Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I have been carefully watching my new 'Sundown' Echinacea for the first bloom. It was a birthday present from my husband this spring, which I described in an earlier post.

Here the flower is just starting to unfold. The petals have a two tone effect, as the color on the top of the petals is orange, but the backs are more mauve-ish, like it's purple coneflower cousin. At this stage, I am hoping it will be as beautiful as the picture on the nursery tag.

A couple of days later.... in full bloom! I like the color and way the ends of the petals look....sort of like they were cut with a pinking shears. I doesn't seem to match very closely the photo or description on the nursery tag which reads "coral petals tipped in salmon," but is what I would describe as a soft orange. Never the less, it is pretty and it may still color up a bit as it matures, as flowers sometimes do. It has bloomed ahead of the purple coneflowers, which are still in the bud stage. This in itself is a reason to smile! ;-)


Coneflowers are the backbone of my Summer flower beds
and they are just delightful .... such HAPPY flowers!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Evening Entertainment

As I was watering the flower beds a few evenings ago, I couldn't help but observe how the bees were enjoying the Veronica. There was a constant buzzing going on around the plant, as several bees would come and go.

I watched them for awhile and then had to put down the hose and fetch my camera, to see if I could capture the moment.

This was the largest bee, who never left the plant while I was watching, but just kept changing positions. Here she is upside down.

This photo shows the the nice sac of pollen collected by this hard working bee. The worker bees are all female, daughters of the Queen.


What better way to spend a summer's evening than watching and enjoying God's Creation?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Cycle of Life

After viewing this photo, I thought about how accurately it portrays the cycles of LIFE.

All three stages of this Lauren's Grape Poppy are represented here.

Yesterday's seed head......

Today's flower....

And the hope of Tomorrow in this flower bud!


(Click on the above photo for a bonus view of some pretty green aphids!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Drama Queen Poppy

This poppy opened in my garden today! It's my first year to grow this beauty, which is over 3 ft. tall. She is dramatic indeed, wouldn't you say?

Saturday, June 16, 2007


The imaginative person who gave this flower it's poetic nickname did a fine job! The layered petals of the flower nestle within the graceful, ferny foliage, giving it a soft and romantic air. It is another of the self-sowing annuals with an old fashioned cottage look. I like to use it as a filler between larger plants. It blooms in spring and early summer in various colors, all lovely! The latin name is Nigella Sativa and the variety I have is called 'Persian Jewels.'

Here is a nice light blue with white eye.

This white form is exquisite, especially with it's darker blue center.

A pair of pinks....the one on the right showing more white, with pink tips and center.

The seed pods are beautiful as well, and can be used fresh or dried in floral arrangements.

This pod shows a bit more color. They have been said to resemble a jester's hat, as this one certainly does.


Sow a single packet of these and they will return and grace you with their sweetness for years to cottage garden should be without them!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Our Mountain View

Some of you commented on the tiny sliver of a view visible in the background on my last post, so I thought you might enjoy seeing a full view of 'our' mountain. The photo below was taken a few years ago in springtime after some heavy rains, evidenced by the ultra-green hues of the landscape!

Not much has changed since the above photo was taken, except that there are now several homes dotting the hillside. The view is looking due west. Most of our rain and/or storms come from this direction, from behind the mountain.

Another earlier photo. This one was taken at sunset, in early summer, from a spot near where my greenhouse now stands. Poppies and daisies are growing in the foreground, along with a Heritage rose on the far right.

This photo was taken this morning from our patio, as the sun was just coming up over the mountains behind me to the east. We are close to the river in sort of a wide valley. We have hot dry summers with plenty of sun! With the progression of summer, the mountain turns a soft shade of brown as the grasses dry out.

I was a little concerned that the greenhouse would block the view, but as you can see it is still quite intact!

At lastly, this sunset photo was taken yesterday evening. I have quite a collection of mountain sunset photos....maybe I will share them sometime. We feel blessed to live in such a beautiful place and are ever grateful we have been 'planted' here. We have no desire to be anywhere else!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

First Nasturtiums

My first nasturtiums of the season started blooming last week, the earliest I have had them in flower! This pot was sown and hung by the rafters in my greenhouse, where the seeds enjoyed the warmth and sprouted quite early. I soon had to move them to a cooler spot , as it got a little too toasty for them there. The pot is at home on my shabby rustic chair, one of my great yard sale finds for a mere $3.00! I originally had the chair inside my greenhouse, but since it has been parked outside it has kind of grown on me in it's new locale, so I will leave it there for now. The nice thing about this spot is that the greenhouse provides shade in the late afternoon, and I have found nasturtiums appreciate some shade, at least here in our sunny hot summers!
I always have several varieties and colors of nasturtiums growing in containers, which makes them easy to move about. They look nice grouped together and I love their old fashioned charm as they spill over the sides of the pots! The varieties I am growing this year include Alaska (love the varigated foliage on this one!) Tall Climbing Mix, Gleam, Whirlybird, Empress of India, Milkmaid, Moonlight, Vesuvius and Black Velvet. An extra bonus is the edible flowers, which add a colorful and spicy note to summer salads!

Dairy Pink

Since my last post was about a baby blue flower, here I will give equal honor to a lovely flowering plant by the name of DAIRY PINK (Vaccaria Pyramidata), that is blooming now in the softest shades of baby pink! It is a rarely used Annual, growing to 2 feet and blooming in late spring and early summer. It makes a great filler plant in the border or cut for bouquets. Best sown in place, although I had success with winter sowing and planting out early. Self-sows, which is a quality that I greatly appreciate in my garden! Seeds which I tossed onto another flower bed last year faithfully emerged there this year.

I obtained seed from The Fragrant Path
another favorite seed catalog of mine, which specializes in seeds for fragrant, rare and old fashioned plants. There are no pictures in the catalog, but the vivid descriptions of the plants make you want to buy a packet of each !

Next year I hope to have Baby Blue Eyes planted in the foreground of Dairy Pink for a nice pink and blue effect.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Baby Blue Eyes

These are new for me this year in my favorite category of flowers.....the self-sowing Annuals. I was not disappointed. To the contrary, I am quite delighted with them!

The flowers are aptly named, as they are a wonderful baby blue color with white inner eye and delicate black stamens. They grow to 10-12 inches, so are perfect for edging the flower border or in containers. They bloom for 6-8 weeks in spring to early summer.

These Baby Blue Eyes are planted in an old spatterware dishpan, along with some poached egg flower, also new to me this year. But that will have to be another post. :-)

The sky blue color compliments the other flower colors. These are winter sown plants. I will save the seeds and toss them around my flower beds to multiply them for next year. These are soooo sweet and cottage looking! An early flower in a color that you don't often see in the garden.....a winning combination!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Poppy Pollen

The first Red Poppy bloomed in the garden today! As I walked by it, I couldn't help but notice the pollen. It was so fresh looking and had a distinct greenish tint. So I went for the camera, to see if I could capture the moment....before the bees and the breeze dispersed the lovely pollen!

Below is a close up of the poppy center with the fuzzy pollen.

That is all for busy in the garden, trying to get everything planted out, as we are having a heat wave. (88 degrees, with higher temps predicted tomorrow!) It is hard to keep my seed grown plants that are still in containers from drying out....have watered them all twice today! I like to keep a few around to fill in here and there when the perennials finish blooming. Welcome to the month of June!