Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hola 'Senorita'

Zinnia 'Senorita' was introduced by Burpee in 1968 as part of the 'Burpeeana Giants' zinnia series, she graced the cover of the Burpee catalog that same year. I first grew her sometime in the late 1980's. Crosman Seed Co. was selling five packs of cactus zinnia seed for .99 cents. The varieties were 'Floradale Scarlet', 'Sunny Boy', 'Snowtime','Springtime' and 'Senorita'. I faithfully purchased this collection all through the 90's, the last year being 1999. In 2000 they dropped the collection and 'Senorita'.

She became one of my all time favorite zinnia's. Large, pointed and/ or twisted petals in a gorgeous shade of salmon rose, very hard to capture on film. The plants topped out at about three feet and she never had a bad year. 2003 was the last year I could coax her seed into germinating. Needless to say that every year since I scoured the internet hoping I could find her, no such luck. Of course, I still tried to germinate a few of the old seed every year with no success...

This spring I had great success germinating some zinnia seed from 2002. This spurred me on to start way to many varieties of zinnia. One was a packet of 'Rose Pink Giant Cactus' zinnia from Crosman's dated 2008. Germination was excellent, and the five pellets of seedlings were crammed into a twelve in pot in June. Last week they started to bloom. I couldn't decide if my eyes were playing tricks on me, so I went and got a bloom from another salmon zinnia to compare. I actually let out a whoop of joy! At long last here was my 'Senorita'! Later on I began kicking myself. Here she was under my nose all the time. I will definitely be saving seed this year and still have almost a full packet left. Now, has anybody seen 'Cherry Buttons'?...

Here she is in all her glory...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It Pays to Wait..

Or, Ed is Cheap!
Yesterday I received my order from Thompson and Morgan, of course I HAD to take advantage of their clearance sale. I scored three varieties that were new this year, and several that were introduced last year. I really had wanted their 'Sweet Sixteen' cosmos, but money being extremely tight this spring I had to pass. Gotta love those clearance sales!

Here's the list
  1. Cosmos 'All Sorts Mixed' $1.19
  2. Hollyhock 'Halo White' $.88
  3. Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' $1.05
  4. Dahlia 'Black Beauty' $1.58
  5. Hollyhock 'Spring Celebrities Mixed' $1.98
  6. Cosmos 'Double Click Rose Bon Bon' $1.38
  7. Dianthus 'Microchips' $.60
  8. California Poppy 'Jelly Beans Mixed' $.88
  9. Snapdragon 'Bronze Dragon' $1.18
  10. Foxglove 'Pam's Split' $1.58
  11. Cosmos 'Sweet Sixteen' $1.19

Above, zinnia 'Zahara Starlight Rose', 'Zahara Double Cherry' and alyssum 'Carpet of Snow'.

One of my garden buddies, the butterfly bush is filled at this time if the year.

Above, from left to right, petunia 'Fire Chief', morning glory 'Pearly Gates' and 'Heavenly Blue', zinnia 'Aztec Sunset', zinnia 'Meteor', morning glory 'Grandpa Ott' with golden spirea in the fore ground.

Not much is going on in the vegetable garden. The heat is causing most of the blooms to drop on the beans and tomatoes. What is doing great are the three peppers planted along the driveway. They now have at least six peppers each and blooming like crazy. Note to self, next year peppers and bush tomatoes along the driveway.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

After the Rain

Friday night we finally had rain. It has been well over a month and mother nature decided to try and make up the deficit. A torrential downpour of well over an inch that of course flattened the phlox, carnations and bush beans. The power loss just mad things more interesting.
On Saturday it was as if the sky had come alive, I've never seen as many bees, butterflies and moths in the air at one time!

The blossom above was a big shock this morning. A fully double cosmos of burgundy with white splashes! I'll definitely be saving seeds of this one.

We seem to have an explosion of carpenter bees this year, their were hundreds buzzing around yesterday. They look intimidating, but I've never seen an aggressive one.

Above, two blooms from 'Apricot Blush' zinnia.

Above, a bloom of 'Benary's Giant Lime' zinnia.

I discovered the 'Sequoia' bush beans infested with bean beetles! Had to look them up as I've never had them before. I'm now starting a spray regimen with Safer's Soap, it is not fun to try and spray under the leaves of pole beans. I wonder if the extreme heat had something to do with their appearance?
On a more positive note, the first early large tomatoes are starting to blush as well as a pepper.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Glorious Morning

NOT! The only glorious thing about temps over 80 F at 6am was the first flower to open on the morning glories. Above is the winner, 'Grandpa Ott', if you enlarge the picture you'll see I'm not the only one admiring him.

The first bean harvest of the season. Note the size of the that bean, almost ten inches! Three varieties here, 'Cornetto Largo Verde', 'Green Crop' and 'Sequoia'.

The second harvest, this time joined by the first tomato's of the season, 'Cherry Pink'.
The heat has gotten awful. Right now it's 6:08 pm and 100 degrees, add very high humidity and no raind for almost a month, and it's a wonder anything is growing.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A 4th of July Visitor

I couldn't figure out who was ringing the door bell until I spotted this fellow. I assured him that there was quite a meal for him out back.
Every year we have an egg case or two that hatch. The last time I saw one it was about a month ago and quite tiny. It looks there has been plenty for him and his siblings!
One of the pool pots. I was a little afraid of the colors I had chosen, but they work much better that the picture shows.
They are alyssum 'Carpet of Snow', zinnia 'Zahara Double Fire', zinnia 'Apricot Blush' and rudbeckia 'Cherokee Sunset'. The 'Zahara' zinnia's are more orange and the apricot zinnia is much brighter. There are six such pots along the back edge of the pool.

Convolulus 'Light Blue Flash', a very soft blue, just a bit darker than the photo shows.

I hope every one had a great fourth1

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Before and After

Pea vines after the seed harvest.

The tomatoes and pole beans should start to take off now that they will get more sun. Two ancient forty pound bags of manure were worked in along with some blood meal. The left squares are a tee pee of left over morning glory's, 'Heavenly Blue' and 'Stripes and Stars Mixed'. The rest from left to right, back row- bush beans 'True Blue', 'Cherokee' and 'Tendergreen Improved'. Front row, left to right, bush beans 'Tricolor Mixed' 2 squares and 'Tendergreen Improved.

Extra peppers planted next to the driveway, they are loaded with buds. The cosmos is 'Antiquity', only twelve inches tall and loaded with buds and bloom.

Finally, a good picture of zinnia 'Zahara Double Fire', they are fully double, loaded with buds and don't fade like the 'Profusion's'.

Rudbeckia 'Cherokee Sunset' first flower opening.