Hosta lancifolia Tuesday, Jul 28 2015 

Hostas are sometimes over-used, sometimes abused, sometimes very useful indeed. The multitude of fancy hostas is right up there with daylilies, rather overwhelming.

Now, I like the fancy hostas in the right place; where they can be very elegant, as below.

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But, with so much attention on the leaves, the flowers get overlooked. In fact, in situations where the effect of the foliage is the important point, they can be a distraction.  In most cases, aside from the giant whites, the flowers of the variegated hostas are little disappointing: their tendency is toward pale lavender, small flowers.

Sometimes, it is worthwhile to look back at the original plant that started it all. In this case the straight H. lancifolia.

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A plain green leaf, granted. But one with a nice shape, well defined ribbing, and a nice growth habit. The flowers are a steel blue to deep, genuine lavender and generous in their size and flowering. The bees and hummingbirds like it as well. It does reseed and spread, but in a modest fashion.* There is something to be said for all that.

*the deer probably help keep it down, it is very tasty!

 

Morning Constitutional Sunday, Jul 26 2015 

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Little Kitchen Garden: Daylilies, Black-eyed Susans, Jacob Kline Monarda, Raspberry Monarda

 

 

 

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A tiny portion of the baby brigade which numbers around twenty (the bachelor band, eight strong, comes through in the evening)

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Red Daylily, classic old fashioned hostas beyond

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The Big Garden

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Orienpet Lilies (Holland Dreams and Lavon), some Jacob Kline Monarda

 

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Casablanca Oriental Lilies, Black Snakeroot in the foreground

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Beneath the Library

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I’m eating your daylilies!! (actually, he was enjoying the Boltonia that shouldn’t be growing there.)

Peas! Saturday, Jul 25 2015 

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Random thoughts Thursday, Jul 23 2015 

(I’d been thinking of writing on something else)

(The garden goes along wonderfully)

Anyway, boxes! I like boxes. Not the anonymous boxes of today, mind you. I have a soft spot for the old ‘everyday’ boxes.* But I particularly like the little, decorated boxes designed to hold? Jewelry, change, whatnot, nothing at all. I was contemplating some just now** and marveling at the breadth of time and distance that they encapsulate. From some given to me: mother-of-pearl from Cairo, spalted hickory from New England, lacquer with Asian cranes from a distant Miami flea-market, the trick box with the band of inlay. But then all the others: the stamped/gilt leather of the turn of the century, that my grandmother and her mother used for jewelry, to the old, old box my many greats grandmother used. The marquetry boxes of Europe, the carved wooden boxes of southeast Asia, the lacquer/pearl boxes of Korea, the sand paintings on the boxes from Albuquerque, New Mexico, the c.1900 California date box, re-purposed for a fan collection. The dates were from a family member’s farm… The metal boxes stamped with the date and initials of a long gone wedding or christening.

The decorative arts at their finest. And is that so bad?

*We have a particularly Good collection of old hard liquor boxes, all empty mind you! Courtesy of the Cocktail era.

**Well what do you think about while getting dressed for a meeting?

Snapshots Tuesday, Jul 21 2015 

…the scent of lilies drifting beneath diamond pane library windows, their cream, gold, and raspberry balance tones a balance to the green and white building.

….a flash of neon pink and orange in a green bowl: the monarda, garden phlox and daylilies set off by the white shasta daisies and all against the green trees. Hot, hot colors and a cool setting

….the arching blue bells of the hostas, hundreds of them scattered through the woods, and a determined hummingbird visiting each and every one.

….sheets of rain racing across the hills, then golden fog, and clearing sky

Rockets Saturday, Jul 18 2015 

Firmly ignoring the nonsense of the world, high drama in the garden!

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Left to right: Black snakeroot*, hybrid lilies, ostrich plume astilbes, and garden phlox. The snakeroot is hitting seven feet this year.

*Better known as Black cohosh, Bugbane, or cimicifuga racemosa, snakeroot is the Connecticut term for it.

Thalictrum Friday, Jul 17 2015 

Also known as Meadow-Rue. Now, which Thalictrum it is I don’t know. (It is ‘a difficult genus with poorly understood species boundaries’ according to Wikipedia, Oy!) Our common roadside one though, doing admirably as a garden plant under the library windows. Very consistent structure to its blossom spikes and quite capable of getting six feet tall.

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When given more space, as is the case with the end one, you can see it can be fairly substantial. The others are kept lankier because of the hostas they are competing. It will self seed, which isn’t a problem with this plant since the seedlings are very puny for the first few years.

Go ahead, take my picture Wednesday, Jul 15 2015 

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I’ll keep right on eating.

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Daylilies, Shasta Daisies, Wild Thyme down the driveway, and the American Chestnut just past bloom.

Living Lapis Tuesday, Jul 14 2015 

I am not a birder, but there is one bird that every customer at my store seems to be seeing. And it is annoying. (My other job is also frustrating: somebody stops by and mentions to my boss something like this: ‘Hey did you hear about the bull moose Joe saw on the service road?’ grrr)

Anyway, back to the bird. I was astonished on my way out the drive this morning to finally see it.  Picture if you will, the flagpole garden (white daisies and spikes of cream yellow mullein and evening primrose right now), beyond the hay field and the trees. All vibrant colors thanks to the passing thunderstorm and the clearing sky: whites, grays, and bright blues. And there, on that yellow mullein spike was a brilliant lapis lazuli bird. The sort of high quality polished lapis lazuli that you almost never see outside of old jewelry. Far, far brighter than any bluebird out there. It was, of course, an indigo bunting. Absolutely gorgeous.

You can’t buy that sort of moment.

Batting a Thousand Sunday, Jul 12 2015 

It is amazing how fast things happen….in far, far less time than it takes to write this I succeeded in putting an impressive dent in Big Red, my father’s pride and joy, a 1994 Chevrolet 2500 pick-up.  It had no dents previously.  That makes both dents in both trucks my doing.

On the other hand, when a pissed off horse, a pick-up truck full of hay, and a wooden fence post attempt to occupy the same space…  I hadn’t wanted to put the horse in his stall while I brought the hay in because he hates any sort of confinement, and I really did think I could get away with multiple trips through his gate. I was shifting the hay from the wagon to the shed by means of the truck, because the wagon isn’t ours, and I didn’t want to ding it or the fence in the tight space of the gates and paddock fence, besides I was worried about towing it and dinging Big Red while doing so…ironic that.

The horse ended up in his stall anyway, thundering in circles while I fixed the fence, finished bringing the hay up, and set the gates up correctly. I let him back out while I stacked the hay, he was by that point dripping with sweat and even less amused with me.  He is now quite happily grazing in his field, the hay is neatly stacked, the fence has a nice new post, the wagon is fine, but as for the truck.  Well, at least it wasn’t the side with the gas tank!

One always knows exactly what the wrong move was. Pity it is always obvious afterwards.

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