Monday, June 11, 2018

Early Summer Garden: Transformations, Trip, Tricks

When I published my last post on my landscape garden, I had no idea I'd be tackling all the maintenance I talked about so soon. Apparently, publishing it was subconsciously committing to it, and this is a showcase of all the recent transformations. Most of the photos are before and after comparisons. I'll also tell you about a recent trip and share some tricks I have for the garden at the end of this post.

The "wild hair" azaleas have been trimmed after blooming, and the centermost (appears as the 2nd blooming bush from left in top frame) was plucked and transplanted to the far most left position, opening the center of the five azalea plants.
Azaleas: before and after trimming and transplanting
What once could not be seen unless behind the azaleas - the clematis, the mountain bluet, a garden accent light, and sundial on concrete base - are now in plain sight. I moved the concrete base forward to make a grouping in the space between the azaleas.
The space in between the azaleas (after)
Whether things get pruned with a light or heavy hand, there's a period of time in between blooms where things can look a little bare, even scalped. The courtyard roses were pruned with a heavy hand, and then fertilized with systemic granules for reblooming expected in July.
Courtyard roses: before and after pruning
Pruning is a necessary thing to keep blooms coming. In some cases, it's a seasonal change of annuals, such as with my beds at the front of the house. My pansies overwinter from fall, and the daffodils grow tall among them in spring. The daffodil leaves were cut back right after Memorial Day, and then the summer annuals replaced the pansies. The boxwoods got a trim at the same time the summer annuals were planted.
Front Annual Beds: before, during and after winter to summer transitions
My perennial hibiscus had to be staked immediately after my last garden post (for optimal showcasing of July blooms). In fact, a rainstorm just a couple days after that post had many of the hibiscus stems lying flat on the ground, making the job of staking more tedious. I lost count after about three dozen stakes and umpteen ties.
Perennial Hibiscus: before and after staking for support of July blooms
All that time and labor staking was another reason I decided to simply cut back the front hibiscus and not bother staking them this year. In the picture below (top frame), you get an idea of how the stems fall flat when not staked.
Hibiscus: before and after pruning (opting out of staking)
More dividing and transplanting is evident in the iris patch, an area I previously referred to as the unibrow. I had to first cut the leaves in order to see where and what I was dividing. As you can see below, the knockout roses are now needing pruned (deadheaded) before the next flush of blooms (July). I'll likely divide more irises next year, but will wait to see how these do first.
Iris Patch: before and after cutting, dividing and transplanting
The plants are not all I've been working on. Besides 20 more bags of mulch being spread among the plantings, I've been weeding (never-ending), and have done a little brick maintenance. Without using a full-blown power-washer, I've used the jet nozzle on our hoses to clean moss and dirt that's grown on our brick.

On the front porch steps, you could hardly even see the mortar on the bricks for the dirt and grime, Moss actually growing on the mortar was threatening the stability of the bricks.
Front Porch Brick Cleaning: before and after
The walkway between our house and garage was downright dangerous when wet, slippery to walk on for the mold and grime that had accumulated over the past couple years since it was last cleaned.
Brick Walkway Between House, Garage: before and after cleaning
The courtyard also got a good hosing, and I rearranged the furniture afterward. I put an old glider on the alley with a sign, "Trash or Treasure - Free", and it was gone within two days.
Courtyard Patio: before and after cleaning
Most of my garden chore list remaining is what I consider piddling - deadheading, weeding, watering. The major dividing and transplanting are complete, and having a few good weather days of low humidity and decent temperatures last week helped motivate me to tackle the big stuff.

I mentioned a trip in the title of my post. It wasn't the kind you necessarily write home about. Y'all know how Mr. P. and I are vigilant about keeping the Canada geese off our property, right? Well, they've all had their babies, and we recently saw eleven babies among two sets of parents. Pictured below is a photo a neighbor took one evening of them all (some are hidden in the shadows).
Adult Geese and Goslings
Mr. P. goes across the street to our riverbank to check them regularly, and shoo them away. Pictured below is a shot of the steel staircase at the edge of the street level of our property, down to the river.
Stairway to Hell
Mr. P. fell down all 22 of those stairs on May 17. Thank God, a trip to the ER was just one block away, and tests showed no [internal] bleeds or breaks. That was a real scare! 😟 I'm happy to say after four weeks, he's been assessed and doing a few sessions in PT for strengthening and balance, and he's walking part of our daily three miles with me again. Part of the reason for falling was trying to go around that chain instead of removing it. I've threatened him to try that trick again. 😠

Lastly, I promised some gardening tricks. Really, I should call these treats, all from the Dollar Tree (no affiliations, just bargains from me to you).
Dollar Tree Bargains for the Garden
All the things you see pictured above are great tools for the garden, some obvious, some not so obvious, and each just $1! Solar stake lights; garden gloves (I love the ones with nitrile coating for weeding, especially); flip flops (yes, I'm the kind of girl who wears flip flops in the garden, just so I can keep my feet cool and easily hose the dirt off afterward). Garden fence posts are great for not only staking some plants, but we demarcate our property from the neighbor's to help keep people from driving over our grass divider on the street. Sun hats are great, and when dirty? No worries, just hose off, then let dry in the sun. 

Kitchen knives are great in the garden! Use them to cut back foliage from things like daffodils and other spent blooms. At just $1 each,  when they go dull, toss them! And lastly, if you claim you have a brown thumb, then just buy faux flowers and plop them in your containers and beds! I won't tell! 😉

Happy gardening, and thanks for your visit! Your comments are always welcome, and I try to respond to all of you. The last couple of posts I've not replied directly, but as you can tell by reading this, I've been pretty busy.

Rita C. at Panoply

Sharing: One More TimePieced Pastimes, Best of the Weekend, Amaze Me, DIDIBNOTP, Show & ShareInspire MeMake it PrettyThe ScoopDagmar's HomeCelebrate Your Story, Delightsome Life H&GGrace at Home, Gardens Galore