Tag Archives: Mums

Mums the Word As We Look Back on 2012

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Well, I didn’t put in a new shade garden in front this year, and I’m not sure I will in 2013. Audrey has grown cold on that particular project.

But, there is a larger area under a fairly young redbud tree in back, a space too shady for grass.  The spot is in a corner of the yard, which would make it easy to divide off a new, shady flower bed. Yes indeed, there may be more shade plants in a new garden next year—we’ll see.

For now, farewell to the year 2012 in the garden. As years go, you were a hard one. There was less animal damage than in many previous years—no bunnies living under the deck right now. But it was an arid and harsh year—a year that tried the health of many a plant.

Many of my young trees quietly expired in the arid ground. Not all, to be sure, so there is some hope for next year.

Today, I raked (mostly for fun—I had done a more thorough job yesterday, and today’s raking was merely so grandchildren could play in the leaves). Then, I shot photos of the few remaining flowers, and after that watered.

With two freezing nights, including a hard freeze, you might wonder at that. But they (they being the horticulture guys on Iowa Public Radio) say you should water new grass until November, which is a bit of a ways away.

Well, we have two chances for rain this week—may both bring some much needed moisture to this parched land. A dry 2013 after an arid 2012 would be heartbreaking.


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Garden Monsters: Kitties, Mums in June and Zombie Trees


U-571 from Wikipedia. Not the best WWII movie, but WWII nonetheless.

Honestly, today was far less productive than it should have been. I made the mistake of turning on AMC while getting dressed, and some U-Boat movie that I had never seen was starting.

Clearly, I am not one to be trusted around U-Boat movies.

I was going to go on a long bike ride. It was hot, and I only went on a short one. I was going to spread mulch all over the gardens and yard. Well, I did start and get the front done—but there is much to do in the back. I mowed, hoping it will rain tonight.

Anyway, it was an odd day, as hot days sometimes are. A really hot day gives you a sense of unreality, like you’re breathing used air, humid, sticky; sustained thought and sustained effort seem impossible.

Yup, that kind of day, and then there were kittens.

I had finished breakfast by around 10 a.m. (yes, that kind of morning) when I glanced outside and there were three animals checking out the deck—young cats. They moved quickly and showed no interest in the house, so my count was approximate, but suddenly there were kittens on my deck. I snapped a photo with my phone and messaged it (yes, on a phone, “message” is a verb) to Audrey.

As quick as they appeared, the kittens were gone.

A U-boat movie and quick bike ride later, and I was starting my lawn chores—and there they were, two kittens, snuggling in a corner of the yard.

Kitten 1

Kitten one in corner of the yard.


Kitten number two.

Where did they come from? Where is mom? Why my deck? I’m more of a cat person than a dog person, but mostly I’m a recovering former animal owner, and I have no desire to have custody of additional mammals. I’m hoping mom appears soon and the kittens go home.

It’s odd that after writing a blog post earlier this week about monster cats, suddenly kittens are infesting my deck.

But wait, there’s more. Today is the day of the zombie trees.

OK, that’s not so mysterious. I planted six trees in the backyard this spring, not because I needed to, but because I had six trees to plant. Anyway, two of them immediately died, for all appearances. But I know from experience that small trees sometimes go into transplant shock and drop all their leaves, but later bounce back, so I waited. I’ve been waiting for weeks.

And, as you can see, the dead walk, or leaf, again.

A tree

Don’t know what it is, yet, it’s leaves have not open. Some sort of maple?

Tree two

Tree two: A bit ahead. Clearly a maple.

We’re not done with odd appearances, blog fans. Besides two zombie trees coming back to life, there is also a pretty little flower, shown, blooming. OK, you say, so? It’ s a mum. In Iowa, a fall flower. Blooms that you usually see in September. The last thing blooming in the garden before an October killing freeze.

Fall flower

First day of summer–time for fall flowers? A mum out of season.

Today, the longest day, the start of summer—maybe I should have tried to balance an egg, or is that the equinox? Anyway, it was an oppressively hot, cat-infested monster of a day in which odd things happened. I drank the penultimate Fat Tire. It helped. I hope in the morning that the kittens have moved on.


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Some Bugs and Early Mums

New butterfly, visiting for Ben's 18th birthday, in front garden, near base of redbud tree. Had been on flowers, didn't catch it there.

Back to a lighter blog post, mostly garden photos.

In keeping with the butterfly theme, here is a new arrival. I noticed it in some planters we have, but it had moved by the time I got the camera—later, found it in the rocks where the new bushes were planted to replace the evergreens. Don’t know what kind it is.

Hornet on Hydrangea. Yes, I was brave and took this photo.

In keeping with the bug theme, next, a wasp on a Hydrangea. The front bush is in bloom and perfuming the yard, and is very popular with dangerous looking insects.

Other than that, the one new thing in the garden is an early Mum. They seem to usually bloom in September until a hard freeze, but this pretty rusty one—planted last year—is blooming early.

After that, here are some random recent flowers, with captions. Hope you enjoy!

Eary Mum. Most of mine are yellow, I like this rust color.

Hibiscus in bloom. Labeled "hardy" but dies to ground each year, but has large, dramatic flowers.

Rose of Sharon, a smaller type of Hibiscus, but hardier. This bush is about 5 feet tall now--the 3 Hibiscus bushes of this type that we have seem to grow up rather than spread much. All 3 are in bloom, will have a couple of photos of another one later.

Blackeyed Susans are in full bloom right now.

Another Rose of Sharon type Hibiscus, this one at the bottom of the retaining wall.

I think this is not only the same bush, it may be the same flower ...

The baby-an update. The Catalpa is probably more than 6 inches tall, pretty good grown for what was a seed in February.

They're grown for their shape, not their flowers, but Spider Plants can have daintly little flowers, too. This is one on a hanging plant by our back fence.

Final image--Geranium. Somehow, I think it looks more intersting almost spent. Geraniums are Audrey's plants, but they do give a cheerful look to our planters.


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