Thursday, August 14, 2014

Deer Damage and Butterflies ~

 At first I was not going to share the damage the deer created in the gardens. However with neighbors and friends having deer frequent their gardens, I thought maybe you might like to see what Bambi can do. Hostas are like lettuce. They eat them down. They also eat Japanese painted ferns, lilies, rocky mountain tickseed, lilies, gladioli blossoms, coral bells, bleeding hearts, and a few other plants that were growing in the faery garden right next to the woods.
 In late spring, a fawn was born in the woods next to our house. While the blackberries were ripe, our granddaughter was out picking ripe berries. She ate as she picked. On the other side of the patch was the deer. I began early on to create a deer deterrent with garlic powder and hot sauce. Bambi was quite smart going from one garden to the next. He did not however like the herb garden and avoids marigolds. He would walk right below the deck eating as he went. Then, the thyme began to cascade and marigolds bloom. By then he had eaten sunflowers and nibbling squash leaves from our raised bed garden. The plant above used to be a hydrangea. It was actually a nice size bush until Bambi broke butterfly bush branches to eat the plant.
 Becoming a bit more bold, Bambi ventured into the front yard and is currently enjoying the leaves of this small variegated dogwood tree. The other one is mostly stalks.
           Butterfly bushes are in full bloom. They are filled with a variety of butterflies and hummingbirds.
                                    They are also filled with bees and other winged critters.
                           A hydrangea blossom in full bloom on a plant that must be seven feet tall.
Blue skies, white fluffy clouds and loads of flowers, life is great in the mountains.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Lovely Place to Live is July in the Mountains ~
 July is an amazing time in the mountains. It is the ending of the day lily season here in my garden. The first lilies are the orange ones that seem to grow on sides of the roads as well as in gardens. The yellow lily I discovered while helping to deadhead lilies at the Cancer Center Garden is fragrant. She smells very nice.
 The double ruffled lily came from a garden sale at the Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap.
 This red orange lily also came from the museum. You never know what the lily will be until they bloom.
 Plumbago from last year was something I just waited to see what would happen. They begin like a weed but bloom with several large blossoms. Just bought two on clearance at Lowe's this afternoon which will find a home right next to the two red violet plumbagoes. Isn't that a fun word: plumbago.
                        These are smaller lilies and bloom two or more at a time on the same stem.
      This lily came from a day lily farmer who sold day lilies at the farmer's market three years ago.
                  Second year for this calla lily to bloom. Next year there will be two of these blooming.
                             Glads come back year after year in the garden next to the rain barrel.
 The newest garden in our yard is the volunteer sunflower garden. The sunflower bird feeder is above the many sunflowers growing in this garden. I removed the earth to transplant perennials, plant marigold seeds, and purchase a few new plants.
 Foxglove blooming next to the greenhouse is one of many to bloom. The plants came from Four Seasons Greenhouse in Big Stone Gap.The Greenhouse is operated by Wise County Behavioral Health Services providing jobs to adults with disabilities.

This is the bane of the herb garden: bronze fennel. It has a root like a carrot and the seeds will grow I think in concrete. This year I am cutting the flowers as soon as they emerge. The leaves are like petals of lace. Be careful with this plant. When it likes a space, it spreads.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Creating Rubber Stamps Using Fun Foam ~

I was preparing for an art class in using household stuff to make art, when I saw a pile of fun foam. I had been making stamps out of erasers for an art swap. I thought fun foam seems like a thin bit of rubber. The four rectangles above are fun foam. I got them on clearance at Michaels thinking one day I will use these.
 I cut the foam to about 1/4 of the sheet. I used a pen to draw a heart with dots around it.
                               I cut foam away from the design leaving just a bit of an outline.
                         I inked up the heart with black ink. These are the images from the heart.
 To make the eraser stamps, I had been reading a lot of books on creating stamps. This one is my favorite.
If you feel like you can't draw, there are some samples for personal use in her book.
 This is the image of the houses. I traced it on paper (see below) with a pencil. Then you turn over the drawing and burnish the pencil drawing onto the foam. It leaves an image.
 Using a pen, draw over the burnished design. I changed the original design and left out all the lines on the roofs of the houses. I did add a few of my own designs.
 The result of the house image with the moon and stars. I will go back over the lines with a pen to make them bolder so that the image is stronger.

A flying insect or a moth or butterfly cut from foam created 31 images before I ran out of ink.

As I create these stamps, I am learning to cut away on some and leave some foam around the edges on others. This is a great craft for kids to enjoy this summer. You can also use fabric paint and make all sorts of original clothing, bags, or curtains. Because the stamps are unmounted you can also use them on clay pots.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Iris, Poppies, and Solomon's Seal in the Garden ~
 It has been five years since we first moved to our mountain home. There was only one lilac bush in the yard at the time. A friend gave me some iris. The next year she gave me more iris and so it has continued. I never know what colors they will be. I simply accept the iris and make a space in the iris garden around the very first lilac bush.
 This was a surprise to find the lush deep dark purple iris among the light purple ones. There are a half dozen of these that are blooming now. Why is it so hard to cut an iris?
 This two tone iris found a home in another flower bed at the top of the property in the very first flower
bed I created. It is surrounded by daffodils, day lilies, and a peony about ready to bloom.

 This Siberian iris was transplanted from our garden in town. They were growing around a sculpture in the side yard. I have planted them in several gardens to see how well they do. Apparently, they like every place they have been planted even at the edge of the woods.
 This time of year, I always venture to the clearance section of the plants. I found two poppies last week at our local Walmart. Doing a little research, I found that poppies like to be near iris. In the latest edition of the magazine Garden Gate, I read that plants do better when transplanted between 4 and 7 in the evening. I prepared the transplanting by watering both the area and the plant. Then I dug a nice size hole to cover the roots and adding a bit more for them to grow, I planted the two poppies.
 They have set buds everyday since transplanting as well as blooming. Was a bit surprised to see the red poppy on the yellow flower.
 An iris planted in the faery garden near the woods which had been nibbled by critters. This iris came from a garden in Lee County. It was an iris that the gardener had said belonged to her grandmother.
                        Another grouping of Siberian iris in front of the art house in the back yard.
 Foxgloves beginning to bloom in the herb bed in front of the green house. It was quite warm in their this morning over 100.

 Rhododendrons are  in bloom in the neighbor's yard across the road. They are a brilliant color of red.
                                                         May apples are blooming in the woods.
 Some critter has eaten all the leaves from the Solomon's Seal leaving the flowers dangling. The bees seem to enjoy the flowers.
A Solomon Seal plant with its long green leaves hiding the bell shaped flowers. These grow all along the property, just like the may apples and ferns.