Tag Archive: sunflowers

To say that this year’s garden is better than last year’s would be too easy.

Last year we were in the middle of a drought combined with mind-numbing heat. My favorite weather guy started a count of how many days in a row we had above 90 degrees.

If not being able to tolerate that kind of weather makes me a wimp, so be it.

But this year’s garden is different not just because of the milder summer. I have taken a more active role regarding the volunteer plants that are pretty but in the wrong spots.

Side view of the front garden

Side view of the front garden

In the front garden I planned better for the fall in which I have always wanted to have Flowering Cabbage.  The husband picked up several plants for me and I worked it around a mum that was given to me. They are lying low in the front while the mid-section of the garden is filled with white Shasta daisies and purple cone flowers.

I love this section but plantings never seem to survive here. I have mixed in quite a few perennials as well as thrown in hundreds of seeds. Nothing comes back the following year. Early spring seedings fail. Once the season is over I might have to work over the space and have my husband or son overturn part of the space with compost.

Frenchie the dog

Frenchie the dog


My other solution is to fill the site with statuary. This guy used to belong to  a man by the name of Frenchie. But he died and the dog went to our neighbors who sold him when they moved away. Sadly, the last set of owners managed to break off his nose and right paw. My son and his friend retrieved Frenchie from the dump for me and placed him in his new spot. At some point I must repair him.

Hollyhocks and Sunflowers

Hollyhocks and Sunflowers

Now if you look on the west side of the house, you will see Hollyhocks  and Sunflowers co-habitating easily. Black-eyed Susans fill the lower spaces.

Four O'Clocks

Four O’Clocks

But walk a few more steps at the right time of day and you will be greeted by a mass of Four O’Clocks. They prefer to bloom in the shade and get it on that side of the house during morning hours. My grandmother had these on the west side of her house but a tree gave shade in the afternoon so they burst out every day at the end of the day.

Gourd Vine

Gourd Vine

On the other side of the house is a new planting – bird house gourds. The problem is my vines are growing great but there is no fruit. I have flowers but they are not moving into fruit as one would expect. Bees have recently moved into a pillar on the front porch. I am hoping this will begin the fertilization process.

New Growth

New Growth

Finally, I have made progress on the new rose bush. There are budding branches turning into growing green stuff. It is exciting to watch as this plant was delivered to me and needed planting almost immediately. I over-watered at first but then corrected myself, putting the new bush on the same schedule as the old one.

My neighbor states an old proverb about transplanting roses. The first year it survives, the second year it is live, the third year it thrives.

How is your garden growing this summer?


Related posts:

Working in the Spring Garden

 Working the Hosta Bed


Birds and Flowers in the Garden

Wordless Wednesday


Enjoy these pictures of birds and flowers.





Obedience Plant


Purple vine that is new to me, do not know the name but it is lovely.




Birds in the sunflowers. Many times we have Goldfinches who are too shy for the camera.


See the hummingbird? Sometimes we get two or three fighting for territory.


What is in your garden right now?

The Garden’s End

The garden is at its end.

The Morning Glories

We have had a few frosts now and many of the annuals and perennials are done. The morning glories are drooping, the verbena has disappeared.

However, the snap dragons and Mums have stayed the course along with the pansies. The Impatiens on the side of the house are not as glorious but they have dropped off some.

The Impatiens are hunkering down.

What I will start doing this week is cut down peony plants and the Hostas. Most of the time, I leave the plants in the garden and top them with compost and leaves. Some years I cut the stems in the fall and other years I cut and clean out in the spring.

This year, I plan to plant seeds for next spring, cut back plants but leave the greens as a compost ingredient.

Some of my peonies have a white powdery covering. Mildew. These plants will be cut out and burned. I do not need that problem coming back and this is the best method of getting rid of that.

The Front Garden

Just a few weeks ago this front garden was glorious with Black Eye Susan and leafier sunflower plants.

Now, the Petunias are hanging on as the pansies prop them up, color-wise.

What I will do here is keep the Mums and the Sedum as they provide winter interest. The rest, including the sunflower plants, will be cut down.

Shade Garden

Remember that gorgeous shade garden from the spring? You can not see the limited blooms but it is nothing like it was earlier this year.

Here again I will cut down the peonies but leave the greens and cover the bed with compost and leaves rakes from the yard.

Hosta Garden

Hostas have never been my favorite plants. But I am trying to get some different varieties to make this patch more interesting. I am also planning to buy some tulip and hyacinth bulbs to plant for spring interest. Saw the idea in a magazine and I really liked the effect.

Can’t wait to see those results.

Late Blooming Cosmo

Now here are a few last-minute surprises. The Cosmo plant finally bloomed this week. In August, I was jealous of neighbors who had beautiful airy blooms. My plants had nothing. And then, about two weeks ago, I got buds. And now here is the flower. I am not sure it will open completely so I will take what I can get.


Here it is. The last new plant to bloom. A delicate pink zinnia. Whether seeds will come out of this plant is anyone’s guess. But it is a small piece of perfection.

How is the end of your garden?

The Last Planting of the Year

Side view of the front garden for better viewing

Yesterday, I put in the fall mums that will finish off the garden for the year. I made the placement of the new plants to contrast off the existing plants. I am considering getting one more to put in the left corner to balance the view from the front.
This is the last planting of new plants I will do for the year. Soon, I will remove the tomato frames that have held up the peony plants. After that I will cut down those and other perennials that are no longer green.
As the gardening year closes out I am looking at the cosmos plants that grew but never bloomed, the zinnias that are about to bloom, tons of seeds that never produced. I plant to put seeds in this fall that will be next year’s flowers before I put on the final layers of compost and dead leaves.
Sometimes what I will do is leave plants to be winter interest. Plants such as clematis and the peonies. In the spring I clean up the dried out remains that have also protected the bulbs I have layered about. I do put compost on some perennials and the mums in the hope they will come back.
This is also the time of the year I plant bulbs. When I was digging for the mums, I hit some of my tulip bulbs. So I took those out and plan to plant to move them to my hosta bed.
I saw an article this past spring showing how to make that hosta bed better looking in the early spring with a mix of tulips and daffodils. That means I am heading to the garden center with the intention of getting bulbs to make the least loved garden space a little prettier.
Here is my list of plant in the garden this year. Now I can start thinking of what to plant for next year to compliment what is already there.
Bachelor Buttons/Cornflower
Black Eyed Susan
Blackberry Lilies


Four O’Clock
Grape Hyacinth
Morning Glory
Pink Flowering Dogwood Tree
Purple Cone Flower
Purple Obedient Plant
Red Salvia
Spider Wort
Star of Bethlehem
Trailing Geranium
White Cone Flower
White Obedient Plant

The Start of the Fall Garden

My volunteer snapdragons


Now that fall has arrived, my garden is looking different again. 

Once the weather gets cooler my snapdragons find life again. They work in shade or full sun. Both places have worked for me in the past. They are great in the spring, hibernate in the summer and come back in the fall to give it one more try. 

Since we are no longer in 90+ degree weather, these babies decided they could bloom again, profusely. All I can say is “Welcome Back.” 

Sedum Close-up


The Sedum, or Hen & Chicken as my mother called them, has been around the whole season. In the past month, the flower heads have been building. Finally now, they are opening, adding a mauve-y tone to the garden. They will be more visable once I get rid of the sunflowers. I need to do it because their time is really up but I love watching the birds perch on and around them. 

Basil on our porch.


I am not sure this plant is really a fall plant. We have had the Basil growing all summer. But that heat wave took something out of it. Plus we have been grabbing leaves for recipes. Fresh basil on your pizza with thinly sliced tomatoes is wonderful. 

Hot weather left, some rains came and the basil made a comeback. I am not sure what it is about rain. I can keep things watered but a good rain makes plants shake up and get bigger almost instantaneously. I also make sure to pinch off the flowers to keep leaf growth at the fore front. What I need now is a good pesto recipe…

Hello, Up There!

The tall sunflower.


Summer may be winding down but my plants are not. 

Oh, sure some have gone by the wayside that are not great in this heat we are having. The tomatoes are coming in fast and furious from our garden.  But just look at my sunflowers. 

The tallest looks to be eleven or twelve feet tall. In another day or two it will reach the window on the second floor of our house. The smaller ones may only be eight or nine feet tall but they have been great for attracting gold finches. The birds hang upside-down to feed on some of the seeds of the sunflower. 

Full view of the plant


Plus there have been butterflies galore and hummingbirds taking a rest on the stems. That little spot of red you see just under the porch ceiling on the left is the hummingbird feeder my husband has placed to encourage the hummers to come around. 

I have had sunflowers in this patch before but never like this. I have never had the response like this to them before. 

I am beginning to think that I had better remember to grab some seeds from these plants so I can have great sunflowers next year. 

See the dark pink buds at the top?But this is not the only tall plant I have that was unexpected. I have one hollyhock plant that seems determined to make it to eight or nine feet tall. 

Most years this plant gets up to seven feet at the most. But I think the hot weather has encouraged a tremendous growth spurt. 

I assume that the shape and color of the flower would be enticing to hummingbirds as well but I have not seen them around that plant. 

Now if you look carefully, you will see a row of tomatoes on the porch rail. I think that was today’s pick alone. 

There is the tall Hollyhock, by the porch support column.


Here is what I know. By the time the husband gets to bed tonight a number of tomatoes will have been turned into pasta sauce starter which is so nice in the winter when fresh tomatoes are no-where to be found. Sure, they come in from another part of the world but who know where or how long those tomatoes have had to travel. Enough of the “Eat Local” lecture.

How about your garden? Do you have a plant growing way beyond expectation?

My Garden is really growing now. The peony bushes are standing tall and the spider wort grassy stalks are nice and thick.

I have volunteer plants coming up everyday. Some I know right off and others I am taking a guess at who they are. Now I have to decide who gets to stay and who does not!

The Obedience plant which will get a nice stalk of flowers late in the summer. It can also handle when times get dry.

Lets start with the Obedience plant. I like these in the back of the garden because they do get about three feet high. This one will get white flowers that the butterflies love. I have another grouping with darker green leaves that have a light purple flower. Mixed in all of that are the ones that have cross pollinated and have a light pink flower. It is a keeper until the plant roams to far forward.

Sunflower seedlings

Sunflowers can be a great flower. Kids love them and so do the birds.

But a weed is anything that you do not want in a specific patch and I do not want these in this spot.  When they first started coming up I was not sure what they were so I waited to see what the seedlings would be.

There had been a multiple sunflower hanging over that spot last year, so I think my guess is correct. Sometime this week, sadly, these seedlings are being given the boot.

Black Eyed Susan, heat tolerant and quite hardy.

The one corner of my garden always has these Black Eyed Susan’s. I enjoy the oval-shaped leaves that grow in  a cluster. The flowers will come in July all bright yellow with that nice black center.

Their height is only about 2 feet for the plant but the flowers soar another foot after that. I try to get Shasta Daisies in the garden so they can look good off of each other. I have not had any luck getting my Shasta daisies to come back despite mounding with compost in the fall. So in a few weeks I will be buying those and cone flowers to fill in my from periannual bed.

I have more pictures but it will have to wait another day.