Monday, July 30, 2012

And Baby Makes Three

That is three fish!

We never came up with names for them.  Then, in early July, our six year old nephew named them Flame and Princess.  He had visited them before and was quite concerned that we didn't have names for the fish.  I don't know if he gave a lot of thought to naming them or if the names just came to him on his return visit.

Flame on the right (more orange on its back).
Princess on the left.

He seemed certain that they were a boy and a girl.

Well........Flame and Princess decided to start a family.
No name yet for baby lionhead.

My wonderful husband and I were quite surprised to find this little one.
It has the same feathery tail as its parents.  I know the video is short, but baby lionhead is just too cute!

We don't know much about fish breeding.  After a quick internet search, we're certain Flame and Princess are the parents.  This little life had to have started after they were in our garden.  Considering the time it takes for goldfish eggs to hatch, this one's egg did not travel in with a plant.  We're also wondering how many of their young they ate.  So far, we've only see this one.  We're pretty sure it is too large to be eaten now.  We understand fish usually lay a lot of eggs and consume many of them.

No idea if Princess it the mommy or the daddy.  Ditto on Flame.

I hope our nephew can come up with another name.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tomatoes On Pause

The high temperatures are keeping the tomatoes from producing.  Our local extension agent is constantly telling people that tomatoes just don't do well in the heat we've been experiencing.  I can deal with the zucchini dying, but I really would like to have some tomatoes.

Last Wednesday, we got sprinkles.  The front gave us cooler temperatures for a day, but not real moisture.  As you can see in the video below, I'm watering while I'm recording.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Champion Photo

Earlier this summer, I shared some 'flowing water' photos I took during a vacation.

I just had to report back that this one earned me the champion ribbon in amateur adult photography at our county fair.  It was rated first for the landscape category.  I was so surprised.  The judge said my lighting was great.  He/she (I have no idea who the judge was) had only one critique.  He/she thought the tree trunks in the corner were distracting.  I kind of like them.  Maybe that was just a personal preference comment.  

I put this photo on my computer's desktop.  The memory of how cold the water in that stream was helps when we hit over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Some Heat Lovers

Some flowers love the heat given the right amount of moisture.

My Mexican hat flowers from Melanie at There's No Place Like Home are blooming and producing seed.  I give them a little extra water as this is their first year in the garden.

Yellow Cosmos-Klondyke Mix, "Cosmos sulphureus," (Asteraceae)
I received seeds for these from a business associate in Tennessee.  He has acres of them in his wildflower meadows for butterfly habitats.  Loving the bright color.

Our native annual sunflower.  No extra water.  It is obviously fine on its own.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Patio Oasis

In other Saturday news from Garden on Sherlock Street, we spotted our first hummingbird.  The photo isn't great because I just grabbed the camera and shot it through the patio door to document it.

Here's the forecast for the next week:

Tonight Mostly clear, with a low around 72. South wind 8 to 16 mph.
Sunday Sunny and hot, with a high near 107. South southwest wind 9 to 16 mph.
Sunday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 74. South southeast wind 6 to 15 mph.
Monday Sunny and hot, with a high near 104. Breezy, with a south wind 6 to 11 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.
Monday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 75. South wind 10 to 15 mph.
Tuesday Sunny and hot, with a high near 105.
Tuesday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 78.
Wednesday Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 104.
Wednesday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 74.
Thursday A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 99.
Thursday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 73.
Friday Sunny and hot, with a high near 100.
Friday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 75.
Saturday Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 100.

Hot.  Dry.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

King Of The Flower Tower

While the birds (and a squirrel) frequent the garden for water, the insect population has dwindled (except for squash bugs which I hunt on a regular basis).  Only a few butterflies and bees are seen on the flowers.  Barely any fireflies blink in the night.  I was very happy to find this little fellow on a purple hyacinth bean vine flower atop the flower tower recently.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Same Conditions

Hot.  Dry.  Watering Restrictions.  Burn Bans.  Well Levels.  Wind.  Sun.

It seems everyone uses the above words or phrases every day around here.

Not being said:  Rain, humid, cool front, umbrella, wet.

Our city's year round water conservation has protected us from emergency watering restrictions so far.  Neighboring towns are really taking some drastic measures to keep their water supplies available for necessity.
My water bill is higher.  I'm watering everyday.  Soaking an area each day so it can withstand the conditions until it gets a turn again.  Never watered:  the lawn, the alley, most of the wild area and the area featured below.

While I have many drought tolerant plants in the garden, it is not a complete xerioscape landscape.  Here's an example:

Same sun, soil and water.

Drought tolerant plant on the left.
Thirsty plant on the right.
What a contrast.

Lily of the Valley looked great this spring and smelled wonderful by the front porch.  It needs water, shade and cooler weather for the foliage to stay nice all year.  It gets afternoon shade.  If we would get rain, the roof of the porch runs off in this area.  Next spring, it will likely perform well again with some moisture, but right now it is crispy.

Russian Sage dies to the ground each winter here and regrows and blooms in the summer.  I give it no extra water.  It likes full sun but does well with morning sun here.  It is looking good and will be there when the pollinators start returning.

I need more plants like the Russian Sage.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Flower Tower Video

Since much of the garden is looking dry and brown, as I'm sure you noticed in the tour post; this video has only healthy green plants.

After watching this video, I spied some heart shaped leaves.  I think I have a morning glory in one of the pots.  Totally possible as I mix my potting soil with the compost that forms from throwing all the plant cuttings in the area where my morning glories grow.  I've been pulling morning glory plants out of a lot of the containers this year.  I'll leave this one.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Round Three On The Containers

We missed out on any real rain here when the front came through Saturday.  .02" is all our rain gauge recorded.  It is cooler though.  That will help by just not stressing the plants with heat and wind.  Time for the next round of soaker hoses.  In the meantime, here's round three on the containers.  For the most part, they're doing well.

Look for the purple highlighted notes for the latest container news.

yellow pursalane and white angelonia

As of July


left on ground: purple fountain grass
right on ground: green sweet potato vine and dichondra silver falls
hanging baskets: jacob's coat and purple and white verbena

In June:  The baskets are not doing well.  Birds keep picking on the plants.

As of July

Dichondra silver falls is doing great with the sweet potato vine and the baskets are recovering.  The birds have stopped picking on these baskets.


yellow calibrocha, vinca vine cuttings and purple hyacinth bean seeds

As of July


purple sweet potato vine

As of July

I moved the hanging baskets of ice plant to this area and have them wrapped in bird netting to let them recover from being picked on.


vitex seeds

In June:  The vitex seeds never sprouted.  I have some cuttings of dichondra silver falls in here now and will try the vitex seeds somewhere else.

As of July

The dichondra silver falls cutting is in there.  I added some pursalane too.


galvanized bucket on ground: pink verbena and pink diascia
hanging baskets: spider plant and fuschia vinca

In June:  The baskets are doing great.  I moved the galvanized bucket to a spot next to the locust tree.

As of July


purple fountain grass and creeping jenny

As of July

The creeping jenny gave up in the heat, but the purple fountain grass is nice.  Note dying dwarf Alberta spruce in the background.


galvanized bucket: coleus
clay pot by bucket: baby's tears
clay pot by water container: asparagus fern


clay pot by water container: asparagus fern [again]
clay trough: caladiums
galvanized trough: wandering jew
[I don't have any life in the water container yet.]

As of July


peach rose moss

As of July


pink ice plant [2 of these on edge of patio.]

In June:  One hanging basket looks great.  Birds are picking on the other one!

See note above about their recovery location.


round tub: gooseneck loosestrife
bucket: white and purple osteospermum and wandering jew cuttings
oval tub:  variegated sweet potato vine
water jug: purple wave petunia

As of July


trash cans: asparagus fern and yellow wave petunia
bucket: elephant ear's and begonia
[Two plastic containers on the right are just filled with sand.  I'll set something on top of them later.]

As of July

Wishing the wave petunias would get a bit bigger.  Needing some fertilizer.


black container: purple fountain grass and purple sweet potato vine
little clay pot: salmon geranium
[Clay pots and plastic saucer on the right are a bird bath.  The brick in the saucer keeps it from blowing away.]

As of July

I keep changing who hangs out with the purple fountain grass in this corner.

You can probably see the dry brown area off the patio.  Usually it is filled with four o'clock plants this time of year.  However, last year, they did so poorly in the heat that they barely bloomed.  Hence, no seeds for this year.  I need to think about what I can put in there for more reliable late summer color.


left:  rosularia serpentinica
strawberry pot: dragon's blood stone crop
front: echeveria known as topsy turvy
right: echeveria nodulosa
[Bucket in background is the one with pink verbena and pink diascia listed earlier.]

In June:  I moved this sweet potato vine in front of the kokopelli stake and put the sedum collection out on the edge of the patio to receive more sun late in the day.  I added some aloe vera plants and a cacti from being overwintered.

The succulents have been spread around the patio a bit.  I lost the rosularia serpentinica and the topsy turvy echeveria is looking weak.  I think I overwatered it.
The sweet potato vine moved to the corner of the patio with the purple fountain grass because I kept walking on the trailing vine in its previous location.