Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekend Update

Well, we had more rain over the weekend, 0.55" in fact, for a total or 0.81" for the week, actually for the entire monsoon season thus far.  Friday we had also had wind gusts up to 25 mph, but no damage at all. Other parts of the valley had wind gusts of 50-60 mph and enough rain to cause flash flooding, so it could've been worse.  Sunday it was too wet to mow or do much else in the garden, so I went shopping with Steph and checked out a store I'd been meaning to stop at for several months.  Garden Ridge is a mammoth store full of home decor, furnishings and garden stuff, including gnomes, so you know I couldn't leave without at least one.  This is Flo, the newest resident of my gnome sanctuary; her favorite phrase is "What'll it be, Hon?" as she chomps on a wad of gum.

Meet Flo, carhop extraordinaire.

The rain is helping everything to "green up", the sunflowers I planted last weekend are already pushing up and a few are even getting their first true leaves.

I'll be thinning the tomato vines and maybe even takig some out that haven't been productive; I have a few other varieties I could plant in their place.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rain, Finally!

Well after over two months without a drop of rain, the skies finally opened up on Monday and Tuesday, with a total of 0.26" of much needed wet stuff.  Areas not more than a mile or so from my house got much more rain, but that's the hit or miss nature of our Summer storms.  With the rain has come lower daytime temperatures, topping out in the low to mid-100's, but also much higher humidity.  More rain is forecast through the weekend, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that the total for the week will approach 0.5".

Despite the oppressive heat of the past few weeks some things are still looking good in the garden, especially the lemon grass I planted back on May 1st; what was a sparse planting now looks like a jungle, so I guess I need to plan on making some Asian dishes soon.

Lemon grass, then.

And now!

The repairs to the backyard irrigation system are holding and between that and the rain, the sunflower seeds I planted last Saturday are starting to sprout.  In the photos you'll notice that I'm using 1/4" soaker hose instead of solid tubing and drip emitters, as it works much better when seeds are dispersed throughout the bed.  I run the line from end-to-end three times to maximize the water coverage.

I love how this one is peaking out of the soil.

The calla lilies I bought on clearance at Target have finally sprouted, although it looks like someone chomped on the leaves before they unfurled.

The Climbing Don Juan and Climbing Iceberg roses are still blooming, but they haven't gotten nearly as tall as I'd hoped.  Of course, when the weather cools down they should start to take off.  If you remember, the Iceberg was supposed to be Pink Peace and I'll never know if both of them were mislabeled, as the other one didn't survive, so now I'll have to look for another Climbing Iceberg to even the planters up.

After cutting down the hollyhocks thinking they were done for the year, they decided to rebloom on much shorter stalks; not as impressive as the dozen or so 6' flower stalks, but they're still pretty.

You can see that one of the dwarf white ruellia survived and is blooming as well.

I recently posted that a second 'Minerva' seed sprouted, and now I'm sad to report that but for some unexplained reason, it failed to survive more a a couple of weeks.  On a happier note, the other seedling has doubled in size and is now nearly 3" tall.  I'm keeping it under the cloche until it gets too tall for it because I'd hate to lose it as well.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sunflowers and a Busted Irrigation System.

Last Saturday was the day everyone was supposed to plant sunflowers for the bees, but my irrigation system was busted, so planting had to wait until I could fix the leaks.  Every time I fixed one leak, another popped up and so today I wound up replacing the entire bad section and this time I used a better glue, one made for pressurized lines; so far it's holding up.  The plants sure appreciated the long drink I gave them, since the system had been down for two weeks and hand watering just wasn't satifying them.

So now that the system is fixed, I had an empty bed to fill, as the pepper seedlings all perished, so I sowed about 100 sunflower seeds in a 10 square foot bed.  If they all come up, it'll either be one heck of a display or I'll have to do a lot of thinning.  I sowed Velvet Queen, Hopi Black Dye, Teddy Bear, Vanilla Ice, Florenza, Citrus,Mammoth Russian, Wild Arizona Native, Yellow Disk, Pastiche, Moulin Rouge, Italian White, Peach Passion, Strawberry Blonde Hybrid, Coconut Ice, Black Oil and several different NOID's, about 22 varieties in all.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

R.I.P. Chuck the Crow

It is with a heavy heart that Larry announces the passing of his dear friend and loving pet, Chuck the Crow. The elements had not been kind to Chuck and after nearly two years of standing vigil with Larry day and night, Chuck finally succumbed this past weekend.  Larry says that after an appropriate period of morning, he may consider getting a new pet crow, or he may opt for another type of pet altogether.

Despite the extreme heat (121 on 6/28), the tomatoes continue to produce and I made a quick salsa to go with Sunday night's dinner; fresh home grown tomatoes make the best salsa!  

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, Larry decided he must soldier on and has put his patriotism on display for all to see; Happy 227th birthday, America!  It's so hot, even Larry needs to rehydrate.

I've added to collection of lady planters with this cute little flower girl found on a recent antique shopping excursion.

Gnomes continue to seek sanctuary at Dove Manor, with two more showing up recently, including a lovely little hula girl who quickly caught the fancy of our resident hula boy and they are now making sweet music together.

My first yellow hat gnome.

Hula girl gnome

The happy couple

Lastly, two motnhs after sowing the seeds, another 'Minerva' seedling as emerged, so the lesson learned is that apparently everything about amaryllis takes time, and lots of it.