Happy Winds-day

“Winnie the Pooh: Happy “Winds-day”, Piglet.
Piglet: (being blown away) Well… it isn’t very happy…f-for me.
Winnie the Pooh: Where are you going Piglet?
Piglet: That’s what I’m asking myself, where? W-Whoops! P-P-P-Pooh!
Winnie the Pooh: And what do you think you will answer yourself?’

Yesterday I walked outside into the garden with Zeta, my Maltese-bichon mix beside me. Even though it was still only late August, the sky was grey and cloudy and the wind cut through me. It was a blustery day. I heard the call of geese overhead as they flew by in formation towards an unknown destination.

Zeta being the ultimate guard dog that he is at 14 lbs proceeded to bark at them. Quite satisfied with himself as they flew away, knowing it was all his doing, he trotted over to the deck and lay down.

Zeta

Zeta

It felt like autumn and strange to be planting summer flowers, but I put them in their places anyway.  I was really happy with my purchases from the nursery the other day.  Especially so with the pale blush abutilon.  The flower petals were as thin as tissue paper with a beautiful center pistil. This was one of the first flowers I picked up at the nursery.

Care is very easy-use warm water and keep the soil evenly moist. Soil must be well-drained; use a container with a hole in the bottom and set it in a tray to catch excess water.
Use a liquid-soluble fertilizer on your abutilon every two weeks during the growing season in spring and summer, and don’t feed it during the fall or winter. Alternatively, use a granular slow-release fertilizer once a year in early spring.

Now all I need is my hole digging friend Karen to help me get the rest of the plants in the ground!

Pale Blush Albutilon

Pale Blush Albutilon

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Surprise

I find a lot of peace in my garden as I’m sure most of you do. In the mornings when the sun has just risen and the grass is still wet with dew and the air smells of fog, Twinkle and I often take a morning walk down the paths, through the flower beds.  Inspecting what the night has brought or what we might have lost to our many visitors, whatever the case may be. We are usually “blessed with many snails heading back to their daylight home, leaving a shiny little trail behind them. They love the cool damp nights of Alameda.  It’s still very chilly and my coffee is the one thing that keeps me warm. I see my bright yellow marigolds made a tasty snack for someone and make a mental note to investigate that later.  Twinkle and I reach the end of our path and she mews expectantly at me.  She is ready for breakfast and has waited long enough.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf Hydrangea

As I turn to go back my eye catches a flash of white and I am amazed to see a beautiful oak leaf hydrangea blossom and another smaller greener one.  How could I have missed these?  This was a plant I had planted years ago that just didn’t make it because of the location. It kept getting broken and bumped into until finally there was only one lone stem left that didn’t bloom.  I never had the heart to cut it back or dig it up.  Now here it was surprising me with a beautiful flower on this cold wet morning. I love how that happens when you least expect it. Twinkle’s short little mew’s become more insistent, asking me (What are you waiting for? I’m hungry).  I stare at them, a smile on my face, a few moments longer, it is a good day in the garden.

August Hydrangea Care

Hydrangea

August is almost upon us and sadly I can see that my beautiful hydrangea are starting to change colors.  This heralds the beginning of the end of Summer for me.  Now I will wait until the last moment possible because some of my hydrangea turn into beautiful red, maroon and dark blue colors that are even more vibrant the hot pinks that graced their stems throughout the previous months.  But when that moment finally arrives It will be time to cut back the hydrangea bushes. Now to do it correctly follow these simple guidelines. Most hydrangea produce flowers on the previous year’s growth (two exceptions are ‘All Summer Beauty’ and Endless Summer, which bloom on new growth).To shape and keep up the plants’ size, and to avoid cutting off next year’s flower buds, prune them back right after blooms fade. Like I said though I sometimes leave my flowers on the bush until they have completely changed color. Cut stems that have bloomed back to 12 inches. To produce fewer, larger flowers next spring, cut back some of the stems to the base of the plant.

Hydrangea are one of my favorite flowers, and as with many things in my garden I often have my own way of doing things that works for me.  I encourage you to find your way in your garden.

Cheryl in the Garden