Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Struggling Plant Life

Or maybe it should read
 "The struggles of a plant's life". .or maybe
"The life of a struggling plant". .or what about. .
"The plants of a struggling life"
Or maybe I'll just get on with my story?
So, I had uploaded these photos to post on the other day before we were delighted with the surprise rain showers. Compared to photos from last year. .there is really not much AT ALL going on in the gardens here.
Only a few blooms. .these from the Pye Weed on the north side of the house. There are also some purple blooms from the crapemyrtle, some sunflowers blooming, one daylily, and a handful of annuals. What the heat hasn't stifled. .the big 'ole hoppers have. I have been trying not to use pesticide. .so I just look the other way.
This little doll has been one of the highlights of our week. Tristan was the first one to spot him. .and now we all look for him (or her) on the lilypads when we are near the window. I can't tell you how excited we are for the new friend to enjoy! The fish are getting HUGE!! The little 3 inch yellow koi that I bought at Pet Smart earlier this summer is probably up to 8 inches long and is getting very meaty!! The goldfish are growing by leaps and bounds too!! I am anxiously awaiting the clearing of the algae so we can watch them from the house. We all enjoy feeding them and watching the "feeding frenzy" happen. They dart and jump for the food, and are quite entertaining!
The plantings are settling in. .both inside and outside the pond. And I can't even imagine what I hope it to look like in a few years of development!
I planted many of them directly into the pea gravel instead of in pots, to look more natural. The big rush and variegated cattails went into fabric pots, to help control their growth! They are firmly anchored by now, and I was glad to see that they seemed to stand up very well to the high winds of the storm the other day.
This gray headed coneflower is one of the new plants that went around the pond this spring. They are xeric natives. .but I have been pouring the water to them this summer in the hopes of keeping them alive. Out of 29 plants. .I have lost 3. Hoping that High Country Gardens will stand behind their replacement clause. .but I wouldn't blame them if they didn't in this terrible, horrible, no-good, droughty-hot summer!
And here is my epic failure of the summer. . .
This WAS the baby blue eyes dwarf blue spruce tree that I got in Topeka last fall. About a month ago I noticed that it seemed to be dying before my eyes in the matter of a few days. .way less than a week. Initially I thought it was the extra heat from being on the south side of the house, close to the aluminum siding. By the third day, I was looking at it from the deck and noticed a bagworm. .and then two. .waving in the wind. I immediately picked them up and doused the tree with Sevin (according to the info I found on the internet). The next week, I spotted two more bags. .and Sevin'ed them again. I've seen no sign of life since. There are still a few tufts of blue/green needles. .but I'm not holding my breath that it will live. I also called my sister, who found bag worms on BOTH the spruce trees she purchased from the same nursery. Hopefully, she got hers treated in time. The people at the nursery told her she could have gotten the bag worms from anywhere. .and she told them. .that it was quite ironic that her sister also had bagworms on HER tree from THEIR nursery. .that was planted 5 hours away. Ya win some. .and ya lose some! Next time I will be more vigilant!!
The most exciting yard work I've gotten to do lately was re-arranging my front porch to make room for Devin's new table.
Looking forward to fall!!
Have a great week. .I know I will!!


  1. Sorry about your little tree. =( I've lost 3 of the Fanfares I bought this year. Some thing are just hanging on. Not really dead, but not really alive either. There's always next year..

  2. BTW--is that guy on of the tadpoles we brought home?

  3. Your poor tree!! I have been meaning to call you to ask why you think my good tree (the one that hasn't looked like it was on its death bed) was starting to brown on one side. I am going to be really sad if it dies. I may never buy another blue spruce again, they are way too high maintenance! Anyway, loved your new pond creature!

  4. Putting in the pond before this hot dry year was a great idea. You're an oasis in the desert. Ha!
    Sorry about the tree. My hubby calls the egg cases that overwinter "the mother ship" as tons of baby bag worms come out of it in the spring. They eat, make their own little bags and eventually, the males leave their bags to find the females. Repeat. I'm guessing that the tree had a "mother ship" on it when you bought it. Especially if you don't have any on your other trees. Sorry. Pick off every bag you see. Once they form bags, they're hard to get with pesticide. We had an infestation from a neighbor's bushes. My hubby got great joy out of squishing the bags.
    Spruces do have a hard time with the heat too. My dwarf Alberta spruces look terrible. They're sun scorched. Sigh.
    Love the new table Devin made. Funny sign too.
    Take care.

  5. Oh my gosh, I hate bag worms! One year when we lived in VA they were every where. Man you have to get right on top of that. I think that nursery is to blame.
    Your pond is still lovely! I would love to see the fish.

  6. I love that table. sorry about the tree, it was so cute. I am amazed by how fast your fish are growing. They must be fed well! DJ