Saturday, May 31, 2014

Currently blooming

Tough mowing!

I started back to university two weeks ago... only 36 credits from achieving my Bachelor's in Communication. This summer I enrolled in two online classes, so homework consists of reading lots of text & writing 3 papers a week. I'm not complaining, I really enjoy school and am so close to graduating that I am doubly energized. I thought I would include mostly photos of what is currently blooming in the garden. We've had lots of rain, heat & humidity. I missed a week of lawn mowing in the back yard and the grass was over eight inches tall! Hopefully soon I will get better a juggling school, work, garden and household chores. It's been about a year and a half since I was in school and I'm a bit out of practice...

Knockout roses are loaded with blooms

All my roses are loaded with flowers. This past cold winter and current heavy rains seem to have eliminated aphids and Japanese Beetles from munching on leaves and rose buds. I tossed around some granular fertilizer the other day as it will be effective longer than fish emulsion with this much precipitation. The climbing roses are also doing well, although the big Queen Elizabeth has fewer flowers post 5 foot pruning this Spring.

We just had a rain shower and I took these photos in storm sky light, so they aren't as brilliant, but everything looks lush. The hand made short trellis is probably on its last season as the deer knocked it over last year. I really like the primitive look from the weathered wood, so we will probably make another to replace it. The garden is always in progress with plenty of plans and potential remodeling projects in mind!
Blaze climber and notice the large green leaves of the hollyhocks

Bachelor's Buttons
The stump garden is full of herbs and what I  call simple bloomers. I've been fixated on growing Bachelor's Buttons for a couple of years, trying a few different brands of  seed. I favor the blue flower ones over the pink or white flowering plants. Last year I found these seeds for burgundy flowers and they didn't do much, except re-seed  for a lovely clump this year on the part sun side of the garden. They are charming and I hope they continue to reproduce, since I can't remember where I purchased the original seed packet!

The yellow yarrow was an early bloomer this year and has formed a nice clump of lacy leaves and large yellow flower pads. It is a cheerful bright spot these rainy days. The background catmint has got a good bloom on as well considering it just got transplanted into the garden this Spring.

Friday, May 9, 2014


Busy, busy, busy! Yep, Spring has finally hit full force. The garden seems to have burst forth with the week of 80F/26C temperatures. Rain has been forecast but only sprinkles arrived, so I was using all three of the rain barrels to water the newly blooming plants. The lilacs have passed, but the lily of the valley and bleeding heart are still booming. The irises are starting and a are a burst of color on the south side of the house. Val and I raked the winter leaf compost and whacked down the Butterfly (Buddleia) bushes in the 20 foot strip, shrubbery garden along the front driveway. One Buddleia was completely dead but the 10 foot blue has good leaf growth at the base. We then spread a truckload of hardwood mulch throughout this 20X5 garden which definitely sharped up this privacy hedgerow. I installed a wood pallet crate to serve as a plant trimmings/compost site.

Besides the winter kill, voles have invaded the garden and chomped quite a number of plants and bulbs. I lost two balloon flowers and a Missouri primrose to their underground burrowing and voracious appetites. These pesky creatures are bigger than brown mice, have a short tail and razor sharp teeth; they are omnivores. My beagle and cat will kill a vole but get sick if they eat them, although Emma will dig forever chasing these pests. If you want more info check out this on wiki We have been clearing the leaves to eliminate the protective cover they scurry under in hopes of tempting the local owls to stop by for a snack. I think it's working because I have not seen or heard the one that made a nest under my sage plant for about a week.

Seedlings are sprouting on the front porch in ziplock/cake pan greenhouses. The milkweed seeds were in the refrigerator almost 2 weeks, but so far no shoots yet. The butterfly seeds did germinate well and are sprouting, along with the lambs ear & catnip. Hopefully, we can get the raised veg beds planted this weekend as the pepper starts I bought are flowering!

I'm including a few pix of the iris I currently have blooming. This year I'm planning to move a few more around the yard as they are getting crowded in the south bed. So many projects! I'm just going to have to make lists and take one at a time.

Right now I am tied to the sewing machine again... Val is due to be paper marbling at our local Heritage Days May 17th and was in desperate need of a new Empire gown, befitting the time period. It is a bit of a challenge piecing and French seaming a 10 piece bodice, but happily it went together well, albeit  6+ hours with only hand stitching visible. I may just do a post on the gown just to brag...

Happy Mother's Day to all!