Monday, May 04, 2009

Hanna's Big Weekend Out

We were finally treated with a weekend without rain (the first in 5 weeks!), warm temperatures (it was in the low 70's today with abundant sun) and generally great gardening conditions, so we tried to take our best advantage of them. Saturday we took Hanna on an excursion to her favorite store, Petco, because they had her food on sale at a significant savings and we had a coupon almost to expiration, so we wanted to economize as much as possible, considering we were getting her some Frontline (for fleas and ticks), which is no small expenditure at $60 for 3 months! Of course we couldn't resist taking her through the toy aisle (I'm not sure if it's more fun for her or us!) and got her a couple new toys as belated birthday presents (more on those later).

Then we made a stop on the way home at a more upscale specialty nursery (e.g. on the pricey side) where we made some real finds and I dropped a significant amount of cash ... Our big find was a new hybrid Hellebore called 'Ivory Prince,' that is the biggest Hellebore I've ever seen, so we had to have it. Unlike all the other Hellebores we have, which are of the Royal Heritage strain, this one has blooms that face up, not down, so no wet belly position to photograph them! This one is currently blooming, and though the flowers now look pale green, apparently they start out white then progress to this color. (Click the link above to get a description.)

I meant to get pictures of it today but we were so busy outdoors cleaning up (finally) that I didn't get a chance but I'll have a shot soon. Basically, it's already about 14" tall, very bushy and dense, so I didn't feel too bad about dropping $22 on just that one plant, because it's so well established. It will be going in probably late tomorrow afternoon, to join the other Hellebores in the Woodland Garden.

We also found another small Trillium plant, a couple of deep red oriental poppies I had to grab and a pot of Primroses ... the odd lot that had two together, both red and blue, so that had to come home with us as well.

Once we got home, we set about digging the innumerable dandelions and other trees (Maples) and weeds out of the front boulder bed and planting the 54+ snapdragons that came home with Fernymoss on Friday night. So there's a lot of instant color that just occurred this weekend ... and I vow to get some pictures Monday after work, since I didn't get around to it on Sunday. There was just too much going on this weekend....

Sunday we combined a grocery run with a visit to our usual garden center where we picked up some more annuals, perennials, herbs and a few veggies. I found a treasure trove of the bushier Delphiniums: Blue Elf, Blue Butterfly, and Summer Night ... the most heat and dry tolerant of the lot. I used to grow the upright, stalky type Delphiniums, but they never seemed to last more than a couple of years so I realized that in our conditions, they are more like expensive annuals, so I've given up. But these newer bushy varieties (which are more like Larkspurs and often classified as Delphinium ambigua) and perform a lot better for us in our hot, dry and humid summers. The three varieties I got today promise some interesting hues of blue, so you'll be seeing them here as they progress this season.

We also got a bunch of petunias, marigolds, red salvias, a new columbine (red!) and some new sage plants, some jalapeños and a new heirloom variety, Tennessee Cheese. We held off on getting any tomatoes yet, as we were just cleaning up their area today and it hasn't been tilled yet, so they can wait a week or so until we have the space ready for them. It seems that the garden centers we've visited so far aren't fully stocked up yet, so for the usual annuals we're buying now and waiting on the other things we want to plant.... So far we're trying to stick to our new rule: plant all the stuff we have before we make any more plant runs! Seems to be working for the moment, at least!

Now, back to Hanna ... here's a short (18 seconds) video I took of her this afternoon while we were taking a break from backyard clean up. She was exceptionally good (even on the tie out lead) all day outside (she has a pretty wide 360 coverage of the yard) and didn't even bark at other dogs going by today. This weekend is the first time she's had to really spend hours on end outside exploring her backyard. When she first arrived in January, it was merely the shoveled out paths for "business" purposes, and up until now she hasn't been able to spend extended periods out back. But she was loving it today and spent a lot of time just sniffing things out (as you can see in the video).



Sunday was a sniff-tastic day in the backyard, perfect for exploring!

Ok, last night we were trying again to force cuteness and failing miserably. What we wanted to get was a head on shot of Hanna with her new toy the Monster Mouth, that we got for her yesterday at Petco. Basically, it's a tough rubber toy (the only thing that's almost indestructible for Hanna) that has a couple of compartments in it where you can stash small treats. At first this one took her a lot longer than it did the Kong to figure out, but by Sunday night she seemed to have it pretty much figured out, but she still enjoys chewing on it and playing toss and retrieve with it.

Here she is gazing across the table at her Monster Mouth, wishing I'd fill it up with treats again.....

Here's the Monster Mouth (it's a pretty funny looking 'Little Shop of Horrors' type toy) that she's now decided is less important than giving Fernymoss a big, wet sloppy one! She's such a sweetie, always full of puppy love to share....

And all the activity and fresh air today has worn her out ... all the while I've been writing this post, she's been conked out on the futon couch, curled up and snoozing away .... we definitely brought her on board at just the right time, because she's perfectly at home here now and considers herself in charge! All in less than 4 months so far ... she's definitely an amazing and very special little girl we're so fortunate to have in our lives!

Thanks again, Pepa, for the permission and approval to adopt! We'll never forget you, and cherish your memory....

16 comments:

Roses and Lilacs said...

I love the photo of her looking across the table. I gave up on the tall Delphiniums long ago but maybe I should try the bushier varieties.

Had planned to add hellebores this year but I just don't have a good place for them. Still considering.
Marnie

FARfetched said...

It turned out the locally-owned garden place has prices comparable to Home Despot, so that's where I got (most of) my spring stuff except for the lemon balm.

The latter was starting to wilt Friday, so I dug out a landscaping pod (the violets were taking it over now that the butterfly bush was history) and stuck 'em in there. It started raining 15 minutes after I finished, and by Saturday morning they were looking very happy in their new home. Now if I can just keep Butthead out of it. as he tries to figure out some kind of mesh coverNow to find a place for the other herbs where 1) they'll get sufficient sun; 2) the dogs won't destroy them.

Family Man said...

Hi IVG,

Hanna looks adorable and I agree with Roses and Lilacs about the picture of her gazing across the table.

I'm glad you're getting your garden going, but I am amazed at the $22.00 plant. With my luck with plants, if I had paid that much for a plant, I just as well wadded up the cash and thrown it in the trash can. I definitely do not have a green thumb. :)

Hope you, Fernymoss and Hanna are doing fine and take care.

FM

boran2 said...

She is a sweetie, IVG!

We bought a few more plants and even did some planting between raindrops this past weekend. Nothing as interesting as your acquisitions though. But the tomatoes are in now, no small feat for us.

I'd love to see that hellebore!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Doesn't she look adorable in that shot? She was very interested in whether I'd load up her Monster Mouth with more treats at the time!

Sorry to hear you had bad luck with the Delphs too... either they were getting blown down by winds or just didn't make it through our hot summers and cole winters. So I gave up too ... comforting to know I was not alone in my frustration!

Definitely try a Blue Butterfly or two if you see them, they're not expensive (I think mine were $2.99 for good sized plants). They stay nice and bushy and only get to about 18" total. Much more reliable in hardiness too!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi FAR,
I would never buy anything at Home Despot after those vile remarks their CEO made last fall (about shooting un-Americans who vote Democratic). Besides their plants are usually in terrible condition ... we don't buy our plants at big box stores anyway and stick to the mostly local or state growers.

Good luck keeping the dogs out of the herbs! It's going to be a challenge to train Hanna which areas she's not supposed to run through. :-) But she's smart and picks up quickly on things, so she just needs the right training.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi FM!
Hope you're feeling better now! So, has Hanna stolen your heart yet?

Actually I paid $45 for that 'Sun Showers' Hibiscus I bought last year (it's done fine inside over the winter), so this Hellebore was a relative bargain. Once the hellebores are in the ground and established, we don't have to water much because they're in the shady garden that stays pretty moist, so pretty low maintenance.

I hope to go pop in those Delphiniums tomorrow if I have the energy tomorrow after work... today was so stressful I had a headache and was dead tired. We have rain in the forecast (again) so it would be a good time to throw down some seeds with them too. If we do a few a day, we'll be able to keep up with them...

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
Hanna sends a puppy kiss your way (and she would if she were there in person)!

Wow, you're brave putting in tomatoes this early up your way! I won't even think about doing that until mid month, because we can still get cold nights. At least the veggie garden is about ready to till, so it won't take much time when we get our plants to put them in. Then the corn will go in too, and if we get some more onions, we'd like to put more in this year. The peppers have done so miserably the past few years that we're going to put them all in big pots and keep them on the patio this year....

You'll see the hellebore soon, but you can go to that link I posted for a preview if you want....

Gail said...

She is too cute and I love her one floppy ear! I have Ivory Prince and think him stellar! I moved him just before the rains arrived so I am hopeful he'll adjust. I love the pinkish green the flower turns as it ages toward a seed head! Gail

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
We love the ear thing too ... guess she has one Corgi ear and one JRT ear, but it makes her unique! And you know how we prize the unique, lol.

Glad to hear you have good luck with Ivory Prince in your conditions... ours should just love our loamy, humus-y soil and consistent moisture in the Woodland Garden. We're very excited about it and I was encouraged to hear good things about him from you!

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