Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Status Update

Thought it would be interesting to see what six weeks of work, rain and sun can do to the garden. If you were around on April 14 you saw a very different view of the garden [above]. I was pleased with the good shape the garden was in - in general - but as you can see, it was just beginning to grow. Perennials were starting to come up and shrubs were greening up, but you can clearly see the paths and the structure of the space. The grass looked good, that not much else.

Now add some good, rainy growing season and this afternoon it looked like this:

Unfortunately, I took this photo a good bit later in the day than the first, so the shadows are very different but you can see how lush everything has become - and we are just beginning to get blooms. Look how full the crabapple tree is, and the hedge at the back - you can hardly see the shed and house behind us now. The tower for the watering stand is nearly hidden by the Virginia Sweetspire. The round lily pond in the front is completely hidden behind daylilies now and Agnes appears to be hiding, too. The semi-circle path is still obvious, but there's lots more growing there. I moved the gazing ball to the front because it had gotten completely hidden.

After a hot humid day, it suddenly cooled off a bit late this afternoon and I was able to sit out by the fish pond and read - for the first time in weeks. It was cool and calm and a place to rest. That's the payoff for all the hard work.

On Saturday we had our extended family for a cookout on the deck - eight adults and four children; the latter ages one to five. It was delightful to see the children playing in both the yard and garden. The pond was a draw for them, especially at fish feeding time, but they ran in the grass and hid in the garden. The best part of all, tho, was the three year old boy running back and forth down the paths - in his diaper! He was just tall enough that his head would pop up from time to time as he ran, as if a mini-streaker had arrived. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing him, and delighted to watch the little ones entertain themselves with next to nothing but their imaginations. Another reason for the garden: It's a place for children to play.

Hope you've had the opportunity to work in your garden and are starting to reap the rewards. Happy digging!

And that's what the garden is really for - the enjoy.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

What's in Bloom?

I've been so busy with the Big Project that stuff has burst into bloom and I've not been updating you. It seems like everything is blooming at once.

First, the "red" yucca finally bloomed. Altho it had a lovely red streaked stem, the flower is just as creamy white as any other yucca. It is an unusually pretty plant, tho, with the variegated leaves and the red-striped stem. We have a second one that continues to struggle, but at least with this one blooming, there is hope for the other one - next year.

The small day lilies are bursting. We have 'Happy Returns' which is a butter yellow, rather than the more popular 'Stella d'Oro' which is a gold. These are about half the size of "normal" day lilies and are rebloomers, so we will have them thru the summer.

The yarrow is starting to bloom. We have a pastel mix, rather than the more familiar gold. We've naturalized them around the pond and used them as filler wherever I need some additional color. Altho there are pale yellow, cream and pink, there is also a dark pink that provides a nice pop of color in many places.

Today I cut the first bloom off one of the hydrangeas. It's also a rebloomer that Mother gave us for Christmas one year. We also have a spirea that has lovely pink blossoms. It looks like a cloud of pink all around the shrub.

Most of the pots of annuals are doing pretty well, except that the (!$&^*#@ chipmunks keep digging up some of the plants. I put back two or three every day, so they are not growing very fast. And the waterlilies are all blooming. We have a pink one and a yellow one in the fish pond and another yellow in a small round lily pond. The latter is blooming like crazy. It's out in the middle of the yard, so I think it gets more sun than the fish pond, and the flowers seem to like it.

Like all good gardens there are some surprises, tho. Apparently the birds planted these hollyhocks by the mailbox. I suspect the paper delivery man is not too thrilled with them, but they came as a lovely surprise when they popped up this spring. These were originally planted at the very back of the back garden and mostly were two shades of pink. Somehow one of the white ones managed to plant itself here - in practically no dirt, but a perfect spot.

Basically, it's lush and growing beautifully. With all rain in March and April, everything has come to full life a little bit earlier than usual. Part of it is the maturity of the plants, or course, but it already looks like it normally does in mid-June, so I guess we are about two weeks ahead. Today I've given you a look at the individual stars. Maybe tomorrow, I can give you the big picture. Happy digging!

ps: Mitchell's vegetable garden is also thriving. The lettuce is exploding, but everything else is just growing normally. He has also put in one of those upside down tomato plants. He has many little tomatoes - both on the regular plants and on the upside down one. I think we could begin harvesting lettuce any time now.