Waiting for the Blues

My morning glories are growing up the strings on my front-porch railing and I am (not too) patiently waiting for the the glorious silky-blues to appear. I don’t get blooms every year, but I did in 2017…

Last year there were none, but I learned that I had given them too much attention – watering and fertilizing them. This year I’m trying neglect to see if they come begging.

As I am waiting I will share some other blue flowers from my files. (Did you hear that, morning glories? I have other blues in my life.)

We have a month of blue ahead as we follow and contribute all kinds of blues to Jude’s Life in Color challenge.

Milkweed – With a Future Monarch

We are spending a few days in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, camping by Traverse City. Today we spent time exploring the Mission Peninsula that goes north, splitting the Grand Traverse Bay. Instead of going to one of the many wine orchards for tasting and lunch, we decided to pack our favorite lunch for a picnic, and found a public launch site that had some benches overlooking the western arm of the bay. Afterwards I took photos of wildflowers growing along the shore. One of the flowers that was just starting to blossom was milkweed.

I decided to post a photo of a wildflower for Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge and when I processed the photo I found a surprise Monarch larvae. Kind of a bonus for Cee.

Poppies for a Sunday

My poppies have finished blooming for the year – but I try to hold on to their beauty by taking photos of them. It works, mostly. I have heard people say that taking photos of events or places shouldn’t be a substitute for being there – that we shouldn’t hide behind a camera. Now there may have been a time or two when I didn’t really want to be at an event so I offered to be the photographer as a way to make the time more tolerable. I’m not going to say where or when this was the case, just a speculative observation on my part.

I did enjoy my poppies when they were blooming… And I did take a lot of photos. These weren’t mutually exclusive behaviors. This is my view as I sit in front of my sewing machine working on a fun quilt project.

I look up a lot as I’m pulling the sewn pieces from my machine, cutting threads, thinking or day-dreaming (yes there is a difference), waiting for the iron to heat up. I like the seed pods almost as much as I like the flowers.

This was just as the petals were dropping; I had just helped the last couple let go and drop. Isn’t it beautiful?

Just in case you like poppies as much as I do, here is one more photo. Enjoy!

I could also search photo files from past years for more pictures, but you know how, well, dated those photos would be.

Wishing you simple joys and safe socializing in the coming week.

Sunday Serenity: Macro Waterlily

This is a water lily taken on one of my last visits to the Naples Botanical Garden in April. May it bring you lots of joy and serenity as you go inside nature in all its glory.

Cee posted her Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge for close-ups and macro photos this week. Although this wasn’t taken in June, I think its beauty can linger on throughout the month.

May Garden Activity

It was unseasonably cold during the last few nights of May here in southern Michigan, just a few degrees above freezing. Absolutely perfect for sitting on my purple porch swing in the not-so-early morning (eight-ish) with a cup of hot coffee. Yes it is a bit nippy but my porch faces east so I am bathed in the warmth of the morning sun. And above is what I see as I look through the railing to my garden.

And I smile and sigh. I love the combination of the chocolate and apricot irises in front of the red barberry bush. But my garden is somewhat out of order this year due to the out-of-order spring weather. Usually the apricot iris doen’t bloom until the chocolate are almost finished. This year the apricot was out about a week before the first chocolate unfurled a couple of days ago.

My daughter gave me a couple of tubers of the chocolate iris that a neighbor gave her as a good-bye gift when my daughter left Little Rock, Arkansas. It seems so exotic, so special. The buds are so very dark and the newly unfurled blossom is a lush silky golden brown, growing lighter and more golden in the two or three days before it withers away. In certain lights there are purple under currents to the petals.

My peony is also blooming on the lower terrace. I wish I had more flowers that bloomed during late spring. Maybe I will look for some yellow irises to plant next to this peony. Any other suggestions? I like the idea of yellow because it would be a nice complimentary color to the deep pink peony and would be positioned just below the apricot and chocolate that grow on the upper terrace.

The Evening Primrose is spreading aggressively at the end of the upper bed and this worries me a bit but it is so beautiful that I don’t think I’ll attack it aggressively – at least not yet. Maybe I’ll be sorry. I love how it poked its way up in the catmint, totally uninvited but welcomed.

See why I think I’ll wait another year before I decide to take action. Has anyone had a problem with this primrose weakening or taking over other plants? How can anything so delicate looking be so strong willed and naughty?

When we moved in over 10 years ago I planted what I hoped would be a tall (but not too tall) and slender (not too big around for a small space) evergreen in the corner, where the porch juts out a couple of feet, on the terrace that is 4 feet below. Beside it I planted a President clematis, given to me by a friend, and trained it up the section of fencing I placed there. You know what happened, right? The tree is much bigger around that I envisioned and the clematis ended up behind the tree, with roots fighting for moisture and nutrients. This year I transplanted it away from the shrub and did lots of amending of the heavy clay with peat, manure and nutrients to help with root regrowth. I have read that clematis don’t like to be moved so I’m hoping it will hang in there with a little pampering. It is blooming so that’s a good sign, I think. Or maybe a last frantic effort to reseed itself before it dies. Ugh.

This spring I was super diligent with weeding – starting earlier and with more energy than normal. It really worked as I’m almost weed free except for some grass in the middle of plants that I can’t get out until it rains again and of course those small pesky weed roots that break off and are left to torment me at a later time.

I have been thinking a lot about adding plants to my garden as I am gently swinging and looking out over the sea of fresh green spring growth. I printed photographs of my garden taken at different times of the growing season of previous years. I studied them and thought and studied them some more and then made a trip to the garden center. Then I would think some more and finally plant my new purchases where I think they need to be. Repeat. Plant. Repeat. Plant. I think I am at the point where I need to find out how the new plants are going to get along in their new homes and with their neighbors before I buy any more. Except…

Except my love of sedums has reignited and I still have some bare spots in my dry, difficult places – plus I found a new garden website that only sells online, has a wonderful selection, ships plants in pots, are reasonably priced, and are located two hours down the Interstate in Grand Haven, on the shore of Lake Michigan. They have a wonderful selection of sedums so I ordered some new hens & chicks to add to the ones that are established…

And ones I bought earlier this year.

The new ones are named “Cosmic Candy”. Now doesn’t that excite your cosmic energy, but you, too, will have to wait to see them until they arrive and are planted. I also ordered a couple of the larger stonecrop sedums to give some late summer color and fill in with low maintenance plants with beautiful texture and color all through the growing season.

And in the fall I’ll be relocating a hen & chicks to Florida. One that I bought this year is only hardy in zone 11 (not even close to zone 5). In the meantime I’m enjoying it every morning and evening as I sit on my porch swing and think about my garden.