August 24, 2010

A Lady, A Maiden, and Fritz

Could you fern fans guess what the title means? Today I'm posting about the ferns in my garden. Above and below are pictures of Athyrium felix-femina, the lady fern.

Lady ferns grow to about 2 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide. The one in my garden gets plenty of water and just an hour or two of early morning sun. It's growing well, which always surprises me when it comes to ferns.

Here are two pictures of Adiantum pedatum (?), or maidenhair fern. This fern is also growing well in almost full shade. I think it's my favorite fern.

There are different types of maidenhair fern, and I can't find the tag to be sure exactly which species I have. Doesn't it look like it belongs next to a waterfall in some gorgeous wild setting? I can't believe it's growing so well in my yard.

Above and below are photos of Athyrium filix-femina 'Frizelliae', or tatting fern. I'd nickname it Fritz, except it's obviously the most delicate and feminine fern in my garden.

The fronds would make a pretty necklace. I bet they'll be pretty in floral arrangements once my little plant gets bigger and I'm willing to sacrifice some fronds for the vase.

Above is a picture of Japanese tassel fern, Polystichum polyblepharum. It's a good thing I'm writing all these names down in a post. If I lose the tags, I'll never be able to remember them. This poor little guy is supposed to get 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide, but he's smaller this year than last year. He probably needs a different spot.

Here is what I think is an ostrich fern frond, Matteuccia struthiopteris. I brought it home from a plant exchange without being sure of the name. Can anyone correct me if I'm wrong? I have it in a pot because I heard that it would take over the yard if I put it into the ground.

This is an interesting little - really little - fern that's supposed to grow in full sun to part shade. I have it in part shade just to be cautious. It's called Dwarf Golden Scale fern, or Dryopteris affinis 'Crispa Gracilis'.

At full size, this fern can get 8-12 inches tall and 10-12 inches wide. Mine is a bit smaller than that, but otherwise doing very well. It does get some hot sun for parts of the day and doesn't seem to mind.
I also have a Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum') in the garden, but forgot to take a picture. Its silvery leaves wouldn't blend in with all the green ferns anyway. But it looks very nice with 'Green Spice' heuchera and 'Blue Angel' hostas. Despite being a die-hard flower lover, I'm very fond of my ferns.

August 16, 2010

Photography Update

My camera setup is a Canon EOS Rebel XS with an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens. I took the advice of the photography books I read and bought a base model camera but splurged on the lens. Above is a picture of a bud on the english rose 'Eglantyne'.

Actually, I got the camera with the 18-55IS kit lens for Christmas 2008. Then I bought the higher quality lens in November 2009 after my photographer friend Randi suggested it. Above is a shot of 'Blue Mirror' delphinium.

The new lens is SO MUCH better than the kit lens! It is sharper and captures colors more vividly. Because it goes down to a low f-stop (2.8 - that makes a narrow field of focus), I can blur the background to make the subject pop. Even wooly time groundcover (above) looks pretty.

I still rely on Photoshop Elements 7 to edit my photos and get them ready for posting. Then I sharpen them in Picasa 3, because that saves them in whatever format Picasa uses and ensures that they don't lose color when they upload onto the net. Above is 'Green Jewel' coneflower with 'Caradonna' salvia in the background.

I know there's still a lot to learn about photography, but it's fun to look back and see how far I've come in the past couple of years. Never mind that it's easy to come a long way when you're starting from zero! Learning this new form of creative expression has helped me avoid the mommy-mush-brain that sometimes creeps in when I do nothing but change diapers and wipe up spilled milk. Above is a shot of luscious 'William Shakespeare 2000' rose blooms.

I don't take nearly as many pictures of my children as I do of my garden. Sorry, kiddos. But I do catch some nice shots here and there. Above is my youngest daughter in the evening light. If you look closely, you can see my arms and camera reflected in each of her eyes. And speaking of my little monkeys, I need to get off the computer now and go buy school supplies.

August 14, 2010

Vivid West Garden in Midsummer

I was really excited to see how the vivid violet-lavender-golden-peach-rose west pathway garden would turn out this year (I posted about it here and here last summer). I shouldn't have had such high expectations. Of course everything is still small and there's a lot of bare earth showing. The peachy-yellow 'Crown Princess Margareta' roses haven't started growing up their trellises, so there isn't much height, either. This is the view when looking south.

Good thing I planted some boring old pink petunias, as they are providing the main color right now. In this shot you can also see lavender 'Blue Clips' campanula and violet 'May Night' salvia. I had two salvias come up from seed this year - obviously 'May Night' can reseed, though not very heavily.

This photo is from a month ago, when my 'Lady Emma Hamilton' rosebush was blooming. You're looking toward the north. In the foreground are the last blooms of golden 'Stella d'Oro' daylilies. My 'Apricot Sparkles' daylilies haven't bloomed at all this year. I cut them up into little sections while transplanting last fall, so hopefully they just need some time to get up to blooming size.

The 'Hush Little Baby' daylilies are finishing up their heavy bloom period. The flowers are smaller this year than last, probably because of being transplanted. These poor daylilies have been moved 5 or 6 times since I ordered them online several years ago. I think they're finally settled for a while.

I also divided my 'Early Sunrise' coreopsis clumps into tiny pieces when transplanting, so they're pretty small this year. A few cheerful flowers have shown up, though. All of this dividing should pay off in a year or two, when I'll have 3 plants of each type blooming in matching clumps (6 plant total) across the flagstone path. Plus a dozen total of the salvias and 8 of the catmints.

Here is a daylily's backside with lavender 'Walker's Low' catmint in the background. The new little catmint clumps are finally starting to fill out and cover some bare ground. Next year they'll be the perfect size, and by the next year they'll probably need to be divided.

Here is the first bloom from the 'Excentric' dahlias. They should get going and be pretty for a couple of months before the frost zaps them in October. Remember the rosy-orange dahlias I gushed about last summer? Although I dug up the tubers last fall, I never got around to storing them properly and they froze to death in the garage. This fall I'll probably just let these tubers go and order new ones next spring.

I waited a day to post this so I could get a photo of a peachy 'Smoky Mountain Autumn' daylily and show that not everything in this bed is pink . . . but even SMA looks pink today! Good thing I like pink.

August 4, 2010

Peachy-Keen Flowers

I seem to remember using the phrase 'peachy-keen' in elementary school. It was a pretty way of saying 'cool!'

Although I haven't used that phrase in years, it seemed like a good way to describe the flowers for today's post.

The first three photos are all of delphinium 'Princess Caroline'. Although these shots are pretty, the plants aren't growing very well for me. That probably has something to do with me not staking this year . . .

Here is a shot of the first flowers on astilbe 'Peach Blossom'. Doesn't it look more pink than peach? Bluestone Perennials says that this cultivar is the best for handling dry conditions, so when I saw a pretty plant at Lowe's for a good price, it came home with me.

This is a bud of the daylily 'Millie Schlumpf'. I have three Millies planted next to some Pink Double Delight coneflowers, and I really wasn't sure how the colors would work together. But the peach and mauve-pink are looking good along with periwinkle 'Rozanne' geranium flowers.

Here's an open flower from Millie in the warm evening light. My daylilies are mostly planted in the front yard, so they all got transplanted when we relandscaped this spring. They're sending out some blooms, but not an overwhelming amount. Next year will be better.

This is an 'Abraham Darby' rose up close. Imagine a sweet citrus scent to go along with the flounce of petals.

All of these peach flowers are making me excited to see the blooms on my new 'Kopper Kettle' peony (leaves shown above). Click the name to see pictures at Monrovia's website. Isn't it going to be beautiful next spring! It had better be, for the price I paid.