Friday, June 30, 2006


I'd rather have a beer but when it comes to roses, I can do a Bourbon, in this case Zephirine Drouhin. The photo at the left is the one growing on an arbor outside my back door. This is how they look grown in semi-shade. The photo below (from the Web) is presumably how they look when grown in full sun as any rose prefers. Hey, I'm happy with what I have. I really get a kick out of the fact that there are no thorns on Zephirine, which is the only reason to grow it on an arbor I pass through 20 times a day.

I also like that Agatha Christie had Hercule Poirot solve one of his mysteries because of the clue of the thornless rose (the suspect couldn't have gotten a scratch from the rose as he claimed.)

I can't remember the title of that one. But I do remember "How does your garden grow?" on TV which opens with Poirot at the Chelsea Flower Show where a new rose is being named after him. An old woman slips a packet of seeds containing a cryptic note into Poirot's pocket, which eventually leads him to grubbing around in her garden for clues to her subsequent death. I do like to see gardens prominently featured in films. It's kind of a bonus in case the film isn't any good. What the heck, some movies I see just for the lush settings and background, who cares about the storyline? Obviously, I didn't pay $9 to see them either. Check your local library for the latest DVDs, free.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Calibrachoa is not as easy to say, but that's what it is. I'm pretty much enamored of these prolific bloomers. I found them in several colors at the garden center and this salmon one looks good in a pig planter I bought at a garage-sale. When I first planted these I thought I was going to spend a huge chunk of time deadheading them but that doesn't seem to be necessary. When a bloom fades and closes up you can't tell because there's still 999,999 in bloom. Here's another one in a coral red, planted with pot marigolds, red petunias and blue lobelia. These are on a terrace next to my back porch. I call it my Southwest/Mexican garden. It's not far away from a Buddha and some japanese lanterns which I call the Japanese garden. And then there's the main garden which I call the Cottage garden which also encompasses a large patio which holds my Tropical garden in containers. I hate to limit myself.

Last night the insane raccoons came back as usual. I didn't hear a thing which is just as well. I'd have freaked if I'd heard the gnawing and gnashing of teeth in the middle of the night as they chewed on a plastic garden table. When they were done with that they played tiddlywinks with some colored glass stones that are normally piled in a pot holding a small gazing globe. I'm a little disappointed. I grew up reading Thornton W. Burgess's "Old Mother West Wind" stories and Bobby Coon never acted like this. Sure he got in a few fights with Sammy Jay but he was no gangster.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


This rose has no fancy pedigree but of all the roses I've grown and killed over the years Color Magic is the one I wait for every summer. The color, the scent! I love it. The petals start out a pale pink and like "magic" change to darker shades of pink and almost red over a few days. This kind of reminds me of those paint books we used to get as kids. They looked like a regular coloring book but you took a wet brush and swiped over the picture and the colors would appear.

Roses are not a good choice for a lazy gardener like me so some years I only get a bloom or two, but it looks like this year I got lucky. This is the first one to open, with many buds following. Sometimes I just pick one and put it face up in a bowl of water in the kitchen so I can watch the color change up close. If it's out in the garden I might miss the show. Or some insect might eat it before the show's over.

It also stands nice and tall. It's really pointless for me to
plant short fragrant plants. I'm past the stage where I can gracefully stoop down to get the full benefit of the scent. Or rather, I could do that, but I can't get up again. Anyway, I've seen descriptions of Color Magic that mention a "slight fragrance" and I'm at a loss to understand that as the opposite is true. It's growing next to my front porch so i can sit on the rocker and stop and smell the roses Actually I don't really have time for that but I like the idea.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


These red-shafted flickers are definitely in the "like" category. There are four coming to the suet feeder each day. Two of them are juveniles. You can tell by the way they harrass their parents with begging, calling, and obnoxious behavior. I'm very fond of these birds. This photo is not very good because I had to push the zoom all the way to get it, and I was in a hurry to leave for work.

On the other hand there are the raccoons who trespass by night and visit the pond looking for fish. They bite their heads off and then discard them on the ground for me to find in the morning. I've had enough of buying canapes for the 'coons, so no fish this year. When the raccoons don't find fish they go on a destructive binge like juvenile delinquents. They throw the pond plants around, knock over a bird sculpture (the same one every night), muddy the birdbath, and generally carry on. I usually sleep through all this, but sometimes I hear their wild chatter in the trees. I like hearing night creatures but what with whistling, shrieking, clicking their teeth and growling, these guys sound insane.

Monday, June 26, 2006


So this is my definitely-needs-staking delphinium that I've had in the garden for several years. But what's with that color? It's supposed to be Pacific Giants in a "range of rich colors." This is that washed-out pinky-mauvy color that so many plants revert to after a number of years, but it's been this color since day one. Every year I watch the buds form and wait with bated breath for a range of rich colors, but I guess that's not going to happen. No wonder I don't stake the damn thing.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I got up too early this morning: 5:15. On weekends I can pop out of bed at the crack of dawn but on workdays there's not a chance of that. Read the paper, decided I was still sleepy and went out to the back porch where I could watch the birds at the feeders and do some dozing. Enjoyed the early morning chill and thought about where to transplant some Nicotiana Sylvestris later.

This is Nicotiana Sylvestris. I love this plant. Much larger than its smaller cousins, it gets about 4 to 5 feet tall in my zone 5 climate. At night it smells heavenly. This spring for the first time I have a zillion baby Sylvestris which need to be transplanted to other areas of my yard. I've never tried to transplant these before so I'll see how it goes.