Thursday, July 28, 2011

'Halloween Embers' - Asiatic - Garden Review

'Halloween Embers'
This sassy little creature is well named. The petals are "Halloween" orange in color on the petal tips and the centers are very darkly shaded in our cooler Western Washington weather. The camera picked up “inky-black” as dark purple on a cloudless day when the temperatures finally hit 80+ degrees; in very warm climates the color should stay dark with perhaps a pronounced lighter purple "feathering" to the center.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bambi "booby-traps"

Varmints - deer & rabbits"What's for dinner tonight?" Deer are like our pygmy goats, they are generally browsers, taking a nip here and there as they graze. When a particularly tasty leaf, bud or flower is found, all the buds on a single plant may be consumed, but the stem right next to it could remain complete and whole.  Image: foto76 /
A customer, from many years back, living on an island with a high deer population related that one year an entire clump of lilies had all the buds eaten, but the second year the deer went after the roses instead and left the lilies, which had more flowers than ever before. Basically, the deer did what commercial growers do to increase the size of the following year's bulb; they remove the flowers to allow all the energy into making a larger bulb. Our customer said she didn't mind if they "pruned" a few stems after that experience.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Family Pet

The Family Pet 
We have always enjoyed the comfort of our animals while we garden, but yes, sometimes they can get into trouble.   If "Fluffy" is, shall we say, fertilizing your newly created flower bed, cat repellent works well or simply laying a piece of chicken wire over the newly planted bulbs will be enough until the soil has settled.

"Fido" is another matter. Dogs are pack animals, if they see you burying bulbs in the ground, they are more than happy to "help you find it again" - its a game!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Emergency Transplanting - SUMMER

Although not impossible, transplanting during summer growth is a bit more difficult to achieve with good results.  Lily bulbs grow ONE stem per year; if that stem is broken off your bulb will not be able to rebuild its girth before winter.  If new construction or a residence change requires you to transplant lilies now, here are a few guidelines.

Transplanting Lily bulbs - FALL

Digging and transplanting is best done when the weather cools down after October 1st and the leaves have begun to turn yellow before digging lily bulbs.  While leaves are still green your bulbs are manufacturing food to grow themselves larger for next year.  A lily bulb can lose over one its size while putting up a stem, then after flowering, must build itself for the next year's bloom.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Martagon Lilies in shade

Lilium martagon and their hybrids do not require full sun to be remarkable in your garden.  Bulbs will grow in gardens with full sun and no shade whatsoever, but also in quite a bit of bright shade such as under trees like in the photo shown above. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sneaky Slugs

Finding holes in your leaves or are you missing the top of a stem that was there yesterday? 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fall 2011 Catalog

Bob is out in the shipping room peeling and sticking address labels to our Fall 2011 catalog today.  The books came into the office last Friday and so the mailing list was printed yesterday.  We will be mailing them out in 4 or 5 batches, the first ones to go to the post office will be for the east coast, then we work our way west.  Depending on your area, it can take anywhere from 4 to 14 days for the post office to deliver them and we try to time it so everyone has their copy about the same time.

Monday, July 4, 2011

3 days at the Races

Anne Marie and Dianna had a ball at the Pacific NW Historics Auto Races this weekend.    Mother Nature finally smiled upon the Seattle area and we had our first 80 degree day this summer.  Anne Marie and Dad crossed over to the back side of the track to see the "big bore" pre-70's cars negotiate the hills and curves; Bob came back shaking his head and wishing he still had "his" car from the late 60's.

When one of the ladies in charge of running the event found that Anne Marie is a classically trained lyrical soprano, she requested a song.  Thus, our little songbird "auditioned" with an a capella rendition of "Danny Boy" for the organizers.  She has volunteered to sing the American and Canadian national anthems at the beginning of each day's races next year as her donation to this fun charitable event that benefits low income families that need the services of Seattle Children's Hospital.

"Yikes, too fast!  Slow down, slow down..."
 (Race photo by Anne Marie Gibson)
Good thing we had a breeze here and there, no one from this area was accustomed to anything over 50 degrees the last two months.  However, we did wish those banners would have fluttered just a little bit more.