Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Garden Tour on the Lake at Henderson, NY!

Last Saturday, July 11, 2015, was the Henderson NY Garden Club's Garden Tour! There were eight homes on the tour and the Henderson School Apartments which featured a vegetable garden and several attractive seating areas.

Henderson, NY, is located on the eastern end of Lake Ontario in Jefferson County. Some of the homes on this tour were in Henderson Harbor. All the homes on the tour have beautiful views of the water. Some of the best sunsets are on Lake Ontario in this area.

It's nice to take a garden tour in your area because it gives you an idea of what shrubs, trees, and perennials grow well in your area, as well as how large they grow, if they are invasive, and what are their soil/light and water requirements. In addition to that, there is usually a garden club member at each house site which can help to identify plants and answer questions that you may have.

The Secret Garden
The above four photos were taken at Deb Newcomb's place. It was very welcoming and you could see the love and appreciation that go into maintaining these gardens.

While these gardens are very beautiful, it's not always easy gardening on these sites. They have very rocky soil, and in some areas there is not much topsoil covering the rocks. In some of these pictures you will see areas of rock edgings and walls and they most likely came from those individual properties.

Another major problem for these gardens are deer. The deer population in this area is unbelievable. I never would have thought that deer would thrive in these areas, but they do and they love it here. Most of the garden club members and owners of the properties that I talked with all said that deer were a problem in the gardens. So the challenge has been to try to have beautiful flowers with the least amount of deer damage. The deer love most any kind of flower buds.

We, personally, have tried many different deer repellents. Some work, but you have to keep at it more often that what's recommended on the labels. We've tried some of the home remedies that you mix yourself with household ingredients, and that might deter them for awhile, but if they get hungry enough you can count on them coming back. We have used the concentrated form of Liquid Fence, and one of my neighbors uses Bobbex. And they both work.

This was a new house in Henderson Harbor which featured new landscaping. 
One of the new raised beds at this home.

Another one of the homes we visited had beautiful decks and a great entrance porch. I loved how it was decorated with the birdhouses in the photo above and the cozy seating area in the picture below.

The two photos below show the large perennial garden at the entrance to this home. I'm sure the rocks that border the garden are from the ground when the property was excavated for the home.

The home in the photo below also includes rock borders and ledges and the owner explained that most the the rock came from their property as well.

This is their view of Lake Ontario.

Another place on the tour featured a lovely place with beautiful views and perennials. It appeared to be a very welcoming and comfortable home.

Another home on the tour featured a home with two beautiful pond areas.

The house and gardens featured in the photos below were the last place we visited on the tour, and it is also the place of friends of ours, Mark and Linda Adams. They have created several themed gardens on various areas of their property. The areas include a sunny garden, a Victorian Garden, a Knot Garden, and a few others as well. There is an extensive amount of shade on the property and they have done a great job of planting shrubs and perennials are that are conducive to that environment.

This building is the back of the Playhouse. 

One of the seating areas in a shady garden.

The Garden Shed

A path leading through the shade garden.

One of their two Fairy Gardens.

I'd like to thank all of the homeowners for opening up their gardens for us to enjoy their beautiful landscapes and views: Dana Keefer, Nancy Denny, Pam Brandt, Linda & Mark Adams, Barb Davidson, Deb Newcomb, Holly Creek, and Jean Kenna. And thanks to the Henderson Garden Club for hosting our visit.

Hope you enjoyed your armchair tour ~

Feel free to comment. 
I would love to hear from you!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Early Summer Bloomers

Jewel Crown Siberian Iris
I guess I've been procrastinating again here. . . I've had some photos uploaded and ready to add to my blog post, but then I never finished writing my blog post. I started it last week, but now I have a change of thought and my writing is going in a different direction.

Anyway, unrelated to gardening, I don't like it when computer applications run fine and then the company decides to modify the program and change everything around so things that used to work fine are now left to your imagination to find out what they changed and how to use it to do what you want it to do (all without instructions or even a notice that the programs have been changed). That's what I found out using the Blogger Program (from Google) that I use to write this blog. I used to be able to upload photos to Google and then post them directly to this page, but now I have to upload the photos, then put them in an album first before I can add them to this page. Then I have to go back into Google and search for the album I created. I'm sure I'll forget all this for the next blog post I write so at least I'll have this page to refer back to for instructions. hahaha.

There was a lot of rain damage around the Syracuse area the last few weeks because of the intense amount of rain. Some areas had over 3 inches. Of course we can't complain because at least we're not in a drought like most areas in California, and we haven't had the damaging amount of rain like areas in the mid-west and Texas. And no tornadoes. Just rain. The golf courses look wonderful around here. I even played golf today! 9 holes! I didn't bother to keep score, but I did par the last hole (after taking a Mulligan). And, I actually got the ball over a pond on the first shot which has been me some problems in the past.

Tall Bearded Iris (unknown name)

Thought I would let everyone know that the golf course meadows were loaded with blooming milk weed. It smelled so great! I was hoping to see a lot of butterflies around, but I didn't notice a one the entire time I was there. I also heard a loon in one of the ponds, but my husband didn't hear it, and he thought I must have been hearing things. When I first heard it I thought it was I pileated woodpecker, but then I realized it was a loon and not a woodpecker.

It's been a great beginning to our summer. The rain is keeping everything green and the flowers are doing great. I'm not experiencing any problems because of the rain, but I'm sure a lot of people have had their fill of all the precipitation.

It also has been a toll on some vegetable gardens.  The seedlings and seeds have rotted and have been washed out. A lot of the corn fields around the countryside are doing poorly because of all the rain. It's washing away the nutrients in the soil, and it's stunting the corn. I think there will be a lot of farmers with monetary losses because of the weather.
Sweet William

Siberian Irises (Iris Sibirica). In the first photo on this page, is a picture of one of my Siberian Irises called Jewel Crown. Siberian Irises, in our area of Central/Northern New York, are late spring bloomers. They start to bloom when the tulips are finishing up. They will give you a few weeks of color, and they are easy plants to take care of.  They will spread out and form a dense clump. After a few years, they will need dividing when the center of the plant starts to die out. Then you can dig them up and divide the clump and transplant the new divisions.

Siberian Irises will grow in just about any soil. I've read conflicting information on this plant where one article recommends well-drained soil and another article recommends wet conditions as long as it's not in a pond. You can plant them in full sun or partially shady areas. They have upright, narrow leaves, and will stay green all season after the flowers have died. Fertilize in spring and after they bloom with a high nitrogen content fertilizer. They are rarely bothered by rot or borers like the bearded irises are. The Siberian Irises are available in several colors such as blue, violet, pink, yellow, and white. Depending on the variety they can grow from 2' to 4'.
They will grow in US Hardiness zones 3-9.

Here is a link to the hardiness zones: US Plant Hardiness Zones

Here is a little story for you that you might enjoy. A friend of mine has several irises varieties and other perennials. I was admiring her extremely tall Siberian Irises and she offered to dig one up for me. She asked me which one (color) I wanted because there were several varieties in this one section of her garden near the road which was in a ditch. She used that area because they would get a continuous supply of rain water and would make a nice welcoming for visitors. I picked out a tall one and she dug it up for me. They had already bloomed so I would have to wait a year or so before I could enjoy the blooms on this one. I went home and planted it, and watered it well. It came up the following year, but no blooms. I had to wait another year. The next year rolls around and still no blooms. Well, it did bloom the following year, but it wasn't a Siberian Iris. It was a cattail! I waited and nurtured that plant for three years or so only to find out it was a cattail. So that's your laugh for the day!

In the photo above, the foxgloves are filling in voids in this little perennial garden. After the seeds die on the stem (they will die back and dry up), I like to shake the seeds around in various areas of my garden. If you do that you will be amazed at the various places they will grow.

I have had several people ask me why their foxgloves have disappeared. If the foxglove you planted last year didn't come up this year it's because they are a biennial and probably died off unless you let it go to seed and either saved the seed or let the seeds fall to the ground. A biennial means the flower comes up the first year and doesn't flower. The second year it comes up, flowers, produces seeds and dies off (most of the time the entire plant will completely die). If you purchased a flowering foxglove, it's in its second year and will most likely die after it flowers. At this point, if you want to have foxgloves in your gardens the following years, you can't cut the stalks off after the flower dies. The flowers need to die on the stem and the stems and seeds need to dry on the stalk to be effective seed bearers. So DON'T CUT YOUR  FOXGLOVES BACK IF YOU WANT FLOWERS IN FUTURE YEARS. But you also must remember, that when your seeds come up that following year, they will not produce flowers until the second year. It's probably a good idea to mark where your foxgloves are planted because when they come up in the spring they look like weeds. Actually several perennials look like weeds when they come up. Now to confuse you even further, there are new hybrid foxgloves on the market that are sterile (will not produce seeds), but it will perform like a regular perennial and you will be able to divide it up by divisions. I've been following some articles on these hybrids to see how they do in following years. One of the hybrids is called "Illumination Pink" and a very striking tropical color of pink and yellow.


Feathered Friends
Goldfinch on sock thistle feeder

The birds pictured here are some of our current visitors.

House Wren 
Anerican Goldfinches can hang upside down to find food. You can purchase upside-down feeders for them. I've used them in the past and they work out great as long as you can keep raccoons away from knocking down the feeders and breaking them. Side note: now we take our feeders down in the evening and store them in our shed overnight.

Goldfinches like sunflower seeds and nyger seeds. (The sunflower seeds won't work in the sock feeder.)

Immature female cardinal
The cardinals have been bringing their babies to our birdfeeders. I love hearing the little chirping sounds of the babies when they are around the feeders. You can identify an immature cardinal by their dusky/dark beak. Adult cardinals (male or female) have bright orange beaks.

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Oriole Feeder

"I must have flowers, always, and always."
~Claude Monet

Thanks for stopping by~
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