More Lilies. the longiflorum asiatic 'royal fantasy' lilies by the front door started blooming late last week. they're a wonderful contrast to the pixies by the front step. but i confess i'm a little disappointed that they are more buff than yellow. apparently i was sucked in by the catalog photo and didn't notice that the description does in fact read 'soft yellow to cream' [emphasis mine]. they're beautiful anyway.
the chinese trumpet 'regale' lilies are less than happy with their situation. too much shade, i fear. they're very nearly horizontal to the ground, stretching towards the light. one has a good sized bud and i think it will bloom; i'm less certain of the others. i'll definitely relocate them, i'm just not sure when the best time is to dig them up.
Wireless Garden. been busy with various non-gardening activities this week, not least of which was getting our two home computers (an ancient mac powerbook and a not-quite-as-ancient dell inspiron) to recognize the 'wireless world.'
after a couple of days, three (or was it four) trips to the computer store, one fedex delivery and too many four-letter words, we are a wireless household. so now i can sit outside, admiring the plants, watching the lizards and reading the gardenweb forums. and darin can sit inside watching cnn and surfing his own sites.
Star Jasmine and Honeysuckle. the star jasmine (trachelospermum jasminoides) is just starting to bloom between the back door and garage. only a few flowers are open yet, but the entire thing is covered with buds. you can already smell a hint of the fragrance -- it will be almost overpowering in a few more days.
this is just about exactly the same date it bloomed last year.
the coral honeysuckle (lonicera sempervirens) by the back door is close to blooming, too. but it has only one cluster of buds to show so far. the japanese honeysuckle next to it would be blooming right now if i weren't pinching off the tips every few days.
it's a nice enough looking tree -- great clusters of white flowers right now; later it will have bright red berries. but it has the wickedest thorns of just about any plant i've ever encountered. and it grows so much we have to prune it three or four times a year to allow access to the passenger side of our vehicles and to avoid snapping off auto antennas when we back out of the garage (replaced one antenna already).
Blueberries, Blackberries and General Busy-ness. darin has gotten on a "let's grow our own fruit" kick and decided we need berries in the backyard. specifically, blackberries. i like eating blackberries, but i have traumatic childhood memories of picking wild blackberries and being simultaneously shredded by the briars and eaten by mosquitoes. and ticks. so i did my darndest to talk him out of blackberries.
blackberries being scarce in the nurseries -- apparently it's getting late for putting them in the ground around here -- we instead bought two blueberry bushes on friday. one "becky blue" and one "tifblue". however, after much searching on saturday, darin finally brought home a blackberry -- "black satin". lo and behold, black satin is thornless.
on the schedule for next weekend -- construction of a blueberry bed smack-dab in the middle of the backyard. bye-bye grass!
Ladybug Larva. this afternoon i noticed one of the cats sitting on the couch staring intently at the library book i had left there (requiem for a lawnmower). taking a closer look, i see an odd bug scurrying across the cover. looking even more closely (i really do need to wear glasses), i decide it looked like the larva of a ladybug.
so i gently brush it onto my finger and head outside where i know a veritable feast-o-aphids awaits just such a guest. (a couple of the unplanted peppers are hosting aphid herds, although the aphids don't -- yet -- seem to be doing any damage.) i deposited the baby ladybug on a pepper, guided it towards the nearest aphid and was very pleased to witness the rapid demise of said aphid.
checking back a bit later, the ladybug larva was still hanging around and i only spotted one aphid where before there had been a small herd (well, six or eight or so).
Wind Woes. it's been very windy here for the last few days and my poor sugar snap peas are suffering. i've tied them to the supports, but the silly things keep growing and i can't go any higher. they've started blooming (finally) and are producing pods but now i'm afraid that the repeated wind abuse will permanently damage / break off the upper growth.
i have great plans for next year -- we're going to construct some sort of a-frame alongside the compost piles. then i'll plant the sugar snaps on the yard-side. i put a couple of vines there this year as an experiment, not really expecting success because the ground is so compacted and clay-y there, but the peas don't seem to mind at all and are doing wonderfully (except for the wind problems).
Tulipa batalinii "Bright Gem". they started blooming last week along the front walk; five or six are open today despite overcast, drizzling skies. two from the group belatedly planted in the driveway beds are also blooming, with others looking promising. but no sign of the group planted by the walkway on that day. i think they were consumed by squirrels and / or rampaging liriope.
this may be my favorite species tulip yet. more on that later.
some, but not all, of the daisy, forget-me-not and bee balm seedlings
planted the coral honeysuckle (lonicera sempervirens) by the back door trellis between the two hall's honeysuckle (slated for removal / composting) -- yes, this is the trellis being patrolled by the scary bug
planted the carolina jessamine (gelsemium sempervirens) in the backyard -- by the east fence / fig tree
cleaned up bed in front of the house and the driveway bed
trimmed lantana, salvias, pentas and mexican heather
cut off old liriope foliage and divided / composted excess
reapplied mulch / sifted compost
transplanted an ill-placed mexican firebush (hamelia patens) from the center of the front bed to the north end of the driveway bed
planted some of my purchases from the mercer plant sale
put the coreopsis grandiflora in the driveway bed
salvia urtica in the front bed, by the doorstep
2 penstemon tenuis center back of the front bed
2 phlox divaricata front bed, east corner
2 salvia greggii "coral" front bed, west side, near the crape myrtle
one of these has taken up residence in the honeysuckle on the trellis by the back door. it is very disconcerting to come eye-to-eye with this creature. i would relocate the bug, but as i said, it's darned scary looking. even the cats won't mess with it.