Saturday, June 13, 2015

garden cheer up

My first motorcycle lesson did not go well. I couldn't gain control of the turning (my bicycle accident at age 12 which caused nerve damage probably made me hesitate to lean into the curves, even though I recovered physically from the nerve damage). I dropped the motorcycle three times and two of them I still don't know how that happened. The one I know, is because I forgot to put down the kickstand (what idiot does that? I ride a bicycle for goodness sakes!). I lost my head and turned the throttle instead of squeezing the clutch, which sped me off to never-never land (the instructor congratulated me on how I was able to hop off the bike at the same time I grabbed the brake, while the motorcycle was still moving, and managed not to fall or hurt myself). It didn't help that I'm barely big enough to reach the ground with my legs, or that my hands are too small to quite reach the clutch and the front brake on the handlebars. The worst part was that I partially dislocated both my hips (the seat being too wide for me) and made it through most of the first lesson that way. Youch. I'm not old enough for this! I left the class in the middle of the morning, barely two hours into it. The instructor offered to give me special tutoring on his own time, but I'm debating. I did get 100% on the written exam. Big whoop-de-do.

So back to the garden to assuage my wounds. At least my emotional ones. When the nausea subsided, I also made myself a nice grilled pesto chicken, arugula salad, and a Tommy Bahama Coconut Cloud. Aah!
 What was sold to me at the upright form of Penstemnon linarioides has bloomed. It is such a pale blue that it is practically white. Not what I was looking for, but the genetic diversity of this species amazes me. Might be worth keeping just for that reason.

 'Bolero' looks good...from a distance. The flowers are always so damaged. They look like a cocoon. Oh wait, I'm supposed to be noticing good things. At least they smell good.

Which is in contrast to the 'Iceberg' cutting that I took last year. The flowers are never damaged, and the fragrance is honey sweet.

 The Mediterranean herbs are looking good. The thyme is about done, but it looked great and fluffy white in full bloom.

 Oregano 'Kent Beauty' is getting into its most glorious stage. Those pink and green hanging bracts get me every time.

I absolutely love the way 'Falstaff' is turning out. 4 new big basals. Much more wind and heat tolerant than I expected, given the dark red/purple color which absorbs high altitude sunlight and fries most flowers. This flower is about a week old and just has some edge crisping. Lots of new buds forming. 

I just planted this new rose, 'Constellation' which is unusual in that it is a miniature rose that is said to be strongly fragrant. I have indeed found it to be nicely fragrant at the nursery, and have been wanting to try it for 3 years now. It opened with a yellow center yesterday, which has faded today. Ick yellow. Yay fragrance.

 My new planting of Salvia argentea is blooming. It's still little, but it will get much bigger in the years to come.

 Another divergence from the positive things. Dahlias have not done well for me, which is a big surprise since they were as easy as weeds for me in California. This one is 'Grand Finale' which I've been lusting after for years. Supposed to be 4-5 feet tall and doesn't bloom until very late. Mine? Nope. Flowers opening now, and the plant barely has two leaves on it. I'm blaming it on the bark mulch.

 'Bishop's Castle' is an Austin rose that is supposed to be a rose that stands up to the heat and is fragrant. I just planted it this year, and it seems to be tolerating the heat surprisingly well.

 This being the first year, I can't expect too much. The buds are tiny, but they open to decent sized flowers. Maybe next year will be more impressive. This year 'Radio Times' beats it for beauty and fragrance.

 'Winchester Cathedral' is putting out a second flush. I'm still amazed it has done this well from a cutting I took last year. I think the fragrance is odd, like a combination of face cream and wilted grass (dare I say "decomposing" grass?). Not much "rose" fragrance to me.

'Winchester Cathedral' is a sport or mutation of the pink 'Mary Rose' and a couple of my flowers have a pink stripe in it. This one looks like the light pink sport of 'Mary Rose' called 'Redoute'.

 The 'Goldrush' apples are getting larger.

 The 'Trionfo Violetto' beans are starting to climb.

 'Scheherezade' lily is getting enormous this year.

 'William Shakespeare 2000' is trying to get on my good side by putting out some flowers, with a heavenly fragrance. Too bad this flower is deformed. It will probably fry tomorrow. He is also putting out 3 more basal shoots (one of those things that rosarians live for). He may get a stay of execution. For now.

 It's always good to take photos of plants even when they are not looking their best. That way you can compare them later, when they look fantastic. I expect that next year this 'Madame Isaac Pereire' will be looking much better, since it is putting out 3 new basals. I find that rose bushes look pretty sad the first 3 years here, before they get big enough and bushy enough.

 It will be worth the wait. Madame is so deliciously fragrant. Even though it is said to be the most fragrant rose ever, it's not the strength of the fragrance that gets me, but the richness. It's that quintessential, unmistakable, rose fragrance.

On the other hand, 'Alnwick Castle' has a very delightful fragrance which is rather un-rose-like. How is it that this barely colored bud has more fragrance than most roses have fully opened? It smells almost exactly like raspberry Jell-O to my nose. 'Alnwick Castle' is working on its second flush which is promising to be better than the first (which was only one flower).  This bush sat all last year with three scraggly prickly stems, and bloomed one bloom at the top this spring. Then suddenly it put out three big lusty basals, and a number of buds. Moody creatures aren't they?

 'Radio Times' second flush is as big as its first, 3 blooms on a tiny 8 inch plant. I really should pinch off the buds and force growth. But I can't stand waiting to smell the rose-lemon toe-curling fragrance. This flower has been 4 days in 90 degree weather, not just the usual intense high-altitude sun, but also rain, and still manages to look, well, perfect. WS2K should take note.

 Oklahoma redbud is looking its glossiest best. Yes, the leaves are just as shiny as the photo shows. The Texas redbuds are growing like gangbusters as usual, but with matte and more pointy leaves. Oklahoma is not better than Texas (or vice versa), just very different. Planted at the same time, my Texas is about 15 feet tall, whereas Oklahoma is about 6 feet tall. I mentioned the differences in a previous post, so no repeating here.

 I always forget to show any photos of Campanula rotundifolia because I take it for granted, and the plant is rather weedy looking. But the constant bloom from April to November is impressive.

Ahh. Nothing like a walk (carefully and painfully) around to garden to deal with motorcycle woes. 


  1. Motorcycle lessons? I don't think I would be into riding one, but my mountain bike ride earlier was fun on the downhills and turns. Your Okla redbud leaves are something, in fact, it looks like it's still spring there compared to here...

    1. well, with all the rain we've been getting, I think he's trying to take advantage of the moisture and grow as much as he can.