Friday, June 12, 2020

Garden, Good and Bad

Our garden is enjoying all the rain. (And I am too, I must admit, since it gives me an excuse to hang out inside and read.) Here's an update on what's happening out there at the moment.

First, our disconcertingly beige rose (above) has sent up three buds this year, more than we've seen from it in a while. We call it the "flesh rose," because its petals are similar in color to Crayola's old "flesh" crayon. (Which is now called "peach," apparently.) It's not my favorite rose, but I still cut one of the blossoms for our bud vase.

The beach asters are blooming next to our new stepping stones...

...and the red verbena in our hanging basket has arisen from he dead and sent out bright flowers.

Our Chinese lantern also has lots of little flowers, which hopefully will lead to lanterns later this year. (By the way, remember how I planted two lanterns, trying to grow the plant from seed? Well, that was a failure. Nothing ever sprouted.)

Not everything is rosy in the garden, though. Our hollyhocks, which I grew from seed last spring, look something like this -- and only about half of them survived the winter. I was under the impression that hollyhocks grew easily and monstrously, but ours have never taken off. I'm not giving up on them, exactly, but I'm disappointed they haven't done more.

Also, our geraniums are being gnawed to within an inch of their lives. I believe this is some type of sawfly, although I haven't seen the caterpillars themselves, so it could be something else. Apparently they don't kill the plant, but we haven't had any flowers yet this year so I'm not sure it's exactly happy. I'm just going to let nature take its course.

Finally, here's Dave's present for his birthday later this month -- a tree fern! He's wanted one for years, and I finally got around to ordering it. Those little devils are not cheap, and you have to be sure to get one from a reputable dealer so you can be certain it was sustainably harvested. (Apparently they are sometimes poached in their home countries of Australia and New Zealand.) I ordered this one straight from the Royal Horticultural Society, and it arrived Wednesday.

In other news, we finally received word that our Brazil trip next month is cancelled. This doesn't surprise either of us in the least, of course, but we've been waiting for the official verdict. We're being given a voucher to use any time within the next 12 months on another trip, and whatever we don't use during that time period will be returned to us in cash.


  1. Too bad about the trip, but nice that you'll have something to look forward to in the coming year. We had tree ferns flanking the door of our guest house in San Diego. Spectacular. And they grew like weeds... and weren't expensive. I'll have to fish out a photo. And hollyhocks had been planted around our pool in Connecticut. They surprised us our first summer in the house. SG was elated beccause his grandmother always had them at her house when he was a kid. The woodchucks, unfortunately, loved them, too. Not to eat, simply to mark territory. They went through and snapped off the stems halfway up of every single one. I thought SG was going to spit nails. He said, "Well, they could at least have eaten them! What a waste!"

  2. The tree fern will be a splendid addition to your green urban oasis. I remember seeing hundreds of them growing by the west coast road on South Island, New Zealand. They get a lot of rain in that region. You don't see any on the drier east side of The Southern Alps. Tree ferns seem to come from the time of the dinosaurs so an appropriate present for Old Dave.

  3. Tree ferns are not as poached here as they used to be, but probably still are. Nursery sold ones have to come a certificate. They are quite magical to see in their natural bush habitat. They grow quite easily here in cool rainforest, so yours should do well enough.

  4. I bought two Hollyhocks already in pots this year, One is doing well but the other is struggling against the snails, (I never kill them) Why one should be eaten and not the other is beyond me.
    I remember when I lived at home (years ago) the lady next door did nothing to her garden and each year loads of Hollyhocks would sprout and give a lovely display, so you are right in thinking that they should grow easily, maybe they just need to get established.
    I like the Tree fern, so pretty.

  5. Your geranium's leaves look like my dahlia's leaves. No idea what is attacking them--can't see any mites or insects. The lacey leaves are not a good look.

  6. And now I want a tree fern.

  7. I Agree With Ms Moon For Sure - A Real Bummer About Brazil And Those Decisions To Be Made - But Olga Is Pretty Stoked Your Not Flying On A Jetliner - Have A Splendid Weekend Brother Man


  8. Nothing like a good rain to freshen things up.

  9. Nice to see the flowers there and that tree fern is very beautiful. The virus is spreading pretty quickly in Brazil these days, so it's a good thing that trip got cancelled.

  10. Your flowers are beautiful. Sorry about the Hollyhocks. I remember lots of them growing next door when I was a child. I don't think I've ever seen a tree fern. It's beautiful. I think it's nice that you got a trip voucher that might even be returned cash. Either way, now you have something to look forward to for next year. Enjoy your day, Edna B.

  11. I was going to say that it's not a good time to go to Brazil anyway but, really it's not a good time to go anywhere which I find quite distressing. I've even thought about just driving somewhere but even that is giving me pause.
    Lot's of activity in your wonderful garden. So many colors and shapes for you to enjoy.

  12. Love the beach asters! Also, "I'm just going to let nature take its course" is pretty much the most Steve Reed thing to say ever. Also, it doesn't really need to be said. Ha!

  13. That tree fern is a very strange looking plant but since Dave has wanted one perhaps it will make up for the canceled Brazilian voyage.

  14. Well, now you just have Lacy Geraniums - it's all in how you look at it. lol

    It's good that you can eventually get your money back (if the airline doesn't go under) because I'd hazard a guess that Brazil will still be having a problem a year from now. Along with most other places on the planet. But worse. It's sad to see playing out exactly what epidemiologists predicted in poorer countries with inadequate health care.

  15. the beach asters are wonderful! and how cool, a tree fern. how on earth did they deliver that? in the pot? unpotted but with those fronds?

  16. Last year's hollyhocks from seed did take a while to get going...but they are still there, putting up some good leaves

  17. You have the most interesting posts. I loved the one from the other day about your walk through Regent's Park. The macaws were spectacular!

    We've given up trying to grew anything, but a redbud tree that was given to us a number of years ago as a sampling, and has now grown higher than our two story house, is gorgeous each spring--our one success story.

  18. That tree fern is just astounding. I'm glad you finally got one for Dave. The garden is looking really good.

  19. Awww Happy Early Birthday to Dave. I love his tree fern..!

    Your garden is beautiful. Sometimes the greenery is just a nice contrast. I am sure that when the rain stops and it starts to dry out you will see more blooms. I hope so at least.

    I cannot garden as much as I want to because we do not have the right light. Out front is too much hot sun and out back it is too little light and too much shade. The one side that we could plant is weird. Someone laid tons of brick from the front to the side and then someone laid down dirt and grass seed so we cannot dig up all of those bricks and I only have a small space to plant anything. It is strange... Have a awesome weekend.

  20. Mitchell: I'm glad to hear the tree ferns grew easily. This one cost about $200; I could probably have found one cheaper but I wanted to be sure it was reputably sourced. Thank goodness we don't have woodchucks!

    YP: I also saw them in their native habitat in New Zealand. Positively prehistoric!

    Andrew: Yes, this one had a tag pegged to the trunk from Victoria state government.

    Briony: From what I've read they don't like dry soil, and I think our soil can become quite dry at times. (Especially recently!)

    Mary: Strange! I fortunately haven't had this experience with dahlias. Not yet, anyway.

    Ms Moon: Do they grow in Florida? I have no idea. Seems like it might be awfully hot for them.

    Padre: Yeah, it's definitely for the best that the trip was cancelled, but it's still a drag.

    Red: Agreed! We need more!

    Robin: Yeah, of all the places to go, Brazil was definitely NOT the best option.

    Edna: Yeah, I don't mind getting a voucher rather than money. We'll use it one way or another!

    Sharon: I would think driving would be fine, as long as you social distance once you're at your destination!

    Bug: Ha! Do I say that a lot?! I guess so!

    Catalyst: Dave was always a little ambivalent about Brazil, to be honest. It was more my trip than his. (Egypt was more his than mine.)

    Jenny-O: Yeah, Brazil is looking like a train wreck coronavirus-wise.

    Ellen: It came in the pot. The delivery guy brought it up the steps looking just like that. No box or anything.

    GZ: Did they bloom, though? I think these will keep growing but I thought they were supposed to bloom in their second year.

    BethB: Thank you! And thanks for visiting! Redbuds are beautiful trees. I see them occasionally here but they're not as widely planted as they are in the states.

    Allison: Thanks! We're happy with it, even though it is a bit "jungly" out there.

    Beth: There's a plant for every space! If you do a bit of research you can find things that will grow in sun (for the front, like agave, maybe?) and shade (for the back). That buried brick is strange. I wonder if it was a pathway or sidewalk at some point?