This Week in the Garden – July 27

Sunflowers at Farmers Market

It’s been a month since I last did a This Week in the Garden post and I’ve been busy! I spent a lot of time in the garden over the last month, minus one week in California visiting my sister. I tried to get a lot of time in just before I left to pull weeds- and I came back to more weeds. But it was neat to have a little break and come back to some (minor) changes.

The crape myrtles have really started to explode with color.

Crape Myrtle and more

Crape Myrtle and more

The white flowering bush is the white hibiscus that started blooming well over a month ago, and the yellow flowers under the crape myrtle are rudbeckia. I’m astounded that these flowering plants are well over six feet tall.

Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia

A much shorter member of the same family are nearby.

Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susan

Aside from the crape myrtle trees, I have a few dwarf varieties as well. I think they are wonderful and just provide so much color.

Detail of Dwarf Crape Myrtle

Detail of Dwarf Crape Myrtle

I thought I had a giant sunflower coming up in the lower garden, but it started blooming this week- and it turns out to be a hibiscus. It is also at least six feet tall.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Also in the lower garden, another new daylily started blooming.

Daylily

Daylily

I love the colors of that lily–such a pretty purple.

Some of the cardinal flowers that get the most amount of sunlight started blooming as well- good news for the hummingbirds. Their blooms are so red, they really stand out.

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower

Out of the hundreds of hardy begonia seedlings coming up, I have one that started to bloom this week.

Hardy Begonia

Hardy Begonia

Up close to the house, the garden phlox are just getting started- this is pale pinkish purple variety.

Garden Phlox

Garden Phlox

And the Lords and Ladies plant had the seeds ripen to a bright shade of red, which were then quite quickly eaten by the local wildlife. I’m glad I managed to get a picture before they were stripped.

Lords and Ladies seed head

Lords and Ladies seed head

 

Right now I’m not all that happy with how the garden looks, and I’m still not exactly sure what I want to do about it. I do know that I still want to wait a full year before making any major changes, and will probably spend a lot of time this winter making plans. As we head into mid-Summer, I’m anxious to see what else comes up. In two months we will have been here a full year, and a lot can come up in that time.

And even though it’s not from my garden, I did want to include this picture taken at our local farmers market of sunflowers.

Sunflowers at Farmers Market

Sunflowers at Farmers Market

I thought the colors were so vibrant and brilliant. We’ve been going to the West End farmers market and like it best so far- mostly because it’s closest and easy to get to, no traffic, and they sell local eggs! There is quite a bit to choose from, and even though the produce isn’t the cheapest in the area, they have a great selection. The only trouble we have is getting up early enough to get there before the vendors sell out. :)

This Week in the Garden – June 29

Striking Daylily

This week continued with more and more daylilies coming out. Some are just repeat bloomers, and a few new ones showed up as well! A couple of other flowers are making an appearance as well as we head fully into summer. It’s been very hot here, with temperatures often being in the 90s with high humidity. The mornings are usually the best time of day to go outside and take pictures- between the light and the heat- but even then sometimes it’s a furnace. This week, I’ll start in the front and work around to the back.

Front Yard

Front Yard

There are still several hostas blooming, and the annabelle hydrangea is still going strong as well. In this shot, you can see some of the monster lilies that started blooming along the side.

Lilies

Lilies

These asiatic lilies are about four and five feet tall with gigantic blooms. They smell wonderful too!

Next to it, are several smaller daylilies- including this peachy pink variety.

Peachy Pink Daylily

Peachy Pink Daylily

And these smaller ones that I pictured last week- along with a Crocosmia lily.

Daylily and Crocosmia

Daylily and Crocosmia

And from here (well a little farther back) and looking down the side yard:

Side Yard

Side Yard

This neon daylily is in the side yard:

Neon Yellow Daylily

Neon Yellow Daylily

And more of these pretty blooming flowers that I still don’t know what they are. I thought at first maybe they were a variety of phlox but I can’t find any phlox that look like them.

Still Unknown

Still Unknown

I still can’t get over how pretty and dark this miniature daylily is:

Miniature Daylily

Miniature Daylily

And right next to it is a very tall butterfly bush with some pretty, dark purple spires:

Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Bush

Over in the veggie garden, multiple varieties were blooming at once one day (most of the time it’s one or the other):

Veggie Garden Daylilies

Veggie Garden Daylilies

A view down the slope, with flowering gooseneck loosestrife in the foreground, daylilies and roses at the bottom. In the middle, the houttuynia cordata is trying to take over.

View down the slope

View down the slope

The red daylily you see in the picture above, also has a stunning color:

Red Daylily

Red Daylily

A new yellow double daylily appeared as well:

Double Daylily

Double Daylily

And just some more of the beautiful color in the lower garden:

Daylilies and More in the lower garden

Daylilies and More in the lower garden

I haven’t been able to find this striking daylily yet:

Striking Daylily

Striking Daylily

What a contrast in size between these two daylilies next to each other!

Daylily Contrast

Daylily Contrast

Also growing in the center of the lower garden, this one purple coneflower unfurled it’s petals this week:

Purple Coneflower opening up

Purple Coneflower opening up

More are already on the way, as you can see by some more green heads with tiny spikes.

These miniature hostas crack me up with their tall stems and giant flowers.

Small Blooming Hosta

Small Blooming Hosta

And lastly, I noticed some new volunteers coming up in the lower path- several Impatiens have re-seeded themselves from last year! I am glad that they do not seem to have the Impatiens blight that I’ve been hearing about. I’m thinking of leaving some just where they are, but transplanting others to see if they can add a little color in other places in the garden.

 

Another Routine Checkup

I had been dreading this visit to the clinic because I could tell I was having more difficulties. I’d been coughing more, and had felt bad enough and had enough colored sputum that I contacted my CF doctor to get a course of antibiotics. I did a run of Cipro, and started Cayston a little early. I could tell it helped, but I was anxious because I didn’t know if it had helped enough to keep me out of the hospital.

One of the first things my doctor asked was if I’d be open to going on IVs again. I am open to it, but only if it’s the absolute last option. I have not had great experiences, as you can read here,  and I think that it’s best that I stay out of hospitals as much as possible. But just the mere mention of it sent me into depression. If I had to go in, not only would it be another 3 weeks or so not being able to do much work (limiting weight lifting in the arm with the PICC line to 5-10 pounds) and probably not being able to garden or do housework (using the arm plus disease vectors), but it also meant I would have to pay another $1000 plus out of pocket. I do not have that in my budget right now.

So for the past month, I’ve been trying to push myself even harder but mostly it has been mental work. I’m trying to put in more hours at work right now, and between my meds taking over two hours a day (many days much closer to two and half or more),  the daily and weekly chores,  trying to fit in the cardio workouts, and yoga, and weight lifting, and reading, I felt more and more like I was running on empty. I just could not fit it all in to my day, and I was scared that it was going to take a toll on my physical health as much as it was mentally. So I made a decision, that no matter what I was going to California next month. I decided I couldn’t let not knowing what my numbers were going to be affect the plans I had made. If my numbers were that bad, I would just wait until I came back to go in. Besides, maybe my numbers weren’t that bad and it would all be a moot point.

I was nervous and woke up early on Friday, the day of my clinic appointment. My appt. was at 10 AM and that meant leaving the house by 8:30. After doing my hour and a half of nebulizer treatments in the morning (Hyptertonic Saline mixed with Xoponex, Pulmozyme, and then Cayston), I ate a quick breakfast and did about 10 minutes of Zumba on the Wii. I finished getting ready and got to the clinic just a little late due to road construction. PFTs (pulmonary function tests) were first, and I was a little nervous-but the techs are always so great to work with. I like to watch the screen as I breath into the machine. I think it helps me to push myself harder when I can see how much further I have to go. Three tries and I’m done- I anxiously scanned my results to see my FEV1- and the number I thought I saw was low. My heart sank as I thought I saw a 42, which would mean another trip to the hospital for another “tune up”. I asked the tech if she could tell me how I did- and she said you are pretty much right where you were last time. “I am?! What’s my number?” I asked a little incredulously, and she replied that my FEV1 was 52% – just a little down from last time but not by much.

I was so relieved and almost cried. That I was “stable” and had not had a significant decrease in lung function was such a release mentally. My doctor only brought up the idea of hospitalization as saying that I did NOT need it because I was stable. Everything was looking good, and other than the respiratory therapist wanting me to exercise more (particularly cardio) nothing needed to change. I did decide to try a prescription of omeprazole to see if that could help settle my stomach a bit as it has been more upset lately. Although, I wonder if any of that can be attributed to the increase in stress.

After talking it through with my doctor, we also decided that I would try the Tobi podhaler. It’s a powder form of Tobramycin that you inhale twice a day. It’s a much quicker treatment than the inhaled nebulized solution. However, I still have concerns about becoming ototoxic to it, because I just feel as though the coincidence of my developing vertigo for the first time ever while on it is a bit much. Also, when I was on the Tobi IV, we had to pace my treatments out to once every 36 hours versus the once every 24 hours other patients typically take. My doctor advised me to keep a close eye on myself for any changes, and to stop immediately if I develop any of the same symptoms.

The goal of trying Tobi is to 1. hopefully cut down on the number of infections that could affect me and 2. potentially help raise my FEV1 higher (partially as a result of fewer infections) so that next year when the new Vertex drugs become available, I will be in the best possible position to take full advantage of them. With the new drugs, even though the average increase in FEV1 was about 4% (not a huge increase) the other advantages may be even better- fewer infections, increase in FEV1 (greater than 4%) and decrease in digestive issues (weight gain for most patients). I don’t need to worry about weight gain, but fewer infections could at the least, keep my numbers stable for many years to come. This drug looks very promising and could lead to more breakthroughs in treating CF. What is different about it is that it is trying to treat the underlying problem that the CFTR gene causes- rather than just the symptoms.

So all in all it ended up being a routine visit, but I am happy with that. The goal is to be stable for as long as possible.

This Week in the Garden – June 22

Justins Purple next to veggie patch

This time of year there’s never a dull moment in the garden. Lots of new blooms this week!

Purple Rose of Sharon

Purple Rose of Sharon

Both the hibiscus bushes started blooming this week- also known as Rose of Sharon. The bloom above is a light lavender color with a deep pink center. The one below is pure white.

White Rose of Sharon

White Rose of Sharon

I’ve got lots of baby bushes coming up too- I would love to give some away.

Viburnum Berries

Viburnum Berries

Another bush (but is really more like a tree), the Viburnum has berries on it. The two Viburnum I have bloomed fairly early to mid spring, but now have these bright red berries that look as thought he birds have been picking at them.

And I have one lone Hydrangea that has one tiny flower bud on it. I think it must have been protected being down in the lowest part of the property. I think it was planted in an area that fell/was partially washed away by the stream in a storm.

Hydrangea Blossom

Hydrangea Blossom

Everyone else I’ve talked to here in Virginia aren’t getting any flowers this year. It was just too cold and froze the tips. I wonder if I cover them in burlap over the winter if it would help protect them?

Up front, one of the knock-out roses is still going crazy, and I think it looks so pretty with the clematis seed heads.

Roses with Clematis seed head

Roses with Clematis seed head

And on the other side of the driveway, both the butterfly weed and the variegated yucca reached their peak.

End of Driveway

End of Driveway

In the background is our neighbor’s property, along with their knock-out roses. I’m starting to formulate some plans for this area. I want to keep the butterfly weed and the yuuca, but am starting to think about taking the juniper back and reclaiming some of this “full sun” area for some other pretty flowering plants.

Along the side yard, the crape myrtle is getting prettier every day.

Side Yard with Crape Myrtle

Side Yard with Crape Myrtle

And in this show you can see some new flowers blooming. I haven’t figured out what these are yet.

Unknown Flower in Side Yard

Unknown Flower in Side Yard

They start out almost white and the palest of pink/purple and grow a little darker as they age.

And now…da da da daaaaaa! The daylilies!

Trumpet Lilies

Trumpet Lilies

These trumpet lilies are growing in the veggie bed between the tomatoes.

Other daylilies in the upper garden:

Peach Daylilies in front

Peachish Daylilies in front

So pretty with the blue hosta!

Daylily at edge of property

Daylily at edge of property

Daylily at base of deck

Daylily at base of deck

Daylily in veggie patch

Daylily in veggie patch

Joylene Nichole Daylily

Joylene Nichole Daylily

I showed these beauties the other week, but they are just sooooo pretty!

Pink Daylilies front corner

Pink Daylilies front corner

Siloam Angel Blush

Siloam Angel Blush

Fairy Mist Daylily

Fairy Mist Daylily

I almost missed this little one behind the birdbath. It was hard to get close to get a good picture of it, but it’s got a tight little yellow head.

Justins Purple next to veggie patch

Justins Purple? next to veggie patch

Another small headed (and short) daylily. Very darkly colored- it was difficult to get the saturation and intensity of this flower.

And now the new daylilies in the lower garden:

Yellow Daylily in lower garden

Yellow Daylily in lower garden

Possibly Attribution Daylily

Possibly Attribution Daylily

I’ve been trying to figure out any names that I can based on the records the previous owners left. Some are a little difficult because I think the last updated list was around 1996. I have a feeling that a number of lilies have either died, been moved, or were even given away as more of the property became shaded.

Daylily lower garden

Daylily lower garden

Daylilies in lower garden

Daylilies in lower garden

So many pretty colors! It’s difficult to get any group shots from farther away, especially on my camera phone. My main camera is not turning on at the moment and it really bums me out because it’s only three and half years old. Stay tuned next week as the daylilies really start to get going!

 

 

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