Saturday, June 4, 2011

High Heat Gardeners

Kathy and I worked outside for about five hours today as the temperature went from quite warm to pizza oven!  She's working out a planting scheme for the big window boxes in front of the house, and I'm still racing to get my daylilies fully moved from University City and planted here. 

Some won't bloom this year.  Some will.  Probably none will die because of the heat stress of moving this month, but if they do, they don't belong in a collection of champions.  That's all I want to have here, champions.  That's the only sort of movie I want to watch, the only sort of book I want to read, the only sort of concert I want to attend.  Life is cluttered with pretense, incompetence, mediocrity, and failure.  There is no reason to infuse a life with more of it than one produces on one's own, is there?

I planted 115 daylilies today.  Here's my evaluation bed, partially full.

I killed the grass with glyphosate.  Rather than till the whole area and watch it erode, I'm drilling into the clay with a gasoline-powered earth auger.  I go down about three inches and drill six to eight holes at a time.  Then before the sun hardens the dirt into brick shards, I mix several handfuls of compost with the soil and set the plants.  Then I water with a wand.  I water every plant in every bed every other day for more than a week to assure that the roots have a chance to get going.

I've filled the two display beds and have begun to plant the beds in the back yard.  Down there the soil has not dried out much because of all the leaf mold on top.  The auger works easily and quickly there except for the moments when it encounters chunks of old Highway 94 about 5 inches down.  Here's the back yard today.

The bed on the far right is fully planted.  It's dominated by shades of lavender and pewter lavender with some accents of gold and dark purple.  The inner circle in the distance is ten feet across.  There's a crimson pygmy barberry in the middle.  Planted around it are soft pastels -- TAXCO (a white that seems a platinum silver lavender), BARBARA MITCHELL (a pink with a lavender veil), ROSE EMILY (a gorgeous rose pink), SUBTLE BEAUTY (a near white by my mentor, Oscie Whatley, from Tet. TANI, [which is from the same breeder as BARBARA MITCHELL and ROSE EMILY]), EARLY SNOW (a white by Patrick Stamile), and RIME ICE (a white by Oscie Whatley from Stamile's ARCTIC SNOW.)  You see, I create relationships in my garden.

The four beds around that circular bed all have a curved edge along the circular path.  I've planted the gorgeous pink JACQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS on that edge.  I believe I indulged in a stroke of political balance over there when I put PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN near "Jackie O."  Both flowers were named by Frank Smith, though Larry Grace was the breeder of "Jackie O."

The near four beds also have a circular bed in the middle.  The shrub there is spirea "golden mound" or some such phrase.  I'm encircling that with bright orange daylilies.  When I have enough of ELIJAH I'll use that for the full circle, but today I don't have enough, so it's a medley of bright orange ones.

The curved edge of the four big beds is planted in Oscie Whatley's GREEK EFFECT, one of his overall best daylilies.  A clump in bloom is spectacular, so twenty-some clumps will be paradise!

Here's one more odd feature of the garden.

Those white things are daylilies that were shipped to the wrong address two weeks ago.  They went to my house-for-sale in University City and probably arrived the day after I cut the grass and checked the house last week.  A real estate agent put the box inside the house but didn't notify anyone that there was a package there for me.  When I told my auction seller that the box didn't arrive here, he checked his records and admitted his goof.  He had my old address on file and didn't compare it with the correct address on my auction paper trail. 

Mistakes do happen.  They happen all the time.  My seller is sending another box next week to the correct address.  In the general scheme of things, this is not a big deal.  I hope in another month to have "after" pictures to complement this "before" shot.

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