.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

August...Peak!

It doesn't get any better than this, since the Black Eyed Susans are already starting to fade.  They're not a huge section of the garden, and I can force them to re-bloom, but it won't look like this again this year. As always, you can click on any of these photos to embiggen them!

Here's the standard lawn shot. We've had so much rainfall that the lawn never went dormant this year, and never stressed in the heat.

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And the standard garden shot:

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I posted this approximate shot last time, so I did it again.  This shows the fading Black Eyed Susans as well.

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Visitors are extremely common here.  Although many shots have incidental butterflies in them, they usually won't allow me to get that close.  The bees simply don't care, and tend to ignore me as I'm distracting them from the cosmos.

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This was an heirloom flower that apparently crossbred the yellow and orange zinnia from two years ago into a very attractive tangerine color that I've never seen before.  I'm allowing all the flower heads to age on their own, and I'll collect them to see if they breed true next year.  They're an imperfect double flower, taller than the average bedding zinnia, but very attractive.

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Sometimes little surprises hide under the leaves, peeking out when the sun touches them.  This is a Sun Lady dahlia, cheaply available every year at Home Depot and a good performer in any sunny spot.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

August Garden; Very Near Peak

The gardens tend to have a very extended peak period from July 15th through October, which is by design.  However, just due to the nature of most annuals, the highest peak is the month of August. The rest of the period is still mountainous, but not quite so much as August is.

Today shows that we're approaching that peak period very quickly.

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The bees seem to agree.  There are thousands in the garden at any one time.  Fortunately, they're very well-fed and very placid.  I've had them in my hair and down my shirt.  I've never been stung.

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I've always felt like I shouldn't have a favorite flower, per se.  But if you pushed me to choose one, these would be close.  They're Sun Lady dahlia, a gorgeous yellow with a slight greenish tone that makes them look like yellow highlighters.  They're the size of my palm, the 3' bushes produce flowers copiously from now until they freeze, and the flowers are sturdy-stemmed and last four or five days in a vase.

They're also around a dollar a tuber at Home Depot in spring.  They don't store or over-winter well, but they're cheap enough that it doesn't really matter too much.

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Rare for me, here's a photo from indoors.  These reflect so much infrared light that the color warps badly when photographed in the garden.  Even here, they're much more purple in person than here, where the color has a strong note of mauve.  My hand is in there as a reference; I have average sized hands for somebody who's five foot eight.  The blossoms really are that big.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Soybean Meal Down!

August's soybean meal for the lawn went down this morning, a bit trim at 13.3 pounds per thousand square feet.  I have about a third of a bag left in the garage, which I'll drop in September as I wasn't going to bother going back over the lawn to put down 15 pounds.

I also fed the gardens this weekend, completing the organic feedings there.  Urea feeding continues into September, but I can publish the 2017 organic garden additions at any point now!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Late July Photos

For late July, the lawn and gardens are doing very well.  It's been extremely rainy, which is causing a lot of fungal issues in many lawns. So far, mine hasn't been harmed and I see no signs of any damage.

As always, click on any image to embiggen it.

Here's the standard lawn shot:

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And the standard garden shot:

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The roses are re blooming after a very energetic June blossom:

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I have both Magellan and Dreamland red zinnia this year.  This looks like a Magellan.

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The coleus are doing extraordinarily well this year in cooler temperatures and more rainfall. I always put them in too much sun, but they generally manage fairly well.

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These are Cosmos sulphureus, Cosmic Red--mostly. As the generations pass, they're getting a bit taller and a bit more orange than red.  Some have retained their red hues, however.

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And lastly, to nobody's surprise, the marigolds are doing beautifully.  They're reliable producers, year after year, under almost any conditions.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July Fourth Photos

I was busy yesterday afternoon, so I waited to take these photos until this morning.  But that's close enough for me to call these the traditional yearly images!  As always, click on any image to embiggen it.

The grass is doing extraordinarily well for early July.  We've had more than sufficient rain this year and fairly moderate temperatures.  Rain is expected again tomorrow and Friday.

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The general garden image also looks good for early July.  While rainy, we're having more than enough sun to foster incredible growth.

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I added thirteen large dahlia this year, the majority of those inexpensive ones on sale at Home Depot. This is a fairly inexpensive one that I got at my grocery store, "Jennifer's Wedding."  It's just beginning to open.

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The ageratum looks particularly good this year.

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Unusual for me, I bought a few coleus.  They're doing fantastically well and I find I like the mixed colors of the leaves.  I may add more in the future.

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These are Cosmos sulphureus, small red or orange cosmos that bloom well all season long.  The parents were "Cosmic Red," but the daughters are getting a little bushier and a touch more orange.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Still More June Photos

Things are doing extraordinarily well for June, with the gardens accelerating right up to where they should be now that the constant rain has abated.  As always, click on any image to embiggen.

The lawn looks fantastic for late June.

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And, as noted, the gardens are doing very well, too!

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The very first of the dahlia, a Duet, is opening. It's extremely early for dahlia to be blooming, and the bush is young, so I expect the flower size to increase over time. The flowers, even at their current 3", are still very striking.

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The rose bush is just finishing up its first bloom.  Since the Japanese beetles are going to be out and about shortly, this is as good as it'll look until August and its third bloom.  Once this finishes, I'll do a full shaping cut on the bush.

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Even though it may be finishing up, the bush can still produce several hundred perfect roses:

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Sometimes the Profusion zinnia surprise you.  This one is producing blossoms that are almost red:

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The Vanilla Improved marigold are rapidly becoming a new favorite.  They look white in sunlight, pale yellow in overcast conditions, and almost yellow in moonlight or outdoor illumination.  They're also one of the few flowers you can see in moonlight.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

More June Photos

It's been very, very hot and very, very sunny for the last several days, which is kicking the gardens along nicely but starting to cost quality on the lawn. Fortunately, rain is forecast for Friday, along with much cooler temperatures.

I'm not including the general garden shot here as I took these photos at right around 12 noon. The sun was too bright and too directly overhead for good general photographs.

The yellow Inca II marigolds are doing very well and like this weather quite a bit!

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I bought a few Safari Red marigolds to round out.  They're doing extremely well:

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Not to be outdone, what the Janie orange marigolds lack in multi-colors, they make up for by being very numerous and very bright.

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I gave the Knockout Double Red rosebush a regeneration cut this spring, essentially shearing it back to the ground after twelve years.  It responded well and needs a shaping cut.  However, I'm not going to do that until after the first bloom finishes up.  That's going to be a while, it's loaded with buds.

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A closeup of one the roses:

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Photos for Early June

The weather here has finally brightened up considerably and we've had several days of sunnier weather and warmer temperatures.  That's starting to move things along a bit.

First, the standard lawn shot:

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The garden has grown a little over the last week and a half:

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So far, I like the "white" marigolds quite a bit.  They accent the surrounding reds very well, and they're one of the few flowers that's easily visible under moonlight and at deep twilight.

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The red zinnia are what the white marigolds accent.  With the cold, wet weather, they're barely started.

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