The Arch City Gardener

Journeys In St. Louis Gardening and Beyond


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Wordless Wednesday: Summer Go-Togethers

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Upside/Downside in the Garden This Week

DSCN3054 (480x640)I don’t need my new rain gauge to tell me we’ve had a lot of rain in St. Louis. The “tap” has been running since last Sunday, and this morning the rain gauge was filled to the brim, indicating we’ve had nearly six inches of rain. Needless to say, all this moisture has had upsides and some downsides. Without further adieu, here’s a quick recap of my Arch City garden:

I was gone for the first part of the week so the upside is I did not need to water; the downside is ponding in parts of the yard, plants soaked to the bone and weeds, weeds, weeds. It finally stopped raining today and I spent an enjoyable few hours this morning tidying things up. You can translate that to mean trimming back spent blooms from the penstemon, lilies, lady’s mantle and roses, as well as the annuals. I have noticed lots of spots and white stuff on some of the plants, including the penstemon, echinacea and rudbeckia, so I cut back quite a bit. The roses have been food for some insect and now are displaying lacy leaves. Not a good sign.

By noon the sun was out in full force, the humidity unbearable and yours truly headed back inside.

DSCN3089 (1024x768)DSCN3058 (1024x768) (2) There are some bright spots to the garden as well. The daylilies my neighbor generously gave me last summer are starting to bloom and they are lovely, although the liriope nearby have been heartily munched upon (I suspect rabbits) and the more than one dozen tomatoes on my patio plant are g-o-n-e. That would be squirrels. In fact, they left half-eaten tomatoes scattered upon the lawn. Ingrates.

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DSCN3073 (1024x768) DSCN3087 (1280x960)The “Berry Chiffon” tickseed I planted before I left for the Fling has begun to bloom and is quite showy with deep pink petals whose tips appear to be painted white. Yet some of the liatris nearby has been trampled just as it is beginning to bloom. It is now cut back and in a vase in the family room.DSCN3060 (1024x768)

The astilbe in the newly installed south bed were stunning and I could not be happier with the plants in this shady part of the yard–fern, Japanese forest grass, hosta, Solomon seal, coral bells. As the raspberry plumes on the astilbe begin to fade, the caladium are starting to emerge, although some critter seems to have had a nibble or two on them as well. Rabbits? I suspect so but am not sure. I’ve never grown caladium in the ground. Readers, any tips for critter control?

The true test of the garden will be when the heat really kicks up. I guess that test will be tomorrow, as we expect temperatures in the mid 90s.DSCN3063 (1280x960)


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Surprise! When Impulse Purchases Reward

Asiatic LiliesHave one of your impulsive, surprise purchases given you more pleasure than you imagined?  Who knew a four-inch potted Asiatic lily picked off of a clearance table for under $2 could provide such pleasure. This plant certainly lives up to its reputation as easy care. I did not plant it in the garden or even repot it; I just ignored it.

By late summer the pathetic looking lily was drooping and devoid of any bloom.  We had suffered through a miserable summer with temperatures pushing beyond 100 degrees F for several days and several weeks of temperatures in the 90s. I was spending my time moving the soaker hoses around to make sure my newly planted Japanese maple, hyrdrangeas and roses would be adequately quenched. Cast off to the side, I was not faithful in watering the lily and had read nothing about how to care for this plant. Finally, early fall came and thinking the poor thing was pretty much a goner, I planted it my garden bed as a last act of salvation. And, of course, I forgot about it.

Last spring, lo and behold, this little wonder pushed up several stalks, their spikey leaves giving no doubt they not only survived the winter-over in the bed but multiplied! Who knew? I waited, anticipating its color, which the label did not include. (That’s one of the risks when you buy off the clearance rack). While, I would probably have not selected this maroonish color, that’s the chance I took. And given my mistreatment of it, I could not bring myself to rip it out of the garden bed. It complements the purple barberry in the corner and contrasts nicely with the yellow coreopsis nearby.

As I look forward to spring, I keep checking to see how lily is doing.