Hydrangea Time

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This is my favorite time of year in the garden. I don’t grow any roses that are suitable for cutting. But my hydrangeas are, obviously, and I usually have some in bloom from about July 4 until–if I am lucky– early October.

What I particularly like is the way that the blooms change color over the season–and this is true no matter what varieties I am growing.

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The arborescens, or Annabelle, type, with their big white (or I do have pink varieties as well) will soften from white to lime–much like a PeeGee will.

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The pink arborescens fade to a buff color.

And of course, the blues change to muted mauve (but this will happen later in the season for me so no photos yet). Very nice.

I have different varieties coming along as well too. So much to look forward to!

The “Trouble” With Succulents

You may wonder why, in the middle of July, (the month I claim is the only “summer” that we have here in Connecticut), I am writing about what are mostly house plants for me and not about the glories of the garden.

Well, when you have as many house plants as I do, sometimes they need attention even in the summer. In fact, I find that they pretty much need attention year round. So this is the motto I have tried to adopt about gardening:

Do what has to be done,
When it has to be done,
The way it ought to be done,
Whether you feel like it or not.

Those last 2 lines have been a challenge the last few years because of the “unfortunate incidences,” but I still do what I can when I can.

Now, as for the succulents. I love them, particularly when they look like this.

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The trouble is, after awhile, they always get leggy and scraggly and look like this.

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This, of course, is the solution.

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And these clippings, properly trimmed, can often be made into new plants. But that’s what had me messing with succulents on a mid-July day instead of weeding, or something else.

Parking Lot Landscaping That’s A Bit Unusual

I am sure that I am not the only one that is fascinated with parking lot and strip mall landscaping. For the most part, there is a lot of sameness to it–Knockout roses and Stella D’Oro daylilies. There’s a reason for that–it works because those are very tough plants.

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I’ve had this photo on my blog before, a few years ago, in the middle of a drought after a very cold winter. At that point, these river birches (betula nigra) looked dead. I am delighted to see that they have recovered but I still find them an odd choice for an island bed in the middle of asphalt because, as a general rule, they are a somewhat thirsty plant.
Nevertheless, they do seem to be thriving.

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This planting is in the same general area. Yes, there are daylilies, but no Stella D’Oros in sight. And the coneflowers are a delight. I walked over for a closer look, expecting them to be devoid of life, but I found several types of bees on them.

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It may be a little hard to see but this flower in the foreground actually has two big bumblebees on it! What I hope that means is that these beds aren’t pesticided to within an inch of their lives. It’s quite refreshing.

So every so often even commercial planting can surprise me–in a good way.

An Amazing Moth

These crazy photos–taken from inside, because there was no was to get up close from outside because of the blue spruce you can see through the window– are of an interesting moth known as the Beautiful Wood Nymph.

The moth is even more eye-catching than the camera shows, although if you read a bit about it, some of the descriptions talk a little too much about the moth’s ability to hide itself by looking like bird excrement.

Up close, it’s actually nothing like that at all. The colors in its wings are maroon with a lime green edge–I am not sure what a bird would be eating….

What caught my eye were its fuzzy antennae.

Its larva feed on Virginia Creeper, which I have plenty of. I hope to see more of these beauties around.

Self-Sowing Hydrangeas?

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I may have posted about this before, but it has never been so apparent as it has this year: there are hydrangeas in my garden that I didn’t plant.

Mind you, I am not complaining, particularly since hydrangeas are one of my 2 favorite flowers (roses are the other).

And, due to a series of “unfortunate incidences,” as I am now referring to things, I haven’t been out in my gardens in any meaningful way since at least 2016–perhaps earlier. It’s getting hard to remember the last time I was really able to garden properly.

So I am blessed that the gardens are almost self-sustaining. And if I can’t do things–or hire people to do them exactly the way I would like them to be done, oh well. Some people have real problems.

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So this is a real treat, and the thing that tipped me off to the fact that, yes, indeed, this is a self-sown hydrangea. Where else are you going to find 2 different color flowers on the same shrub?

I checked–all the pink ones that I planted are accounted for (and further, I do know where I planted them). I am less clear about my whites, but that’s not the issue since I have pink and white blooms on the same shrub. Clearly, my bees have been busy!

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This is a close-up of just the pink flower on one of these shrubs. As far as I can tell, there are at least 3 of them.

What’s not to like?