Squirrel

Squirrel

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hydrangea bloom......

I have always admired hydrangeas but have never owned any. I guess I thought they were too much money up front and I wasn't sure that I know enough about them to plant them. I have from a neighbor, two or three starts from two years ago and they are blooming this year. They are on the north side of the house in the shade all day. Because they are young, they aren't thick enough to stand up. So any bloom has drooped to the ground. I will probably get them wired up soon. The camera didn't pick up much detail but it still made for me an interesting picture of whites and textures.

Orange......

I had to tie these stems to a stake as they were all spread out on the ground. I rarely have to do that but the rains softened the soil too much to hold them up. This is the camera's interpretation of what it thinks it sees. The photo is showing the sun glowing back at you so it really is vibrant and shiny.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Moody Blues......


I took 38 pictures today after I spent the morning mowing and planting things. Of course out of 38 you may get 15 or more that you can actually use, but I like to take a lot to see how the camera is working with the bright sunlight. I love the blue as it is the only thing that I have in the yard that is blue. Violets and violas don't count.
Mentioning sunlight, I have a lot of trouble with white flowers and also the sun washing out the color. The camera picks up a reflection as white rather than a light green or blue or whatever the color is. I have a great photo of white hydrangea but some of you have lenses on your camera that would put it to shame. I guess if I can get a good composition and the colors are good, I can live with the less than perfect clarity.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

K.C. fountain again........

This is my wife's photo of one of the sculptures in the Nichols fountain. Can you see the guy who is trying to get back on to the horse? Also click on the photo and see it larger. Then you can see a guy in a pink shirt in the background. One of those things that one can't foresee.

Friday, June 26, 2009

K.C. fountain......

A close up view of a fountain horse. I have many more of these to show you as time goes by. My wife took all the fountain pictures. This is a very large fountain and the water is being pumped into large jet streams everywhere. Right when we arrived a large group of college kids were leaving from having a soak in the fountain.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cactus Flowers.....


This is my neighbor's, across the street, cactus bed. I have always admired it and it does well there. We don't have cactus in Iowa growing naturally. When you head out of Council Bluffs, through Omaha heading west you can start to see cactus growing wild along the highway. I don't know how far in to Nebraska that you have to go, but I don't think it's more that fifty miles in to the state.
I would take some home and start a bed, but I figured it was dangerous and I could just go over to see hers in the summer. The problem now is that she is going to a nursing home and I have to decide whether to sponge a start from it or not. My collie would not be good with it, so I probably won't, even though the gardener spirits are rebelling.
The strange thing about these cactus is how they die way down to the freezing weather and by the end of June they are all up again and looking good. I don't always get to see it bloom but I was delivering something to the other neighbor and there it was in the hot sun blooming like crazy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Creeping Bellflower......

This is an addition for today of the flower bed of this invasive plant. I mow it so it stays back. Last year we had a different spring and most of it didn't come up until late and then ten percent of it spiked flowers. It was a strange year. This year the rain has really encouraged it to bloom greatly.

Creeping bellflower......

This was a mystery plant that two of my friends identified for me. It is hard to kill, and is ugly when it is hot and dry. But our rainy weather has made it a beauty to see. I have a large bed of it and will post a photo of it when the majority of the plants are blooming. Inspite of your 97 degree weather, it is hanging in there. I have to get some weeding done today.

An older post about this plant.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Red Rose....

I brought this rose plant to my garden last fall having dug it from my parent's home. I don't know what it is called. There are two others down there that I want but they are so large that it is difficult to get them out of the ground. I am the one that gave them to my mom years ago and she always had great blooms from where they were planted in the hot sun on the south side of the house. The one is the Peace rose and I may just go buy one.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kansas City sky.....


A quick snap on a very hot day in the parking lot of Country Club Plaza, in Kansas City. A tiled dome, a replica from Spain, is surrounded by tile roofed buildings.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Very red, red......


The one geranium in the the nail barrel is a very deep, rich red. It isn't the typical red that one gets when you buy them. I am going to look through my tags and see if I can find the name of it as it is very striking in color and also a larger than typical bloom. I hope it didn't get tossed. The variegated leafed geranium and variegated impatience are really great for this combo. I love it when a very quick choice of plants turns out to be so good looking.

Friday, June 19, 2009

J C Nichols....


A very wealthy man by the name of JC Nichols, decided that he wanted to bring Spain home with him to Kansas City. During the thirties he started building the very first shopping mall that was named Country Club Plaza. It consists of many Spanish designed buildings with towers that are recreated from real towers in Spain and covers 45 acres. Ceramic tile enhance the sides of the buildings and there are probably one hundred fountains scattered throughout the area, Spanish style and many statures incorporated. He also didn't believe in charging for parking, so their are scattered parking ramps built in among all of the buildings.More pictures to come.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Angels in the garden.....



Some of the Hobby Lobby sculptures weather very badly in the out of doors. This girl has done well and most winters I try to bring her inside.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mystery plant....


This plant was on the property when I moved here in 1976. As a younger person, I actually try to eradicate it as it looked so bad in hot dry weather. It isn't easy to get rid of fortunately and I now have planted it everywhere. I saw a show with P.Allen Smith talking about a plant that looked like this and he said he had a hard time finding it. I see that it could be related to many different possible plants but I just don't know what it is.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tomato plants thriving....


Those straggly plants that were growing in the window have survived and are looking good. I planted them in holes made in black plastic. I still need to do some weeding but I did a no till thing this year.
The history of tomatoes in that garden is that my father-in-law was entertained growing the seeds and I planted them all. So it was nothing to have 70 or more plants out there. Now that he is gone, I created a new plan. I gave an entire tray of thirty plants to a neighbor up the street, ten plants down the street and eight across the street. I planted about twelve for ourselves and have some in pots that are so overgrown in small pots, not being planted. I may just let the die out and do nothing with them. My plants are really way ahead of most this time of the year and in Iowa. Our frost is late so we plant late.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cattails....


I harvested some cattails from a county gravel road ditch out side of town to the east. There is an old mining town there call Xenia and all that is left is this very old cemetery. I visited it since I was out there getting the cattails. I need to return to the cemetery with a camera as out in the middle of this area are two very large pine trees. They look like what I would call Ponderosa Pines but I really don't know. They are sitting on top of 1896 graves. I will photograph them and then you can help me identify them. I kept thinking what are those trees doing in Iowa? They had to be brought in by train or wagon train.
My stock tank is overgrown on one side and empty on the other. I am thinking of building a bench on the blank side so one could sit and feed the fish and watch them. I am going to divide hostas to plant on the ends. My racoon is still living in the tree as I saw her a couple of days ago while walking the dog. I hope my fish stay deep in the water at night.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wedding pictures....



A year ago on the fifteenth, our oldest son Andrew married Patricia. It was a rainy morning but turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. The photos are informal pictures that I took on that day in Chicago.
The couple is celebrating their first year in marriage in the northern California wine country. They just called me from Alcatraz, and could see the Golden Gate Bridge from there.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pin Oak.....


I bought two of these as small twigs two years ago. They are slow growing, so they say, but I have been impressed as to how fast they are developing. Their leaves are a neat color green and the leaves turn in the fall but do not drop until the spring. I have read that one needs to keep stone or small rock around their base to help them grow.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Seeing magenta-red and yellow......


I couldn't get out this afternoon again, as it was raining again. I found this photo from a week ago. The colors are unreal with such intensity. They don't last very long and the rains have finished it off a few days ago. It is a busy time with weeding and planting. I potted up two new containers but they need to grow for awhile before I share them with you. I found two different kinds of granite ware cooking pans and planted a variety of flowers in them.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Barberry Thursday......




I was clipping out the stray mulberry trees coming up in the area and looked down and saw all of these beautiful colors. I don't understand the variegated leaves. They may be new sprouts. But it is a perfect color scheme of greens, light and dark, lavenders and purples.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rose clusters.....


The rains are keeping me inside today. I have some new and different things to photograph but I thought this close snap of these roses was an interesting composition. They have a great smell and it continues to keep producing new flowers each day.
I will add the larger view to see the total plant. I will prune it back this year as it is getting out of control.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Portrait of Laurie.....


This is an iris that I have had around for a few years. Wet weather didn't take it out. It seems to be pretty tough. I think I will be moving part of it to a new area. It sits out in the middle of my orchard area all alone. The iris are all about done blooming now so I am going to have to get out a find something totally different to photograph.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Peony portraits....




The two bottom peonies come from the five in a row that were planted here by a previous owner. When I bought the property thirty two years ago they were in bloom. The white one is interesting as it has some pure white flowers on it and then some have the red and pinkish markings like the one showing. I guess the small flower heads are the pure white.
The red peony is a family plant that started with my Grandmother at her property in Murray, Iowa. My mom moved some of it to Osceola, Iowa and now I have three plants of it. It isn't special as there are a lot of red bushes out there, it just that it started from my Grandmother who has been gone since 1973. My Uncle lives at the place in Murray now and none of those plants survived the different ownership. He does have old iris growing on the old cave that I aim to get starts from this summer.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Flag Iris....


The rain destroyed an iris that I was going to share today so I will wait for a new bloom to merge. This flag iris was given to me by a neighbor. This plant is their major plant of the one of their garden areas and it is so crowded in the area. I was given, no I took from their garbage with their permission, one of the clumps that they had discarded. It is a soft lavender blue and this is the first year in two years that it actually bloomed. I like the weathered fence texture as the background for the plant. I have a relative that wants me to take some starts of their flag iris bed from their garden but I don't know what the color of it will be. I can plant it somewhere else as it is a great specimen plant and it really doesn't matter what color as the price is right....

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Backyard view....

This is a view of our backyard off of the patio. We are so lush that you can't see the narrow sidewalk shooting diagonally to the left. I think the sidewalk actually at one time in the old days went to a coal shed or an outhouse as it angles diagonally away from the house. In about two weeks you will see ditch lilies, asiatic lilies, and maybe phlox blooming. There is a pond behind the major front area and another sunken stock tank at the back. After taking the picture I can see I could have moved the pot with the struggling agapanthus plant out of the picture and the step ladder in the far back of the picture under the apple tree should be put away in the shed. It is still there when I was spraying the fruit tree spray. I need yet to do a major overhaul of the pond with the bridge. I am getting the weeding done first and will face the project soon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Carefree Wonder.....


I worked last summer in a nursery of a grocery store. It was fun but I received responsible hours so that I could be the adult to close the store. I worked too hard for too little money, but I still loved it. I may do it again some time but not this year. The younger employees were in charge of watering things and kids just don't have a feel for the needs of a plant. This yellow rose was set aside by a customer in order to buy it and then they didn't. It sat for quite a few days on a table in the back of the business outside but it never got watered and by the time it got water it seemed too late. The boss had tossed it as the leaves were all gone, so I retrieved it and brought it home. It wasn't an expensive rose but it is doing well. It regrew it's leaves last fall and this spring it is blooming beautiful yellow flowers.
When I get all may facts together, I want to share about a rose hybrid breeder who created disease resistant, and weather tough roses. Griffith Buck is his name and I will tell a story about his roses when mine finally blooms. He did research near here at Iowa State University for many years.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Creamy white peony....

This is a very old peony that was on the property when I bought it in 1976. I almost think it looks more like a rose as it is more petite than a regular peony. I am going to have to move it as it sits near an apple tree that shades it more each year. The shade is limited the number of buds that it has on it also.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Iris.....


The colors in this flower are stunning. It almost doesn't seem real. I know you probably tire of me saying this but I don't own this, it is my neighbor's flower. The rains have been hard on them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Superstition" Iris.....


I bought this a few years back and it is one of the few iris that I have left growing. I gave one of the three starts to my mom and dad so I would have a backup. It is very hearty. The camera actually lightens it to make it look deep purple but it can actually looks black in certain light. The bloom is a little beat up from the rains we have been having but I am so glad to see it blooming.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Roses in collage.......

I am just going to let the collage tell the story today. This plant went from a dozen blooms to so many bursts of color overnight. A heavy rain will not be good for them so I am glad I have it photographed.