Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This Morning at Pink Gardens

I gleefully share my gardens with the birds, the bees, and the butterflies. Here, the shimmer of this honeybee's wings can just be seen above him.

"Geranium Row" in the front yard. I made a border to the large central perennial garden with these pots of geraniums. The blue lobelia is on loan as I nurse it back to health after a deer "attack" at its home in Leete's Island. I'm sort of a plant whisperer to friends. These are the "annual" geraniums I winter in the attic. They're going on 12 years old now.

What I refer to as one of my heirloom marigolds. I have saved the seeds every year since the 1970s. I'm essentially growing clones every year. I have two different varieties but their blossoms always vary a lot on each plant. They're strong and obviously have good plant DNA!

This simple-petaled dahlia adds a lot of color to the garden.

The bees really love zinnias, too.

Fresh multi-petaled magenta dahlia. They change almost hourly throughout their lifespan. 

Bright orange zinnia. The flowers are miniature, about an inch wide, but the plants are 2-3 feet tall.

I planted some zinnia seeds in a pot of marigolds this spring and they're just starting to bloom together.

An almost perfect geranium globe.


 "Put a ring on it!" Each zinnia flower is unique. They're great fun to grow and peruse.

This pink zinnia has a full seven layers of petals. No cake frosting though!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Shocker in the Garden!

Why is this beautiful Heavenly Blue morning glory a "shocker?" I grow them every year, right? Well, this plant was eaten by rabbits more than a month ago, lol! They ate the vines at the bottom of the plant, separating what had been climbing on my garden fence from the roots. Every single vine was chomped off. The plant itself was in a container, which I moved into a more protected part of the garden, the "garden within the garden" that June put in two years ago. But the vines on the fence withered and died. Until this morning! This beautiful flower caught my eye and I realized it's blooming and growing without the help of any roots! Not only does it have this flower, but there are more buds to come and the leaves and vine itself are regenerating at the ends. I've never seen anything like it. I think the vines must be getting water from the rain and perhaps that's all it really needs. I really can't believe it!

Fresh and new green leaf coming out of a vine that has been dead for more than a month. Not attached to the ground in any way. 

Look at the growth above the flower! New green vines, more buds forming, and all without the help of the plant itself or any roots. I've Googled this oddity and can't find anything about glory vines growing without roots!

This green, fresh vine is dead at the end of it just a few feet away where the rabbits ate the vine and separated it from the ground. So odd but I'm not complaining!

Monday, August 11, 2014

They're Back! (Along with a New Friend)

The swallowtails are back this season. The butterfly bush June planted when she lived here really attracts them during these hot days.

They always seem to lose one of the "tails" though. I think it's rough being a butterfly!

This Spicebush swallowtail was also missing one of its wing "tails." This one kept feeding on the butterfly bush and then flitting down to the ground to rest!

Seen for the first time by me (anywhere) and for the first time at Pink Gardens is this moth known as a Hummingbird moth. It really does resemble the variety of hummers we get here with its green neck and non-stop wings. 

It was hard to get a decent photo since they move like a hummer too, very nervously flitting from flower to flower and the wings never stop beating.

If you couldn't see the antennae you'd swear this was a baby hummingbird. That's what I thought it was at first!

Apparently these are the moths from the hornworm caterpillars that can eat every leaf on a tomato plant in two days if you don't find them first. Oddly, though we have the adult moth, I never had to pick off any caterpillars this year. For more information about these moths, click here.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August Scenes Around Town


I've been riding my bike a lot this summer, losing some weight and trying to tire myself out so I sleep better. Very stressful summer and every little bit helps! Above, a sailboat off of my town enjoying the gorgeous weather we've had. In the distance along the horizon can just be seen the shores of Long Island, New York. I believe the Sound is about 12-15 miles wide at this point. It's only quick to get their via boat, though. Otherwise you have to drive down closer to Manhattan and take a ferry or drive all the way to Queens and then take the Long Island Expressway out along the island. We used to take our boat when I was a kid. We'd tie up at a marina, walk around, and find a nice place for lunch. It would be nice to have that life today! 

There is a new nature walk/bike way near me. This is a typical section of it, about 10-12 feet wide with that hard stone and sand surface. It meanders along the marshes and woods and ends up at the state beach in town, Hammonasset State Park, which is free to enter if you're walking or on your bike.


Along the walk are a few centuries old stone walls, "capped" by larger stones now so the walk can go over them. I love New England for these stone walls. Often they're in woods now, with the former pastures long since given over to forest. 

Someone may have thrown some flower seeds along the nature walk. This is a pretty pink bachelor's button I found.

Another typical view along the walk. So far, during the week, it's almost empty. I run into a few walkers and fellow bike riders but not many.

This beautiful magenta Cosmos was also blooming along the path. 

A lovely vista of the saltwater meadows through the trees. This is what the land is like along our local shoreline—many marshes with what look like islands of land among them. I can't imagine not living in this area as much as I enjoyed Manhattan and Los Angeles in my adventurous younger years.

In the distance what appears to be a frail wooden teepee frame is an Osprey nest. They dot our shorelines. I believe they may be endangered which is why so many towns have erected these permanent nests for them and they're illegal to approach. Some have webcams I believe!

My Victorian cast-iron planters are doing very well this year! With the exception of the geranium and the bright yellow lantana, the rest of the plants are all saved from previous years, and I'll save that geranium this year. In the fall I take a lot of cuttings of my "annuals" and keep them alive during the winter in water. Then in the spring I don't have to buy things I can't afford anyway!

 The right hand planter is especially balanced looking this year.

This pretty little rose is in a container in the backyard. The chipmonks devastated it wherever else I placed it!

My Tiger daylilies are just bountiful this year. They look like they're dancing in the wind sometimes. 

My trusty all-aluminum Schwinn steed! Bought for $75 five years ago at the thrift store in town, I've more than gotten my "investment" back. I really love this bike.

Another beautiful vista of the beach. That's Clinton and Westbrook in the distance.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Sunflowers. New Piece Finished!

My Sunflowers, 23 x 23 inches on industrial paneled plywood. Images include sunflowers I've grown in my gardens as well as members of my family and photographs from my collection. There's a pale yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly worked in as well, and it perfectly blends in with the sunflowers.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sparkly Things: Vintage Gold Mesh Bags

I really don't know anything about these vintage gold mesh handbags. They were my mom's, bought in the 1950s, and are still like-new. One of them actually still has a little blue sales tag on it! The maker is "Whiting & Davis, Co" and they're still in business. I've always liked to hold these bags, even as a child. They're slinky! They're cool to the touch, have nice linings, and one has a little mirror inside wrapped in the same gold satin as the lining. The history of the company can be found, here. Apparently beginning in the 1950s the company started gifting each new First Lady with their gold mesh bags, but with diamond clasps...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MoreColour!

I call these dahlias in my garden "fraternal twins." They're both blooming on the same plant but are opposites of each other, one light pink with darker pink center and the other darker pink with a lighter center.

June may have moved but her Butterfly bush is doing splendidly! Of course she checks it weekly to make sure I'm taking care of it, lol.

This dahlia is a beautiful creamy white until it fully opens and ages, then this yellow with a bit of pink shows up. I find dahlias utterly fascinating to grow. I hope I'm able to grow them for years to come. 

 This dahlia has very simple petals but I love it. It has a very Sixties "Flower Power" shape to it.

One of the Victorian cast-iron planters in front of Pink Gardens. I outdid myself this year if you ask me, lol! Almost everything in these planters is rooted in water all winter inside and then replanted in the spring. This is a brand new geranium, though, and the yellow Lantana is new as well. I do well with a zero budget! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Flying By

This pretty magenta/red Beebalm is new to the garden this year. They stand about 4-feet tall and should multiply readily through the years. I did some gardening for a friend and she wanted a bunch of these taken out so they could see traffic better from the driveway. She put them in a bucket and I brought them home and planted them!

One of my dahlias this year is this pink variety. This one seemed to be wearing a cap. Those two petals never fully unfurled in the right direction.

A very wet dark orange marigold is home to this bright green insect. You see the coolest little things when you look.

My other marigold variety this year is this solid orange one. I've been growing the same marigold strains for about 10 years. Dried flowers can be picked and very easily harvested for seeds. 

Some of the sedum is beginning to blossom.

So far we've had mostly squash flowers, but I see two small fruit finally starting to form.

The day lilies were fast this year. This is a few days ago and they're almost done blooming already. Hundreds of stems to deadhead now!

I planted an old onion this spring and this came up. I have no idea if the same onion will be in the ground of if there will be a few of them. I've never grown onions before.

Tomatoes are coming along pretty well. My cherry tomato bush doesn't look healthy all of a sudden. These are full size "Mountain Fresh Air" and are supposed to be very large, bright red, and juicy...