One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Archive for the ‘roses’ Category

Lily Weekend

The Casa Blanca lilies are having a banner year.

They’ve been in residence here as long as I and this year are showing all the signs of well-established bulbs.   Each of the two plants have strong healthy stems – about four foot tall – and nice big flower buds.    Most exciting, perhaps, is that this year, the destructive and annoying red lily leaf beetle is nowhere to be seen.   They have deviled these plants mightily for their whole tenancy, so it’s remarkable that they are absent this year.

I’m not sure to what to credit the little bastards’ exodus – I’d recommend it to the rest of you in a heartbeat if I understood the Why.  But rather than worry the issue too much, I’ll just accept their absence gleefully and move on.

The blooming of the Casa Blancas is always a little bittersweet.   They’re wonderful blooms open just when the flowering season seems to flag a little at summer’s halfway point, and they arrival certainly herald July’s end (although in previous years, I have known the species to bloom a week or so later).   Their fragrance is not especially strong yet, but I expect good things now that we’ve had some more rain to encourage them just last night.

Like many places this year, we are experiencing some drought-y conditions, as you can see by the straw-brown lawn in the background.   We’ve been conservative in watering the gardens, too (I plan for the upcoming renovation of garden beds will include the installation of soaker hoses for increased efficiency in watering.), so bloom times have been shorter than usual for some things.   These lilies, however, have taken all that in stride, a clear sign they are happy with their place.

I know some consider them weeds, and I’ll concede they are a little too “eager”/aggressive sometimes, but the Queen Anne’s Lace I’ve introduced into a few of our beds is taking the drought in stride, as well.   That’s one of the benefits of using a plant you know already thrives in the area – they are generally good about adapting to changing circumstances.  And of course, nothing stops these orange daylilies!

These rose bushes in the front yard are old and well-established, but the dry conditions have their impact there, as well.  I’m sure these roses will be very happy with the new adjacent garden and its efficient water delivery.

Meanwhile, in the backyard, the QAL is joined by some unstoppable cosmos and tickseed coreopsis to make a show with whatever water we and/or Nature may provide.

Here’s some hydragea porn for my lovely pal, Java, who is a big fan of them and might welcome a pretty picture or two to distract her from her recent foray into the world of stunt-driving.   We always make sure these guys have plenty of water, since they look so sad when they haven’t had any.

The Rose of Sharon is quite hearty, though, and seems to do just fine, regardless.

I’m happy to say we had some serious rain last evening, a nice soaking storm that lasted a couple of hours.

It was a good start on making up for all we have missed so far this otherwise-delightful summer, but we could use some more, to help spread that slight flush of green that’s suddenly reappeared in the lawn.   Between midnight and six is the preferred time, of course, though I don’t think we can be especially fussy about that anymore.

It sure is nice to look outside and see how happy our green friends are today.


Flowers of Provincetown

A Foxling at Twilight Time

Look at these monster lilies.  They are of the oriental variety, specifically the Casa Blanca.   There are here as long as I – four years in September – and are having their best year ever.

They were early out of the ground this spring (but what wasn’t?) and  have grown strong and fast…and taller than ever (and while I hesitate to say it, with not a sign of the dreaded lily leaf beetle)…as the season progressed.   It looks like they’ll put on a nice show in a week or two.

The light on them was much better when they first caught my eye this evening.

I was on my way inside from a bit of after-work watering, pruning and deadheading (that turned into hotdogs with the Downstairses)when I spotted the way they were glowing in the dusky light and dashed upstairs for my camera.

But while I was up there, I spied out the porch door that the foxling who we see about lately had walked into the yard and up onto our back deck.

I went stealthily outside with my camera, sneaking around the back of the house to see if I could capture a shot quietly as it fled, without unduly scaring the poor creature.   I doubted the attempt would amount to much, but Hope springs eternal.  But still…

There he was, on the far side of the porch now, and from a safe and respectful distance away, I got the camera up and zoomed in for a shot.   The first, with flash, sucked all the light out of the scene.  Oops.  With the flash off, I caught this second shot, but I had also caught his attention and he turned around in my direction.

From the second story perspective, this fox seemed both larger and less friendly.   Now I could see it was quite small, maybe just a kit off exploring on his own.    Or maybe not so much on his own as it appeared, so my guard was definitely up.

But this young kit was also appearing to do that thing many dogs do upon first meeting me, which is this whole “OMG It’s YOU!!!!” Exuberant Best Friends Parted Forever Now Reunited in A Great Wagging Licking (Sometimes Peeing) Pile of Friendliness extravaganza, and while I don’t hate this sort of attention at all, generally speaking, in this case, I actually felt the need  to wave off this wild little creature before he got too close.

“Whoa, dude.  You can’t do that with me.  I mean, I’m cool,” I said.   “But not every human is.  You have to be careful.  But still,  hi.”

And so he sat there beside me for a moment.

He was not more than six feet away, while I fumbled with a camera zoomed in for the long distance shot, now hopelessly out of focus for something closer.

I might’ve done better if I’d crouched down to get on his level, but I didn’t want him to see that as an invitation to come cuddle, either.

After a moment or two, he got bored with me and turned to trot off across the yard and then around it’s perimeter, vanishing with the fox version of a grande jete into the undergrowth at the back corner of the yard.

I have a feeling we’ll meet again.