Thursday, May 27, 2010

Photo Update

I took some quick photos this morning, after realizing how few visuals I've been sharing here this season. All kinds of stuff going on, but man! Do my gardens need some work! Thank goodness I'm on vacation starting tomorrow.

I have another mystery plant. Two, in fact. I have no idea what this is:

And no idea where the heck these lovely irises came from! Did I put those there last year or something? Ack, my memory is terrible. I hope I wrote about them or something. They were NOT there last year, I know that.

Here are some shots from the back garden, which has really filled out. Here is the Pan-Am hosta I bought from my friend Gordon last year at his epic plant sale; it is said to be a descendant of one of the plants used at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo back in 1901.

And here is my new White Feather hosta! I love him.

Scented geraniums I took from my dad's wooded yard in New Hampshire. These are thriving, almost to the point of taking over!

The New Hampshire garden is an overgrown mess in the matter of a couple weeks! Eek! I also happened to notice that someone's using this garden as a buffet... lots of little holes in many of the leaves. Rats. I guess I should start sprinkling the eggshells that I collected all winter out there!

Fortunately, I DO remember planting these. They're the irises my cousin Marianne gave to me two years ago. Some came up last year, others didn't. Hm, I may have moved these over last year, actually. Ugh. Bad memory strikes again. Anyway... aren't they absolutely gorgeous? I am in love with them.

Finally, I will leave you with a close-up shot of my Wiegela Florida, which is in full bloom now. I just planted a variegated variety in the back a few weeks ago, and I can't wait for it to grow! This one is at the front corner of the house.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Getting Ready to Work

I am getting excited. May 2010 has been insanely busy for me, and I am impatiently awaiting the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, which kicks off a nice two week long vacation for me. Unlike many people who take vacation, I look forward to staying at home and doing things around the house—especially gardening. I haven't had a lot of time to devote to my gardens yet and I am really itchy to get out there and do some major stuff!

This week we got our hot peppers into their larger containers and they're outside enjoying the very warm weather we've been having this week. Into the 80s during the day and the 60s at night. Just what peppers really love. My poor butterfly bushes are still in a holding pattern sitting in pots, and I really hope to get them in the ground this weekend.

In the meantime, I'd like to share a few photos I've taken in the past few weeks.

Violets! These came with the house, but I now also have four other varieties.

Here's what the little corner in the backyard looked like a few weeks back. You wouldn't believe how much the plants have filled in since then! I was shocked.

The shade garden abutting the back of the house. Solomon's seal just starting to unfold, plus a mystery plant. Can anyone help ID the one with the pretty blue flowers? They're lasting forever! The flowers look similar to forget-me-not, but the foliage is totally different. ANSWER (I think!): Omphalodes cappadocica, or Navelwort. Neat!

And the Bridal Wreath Spirea is performing the best it has in the three years we've known it. Just gorgeous.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Remiss Gardener

Oh my, my, my. I certainly AM remiss.

This spring has been much different than last, when I first started this blog. For one thing, I am a LOT busier with other stuff, mostly work. I have a full-time day job, a full-time online teaching gig, an art studio to maintain (I'm getting ready for a little restaurant show that opens on Monday), and I also teach various art workshops in the area. Lately, it's been really overwhelming and I am just trying to through the month of May. Thankfully, I have two weeks of vacation coming up starting on the Memorial Day weekend, so that will be a relief. I also have ideas about how I'd like to change my life in some ways in the coming months.

But anyway... back to the garden. I've been getting in there every so often, but lately it's been rainy, like April and May switched places. That makes it hard to get things done, too. Still, I got my second order of plants from Spring Hill that included the wiegela, a lovely fern, columbine, and those butterfly bushes I am so hot on. I got everything in the ground except the butterfly bushes, mainly because they're going in the front garden and on my vacation, the front garden is getting a MAJOR overhaul. So, I am hoping that they will do OK in their new pots for now, until I can get them properly situated.

Yep. I have plans to dig everything up in the front garden, add soil to it in order to create more of a mound (right now it's just ground level with no sort of border, so the grass always wants to grow into it) and thereby hopefully more attractive. I have a lot of lovely and interesting plants there, but I admit it's been all quite willy-nilly and after a couple years, it just looks crappy.

Major sad face here: I am an artist, after all.

The butterfly bushes are going to be the anchor of the garden. They'll be against the house and will provide a lovely backdrop for everything else, as opposed to the ugly foundation blocks that you see now. Then, I will everything else back into place. New places. Prettier groupings. It's going to be a pretty big job, all that digging and replanting, but it will be worth it, I know. I want that garden to be as nice as the back gardens. The back gardens taught me a good lesson: that it pays to plant groupings. (Of course, that didn't stop me from planting my toad lily plants intermittently... though I didn't have much of a choice!)

In other bush news, the lilac bush that put out blooms the size of forearms last year was really disappointing. And here I thought that the good pruning I gave it last year after it flowered would do it some good. Maybe the neighbors nicked it when they put the new fence in, though... hopefully next year she'll perform well again. The bridal wreath spirea, on the other hand, looks the best we've ever seen it since we bought the place. It developed branches that actually swooped down, and it is flowering profusely. Gorgeous. I hope it doesn't get invaded by aphids again this year.

In veggie news, our seed starting hasn't gone so well. Next year, we're definitely getting a lighting set-up. We've had the best luck with pepper plants (some that we harvested from last year's Thai pepper plants, even -- thrown in the soil not expecting anything!) except for the habaneros, and an accordion tomato. The lettuce sprouted all over the place, but then went leggy and just kind of collapsed on our kitchen counter, sadly.

A couple weekends ago I attended a workshop about starting seeds that was really fun if only to meet some new people. It turns out that I knew much of the information that was shared, but I had a great time and got to take home a couple small flats of planted seed -- tobacco and three different types of corn -- none of which have sprouted. *sigh* I don't know. I'm a little discouraged, but won't give up on doing this stuff myself. I want to be able to! My parents did! I remember their set-up in the basement when I was little. I need a set-up, is all. I have to grow some of those rare white habanero seeds I bought from a seller on Etsy!

The asparagus put out maybe half a dozen stalks among three plants before they sent up ferns. The fourth plant didn't send anything up this year at all. Hopefully the harvest will be much better next year. I tell you what, though, it is fascinating to see how they grow out of the ground! It was worth it just for that, even if they never grow again. Fantastic to see where your food comes from, how it grows.

We did get our shipment of chile peppers, twelve plants in all, from Cross Country Nurseries, but it's timed a bit early. Not nearly warm enough to put them out, so we're nursing the gorgeous plants in the basement for now. It's our third year buying plants from them, and I have nothing but kudos. Good stuff. Hopefully we won't kill them before we can get them situated.

If only the weather would cooperate now!

Finally, I am looking forward to participating in Garden Bloggers Buffa10 this July. It'll be my first, and I am excited about all the events that are planned. Lots to look forward to this summer.

(Oh, and did I mention that I am turning 40 in a few short weeks? I am celebrating it, yessir!)