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June 2005
Summer at last!

LatoyaJune is the month for Asiatic lilies, such as this one: 'Latoya'. Earlier in the year it didn't look as if it would amount to much, but it must have had 5 or 6 flowers, not bad for it's second year.

'Red Bull'Now also in it's second year is 'Red Bull'. At least, that's what we call it. When you see it in real life however you'd be tempted to spell that 'Red? Bull!' seeing as they're leaning more towards purple than red, there is a decided hint of blue to the red and the images my brother and I have been able to find of 'Red Bull' look sufficiently different to make us doubt this is the real thing: another example of mislabeling. Having said all that, if you go back to the sorry state the bulbs we bought were in we're certainly very pleased with how well they are doing this year. These particular ones are in a large pot with a couple of other Asiatics: 'Suncrest' and 'Polyanna'. They just took a couple of days longer to open their buds, but when they do the pot makes quite a nice display, as you'll see in a picture a little further down. While we're on the subject of mislabeling, I rather suspect both of these other varieties, 'Suncrest' and 'Polyanna', have been mislabeled as well. The 'Suncrest' we have actually looks a lot like 'Latvia' and the 'Polyanna' pictures I have seen are not reflective of what we see in the yard. Oh well..........

'Polyanna'These 'Polyanna's are in the same pot as the 'Peach Pixie' we have and it's interesting to note that while these here are just getting started on their blooming cycle, the 'Peach Pixie' is just finishing its.

'Golden Tiara' flowerLilies however are not the only perennials flowering in our yard at the end of June, witness this striking Hosta 'Golden Tiara' flower.

Talking of Hostas, couldn't help but notice that there are some nice flower scapes budding up on our H. 'So Sweet'. We'll be into July however before we can smell that sweet Gardenia-like scent of its flowers.

We had been humming and hawing for a while about how to properly seal the concrete in the backyard and our initial train of thought was to do something with concrete paint or stain prior to applying a concrete sealer. We talked with the son of one of our neighbours, seeing as he works for a company that specializes in concrete driveways etc. and he provided us with the tail-end of a pail of sealer he used last summer to seal the new driveway at his parent's house. This past winter there was quite the build-up of algae on the north-side yard of the house with some patches so slippery when wet as to be quite treacherous. Sealing the brick and concrete should go along way towards reducing if not eliminating this problem.

We couldn't seem to settle on what to do in terms of colouring: solid or patterned, or perhaps even stenciled. As you can see, it became solid. We discovered there is a new Benjamin Moore product that is a solid colour concrete stain and sealer and initially the plan was to use a combination of two colours: 'Terra Cotta' as the main one and 'Redwood' for accent. While I don't have any pictures that show the sideyard concrete and brick side-by-side, this shot of Hosta 'Patriot' in half backlight shows the 'Terra Cotta' colour as the background.

Waita power washed all the concrete and had the misfortune of a puncture smack-dab in the middle of the hose of the borrowed pressure washer. Trying to find a replacement hose for this Craftsman product was challenging. In Canada the only place there were any was in Burlington, ON., a 10 day delivery, and they wanted C$ 86.95 for a 25ft replacement hose. A quick check of the Craftsman website showed a 30ft replacement hose for US$ 24.95, what's wrong with this picture? Add the fact you are stuck with a non-standard style connector -which meant I couldn't use a replacement hose from Home Depot where they had plenty in stock locally- and it just makes you want to rush out and buy another Craftsman product, doesn't it? Oh yeah!

Anyway, 95% of the concrete was cleaned and the rest could be easily handled with a scrub brush and fence and patio cleaner. Waita had applied 2 coats of the 'Terra Cotta' already to the sideyard and patio and neither of us felt quite comfortable with the result. We had to wait a couple of days for the 'Redwood' to arrive and after Waita had stained the patio slabs you see in this picture we took a long hard look at the contrast between the two colors and we both felt that the 'Terra Cotta' looked pinkish, sorta bubblegum-like in overall tint and just didn't fit very well with the tan tones of the bricks. So, we decided that 'Redwood' would be used everywhere. This is the preliminary result, the stuff has to harden for 3 days before you can subject the treated surface to traffic. Once safe to do so all the furniture and planters will go onto the freshly sealed concrete and Waita will start to apply the clear sealer to all the brick, which should give the brick quite a bit more lustre and increase the colour contrast of the two surfaces.

The colour in this particular shot is pretty accurate (provided of course you have your monitor calibrated properly) and shows good representation of the shade of red of our 'Red Bull'. The solid yellow coloured one in the foreground is supposedly 'Polyanna', but the pictures I have seen of the real thing show a flower with orange in the throat and somewhat heavier speckling that what this one has. This one here is rather much more like 'Royal Justice', an L.A. as opposed to an Asiatic. Similarly, 'Suncrest' is an L.A. as well, but what we have looks more like an Asiatic called 'Latvia'. The two have some commonality in that they both have maroon speckling on a yellow background, but 'Suncrest' speckling is heavier towards the center of the sepals, rather than the throat, which is what we see in 'Latvia', and what we have. Now, if only we could sort out what sort of bull we have in our 'Red Bull', other than the obvious bogus bull.

You may recall us mentioning late fall/early winter that we had a problem with a rodent going after some of our lily bulbs. One of the ones the critter went after was our new 'White Tiger' and we were thoroughly disgusted with the whole matter.White Tiger Well, imagine our surprise when we not only saw something that looked as if it might be the 'White Tiger' again earlier this spring, but the surprise became an even bigger one when it started to bud up and opened into what you see here: much bigger an inflorescence than what we had last year. And I have no explanation because I thought most of the bulb had been decimated by this critter in the winter. Not complaining mind you, just can't explain. Mind you, the one the rodent got might have been the 'Pink Tiger' we had last year, and not the 'White Tiger' as we had suspected.

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