Self-Sown Hydrangeas? Really?

A few posts backed I talked about my gardens being weedy. Not only will you see that in these photos but you will see some of the most wilted plants you will ever see. That’s how far we let the plants go before we actually water at our house (as opposed to the neighbors who are watering lawns 3 times a day.) I figure we can balance things out that way.


When I first started noticing these small white blooming hydrangeas, I thought, ‘did I plant those?” It’s not like me to keep such poor records that I don’t have a record of hydrangeas in the garden–after all, they are one of my favorite plants and I must ahve 35 different varieties!


And I’d see things like this–small hydrangeas that were clearly separate plants from all the other plants around them, but with no tag or other identification. I was mystified.

(By the way, don’t you love my “habitat” of weeds?)


And they were everywhere–at different spots in the garden–and they all bloomed white. That’s when it dawned on me. These were self-sown hydrangeas! What a concept!

I don’t think I will get anymore this year because I deadheaded everything before the hurricane that thankfully never arrived. I didn’t want the winds to damage the few blooming plants that I had in the garden this year.

But what a nice bonus a few years of letting the garden go “weedy” has brought me. Also notice all the ferns as well. Once I get some rains and am able to clean this mess out, I will have some great plants left!



Wordless Wednesday


These days, I can’t even park my car overnight without having a spider make a little home for itself.  I’ve remarked before that I know the seasons are changing when I start seeing all these spiders all over. There’s a huge one out the back door of my screen porch. It’s body and legs together are larger than a silver dollar. That’s one web–or worse yet, spider–I don’t want to encounter accidentally.

This actually looks almost like a double web.  There’s one web that stretches from my car to the outer edge of the mirror, and a second that stretches from the lower right hand corner to the upper. I didn’t notice that when I originally took the photo.

Either way, I always feel bad when I have to get in the car and drive. The morning I took this photo, I used the passenger door so that I could alert the spider that something was happening. I went into hiding behind the mirror. I never noticed what happened to the web, but I am sure it was gone by the time I got to work.

These spiders will be around until the first hard freezes. And then, if it warms back up, many of them will be around until the snows. We’ve had a lot of foggy mornings so far so I fear we will have a snowy winter. But that will mean the end to this punishing drought at least.  There are always blessings. I just have to try to remember to tell myself that when it’s snowing!


A New Rose to Love


I picked the wrong year to completely renovate my rose garden, but who could know, back in May when I planted,  that we would have record setting heat on top of a drought? Oh well.  It’s always something in the garden. At least it wasn’t a plague of locusts.

But if you wonder why,  in some of my photos,  the garden is completely overgrown and weedy,  it’s because of those two conditions.  Getting the weeds out of my heavy clay requires so much disruption to the soil that I have just decided not to do it this year.  Once the rains come back, I will take care of it.

And I will talk about some “blessings ” of this approach in a later post.

But one of my new favorite roses is the apricot colored one you see in the above photo. It was sent to me to trial so it is most likely not widely available this year. Look for it next spring. In fact, an internet search showed that it was only available from one retailer this year. Expect much wider distribution next year, particularly if my experience is typical.

The rose is called At Last (At Last Rosa x ‘HORCOGJIL’ USPPAF, Can PBRAF). It is a floribunda rose, from Proven Winners. It will grow to be 3′ tall and wide. And best of all, unlike some many of the easy care roses,  it has a fragrance!

Because this rose bed is newly planted,  it got some supplemental water, but not nearly as much as it should have.  Nevertheless,  all of the new roses that I planted have thrived.

I expect it to do just fine over the winter.  Even my finicky David Austins survived in this spot without extra protection. And should this garden have a tussle with the snowplow as it has in the past, At Last is an “own root” rose! In my climate that’s really something wonderful!

An Unpleasant Surprise While Transitioning the House Plants

In the fall, I try to bring the house plants back inside a few at a time (“few” being a relative term when you have over 100 plants to transition and no staff of gardeners to help you!)


In the process of clearing off a table beneath this spider plant, I noticed that the table top was sticky. In brushing the plant,  I found that it, too, was sticky. A closer inspection found these.

I was shocked for several reasons.  First,  this is not the sort of plant that normally becomes infested with scale. Next, I am usually pretty good at spotting this sort of thing before it gets this out of control.  And finally,  this plant was showing no symptoms of infestation  (other than the sticky honeydew. Notice the droplets on the one leaf right below the scale? That’s classic.) But I move it once a week to water and never noticed.  Yikes!

Prior to taking the plants outside,  this plant hung above an array of succulents.  Those are some of the first to come back inside, which is how I came to find this infestation.

I have cut off all the affected parts (I think) and isolated the plant away from everything else.  No point in taking chances. If all else fails, I will compost it and simply get another.  Spider plants are great air cleaners. I need to have at least one.

But because it seems the “babies ” are the affected parts, I don’t dare root from this plant.  Far better to  cut my losses and start fresh if I need to.  Time will tell.


Wordless Wednesday–Fern Grotto Update


Remember this photo from back in late May? A lot has changed.


Actually it looks much better in this photo than I expected.  Perhaps it’s just my perception that a lot has changed.  Interesting.

For plants that have gone all summer with very little supplemental water,  things aren’t nearly as bad as I feared. Whew!

Do You Know This Tree?


Do you know this tree? It is a Katsura tree. It also comes in a weeping form.

It looks pretty unremarkable now. You can just see touches of its yellow fall color showing up on some of the outer branches.

What’s remarkable is that the leaves are scented,  however.  I have heard this for years but I sort of discounted it. I have never really smelled much of anything from this tree (it’s on my street,  but I have walked by it for years with my dogs.)

Over the years,  I have even picked up hands full of the fallen leaves to sniff to try to find a scent, but nothing.

This year is entirely different.  I can be on the opposite side of the street and get a scent from the tree.

What does it smell like? Some people say chocolate and others say vanilla.  I will just say that it smells sweet.  And it’s not a strong, cloying sweet like some of the plants  (my snake plants come to mind here). It’s just a sweet scent in the air that if I  didn’t know that the tree had fragrant leaves, I would be losing my mind trying to find the flower making the scentrip.

Obviously it is a large tree so it is not right for every home.  But if you have the space for a tree like this, you might consider planting one. It will surprise you.

Nevermind the Garden Psychologist

On Monday,  I talked about my little “problem ” with hay bales and corn stalks. I remarked that I had no idea why I reacted so viscerally to them but I  really disliked seeing them and perhaps I needed a garden psychologist to solve my issue.

Over the long weekend,  I read a column in the Alaska Dispatch News by a Garden Writer colleague. He said that his first September column every year has to be about the dangers of frost and how to save plants for the next year. And I thought that I had  issues with fall!

In the places in Colorado where we vacation every winter,  it has already snowed.  So talk about a lovely place to visit,  but not a lovely place to garden!

So all of this has give me a healthy perspective on my relatively long growing season.  And while it may not make me like those outward signs that fall is coming any better,  at least I am not scrambling around worrying about frost just yet.