A double peach daylily bloom (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Summer 2105 Garden Happenings. It seems that this year there’s an abundance of color and activity in the garden. I guess I could chalk it up to all the rain that we’ve received over the past few months. Slugs galore arrived with all the rain. I am not a fan of slugs at all.

This year, I decided to plant some baby lettuces and arugula along with my potted herb garden. It was a simple planting of a few different mixtures of baby greens seeds. See my posting on my food and recipe site A Food Lover’s Delight for more info: How to Grow Your Own Salad.

A bowl of baby lettuces that I grew in window box planters on my deck railing! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A bowl of baby lettuces that I grew in window box planters on my deck railing! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Too much rain caused one pot of baby arugula mixture to die out. Also, some teeny gray and yellow caterpillars as well as some green ones did a bit of damage until I found them and picked them off.

Baby greens growing nicely in window box planters on my deck railing (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Baby greens growing nicely in window box planters on my deck railing (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My neighbors next door have a horse farm and a huge vegetable and herb garden. I’m lucky to share in the bounty of their efforts. Zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplant have been shared already this season. My neighbors are able to grow my favorite tarragon herb. Their tarragon plant is huge and has been growing for years. They’re also raising dill, fennel, and parsley. I gave them some of my basil plant babies as well. Check out this gorgeous tomato from their garden.

Gorgeous beefsteak tomato grown by my neighbor!  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Gorgeous beefsteak tomato grown by my neighbor! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Early in May, several different types of frogs laid their eggs in my fish-free whiskey barrel pond. I don’t add fish to the whiskey barrel pond anymore so that the frogs have a safe haven to raise their young. The fish will eat the frog eggs in a heartbeat. I haven’t had any baby fish yet this year either. The fish eat their own eggs, too. Silly parents.

One evening it was "Frog City" on top of the whiskey barrel pond.  A lot of eggs were laid as well.   (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

One evening it was “Frog City” on top of the whiskey barrel pond. A lot of eggs were laid as well. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Here’s one of the first baby frogs as it emerges from the pond. Still has a teeny tiny tail!

First baby frog emerges from the whiskey barrel pond. Eggs from several different types frogs were laid beginning in early May. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

First baby frog emerges from the whiskey barrel pond. Eggs from several different types frogs were laid beginning in early May. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

By the time I got around to “weeding” the front bed inside the driveway circle, it was full of volunteer saplings as well as other basic weeds. I did choose to leave one of the wild blackberry bushes in tact. I picked about 10 berries before the deer stopped by to eat the rest. Bambi hasn’t visited my garden a lot this year due to the bow hunter who frequents our back property in the fall. Yet when she does visit, she leaves a trail of nibbled plants.

Wild Blackberries growing in my "weed patch" in the front yard (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Wild Blackberries growing in my “weed patch” in the front yard (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The front pond still has two remaining goldfish. I had four last year, and one passed away last fall. Another didn’t make it through the winter. The other two seem to be healthy and happy. I kept that pond’s pump on all winter including when it completely froze over with just a tiny area for the water to run through. Hard to believe the two fish made it through that chill, but they did. The lily pad bloomed profusely last month but seems to be on hiatus for a few weeks now.

The lily pad plant is in bloom in the front pond (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The lily pad plant is in bloom in the front pond (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A plant that I’ve babied for years finally bloomed again this year before the deer devoured its blossoms. It’s a purple loosestrife. Known as an invasive plant, I’ve never seen a “volunteer” plant from it. That’s likely because the deer ate the buds before it could flower and set seed. It’s a favorite plant that I brought with me from my townhouse garden.

Purple Loosestrife has a few blooms before the deer ate them all (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Purple Loosestrife has a few blooms before the deer ate them all (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Lots of interesting insects have stopped by. This is the first year that I’ve seen so many praying mantises! Both green and brown, they’re scooting around my landscape in record numbers. This one was so cute and “smiled” for the camera.

A cute praying mantis smiles for the camera (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A cute praying mantis smiles for the camera (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

We are visited by a number of moths. I haven’t seen a luna moth yet this year. This lovely Imperial moth stopped by a few weeks ago.

An imperial moth stopped by for a visit  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

An imperial moth stopped by for a visit (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My butterfly bushes are huge this year. I have white ones and purple ones. One of the white ones is at least 10 feet tall. The butterflies love the bushes and stop by regularly.

The white butterfly bush attracts a black swallowtail butterfly  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The white butterfly bush attracts a black swallowtail butterfly (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A not-so-nice visitor was a baby copperhead snake. I was moving some pots around on the deck and found this little guy. Nope, he didn’t make it and went to Snake Heaven, as my husband and I have a very strict policy on vipers since we have a dog. Our dog Atticus is more than happy to “play” with a snake. We’d rather that he didn’t and sticks around for his natural life.

A baby copperhead snake was hiding underneath a pot.  Not a good surprise for me!  Note its yellow tail.   (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A baby copperhead snake was hiding underneath a pot. Not a good surprise for me! Note its yellow tail. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

And last, but not least, my spectacular double peach day lily delighted us with a dozen blooms this year! This day lily is planted in a pot by itself. Unfortunately, the slugs got to the last set of buds so they did not bloom. It was gorgeous while it did bloom. I love day lily plants. This one is on my back deck inside the fence so isn’t attracting Bambi. Day lily plants are definitely deer candy!

A double peach daylily bloom (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A double peach daylily bloom (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

What’s happening in YOUR summer garden? Leave a comment and let us all know!

Impatiens from my garden before the blight (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Disease Resistant Impatiens are now available! Gardeners in the United States have been reliant on colorful annual impatiens flowers for years. Super simple to grow, and offered in many colors, impatiens even reseed themselves and flourish in shady areas. Up until 2012, I was growing impatiens in my own landscape with great success.

Yet over the past 10 years, a downy mildew disease has overtaken the majority of the impatiens plants across the Eastern US. The disease, believed to have originated in Europe, causes the impatiens plants to wilt almost overnight. The disease remains in the soil from year-to-year so the next year’s plants will also succumb to the blight. The downy mildew disease has spread across almost the entire United States.

Impatiens Downy Mildew Disease (Photo Credit: Ipswich Garden Club)

Impatiens Downy Mildew Disease (Photo Credit: Ipswich Garden Club)

I’m lucky to have four tiny impatiens plants that have somehow escaped the disease, and are reseeding themselves each year. Right now, they are growing in a small ramekin in my kitchen window and will move to a larger pot to be placed outside.

One of my annual impatiens that has escaped the downy mildew disease -- is flowering! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

One of my annual impatiens that has escaped the downy mildew disease — is flowering! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

This year, I’m seeing lots of interest in a new strain of impatiens plants called “Bounce” impatiens. First announced to the public in 2014, the new Bounce impatiens plants will not only “bounce back” from a lack of watering, but are also resistant to the impatiens downy mildew blight.

Impatiens Big Bounce Violet (Photo Courtesy whiteflowerfarm.com)

Impatiens Big Bounce Violet (Photo Courtesy whiteflowerfarm.com)

Check your local garden center and maybe even the big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart. Some of the online retailers such as White Flower Farm and Monrovia may carry the plants for home delivery or delivery to your local garden center.

If you can’t find these new impatiens, you can check out these substitutes from my local Merrifield Garden Center in Fairfax, VA. Merrifield Garden Center’s site is a great resource for gardening tips.

Merrifield Garden Center's Impatiens Substitutes List (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Merrifield Garden Center’s Impatiens Substitutes List (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Let’s hope the brand new Bounce impatiens varieties will thrive! I miss my impatiens and I bet some of you do, too.

Are you seeing the new Bounce impatiens in your area? Let us know where!

Pretty yellow daffodils in my garden (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Spring Garden 2015 It’s already Spring! What’s happening in your garden this Spring? Color is popping up in my garden and I am sooo ready for our cold long winter to be over.

Daffodil with Apricot Center (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Daffodil with Apricot Center (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Finally, Spring has Sprung in my garden. Many happy daffodils and crocuses are peeking up through the beds of oak leaves. It seems we are at least two weeks behind last year’s beginning of Spring, and almost a month behind 2012’s Spring season. Maybe that old groundhog was right!

Love these "double" daffodil flowers (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Love these “double” daffodil flowers (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My first purple crocus of the Spring 2015 season! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My first purple crocus of the Spring 2015 season! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Purple and White Striped Crocuses (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Purple and White Striped Crocuses (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pretty yellow daffodils in my garden (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pretty yellow daffodils in my garden (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

We had a long hard cold winter this year. It was so cold for so long that my front pond and waterfall froze through almost completely. Three goldfish were living in the front pond, and I was really hoping to find all three still alive. Finally, when the pond thawed out, I did see that all three goldfish survived and the pump was still going strong. In the following few weeks, one goldfish didn’t make it and went to goldfish heaven. I’m looking forward to “fishing” out the other two as they’ve become a bit bigger in that pond. They will move to one of the bigger ponds in the backyard.

Last weekend, I removed all the pond mesh from my three ponds. The pond mesh keeps out most of the tree leaves and other tree debris that drops and blows around during the winter. The backyard ponds are very active already. I counted 21 goldfish in the bottom pond and 9 goldfish in the top pond. Looks like the majority of the fish in each pond survived the winter. That’s one hundred percent attributed to leaving the pond pumps on all winter. I believe running the pumps keeps the pond water a lot healthier! I did clean the filters when I removed the mesh. A messy job but someone has to do it. My plants that get the fish poop are pretty happy for extra fertilizer.

Three frogs survey the pond for insects (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Three frogs survey the pond for insects (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My backyard ponds are currently home to at least 11 frogs. There are probably more frogs that haven’t yet emerged or that have been “hiding” from me. At least one bullfrog was “giving me the business” when I was cleaning the filter in the bottom pond and had rested the flexible tube that attaches to the filter on his favorite perching place. The frogs usually aren’t so talkative this early in the year. At least one frog has been seen at the front pond. Haven’t seen any bullfrog tadpoles yet but I know they’re in the bottom pond. The bullfrog tadpoles will grow legs and turn into frogs in about a month or two.

The backyard whiskey barrel pond is set up and will run through mid-October. We had a lot of frogs laying eggs in the whiskey barrel pond last year, so hoping for the same this year. There are no fish in the whiskey barrel pond so the eggs won’t be eaten before they get a chance to hatch.

A frog peers out from under a rocky hiding place (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A frog peers out from under a rocky hiding place (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

I don’t remember if I mentioned closing down a small pond in the backyard. Although it was a neat “surprise” as you came upon it sort of around a bend, it was not convenient enough to feed the fish daily and keep it maintained. Most likely, I will move that small pond liner to a new location this year where we can see it and it’s more accessible.

A pair of cardinal birds has built a nest in my photina bush. Not the best location as it’s accessible from the deck stairs by predators…however, Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal aren’t the brightest when it comes to nest locations.

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal have built a nest (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal have built a nest (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The evil microstegium has already sprouted. The microstegium, also known as Japanese stiltgrass, is an invasive annual grass which, of course, the deer won’t eat. Microstegium grows in dry shade. It’s mostly eradicated from our front lawn over years of weeding and treatment although it does pop up around the edges in the woods. It would help if the neighbors would get rid of their microstegium, but they don’t. If it’s green, it must be good, right? Not this stuff! The seed pods hold over 1000 seeds per pod. Seeds can remain dormant for up to 7 years.

Cute little violet growing in my patio pavers (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Cute little violet growing in my patio pavers (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

I plan to try my hand at growing some lettuces and spring mix this year. I purchased several packages of lettuce seeds as well as my favorite herbs. For a few years, I’ve wanted to repurpose an area of our front property as a vegetable and herb garden — alas, I haven’t gotten around to it. There are two old native dogwoods gracing that area right now. I’ll probably have to wait until they pass on. Or I can place my herb and vegetable garden in another area. It’s too shady in the backyard so growing in pots is iffy. My deck gets about 4 hours of direct sun and then the rest is dappled shade — just not enough sun for sun-loving herbs and other plants.

Pale purple crocuses sneak up through the leaves (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pale purple crocuses sneak up through the leaves (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

What’s happening in YOUR garden this Spring? Leave a comment and let us know!