Sunday, June 28, 2009

Where I Come From, Where I'm Going

Yesterday we paid an early evening visit to my mom, at the house where I grew up. She still has many gardens that she tends, so we took a walk around the property to see all that was out to see. I took a few photos—it was starting to get dark so I will have to try again another time for some better shots—but I wanted to show you from where I came, garden-wise.

I know everyone has hostas, but one of my favorite things in my mom's gardens is this GIANT hosta she's had for years now.

It's a monster! I'd have had someone stand next to it for scale, but no one in attendance yesterday like to have their photo taken, so you will have to trust me. This photo might give you a better sense of its scale, though.

Growing up, I never fully appreciated living out in the country. Mom and Dad bought the house and its 14 acres in 1974 for a bargain. The house had stood abandoned for years and there was no yard to speak of—everything was overgrown completely. But now I love that I always have home to return to... it is just gorgeous there.

Back at home, things are happening!

Yet another type of rose... a nice medium pink. This bush is growing right smack against a rose of Sharon a little ways down from the others. I don't dare try to move it, but I'd like to.

The tomato jungle is getting bigger and more unruly, and it's full of buds!

Look! Broccoli!

The veggie plot is doing very well. The thing I am most excited about is that... *drum roll please* an asparagus shoot made its way to the surface, and quite beyond, too! All the rain we're getting must have done the trick. And here I gave up on the asparagus. The shoot is located just near the middle of the three younger squashes in the foreground. Maybe if you click on the photo for a larger view, you'll be able to spot it.

Just a wee thing, but it's a good six inches out of the ground in just a day!

This is Bobby Peru, my yellow Peru pepper. I named him after the scary character in the film Wild at Heart, played by Willem Dafoe and some nasty fake teeth. My Bobby Peru really come a long way from the leggy fellow he was when I first transplanted him, and now he's got all kinds of new growth on his stem! A lovely plant who's not really deserving of his namesake. Behind him (to the right in the photo) is a chocolate habanero, and to the left is a salsa delight that already has a pepper growing steadily!

The watermelon is just coming along so nicely.

The Accidental Zucchini is going to be gargantuan. And I've got four more plants coming up that I don't think will have enough room... so much for doubting my in-ground gardening skills!

So much excitement, so suddenly. This is why I am addicted to gardening now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Roses, etc.

The pink roses have bloomed, finally! I only have a few of them, and I managed to capture some pretty pictures—they are just about the prettiest, most delicate things I've seen! Unfortunately, I don't know what type any of my roses are, so if you do, by all means, tell me!

(As always, click photos to see larger—I urge you to, as these are so pretty.)

Plus, my first tomatoes of the season!

I planted two tomato plants directly into the ground when it was probably way too early... back in late April. One of the plants didn't make it, but I wasn't sure which one it was. Looks like these are not going to be cherry tomatoes, which means—Early Girl! Just on schedule, too. I can see three fruits so far.

The plant itself is not very big at all, but as long as it makes me some 'maters, that's all I care about. I'll probably try another plant in this spot in my front garden again next year, albeit planted at a more appropriate time!


Also in my garden news, I weeded the vegetable garden yesterday evening. The first zucchini seed that I planted in the back of what was to be the asparagus patch is getting quite big, and the additional seeds I planted in the front just a week or two ago are producing honest to god leaves already! One of the strawberry plants has blossoms, and the other is spreading runners. The black beauty eggplant, also planted too early, is looking better and better lately—maybe it will actually produce! The watermelon plants are doing just fine, too.

All the container tomatoes are growing like mad and starting to produce blossoms. I just noticed a wee salsa delight pepper on that plant in the veggie plot. The broccoli is starting to make, well, broccoli! I can see the tiny florets in the center of the leaves on each of the four plants.

I still need to get into the ground the lovely plants I bought at my new friend Gordon's annual plant sale. He has a spectacular garden in Buffalo and raises money to maintain it each year in this way. I came away with:

Gooseneck Loosestrife
• Two varieties of phlox
Solomon's Seal (what a beaut!)
• Black fennel (as a companion plant to my roses)
• French tarragon
and, my coup of the day!
• Pan Am hosta! This hosta is a direct descendant of a plant that was grown as part of the Pan-American Exhibition, which was held in Buffalo in 1901. What an awesome piece of history! Plus, the plant itself is just lovely.


Unfortunately, the front garden isn't looking so hot since I had the grand idea of, you know, moving stuff around. There's also not much blooming at this point, so it's looking a little barren and empty, aside from the thriving hostas in the front row. If you come a little closer, you can see some pretty details of things, but looking at it from the street is not so special. I'm sad by this, but know that it is just part of the process of creating something really beautiful in the end. I need to be patient.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


NOTE: You can click on any of the photos to see them enlarged and in more detail.

I missed out on Bloom Day (June 15th—Hey, I am a newbie at garden blogging!), but I have a lot of photos to share with you so I am going to get a bunch up in this post. Enjoy! Well... it is Bloomsday, at least!

Icelandic poppies

Hens & chicks

Mystery bush solved! It's a lovely weigela Florida! Thanks Kim!


An overall view of part of the front garden

Siberian Iris with Dianthus

The back garden is coming along, in all its shaded glory

What I like to call our Tomato Farm (along with some peppers)... we have nine plants this year of different varieties!

La la lupine

Foxglove love!

A zucchini seed I carelessly stuck in the asparagus plot just to see what would happen—it may end up being all by itself in there!

The broccoli has been doing well planted directly in the ground

The Woodland Garden, aka The New Hampshire Garden. All the plants here except for the violets came from my dad's place in Strafford, NH

Finally, roses, roses... they survived the onslaught of sawfly AND aphids! I only wish I knew what varieties they are. There are two different ones.

Happy Bloomsday!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Getting Closer

I got a lot done in the gardens today, spending four hours moving things around. I still want to move some more hostas from front to back, and need to find places for the azalea and rhododendron, but everything else is looking good. Unfortunately, I was so beat by the time I did what I did that I didn't have any energy left to take photos! I will tomorrow morning. The front garden is really shaping up since I removed the bushes.

Sadly, I ended up yanking that one rose bush I got from the guy who gave me the free pachysandra. It was clearly, well... dead. Too bad, it had quite a large root and I thought it would do well. I wonder, if I cut it down to its base it might come back? It's already in a trash bag, but I could retrieve it. Maybe I will tomorrow, and put it in a pot and really baby it? Any ideas?

I staked some of the delphiniums that needed help, as well as the big columbine I transplanted to the front. Both that plant and the one I got from my dad's aren't looking so hot, but I'm confident they'll come back if not now, next year. *crosses fingers* They are magnificent plants.

I have renegade snapdragons! Tall ones, even! I don't know where they came from as they weren't there last year, but there are some in the front and side gardens. I thought snaps were annuals? I'll have to research that, obviously. I do remember when we first looked at the house in 2007 that there were some in the side garden, but by the time we moved in they died, and I pulled them out... hm. See, this is what I love about gardening. There's always a surprise to be had.

Still no asparagus sprouts, I admit I am a little worried that that experiment will not be successful. Everything else, with the exception of the one eggplant, is coming along nicely. The eggplant shows no signs of dying but has shown very little progress, either. The strawberries are getting bigger and have new leaf growth, plus one bloom and a runner to a new plant! That was exciting. I've been able to taste no fruit from those, though—the birds or whatever other critters beat me to it, so I must install some protection of some kind... my stepmom mentioned draping organza over them?

I'm quite tired but very satisfied with the work I accomplished today! I am sad that tomorrow is the last day of my vacation.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Yesterday, I finally got around to pulling out the remaining bushes in the front garden: the bigger of the two hollys (which was a BEAR to get out of the ground), an azaelea, a rhododendron, and two dwarf alberta pines. I was surprised to see how much room they were really taking up! The garden looks much more open now and I am excited to reconfigure the remaining plants (and maybe add a few—I'm hoping to snag a few things from my mom's and cousin's gardens this weekend.

To start, I moved the two columbines from between the roses at the side of the house to the front, and grouped all the irises together. To temporarily fill in the space left behind by the bushes, I moved some hostas and euphorbia. Tomorrow I'll finish up moving around the existing plants and finding new places for the bushes. The holly will go in the back yard with its partner, and I'll have to play around with the placement of the others, somewhere in the front but certainly not in the middle of the garden where they were before!

Still no sign of asparagus, and it's been almost two weeks since I planted 'em. The broccoli seems to be doing well, as is the watermelon seedlings, tomato and pepper plants. Hopefully we can look forward to a robust harvest this year.

I should have photos to share tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dig, dig, dig

I finally dug up a space for the three remaining Sugar Baby watermelon plants I had left. I also moved the few hosta plants I had in a sunny spot along the back fence into what I call The Woodland Garden which is really just the space beneath the weeping cherry tree in the corner. I'm also thinking of it as The New Hampshire Garden since just all the plants except for the the little violet came from my dad's house in Strafford—different varieties of ferns and hostas. I'm glad I moved them, filling in the space makes it look so much nicer! I just love how it is coming along.

We've also finally decided that the giant pussy willow (referring to the size of the fuzzy "buds", not the size of the plant—though it does grow up to 20 feet tall) will be planted in the middle of the back yard. It will be the centerpiece of another likely shady garden, with a sunny path surrounding it, and gardens surrounding the path at the perimeter of our property. I doubt it will all get done this year, more likely another year or two before it is fully realized, if not more. But it is nice to know that I have a plan, something to look forward to.

However, I am hoping that we can extend our patio out back this summer. That'll give us more room for chairs, maybe a small table, and more nice sunny spots for pots.

I need at least three lifetimes to do all I'd like...

Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm back!

I returned from New Hampshire Sunday with buckets full of plants from my dad's land in tow. It was a great trip overall that included a visit to a local, small nursery in Madbury (I think)—Debbie, if you are out there reading, hello and welcome to the internet! Debbie graciously welcomed my dad and me to sit down under her arbor with some raspberry iced tea and good conversation, while I admired and photographed her own personal gardens.

Walking up to the house

Dad with the huge Angelica plant—astounding!

Dad and Debbie chatting under the arbor, and the rabbit hutch in the foreground

Dad let me have at the grounds around his house and dig up quite a number of plants! I came home with more ferns (including a really big one that I wrestled out of the ground), several peonies (I know you're supposed to transplant them in the fall, so we'll see how they do), a purple columbine, a fledgling clematis, lillies of unknown kinds or two, scented geranium...

Things are really taking off and I am seeing things coming up that I have forgotten what they are now... I need to hunt down the pot tags I saved from last year's plantings, and find a good place to keep all of them catalogued for future reference.

In the meantime, here are those belated photos I've been promising and promising from a couple weeks ago now. I'll be taking more in the coming days, really need to catch up! Enjoy! (I'm actually wondering if anyone aside from Elizabeth reads this?)

Mom's columbine bloomed beautifully for the first time in my garden this year. Lovely!

The roses totally busted out!

Bridal Wreath Spirea in full bloom

More irises reveal themselves

UPDATE: These are Penstemon digitalis, indeed. Thanks again, Kim! I have two of these and think they are gorgeous!

The new veggie plot, with several varieties of peppers, plus the odd Sugar Baby watermelon and the asparagus patch.

One of the lovely lupines! I saw these growing wild in huge patches on the sides of the highway in New Hampshire and Vermont... should have grabbed some (is that legal?)

The shade garden really starting to take shape, ever a work in progress