Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Flower Power

With the hot summer bearing down upon us, I thought I'd give you a pictorial tour of all the plants I have growing here in my yard, so you can see how they are faring with the heat of the summer upon them. 

This year has been a learning experience for me, learning which type of plants do well here in northern Idaho, and which plants struggle, and all the different needs that each plant has.  Many of these plants I started from seeds I bought in the dead of winter, with great hopes of the spring and summer to come. Some have fared well.  Some have not.  Some plants need full shade, some need full sun, and some that say on the seed package "partial shade" really should be interpreted to mean "full shade", at least with the hot kind of summer we've had.  Unfortunately, I have no "full shade" place here, with no nice large trees in my flower garden area, and so many of the plants I thought would do okay with partial shade have just withered in the heat of the sun, even if it was the morning sun. 

Pansies are supposed to like some sun, but with the heat of the summer as its been this year, they have needed the partial shade areas. 

Unfortunately, these pansies haven't done so well since the temps rose into the 90s+.  They absolutely were outgrowing the basket up until the end of June and then they have just withered up ever since.  I plan on digging them up sometime today and finding a new home for them... in the shade, and replacing them with some sun loving petunias. 

My broccoli amazingly is doing pretty well, even despite the high heat. 

I planted these gladiolas back in early May, and they are just now beginning to bud out, and they are gloriously beautiful!  This year I planted them in pots.  I plan on digging them up out of the pots this fall, and hopefully planting them in a more permanent spot next year.

Isn't this color absolutely glorious! I am so excited that the gladiolas are finally blooming in such magnificent colors! I can't wait for the rest of them to begin to bloom.  I planted quite a few.  This is the first one to arrive! 

These pansies started out in a full sun area, but when I saw the damage the sun was doing to them, I moved them to a more shaded area, and they are just as happy as can be on the shaded north side of the house.

I brought this hosta all the way from Texas with me, and it is one of the few plants that I brought from Texas that has survived the harsh cold conditions up here.  Somehow a petunia got started in with the hosta, and now I have these lovely petunias growing around the hosta. 

These pansies were also in the heat of the sun, and started to wilt on me. They also moved recently to a new home in the northern more shaded part of the house, and seem much more happier here too.

This is one of the flowers that I started from seed.  I received a seed packet from a dear friend in Texas, my dear friend RH, and this is one of the lovely flowers that has bloomed from this seed packet. 

This is one of the loveliest of the flowers I started from seed.  It is called "Cosmos" and the first time I have ever planted this flower.  I absolutely LOVE it.  It is so gorgeous, and blooms in a rainbow array of colors.  They are just now beginning to bloom, and I can't wait to see the rest.  Hummingbirds and butterflies love cosmos too.  The one thing I didn't realize about cosmos when I planted them in the ground is that they grow REALLY tall! Like almost as tall as me!  So, because of this factor, where I have planted some of the cosmos, I have had to replant them, because they were blocking the sun from the rest of the plants.  Cosmos need to be planted at the back of the flower garden, or given their very own space, preferably next to a hummingbird feeder, as the hummingbirds absolutely love these flowers! They are easy to grow, are heat tolerant, and are just beautiful.  I have fallen in love with cosmos, and will be planting more of them next year!

Who doesn't love marigolds! Their bright cheery yellow colors dazzle no matter where they're planted, and a big plus with marigolds is that they attract unwanted pests, which helps protects other plants around them.  They are marvelous to plant in your garden to help keep unwanted pests away.

Another close-up of a beautiful rosy hued cosmos.

Bachelor buttons are right up there next to cosmos as a favorite flower to plant here.  They bloom most of the summer, and have the most beautiful shades of blue you've ever seen.  Planting cosmos, and bachelor buttons together is a great combination, absolutely magnificent! Make sure you plant them in a place where you don't mind them growing at least 3-4 feet high though!  That is one thing I didn't realize when I planted them this year.

Another shot of the lovely zinnas... that one small packet of seed from my friend in Texas has filled quite a few of my flower pots around the yard!

This is a weed that is growing in the field behind our house.  It has literally taken over the field, and is also growing in our back yard. I have done some research and discovered it is probably knapweed.  Upon doing some research I found out something interesting.  There is a law on the books in Idaho that requires property owners to actively fight and kill what they term invasive, noxious weeds.  Knapweed is on that list.  Hmm.  So after doing my research, I called the local county extension office to ask them about this weed, and they suggested mowing it down, and hitting it with some weed killer called 2-4-D, and then this fall planting a fast growing grass seed to help kill this weed off.  Interesting.  I had no idea I had such a nasty weed growing all over my backyard.  According to the extension office, this weed can cause horses to develop brain, respiratory, or liver damage due to the carcinogenic compounds found it.  Wow. 

If you'd like to know more about the noxious weeds that grow here in northern Idaho, here is a link to the 68-page booklet with all the information you need to find out if you have noxious weeds growing around you!  Bonner County Noxious Weed Handbook

That brings us to the end of my plant update for today.  We are on schedule to get some much needed rain this weekend, as we have not had any rain at all since the middle of June.  This rain should perk things up for sure, as long as we don't get a deluge! Hard to believe that we are already in the month of August... where has time flown!  Seems like we wait all year for summer to get here, and then when it does, it just zooms by, and soon we will be back into the school routine, setting the alarm clock, and having a regular routine again.  Such is life!

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