Shopping Spree

Daylily lover that I am, I just had to share Carolee’s post. I’m especially enamored with “Scatterbrain”… I feel a special bond with that one. 😉

herbalblessingsblog

Always a happy surprise when a box arrives!

Too much time to think and ponder as I pick tomatoes or deadhead borders can lead to retail therapy. As you know, gentle reader, stretching the daylily season has been a project for the past few years. Slow to occur to me was the idea of using REBLOOMING daylilies to get more late blooms. Of course, I have the obligatory “Stella d’Oro” which is just beginning its second bloom, but since I wasn’t all that impressed with it, I hadn’t looked for others. What a mistake!

After spending some time researching on the web, I decided to order from a company unknown to me, Iriswarehouse.com. They had an impressive selection of reblooming daylilies, at reasonable prices. Now when I say “reasonable” keep in mind that rebloomers are not as common, and are more in demand, so they are not cheap. After I…

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Hello August!

One highlight of my Saturdays is joining up with blogging gardeners from all around the world for a virtual garden tour. This group called Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator, who provides the inspiration and forum for a weekly, six photos at a time show ‘n tell. If you’d like to take a peek at the gardens too, just click on the Propagator’s site and give his weekly post a read, then scroll on down to the comments section where you’ll find loads of links to explore. Without further ado, here are my six (okay, I know it’s Monday, but a couple of grandgirls were here visiting and grandkids trump gardening and blogging).

My sweet grandgirls – I mentioned last week that I was away from home visiting family. On one of the days (the hottest day) I took my granddaughters to nearby Illiniwek Forest Preserve and did a little impromptu photo shoot. What a lovely place.

Such a sweet time with my three lovely grandgirls

Phlox Cleanup Experiment – If you read my last gardening post, Tending the July Garden, you might recall that before I left on that trip I had tried a homemade concoction for cleaning powdery mildew off my garden phlox.

Powdery Mildew Concoction:
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Liquid Soap (I used organic Seventh Generation)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Gallon Water

I also promised I would let you know how it worked.

In this photo you can see the before and after. Pretty dramatic. Not perfect, but I was pretty impressed.

Well… here’s how it looks a week later.

I’m pretty bummed. I think I’m on the right track though. The concoction works well, but I may have been a bit too aggressive in my cleaning and managed to bruise the leaves. I will back off on the liquid soap the next time, as I think it probably disturbs the protective coating of the leaves…maybe just a couple drops. I also think it will work better if I use it when I first notice powdery mildew.

‘Tie Dye’ – On a happier and more beautiful note, my hibiscus ‘Tie Dye’ is still busy producing stunning flowers in my front yard. (And Japanese beetles are still trying their hardest to devour them.) I showed you a closeup last week, but here’s a step back to show you it in scale relative to my front porch.

Daylily season is (sadly) coming to an end, but some of my late bloomers are still putting on a pretty good show. My husband and I enjoy this little deckside patch of daylilies while we enjoy our evening meal.

Annual Regret – It’s this time of year when I lament not having planted more flowers which would provide color through the fall months. I do have zinnia, petunias, cosmos, hydrangea, and a few other late summer bloomers trying to keep the show going. Joe Pye Weed and a native aster are also doing their thing right now keeping the bees buzzing and butterflies happily flitting about.

‘Mighty Chestnut’ is one of my late blooming daylilies which provides a punch of late summer magnificence. It’s a heavy bloomer – so many scapes and SO many flowers. When it is finished blooming, I hope I will remember to take a division or two from it and get it going elsewhere.

Let me end this week’s six photo tour with this thought:

“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it is our garden that is really nurturing us.”

Jenny Uglow

Tending the July Garden

The philosopher who said that work well done never needs doing over never tended a garden. 
- Ray D. Everson

I’m away from home for a few days and envisioning weeds taking over my garden as I type and Japanese beetles treating my beautiful flowers as a sumptuous buffet.

Lily ‘Stargazer’

But time with my family trumps gardening. The garden can wait.

Right now my garden is awash in a rainbow of color. The peak of daylily season in my garden will inevitably begin to wane in the next week or two.

TOPGUNS ‘Mandarin M’elange’

A supporting actress has made its dramatic entrance in this week’s garden show: the beautiful balloon flower. The photo below captures several stages of its fascinating growth. First is the tight little pentagon-shaped bud. Then, almost overnight it seems to ‘inflate’ looking much like a balloon. As its petals unfurl, the blue-violet color begins to emerge and deepen. Then comes what I call the ‘fairy ballgown stage’ when the petals flare slightly open. Once fully open, the flower transforms into a sweetly upturned bell.

Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower)

Rose mallow (hibiscus) ‘Tie Dye’ is loaded with buds this year and should provide a punch of lovely pink until autumn. Though planted by the house, these beauties garner attention from passersby. It’s a bit of a challenge keeping Japanese beetles from munching on them, but I am keeping ahead of them so far.

Rose mallow (hibiscus) ‘Tie Dye’

Last week I mentioned my problem with powdery mildew and asked for your advice. One reader suggested washing with baking soda and water, so I mixed up this concoction and gave it a whirl on my favorite phlox, ‘Glamour Girl.’
Mix together:
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Liquid Soap (I used organic Seventh Generation)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Gallon Water

Here’s a before and after – pretty dramatic cleanup, I would say. We’ll see if it works. I will give an update in a future post.

Before and After

Well, that’s my little garden tour for this Saturday. If you’d like to tour a few more gardens, check out Six on Saturday hosted by The Propagator who provides the inspiration and forum for a weekly, six photos at a time show ‘n tell. Just click on the Propagator’s site and give his weekly post a read; then scroll on down to the comments section where you’ll find links to a variety of gardens to explore. Have fun!

Daylilies like it hot

It’s going to be downright toasty today with temps expected to reach 90 degrees – factor in the humidity and we will have a “feels like” temperature of 102. Definitely not my idea of ideal gardening weather. I think it will be a wonderful day to chill out indoors and catch up on laundry and a bit of housework, finish reading a great book (that’s due to be returned to the library), work on a sewing project and (of course) write about gardening.

It’s a perfect day to post my blogging contribution to Six on Saturday: six things in the garden on a Saturday. The “six” can be anything – a flower, a success or failure, a weed you’re hoping the worldwide community of gardeners recognizes (and knows what to do to get rid of it), a project you’re working on, a gardening book you recommend, anything at all. Join in!

My six this week will focus a bit on daylilies (again), as that’s what’s in full swing in my garden. I thought I’d show off a few of the beautiful oranges and reds.

My garden is a riot of color, but does tend to lean toward yellows, pinks and purples. I have added oranges and reds over the past few seasons to heat things up a bit. Here’s a little collage of some of my favorites this week.

I never turn down an offer of help in my garden. This week’s help was exceptionally great. First, my wonderful hubby devised a way to feature a birdhouse my grandson painted for our garden last week. Charlie seems to have inherited the artsy gene, evidenced by the sweet autumnal birch trees he chose to paint on all four sides. Hubby sunk a post near our crabapple tree, added a sturdy scrolly hanger, then later topped the post with a solar lit cap (sorry, I don’t have a photo with the light on it). Perfect!

Grandson Charlie (age 12) wowed me with this amazing birdhouse

Over the past several summers, my grandgirls have helped me paint discarded chairs to serve as artsy flower rings and decor in my flowerbeds. My friend Anne Marie recently gifted me with two old chairs which once belonged to her grandmother. Yesterday, my granddaughter Noelle spent time helping me prep one of those chairs for painting. We have a color picked out (and it’s not purple this time!), but you’ll have to stay tuned to see what it is.

What color do you think it will be?

I didn’t get a photo of Noelle’s daddy (our son Matt) helping me with an especially weedy flowerbed. He pulled in an hour or two what would have taken me several days to accomplish. I am most grateful! One thing he uncovered was this bit of Phlox paniculata ‘Glamour Girl’ which apparently needed more air space and less moisture, judging by its heavy coating of mildew. So, I need a bit of advice from you, my gardening friends. Is there some way I can salvage this otherwise beautiful plant? (please offer your advice in the comments section below)

Phlox paniculata ‘Glamour Girl’ is looking pretty sad!

I have a few red daylilies strutting their stuff this week. For the past few summers, I have been dividing some of my red Stella D’Oro daylilies and planting them here and there in the borders of my garden. Next year I plan to add some purple Stellas. I love the Stellas because they are generally loaded with blooms from early summer through killing frost. Other than cutting back the spent scapes to encourage more scapes and blossoms, it’s such an easy plant with lots of pluses.

I have three other red daylilies that I especially like. One is a very deep burgundy red, teetering on black in certain lighting. The other two are more of a cardinal red. I have been dividing and transplanting bits of these plants for a few years now and am happy with the splashes of red in the riotous palette of color that comprises my mid-summer garden.

Well, that my six (okay, I know I cheated by adding the collages). One highlight of my Saturdays is joining up with blogging gardeners from all around the world for a virtual garden tour. This group called Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator, who provides the inspiration and forum for a weekly, six photos at a time show ‘n tell. If you’d like to take a peek at the gardens too, just click on the Propagator’s site and give his weekly post a read, then scroll on down to the comments section where you’ll find loads of links to explore.

Six on Saturday: Daylily Magic

It’s been a busy week in the garden – lots of weeding, tree and bush trimming, moving a few plants around, and snapping photos. Lots of photos. How do I choose just six for this week’s installment of ‘Six on Saturday’? Well, I guess I’ll start with an updated photo of one of my (new this summer) purple garden chairs.

The purple chair’s seat is filling in nicely with this show-stopper of a daylily (I’m pretty sure it’s ‘Elegant Candy’).

My granddaughter spent time with me last week helping me with a great deal of weeding. It was the push that I needed to continue making progress. Yesterday was spent weeding (a 55g bin filled to overflowing) and trimming overgrown bushes. My gardening muscles ached when I went to bed, but I slept well.

I have a hard time answering the question, “So, what’s your favorite color flower?” It pretty much depends on what is blooming at the time, but I know that I do love to plant splashes of yellow throughout my gardens. I’m really loving this little stand of yellow daylilies happily thriving under the dappled shade provided by our locust tree.

This deep fuchsia pink daylily and blue-green hosta combo nearly took my breath away with its beauty.

But I’ve been adding some hot colors to the garden in the past few years. This orange daylily ‘Tuscawilla Tigress’ is a new favorite.

Then again, there’s this coral beauty (forgot the name).

Ooooh! But, then there are so many charming pink daylilies too!

I go by the blogger name of ‘Barefoot Lily Lady’ and I think you can guess why. I find it fun to participate with gardeners from all around the world who invite people to virtual tours of their gardens every Saturday. The group is called Six on Saturday and is hosted by The Propagator, who provides the inspiration and forum for a weekly, six photos at a time show ‘n tell. If you’d like to take a peek at the gardens too, just click on the Propagator’s site and give his weekly post a read, then scroll on down to the comments section where you’ll find loads of links to explore.

July Gardening – Time for Daylilies to Shine

It has been sheer joy to be in my garden during the beautiful month of June. It has been a few years since I’ve had this much time to play in the dirt. There’s plenty left to do, but they are looking more cared for than they have in a long time.

Momma moved to heaven in May, so being able to tend to the minutiae of my flowerbeds without the extra responsibility of caregiving has been cathartic and heart healing. As I pull weeds with my mom’s favorite garden tool, I think of how much my mom loved to weed gardens. When I don her gardening hat, I see myself looking a little bit more like the remarkable woman my mom was. Flowers that I transplanted from her garden are now blooming in mine and my heart is reminded of her once again. It is so very comforting and beneficial.

Momma in her gardening hat – 2018

Now it is July and the month when my garden explodes with daylily wonderfulness. A few of my daylilies are opening, but many more are standing in the wings with bud-laden scapes, ready to burst into glorious blossom. Oftentimes I look at lilies and I think of a passage in scripture (Matthew 6:25-34) which reminds me I am under God’s care and that there is nothing to be anxious about. I especially love this bit:

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Matthew 6:28-29
Stella de Oro ‘Happy Returns’

Yellow is such a happy color. I love to sprinkle it liberally throughout my flowerbeds. Stella de Oro ‘Happy Returns’ daylily is one of my favorites. A front of the border reliable rebloomer, it stands about 12 inches tall and boasts almost a continuous blooming habit from spring until frost, especially if spent flower scapes are cut back. It comes in many colors, but I think yellow is my favorite (although ‘Ruby Red’ runs a very close second).

Second-hand birdhouse with a fresh coat of paint

Hubby and I stopped at a Goodwill store in Wausau in the Rib Mountain area. Best. Goodwill. Ever! We admired how nicely displayed everything in the store was, how clean and tidy, clearly marked social distancing, friendly staff – you name it, this store was doing it right. Wayne found a birdhouse (see above) that he thought I might like to spruce up a bit. We bought it ($2.99), I (re)painted it, and it has found its place in my yard and is already attracting the attention of potential tenants.

Most of my hostas are flowering now. Isn’t this one sweet?

First zinnia to bloom this summer.

We have three small raised beds – about 4’x4′ each. One of the beds is devoted to strawberries, and the other two have typically been for a few veggies. Other than a single tomato plant, I decided that we’d give vegetable gardening a rest this year and plant zinnias. When I got home from a little holiday weekend today, I was happy to see one lovely pink zinnia had opened.

My guy chose me as his wife 44 years ago when we married on July 3, 1976. I’m thankful for Wayne in so many ways, including his support of my barefoot gardening endeavors.

I’m also thankful to be part of a group of gardeners from all around the world who can be found walking around their gardens snapping photos to post every Saturday. The group is called Six on Saturday and is hosted by The Propagator, who provides the inspiration and forum for a weekly tour of gardens – six photos at a time. If you’d like to take a peek at the gardens too, just hop on over to the Propagator’s site and give his weekly post a read, then scroll on down to the comments section where you’ll find loads of links to explore. See you next week for another six.

Six on Saturday: Daylilies Still Reign

Every now and again I take time for a ‘Six on Saturday’ post – a fun gathering of gardeners around the globe hosted by The Propagator – who link up and post pictures of six things going on in their respective world of gardening. Six things, in the garden, on a Saturday. Could be anything – a flower, a favorite tool, a gardening book, a pest, a beautiful (or less than stellar) harvest, anything at all. Here are my six:

It’s the last week of July and daylilies are still reigning supreme in my garden. These queens of the garden seem to rather enjoy the recent rains followed by toasty hot weather. (The mosquitoes and Japanese beetles are enjoying it too…but we’ll not talk about them.)

Hemerocallis ‘Mighty Chestnut’ is magnificent. Flowers stay open longer than most daylily blossoms. It boasts a stunning deep burgundy eye and gold throat atop strong, heavily budded scapes. I plan to divide this one this year and move a piece or two to other flowerbeds.

Hemerocallis ‘Earlybird Cardinal’ is a striking flash of rich red along the front edge of my furthest flowerbed. I can see this beauty whenever I’m in my kitchen. I plan to take a division and move some closer to the house. This photo doesn’t do justice to the intensity and vibrancy of its red color.

The garden chair is definitely my most popular pic on social media this year. The phlox grows lovelier each week. I have another roadside treasure seatless chair to paint to use similarly as a flower ring…just need to get the urge to paint!

‘Annabelle’ hydrangea has pretty much taken over one corner of a front flowerbed. It’s kinda floppy at times, but quietly regal, making a lovely foil for surrounding hosta. [Photo credit: Mia Winquist]

This lovely daylily has been a reliable bloomer in my garden for many years, sending up more scapes than one would think a plant could possibly hold. I had lost the tag, so dubbed it ‘Beth’s Favorite’ because it was always my daughter’s favorite. I’m remembering now that it was probably called ‘Blueberry Cream’…but will stick with ‘Beth’s Favorite’ because it makes me think of her.

Ending my Six on Saturday garden tour on a very fragrant note… ‘Stargazer Lily,’ a lovely Oriental lily, has burst forth in glorious bloom this week. What an amazing, exotic perfume!

Palliative Care Praises

As this mid-stage of Alzheimer’s drags on, Mom is sleeping quite a bit more, not only at night (which I appreciate), but during the day as well – sometimes skipping a meal in lieu of sleep. Unfortunately, her nighttime sleep doesn’t appear to be very restful, as she gets in and out of bed various times throughout the night – sometimes to use the restroom, other times to explore the contents of her purse or her dresser drawer, or watch the real or imaginary happenings going on inside our house or outside of her window.

We have also noticed she has been less content during her awake hours and is more easily agitated. She paces back and forth between her bed and her chair at the kitchen table, never quite settled in either place; never quite sure if she’s going to bed or getting up.

Long ago, when my mother was still able to make her own decisions, we had discussed her wishes related to end of life care. We had agreed that there would be “comfort measures only” as her time here on earth draws to a close – and she entrusted me with the future task of making those decisions.

The future is now, it seems. I’ve wrestled with what to do for her a lot lately and have come to the conclusion that helping her relax, get some rest, and ease her anxiousness does fall within the parameters of “comfort measures only.”

Momma is not yet in a state of decline which requires hospice intervention and end of life care, but she does qualify for palliative care in this transitional time of declining health and memory.

At the end of August, a nurse practitioner came to our home to establish a course of home-based palliative care. I liked Diane right from the start. What’s not to like? Diane enjoys gardening (and daylilies in particular) about as much as I do – even hooking me up with five new daylilies for my garden (pictures to come next summer)!

Mom’s blood pressure was very high, and had been trending that way for some time. This hypertension is likely one of the reasons she has been having increased difficulties with headaches. Diane suggested that a trial of  blood pressure medication might also help her with a number of other uncomfortable problems. She suggested a medication known to have a sedative effect on some patients, which may ease Mom’s anxiety and help her get more restful sleep. For the sake of Momma’s (and my) sleep and for comfort related to hypertensive headaches, I decided to try the medication. I’m not entirely convinced it is helping with sleep, but I am thankful her blood pressure is now normal and headaches are no longer an almost daily complaint.

Diane has been helpful in so many other ways, including being a liaison between me and mom’s primary care physician, following through on medication changes and checking for understanding regarding those changes. She has helped me work through decisions related to whether or not additional dental work should be done (weighing the trauma it may cause versus the benefit it would bring), connected me with caregiver resources and information to feed my inquiring mind.

As a caregiver, I see palliative care as being the comfort care “bridge” between Momma’s failing physical and mental health and the hospice care that will be provided for end of life needs. I am ever so grateful for Diane as she helps me walk my sweet mother Home on this leg of life’s journey with Alzheimer’s.