Monday, September 28, 2009

Birthday Gardening Gifts, Part 1

Today is my 31st birthday, and all of the sweet, generous people in my life have done such nice things for me! Naturally, many of them are gardening-related. Check out my two gifts from my husband, Scott:
1. A huge, incredibly sturdy contraption for growing peas (fall/winter) and cucumbers (summer) in one of the existing raised beds:
(This picture is taken from above. This is a 4x4 raised bed.)

2. A waterfall for the pond:
I love the sound of the water! The waterfall basin is partially filled with rocks to create a bathing area for birds. I can't wait until it gets cold enough for the mosquitoes to die so we can really enjoy this area!
Is he sweet or what?! Part 2 of this post will be gardening gifts from my other friends and family - I am spoiled!
Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Special Occasion

We recently attended the wedding reception of our friends Emilie and Matt at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Even though I lived thirty minutes from this gem the three years I was in Alabama for law school, I didn't know it existed! Such a shame, because it is a huge, beautiful place, and we didn't get much time to explore since I wanted to catch up with my law school friends! We'll just have to go back!
Here is one of the beds near the entrance:
There are numerous large greenhouses. One was filled with camellias, one with cacti, and one with tropical plants. Here are some bananas growing in the latter greenhouse:
Scott is 6'3" or 6'4". This was a tall cactus:
A view of the cactus greenhouse:
The rose garden is huge and smells wonderful. Here is about a quarter of it:

Here are just a few roses of the hundreds they grow:

Look at this thick trunk:

I love this reflection pool. There were a few different types of lilies in it, and this grassy plant I suspect is papyrus but might be umbrella plant.

Since we didn't have much time, we elected to spend it running around looking at a few more things rather than taking pictures. My favorite part of the Gardens was the large vegetable garden. It was really hard to avoid the temptation to pick some of the plentiful ripe veggies! Turns out they donate the produce to a food bank.
Anyway, since we were dressed up, I had my friend Jenny take pictures of us for a possible Christmas card photo. What do y'all think?
I am horrible at fake smiles, so Scott is tickling me in the picture below to try to coax a real smile:
Not exactly Christmas card material, but hilarious!

Anyway, the BBG was a cool place and I would definitely recommend it if you're in the area. It's free. Have a great week!

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Late Summer Blooms

It's amazing how quickly things change in the garden. Just last week, I posted Late Summer Blooms. None of the below flowers were blooming then!
These spider lilies grow wild around here, but mine came from family friend Lynn Clark. They took two years to flower and I was sure the squirrels had gotten them! It's really neat to see these thick stems rise out of the ground with no foliage.
The two sedum above were gifts from a garden blogging friend, KMG. She sent me a great variety in late June, and they are already blooming!
This is a pass-along from my mom. She calls it Ginger Lily and a friend calls it a Canna. I don't know what it is, but it is beautiful and care-free.
Last but not least, nasturtiums started from seed ages ago are blooming! Apparently these do better in the middle of the vegetable garden than in a pot - at least at my house, where pots tend to get neglected.
Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Small Surprises

I looked out the kitchen window a few days ago and noticed a bird in the new beautyberry bush next to the pond. Scott and I have no idea what kind of bird this is, since it's fuzzy like a baby bird, but huge. Hmm... As you can see from the picture below, apparently the bird likes the berries! Good thing I didn't buy this plant purely for the decorative aspect!
It's amazing how quickly wildlife will flock to a new birdfeeder, birdbath, or natural food source. I should add breeding place to that list, because a frog has already laid eggs in the pond and they have hatched! The tadpoles are so tiny that I couldn't get a picture of them. When they are a little bigger, I'll scoop some up in a cup and take a picture then.

In other small news, assorted mini bell peppers planted from seed back in March are finally fruiting:
The seeds were a mix of red, green, and chocolate baby bells. The problem is that since I don't know what color the fruits are supposed to be on any of the plants, I have no idea when to harvest! Above and below are two plants which appear to be producing different colored peppers. They are still quite firm, which makes me think they aren't quite ripe yet... but who knows?!
The eggplants aren't new, but the babies are so cute I couldn't help including one here:

Hope you're all having a great week!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Late Summer Blooms

I planted these two hydrangeas this spring, and they have bloomed all summer long! The white flowers are supposed to turn blush pink, but haven't. Hydrangeas are a rare flower I can cut and bring inside that the kitties will leave alone. (They especially love daisies!)
This rose has bloomed on and off since late March.
The last daylily of the year came up in the middle of some monkey grass a friend dug up and gave me to edge a bed. That's a tag-a-long I don't mind!
The hot pink crape myrtle next to our driveway makes me smile every morning when I leave for work:
Gallo Peach Blanketflower, bought on sale at Lowe's for $2 recently:
Butterfly bush is doing much better this year with regular dead-heading, but the blooms are still diminutive. Maybe it's a dwarf variety.
I cut the black eyed susans back a month ago. Some of the plants went dormant for the year (at least that is what I'm telling myself!), and some of them put on a new flush of blooms:
Variegated shrimp plant bought on sale recently:
Four-O-Clocks, which grow as a perennial here, and smell awesome:
Have a great weekend!