Spring Gardening Ideas And Color Inspiration

Spring Gardening Ideas And Color Inspiration

May 4, 2017

  Spring Gardening Ideas and Color Inspiration are in my thoughts at this time of year.  I can’t believe the first few days of May are here and the flowers in the garden are blooming!  Yes, you will probably see roses blooming this early at the local nurseries, but in the garden?  This is the first time I can remember having roses this early!
Spring Gardening Ideas And Color Inspiration on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

 

Spring Gardening Ideas And Color Inspiration on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   These pastel irises are blooming now, too!  You can see the deeper purple irises behind them.  I love the combination of the pale periwinkle blue iris alongside the deeper purple irises.

 

   This past weekend, Dave and I ventured out to one of the local nurseries, Kinman Farms in Burlington, Ky.,  for some garden inspiration.  When we first walked into the greenhouse, I immediately noticed this lime green colored plant.  I had never seen it before.

Spring Gardening Ideas And Color Inspiration on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   ‘Limelight’ Helichrysum Petiolare, have you ever seen or grown these before?  They were so striking potted with these ‘Amore Queen of Hearts’ petunias.  Look at those petunias!  They do look like little hearts all around the petal edge, don’t they?Spring Gardening Ideas And Color Inspiration on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   The Helichrysum, also known as “Licorice Plant” is a low grower, only 6 – 8 inches tall, and spreads to about 12 – inches. This is actually a tender perennial evergreen shrub, but it is usually treated as an annual.   The tag indicated they like full sun.  A little investigating concluded that these plants also benefits from being cut back a few times over the summer, which encourages new growth.

Amore Queen of Hearts Petunia, and Deep Purple Calibrachoa on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com


Nemesia, is perfect for planting in hanging pots, in containers, and even planting as a low border.  Aren’t these adorable?  They look like tiny Snapdragons.  Nemesia grows 6 – 10 inches high and spread 8 – 12 inches wide.  They bloom spring through fall.

Nemesia, mini-snapdragon shaped flowers on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   In stark contrast, these purple petunias looked so pretty nestled among the ‘Cascadias Indian Summer Petunia’ at the nursery.  The Cascadia Indian Summer Petunia opens a bright yellow or orange and matures to a Salmon pink color.  You can see the variety of color on these in the picture below.  The velvety blossoms are lightly ruffled.  This is a mounding, trailing petunia and it is self-cleaning!  Don’t you love that?

Spring Gardening Ideas and Color Inspiration on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   The contrast of the deep purple with these Cascadias Indian Summer Petunia was beautiful, but the idea of adding the Deep Purple Calibrachoa seemed like a good choice.  I liked the idea of having the miniature flowers in contrast to the larger petunias and bought a few of those.

 

   This gorgeous “Starsister Yellow Stripes” dahlia looked like it needed to be photographed!   What better way to photograph it than as it’s growing in my garden all summer long?  So, this little beauty came home with us, too.  This one is supposed to grow 12 -24 inches tall and about 15 inches wide.  This little plant looks healthy and has lots of buds on it.Yellow Striped Dahlia - Spring Gardening Ideas and Color Inspiration on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   Three little Ranunculus made their way onto our cart, too.  The three are just so beautiful in bright yellow, red orange, and pink.  These have multiple layers of crepe paper thin petals.  I couldn’t resist!  These need part shade so I’m thinking they will be planted in some pots, too.
    Having had no experience with these flowers, I am going to have to do a little research.  It seems the Ranunculus like cooler weather and doesn’t like wet soil.  So, pots would probably be the best home for these.

Spring Gardening Ideas And Color Inspiration - Ranunculus on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   These beautiful pink and white verbena caught my eye.  I love the little blue Lobelia flowers with the pink petunias, too.  Not exactly sure where these will end up, but I love this combination.

Spring Gardening Ideas and Color Inspiration on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   Back to our flowering plants right now, the Azalea have been blooming and are almost done.  They made a beautiful show this year though.    

Azalea - Spring Gardening Ideas and Color Inspiration on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   The rhododendron has just begun to bloom.  It is loaded with buds this year.  It looks like such a tropical flower doesn’t it?  

   These bushes are striking from the street at a distance, especially when they are loaded with blossoms.  But, seriously, look how beautiful they are up close!

 

Rhododendron - Spring Gardening Ideas and Color Inspiration on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   It has been a very busy past few weeks with family and other commitments but the time for gardening is right now.  These little beauties need to be planted and we will definitely be needing another trip to the local nursery.  I love this time of year!

Spring Gardening Ideas and Color Inspiration on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

How To Make Your Own Adorable Ladybug House!

How To Make Your Own Adorable Ladybug House!

March 31, 2017

   ‘How To Make Your Own Adorable Ladybug House!’  We clearly needed (yucky aphids!) and we finally did find a “Ladybug House”, I am happy to share the end result!  There are all kinds of ways to personalize and make these from so many different things.

   On a shopping trip to the local craft store, I found this little house!  I had been looking for a bird house that was built so that I could pry the front off of the house and use the remainder for a ladybug house.  

   Well, in the end, it wasn’t necessary but you can clearly see how you could easily make your own ladybug house by doing just that!  You would have to find a birdhouse constructed so you could remove the face of it, or if you are handy, make your own.

   If your home is more modern, you might even choose a more graphic or geometric item to use for your Ladybug house.  A circular metal ring with bamboo sticks cut to fit and glued inside of it would accomplish the same thing.   Just adding a bunch of bamboo pieces in a myriad of items would create a cozy home for the little bugs.  They just need pieces of bamboo or pine cones to make inviting homes.

    A homeowner with a beach or cottage home might consider an entirely different look for their garden.  Our home is really neither of those, it’s a bit more traditional. Although I can appreciate each of those styles, ultimately I chose to decorate this little ladybug house so it blends into nature.

    At first, I considered painting this one with vibrant colors.  Loving the works of Mary Engelbreit and MacKenzie-Childs, the thought of painting black and white geometric patterns with brightly painted flowers came to mind.   However, after considering where it was going to be placed, I decided something a little more understated would be more pleasing to my eye.

     So, wanting to leave this outside and ensuring it would last for a few years, the first step was painting it with an outdoor primer.  That meant removing the screen from the front and removing the pine cones.   The little hook was also removed from the door.

    In our collection of spray paint, there was no spray primer for wood but there was a can of automobile primer.  I googled whether or not that would work for my project.  Score!  No need to run to the store.  

Since the bamboo was glued in place, it was just masked off with paper and tape. A few light coats of paint and the whole thing was primed in a light gray color.

After that dried,  I began to add the pea gravel to the front of the house using a waterproof wood glue, Titebond III. 

 I tried to keep the pebbles relatively straight along the edges and took into consideration that the door needed to open and close.

 Yes, the door should open, so it was opened and shut, over and over, as the pebbles were glued in place, making sure none of the pebbles were in the way.

   Did you know that you can actually make little patches of pebbles that can then be glued onto your project?  Applying the wood glue to a sheet of plastic wrap and arranging the pebbles on top of it, you can create a little ’tile’ of pebbles.

You can make these little tiles and allow them to dry for a few minutes.   Then the plastic wrap can be gently pulled away.  

Apply a little glue to the house and lay the ’tile’ on it.  This was really handy when applying the pebbles up under the eaves.  It would have been much more tedious!

    Using the tiles along the edges, made it easier, too.  Using a straight edge, the pebbles were pushed gently into a straight line and allowed to dry a little.  Then the tile was glued neatly along the edge of the little house.  Isn’t this looking great?

   After gluing pebbles to both sides and around three sides of the door, I painted any area that I thought might not be covered with pebbles or pine cone petals. (Remember, the screen needed to be stapled back.  Later, more pebbles would be glued around that area.) I was really liking the dove gray color of the primer and I decided to duplicate that color with some blue chalk paint mixed with a little black.

   The chalk paint was allowed to dry and then a couple of coats of outdoor polyurethane were painted on those areas.  (A little poly on the staples should keep them from rusting, too.)

   After the polyurethane was dried, the pine cones were placed back in the house and the metal screen was stapled back in place.  Then, tiny pebbles were glued all around the screen.  At this point, I’m thinking I will leave rocks off of the door. What do you think?  I like that little pop of gray…

    Then, pine cone petals were glued along the front edge of the roof and allowed to dry.  It was necessary for this to be done with the house back laying flat on the table.  The petals were gently sliding down in the glue when it was upright.

    Starting at the bottom edge, the pine cone petals were glued to the roof.  Isn’t this adorable?

    Although this is a ‘ladybug house’, it would be easy to decorate a birdhouse or a fairy house using this same technique.  Has this inspired you?  

   Amazon has a lot of ladybug houses at different price points.  Some are featured below.   (This link is an affiliate link. This means that we earn a small percentage of any sales generated from these links. This helps to support this website​.)

 

  Did you know that you can actually order ladybugs?  My plan is to order some ladybugs from here shortly.  The reviews were very good.  They also tell how to release them for best results.  (This link is an affiliate link. This means that we earn a small percentage of any sales generated from these links. This helps to support this website​.)

  In the answered questions for this seller,  it addressed whether these were the Asian beetles.  (That was also something I wanted to know!)  There are other sellers you can investigate and choose, too.

   Their answer was that these ladybugs are not the Asian beetle.  They are a common North American species, Hippodamia convergens.  The Asian beetles actually kill our native beneficial insects, including the ladybug.

   In order to keep them around your garden,  you will need to make sure there are a water source and food for them, aka nasty bugs like aphids that attack your flowers.  Obviously, you won’t want to spray for bugs when the bees or ladybugs are present.   To encourage them to stay, they suggest releasing them at night, when it’s cooler, and making sure there are water drops on the grass or plants.  If they are released during the heat of the day, chances are they will fly away to one of your neighbors!

    Hope this inspires you to create or decorate your own little house!  Now, you know ‘How To Make Your Own Adorable Ladybug House!’

 

Five Backyard Ideas for Your Spring Garden

Five Backyard Ideas for Your Spring Garden

Five Backyard Ideas for Your Spring Garden

February 3, 2017

Five Backyard Ideas for Your Spring Garden on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com    
   Spring is just around the corner. Soon, the weather will be a bit warmer, and we’ll get that renewed feeling we’ve so desperately craved for after months of nothing but the coldness of winter. Part of this so-called rebirth also entails having the inspiration to clean up, become invigorated, and, finally, get organized. Yes, there’s a lot of work to be done at home – spring-cleaning to be exact.

   Ronique Wilson of Freshome even teaches us ways on how to be more efficient when doing this. However, we still need to put extra focus on one particular part of our home: the garden. With that in mind, here’s a rundown on how to get our outdoor living spaces ready for the spring season.

Make an Inventory

   Way before going online to shop, visiting stores, or hitting the inspiration boards, we should first make an inventory of what we have in-house. Take note of the tools and/or furniture that needs replacing or repairing.  Note that stores – land-based and digital – often promote pre-season sales, which is why it’s better to purchase weeks before the actual start of spring.

Construct a Fire Pit

   Creating an outdoor fire pit is easy, especially if we have tons of extra materials hanging around the garden. This is ideal for entertaining friends and/or hanging out with family. In addition to providing a place to gather around, it gives your backyard a viable conversation piece.

Consider Adding More Shade

   Obviously, the attraction of being outside during the warmer months is the sunshine. With this, having shades – such as a gazebo – becomes almost a necessity. According to Screwfix, a gazebo creates “a striking focal point to your garden.” What’s more, you have a lot of stylish options when it comes to shades. You can either go for a pergola for the dining or sitting area, or you can buy a Sun Sail for a more modern look, or even opt for a simple umbrella under a treetop.

Add More Lights

   Since a contemporary lighting plan is expensive and requires professionals to install them, you should consider a plethora of practical alternatives out there. You can wrap string lights around trees for an enchanted forest effect, or place them inside a hanging lantern for a strong burst of rustic illumination. Your creative options are limitless, whether in terms of the light you use or where you put them in the backyard.
 

Five Backyard Ideas for Your Spring Garden on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.comn
5 Backyard Ideas For Your Garden

Incorporate a Bit of Zen

   To cap everything off, it’s recommended to incorporate a little Zen to your garden. You can do this by adding wind chimes or water features. Based on early weather forecasts on Farmer’s Almanac, it’ll be generally cloudy in most parts of the United States come spring, so these features will come in handy. Furthermore, if you want to go grander, you can incorporate a combination of plants and garden sculptures to invite butterflies and hummingbirds.

   Hope these “5 Backyard Ideas For Your Spring Garden” inspire you!

 

 

The Garden And Its Welcome Visitors

The Garden And Its Welcome Visitors

October 24, 2016

       The Garden And Its Welcome Visitors is ever changing.  This female Cooper’s hawk has discovered the bird feeder, too.  While she may have discovered it earlier unbeknownst to me, I caught sight of her and captured this shot of her in the trees out back this past week.  Notice how her tail is fanned!   As you can imagine, the ever wary little birds at the feeder scattered and disappeared quickly.

   Apparently, these medium-sized hawks are a common sight at bird feeders.  Last year, I got a shot of a baby hawk in the trees.  The hawks are a common sight flying over the woods.  There is an abundance of squirrels, chipmunks, and smaller birds here in our own backyard.  It is really not surprising they are here.

   Unfortunately, I was distracted for a few minutes by other matters and by the time I got back, the hawk was gone.  This picture reminds us of what a gorgeous bird the hawk is.

    Speaking of gorgeous, the roses are still blooming in the garden!  This little bumblebee is a welcome visitor.  If you want bumblebees in your garden, plant’Monarda’, also known as ‘bee balm’.  The bumblebees are thick on those plants when they are blooming throughout the summer.  And they love the Liatris, too!  Little birds eat the seeds from these two plants, too.

 

  The roses in the garden will continue to bloom until we have a hard frost.  I love the red roses, but this climbing rose is so unusual.  You can see why the name is “Jacob’s Coat”!

 

  The petunias in the pots flanking the front door have been replaced with “Ashley Dark Orange”  chrysanthemums.  The rusty color reflects the autumn colors in the decor throughout the house now, too.  

   The tree leaves have been changing color and some have already fallen.  Yes, Fall is here.

 

   The thought was that I would just use a bird house and pry the front off, cut the bamboo, and fill the house with it.   I searched for a bird house. 

   In the ‘unfinished wood’ section at Hobby Lobby, this little house caught my eye!  They had a ladybug house!

   I had a coupon!  Lol!  So, for six bucks, this little ladybug house came home with me.  There is bamboo in the top section.  Pine cones in the bottom section.  Not sure what is supposed to be in the middle section.  Does anyone know? Please, comment below if you do!

   Haven’t decided for sure how to paint this little house, but I’m thinking it might need a tin roof.  That will be a project for this winter and it will be ready for spring next year.  Yes, I am already thinking of next spring, my favorite time of year!   

Yes, The Garden And Its Welcome Visitors is ever changing.

 

 

Butterflies. Beautiful Floating Flowers In The Garden?

Butterflies.  Beautiful Floating Flowers In The Garden?

August 23, 2016

Butterflies

 “Butterflies are not insects,’ Captain John Sterling said soberly. ‘They are self-propelled flowers.”  ―  Robert A. Heinlein

   Have you Seen The Beautiful Floating Flowers In The Garden?  Also referred to as butterflies, they have found the butterfly bush and the butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa in the backyard.  This ‘Pearl Crescent’ is a small brush-footed butterfly.  This is the female.  She looks so perfect on the yellow blossoms.

   

   Another butterfly, the ‘American Lady’ (Vanessa virginiensis) caught my eye!  I love the design on the underside of their wings!  Doesn’t it remind you of ‘Steampunk’?

    Beautifully colored, the American Lady has two large eye spots on her hind wings on the underside.  The Painted Lady butterfly looks similar, but does not have the two eye spots!  They fly close to the ground and it was difficult to capture pictures of this one because they fly so quickly. 

   Although these are common, I had never really noticed how beautiful they really are until this one caught my eye!  It’s amazing how a picture brings out, even more, details, which the naked eye totally misses!  Of course, they don’t sit still long enough to really see detail either!

   This gorgeous butterfly is a (Great Spangled Fritillary – Speyeria Cybele).  Although it is orange and black, his body almost looked to be a rich camel color in the sun.  This butterfly is a medium size.

 

  I believe this one is the Tawny Emperor Butterfly, another small brush-footed butterfly.  This majestic little fellow was sitting on the deck and the sun shone on him creating this perfect shadow.  Although he has a muted coloring on his underside, what a lovely pattern there is!

   Hoping to find a butterfly egg, I went to check the backside of the leaves of the butterfly weed.  The little butterfly weed I planted last year is a full three feet wide now.  There are a lot of leaves and I simply gave up looking for the butterfly eggs.

   Instead, my attention was focused on these yellow things.  As you can see, the yellow things, the oleander aphids, are back.  Obviously, I am not going to spray this plant with chemicals!  I want more Monarch butterflies!  

   So, yesterday I used a spray bottle with a strong stream of warm water and attempted to spray these off of the plant.  I ended up smashing some of them with my fingers, too.

    The thing that is interesting is that they can’t fly or crawl to another plant.  If they are knocked off the plant, they can’t climb back on it.  I wonder how they get on the plant in the beginning!

    I doubt that I removed all of them, however, most of them were removed.  In the information I read, a few on the plant is not a problem, but an infestation can be harmful to the plant. 

   The aphids are all female and don’t lay eggs.  They clone themselves!  How strange is that?  If you magnify these,  you can see they have skinny black legs, which are visible in the picture.

     When I took a picture last year, I thought these were eggs.  (I was hoping they were butterfly eggs!)  Blown up on the laptop, I saw legs. That began my search which revealed these were not something I wanted.

    Looking back on that post, it also reminded me that I wanted to make a Ladybug house!  The lady bugs eat these little pests.  I totally forgot about making the house.  It is now on my list of things to do before I forget again!

    Have you really Seen The Beautiful Floating Flowers In The Garden this year?

 

 

Big Beautiful End Of The Summer Surprises!

Big Beautiful End Of The Summer Surprises!

August 13, 2016

Summer Surprises

       Big Beautiful End Of The Summer Surprises are in store for you in the garden!   The butterfly bush is luring more than just butterflies into the back yard.  Look at this hummingbird moth!

    The butterflies are flocking to the butterfly bush, too.  Several yellow tiger swallowtail butterflies are continually visiting the bush.  Did you know the male tiger swallowtails have four black ‘tiger stripes’ on each front wing?  

 

   The females can be either yellow or almost completely black, but you can see the faint darker tiger stripes.  The yellow females have a band of blue spots along the hind wings.  The females are bigger than the males.

 

   The males have fewer and smaller blue spots than the females do.  The spots are not in a band like the females and they may even have just one blue spot.

    Remember the butterfly weed, ‘Asclepias tuberosa’, which I bought and planted last year?   It has grown a lot.  It flowered once and already has some seed pods on it.  It is flowering again.

   It is planted a few feet from the butterfly bush and hopefully a beacon to the Monarch butterflies.  The butterfly weed is a species of milkweed, and the monarchs cannot survive without it. They lay their eggs exclusively on the milkweed plants.

   The Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves.  When the larvae emerge, they eat the green leaves.  The caterpillar then becomes an emerald colored chrysalis.  This stage lasts for two weeks.  Then the butterfly begins to emerge.  Click here ► for a complete description of the monarch life cycle.

    Hopefully, I capture pictures of this amazing process, because I have spotted one on the butterfly bush!

 

    Isn’t it interesting that the male monarch butterfly has a black spot on the inside of its hind wing, but the females do not have that spot?  Who knew?  I did not learn that in school, and who figured that out anyway?

    This little female goldfinch has been enjoying the black oil sunflower seeds.  While the male has been seen on the DIY cup bird feeder, which I made last year, he is just not there as much.  That’s why there is not a great picture of him yet!

    The cardinals are a lot more wary than some of the other birds.  It took a lot of quiet waiting to capture these shots.  Isn’t she gorgeous, understated, and elegant?

    Her partner was almost always with her or a stone throw away, ever wary,  just watching.

    For a couple of years, I have tried to get a good picture of the tufted titmouse, which lives in the pine tree in our neighbor’s backyard.  He and his friends were too far away and flew too fast.  Finally, he and his partner were lured down to the cup feeder with the sunflower seeds.  Aren’t they perfect?

  It’s amazing what goes on all around us when we are too busy to notice as we join the everyday rat race.  Often, I would be gone before the sun was up and home after it had set.  The last couple of years, after retiring, I have been able to sit back and enjoy this wondrous world just outside my back door.  

     Take some time and sit quietly in your back yard.  Grab your camera!   Maybe Big Beautiful End Of The Summer Surprises await you in your garden, too.

 

 

Peek In The Garden and See Big Beautiful Rose Blooms!

Peek In The Garden and See Big Beautiful Rose Blooms!

August 2, 2016

Rose Blooms

     Take a Peek In The Garden and You’ll See Big Beautiful Rose Blooms!  The irises are long gone.  The last of the lilies are blooming and yet the beautiful roses continue to bud and open up into gorgeous fragrant rose blooms. Fortunately, the roses will continue to bloom until we have a heavy frost.  I can’t even think of Fall!  Where has the summer gone?

   This is the red climber, “Don Juan”.  The rosebuds are gorgeous, but the blossoms are equally beautiful, especially in the early morning!  With the sunshine on them, they look a little lighter.  In the shade, the petals almost look like deep red velvet.  They are gorgeous!

    The morning sun on the petals of “Don Juan”, showing off little drops of the rain from the night before, makes a beautiful picture.

  The morning sun on the petals of “Don Juan”, showing off little drops of the rain from the night before, makes a beautiful picture.

   Although the Climbing Rose “Blaze” is blooming now, I love this picture of the blooms from earlier in the season.  So, I chose to share it with you.  You can see that it has blossomed in big clumps.  They are gorgeous!  The red is not as vibrant as the ‘Don Juan’, but they are beautiful in those big clumps!

  This beautiful “Peace ” Hybrid Tea Rose is doing well and blooming in the garden.  If you remember, Dave gave this to me for Mother’s Day this year.  The way the lower petals have pink on the edges seems to remind me of a petticoat, soft and pretty.

  Another hybrid tea rose, “Love” was given to me by my oldest daughter, one year on Mother’s Day.  You can see the contrasting white and red velvety petals on this beautiful rose.

    The beautiful “Joseph’s Coat” climbing rose is growing like crazy and these beautiful blossoms have so much color in them.   The description on the tag with this rose said “orange flowers with red edges”. 

 

 

 

   Yes, there is that on some of the blossoms, but it seems to me that there is a lot of yellow, peach, and pink in some of these, too!  Yes, these three were on the same plant, the same day!  They certainly do seem to have ‘coats of many colors’.

     On the north side of the house, is a curved walk made of pavers.  It winds around the corner of the house.  Visitors walk through a metal arbor, which supports the red climbing roses.  The positioning of this walk and arbor was intentional.  Since the path isn’t completely revealed, there is a little mystery!   I wanted to create a vignette, which would draw people into the garden and backyard.

    One of my daughters informed me that a neighbor that she had met, had told her that she had always wanted to see the rest of my backyard.  I guess the plan was successful.

   These yellow rose blossoms are on the “Sunny Knock Out” rose bush, which greets visitors along that walk to the backyard.  It has dark foliage in contrast to the bright yellow blossoms and is winter hardy to Zone 4.  It needs at least 5 hours of direct sunlight a day.

    The “Sunny Knock Out” rose is pretty carefree, but those nasty Japanese Beatles love the pale blossoms.  Right now, I am fighting them and can’t wait until they are gone!

    Don’t you love this time of year?  Right now, you can Peek In The Garden and See Big Beautiful Rose Blooms!

 

 

 

Hostas To Consider For Your Garden

Hostas To Consider For Your Garden

July 25, 2016

Hostas

    Don’t you love hostas?  There are so many varieties from small to large.  In this post, there are some Simple Hostas To Consider For Your Garden. 

 

   Hostas tolerate both sun and shade, but the colors of the leaves show best if they’re planted in shade.  Here in northern Kentucky in the full sun, the sun scorches the leaves in the heat of the summer.  My experience has been that the hostas do better in shade.  When you have a newly built home, shade is not always possible.

    There are three different varieties around the pond next to the patio, which you can see in the picture above from a year or so ago.  (You can also see the fish tower in the lower pond.  Click here► for the directions to make your own!  Yes, they actually swim up into the tower!)

 

   On one of our trips to visit Dave’s family in northern Wisconsin, we stopped at an antique shop close to Ladysmith.  The family had a couple of old buildings filled with all kinds of interesting things, but the path between the buildings and the house led to a backyard filled with monstrous hostas.  They circled around the trees and I can remember thinking what a beautiful picture they made.

 

   Until that day, I had not recognized the beauty of the humble hosta.  Since that day, I have had it in my mind to create a similar look!  Yes, they surely do have a beauty all their own.  While the lily-like blossoms are pretty, they are not the reason for planting hostas.  The beauty is definitely in the gorgeous leaves!

    After almost twenty years, we finally have some pretty good shade from the Red Maple and the Crabtree. Under the trees, I have tried to create a large ‘S’- shaped swirl of hostas.  Some of the plants under the trees have been rescued from other flower beds where the sun took a toll on the leaves.  It’s a work in progress.

 

   In retrospect, I wish I had planted the largest plants in the middle, planting a smaller variety on each side, then a smaller variety on each side of those, and continue that to the very smallest.  That would have created a swirl progressing from small to large and then back to small on the other end.  Why didn’t I think of that before?  

 

   One day, I might get industrious and actually transplant those hostas to do just that, but not today!  

    The Hosta ‘Albo-picta’ is a large sized plant growing 18-24″ tall and 24-36″ wide.  In the spring this hosta’s leaves are a bright cream color in the center and then in the summer, the cream turns a green color similar to the darker green of the edges.

 

    The Hosta ‘Aurea’ is a large sized hosta growing 18-24 inches tall and 12-24″ wide.  It grows best in part shade.  The pale lavender flowers bloom in late summer.  The bright glossy yellow variegated lance-shaped leaves of spring turn to chartreuse by mid-summer.  This little fellow was suffering in the sun where he was planted and he has been moved under the trees.  His leaves are looking better and by next year, he should be a larger and a better-looking plant.

   The name of this hosta is a mystery to me.  I have tried to record each plant after planting them in the garden, but somehow this one was missed.  The leaves are more lance-shaped and they have a creamy white margin.

  

   The Hosta ‘Frances Williams’ has large puckered blue-green leaves with a wide yellow margin. The margins become wider as the plant matures.  These plants grow 22″ tall and spread 48″ wide.   In mid-summer, white lily-like flowers are displayed on 30″ scapes.

 

   The Hosta ‘Moerheim‘ grows up to 30″ tall and 36″ wide.  It has beautiful heart-shaped green leaves with a silver-white edge.  Lavender lily-like flowers on spikes bloom in mid-summer

   Hosta ‘Sagae’ grows 28″ tall and 24-36″ wide.  The large frosty green leaves have yellow margins and prominent veins.  Pale lavender flowers bloom in mid-summer.

 

    The Hosta ‘Patriot’ grows in a mound 12″ tall and 30″ wide.  The dark green leaves are edged with bright white margins.  

◄ Lavender bell-shaped blossoms open up in July.  The ‘Patriot’ is one of my favorite hostas because of the bright white margins.

 

   The day after most of these pictures were taken, a deer, or a couple of deer, ambled through the backyard and nibbled most of the leaves from a couple of these plants.  They ate mostly the Sagae variety and nibbled a leaf or two from some of the other varieties.  Fortunately, they haven’t been back!

 

   Hostas are such a beautiful plant to fill in and around your other perennials, but they can make a huge statement on their own, too.  Maybe this post will inspire you to find some Simple Hostas To Consider For Your Garden.

 

Heart Breaking Rose Disease

Heart Breaking Rose Disease

June 27, 2016

 

   Remember when the ‘Knock Out Roses’ first came out and they were rose disease and pest resistant?  I do.  They bloomed all season.  They were en masse in the landscapes at the mall and even on some of the interstates.   I was so excited and couldn’t wait to plant some in our own landscape.

   We have three of the original line of red Knock Out Roses in the landscape in the front yard.  They seem to be doing fine.  There is a yellow Knock Out Rose next to the garden bench on the walk to the back yard.  The other roses we have are climbing roses, multiflora, or hybrid tea roses.

 

   There was another beautiful pink double Knock Out next to the walk.  Dave had given it to me for Mother’s Day a few years ago.  Last year in August, the strange growth in the picture appeared.  The new growth is red, as you can see.  The thorns on the new growth are red and softer than normal growth.  The bunchy growth at the ends has been referred to as ‘witch’s brooms’.  You can see why.

 

   My oldest daughter, Danielle, works at a local garden center and I showed it to her.  She said to get rid of the entire plant before the other roses get this disease.  Dig it up and put it in a plastic bag and get rid of it or burn it.  Be sure to disinfect the pruners!   (I disinfect the pruners between pruning or deadheading any of the rose bushes, just in case.)

 

 

    This is ‘Rose rosette disease’.  Rose rosette disease is caused by a virus carried by a tiny mite.   From what I have read, there is nothing you can do to doctor the plants back to health. Destroy them.  The mites have already infected the plant. Unfortunately, the mites are spread by birds and the wind.   There is no controlling those two forces. 

 

   When we returned from the beach to work in the gardens, this disease had attacked another one of my ‘double Knock Out roses’.  This time, it was a red one. The pink and red doubles were the ones that had succumbed to this virus. One of the articles I read on this nasty disease suggested that the doubles seemed to be more susceptible to the virus.

 

     This is not something to take lightly.  I read that one person had lost sixty rose plants to this rose disease, not just Knock Outs either.  It attacked other roses as well. Another lady had left all of her infected roses in the ground and they all died before long.  She didn’t know to get rid of them at the time.   Who knows how far the rose disease has spread because people are leaving the plants in the ground instead of destroying them?

 

   Another threat, which I had not even considered before, is the “mow, blow, and go” landscape companies.  If they trim back the roses, do you think they disinfect their tools?  They will be spreading this disease wherever they go.

 

   There are other sites, but for more information on this nasty threat to our roses, start here ►Dread garden disease knocking out Knock Out roses. 

   I sincerely hope that this heartbreaking rose virus does not affect your garden.

 Rose Rosette Disease on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

 

The Garden’s Alive With Color!

 June 24, 2016

   This last month did not go as planned, like most of my life, but the garden’s alive with color!  A nasty virus took me out for a week.  I am never sick!  After that week, we went on a vacation to St. Augustine, Florida.  Even though the flowers were neglected during that time, they have continued to grow and bloom.  Isn’t this wall of Annabelle hydrangea gorgeous?

 Annabelle Hydrangea Wall - The Garden's Alive With Color! on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   The magnolia tree we planted earlier, which you can see in the background, has shoots on it that have grown about fourteen inches!  The white petunias in the painted pots have grown and are now spilling out of them.

 

   Each June, as the flowers begin to open up, I consider that maybe we should take a vacation at another time.  A week or more of absence from the flower gardens is huge in June and I hate to leave.  All of the Asian lilies that Aidan gave me for Mother’s Day four years ago were already bloomed when we got back. Aren’t these gorgeous?  

   There was a lot of work to do, weeding, pruning, and cleaning the pond filter.

   The butterfly weed has grown and is blooming.   As expected, it is a nice contrast to the lavender colored blossoms on the butterfly bush.   I’ve already seen a little hummingbird moth on the butterfly bush!  The yellow is also echoed by the big yellow daylilies.

Butterfly Weed - The Garden's Alive With Color! on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

 

    The red daylilies have begun to bloom, too.   Look at this beautiful variety, ‘Pardon Me’.  This is all happening too fast!  Unfortunately, summer always seems to fly. 

 

Pardon Me Daylily - The Garden's Alive With Color! on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

 

     These Easter lilies were given to me last year by my niece, Kate.  They are blooming right now and are just gorgeous.  They are planted alongside the Asian lilies on the southwest side of the house.

 

       The ‘Don Juan’ red climbing roses on the arbor are also blooming.  They are big and gorgeous and smell wonderful, too.

 

      Dave’s pepper plants in the pot are loaded with peppers.  He chose two different varieties this spring.  ‘Chilly Chili’ is the white variety.  They apparently turn red as they ripen.   This variety earned the ‘All-America Selections’ award.

 

   The purple plant, I believe, is ‘Purple Flash’.  It has small round dark purple, almost black, peppers on the plant.  Dave grew them last year and wanted another plant this year.   

 

   There is a lot of yellow in the garden this year.  I like the way it pulls your eye through the landscape and even onto the patio.   You can’t help but smile when you see the cheery yellow flowers.  Yes, The Garden’s Alive With Color!

 The Garden's Alive with Color on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com