Monday, June 16, 2008

Crazy. Wild. Wacky! What else can you say about the weather when your daughter has her June birthday off from school because they've used the last "snow day"? While we didn't actually have snow we did have a State of Emergency in my town due to wild weather. We lost our power and didn't regain it for days. But finally life has begun to resume it's "normalcy". Yeah, right, my life isn't ever normal!

And neither are my gardens! I've gone from lush Iris beauty to well...less than lovely. It's that odd time of the season when spring blooms are over and summer blooms need another week or so. But still I can find beauty, peace and tranquility (and weeds) in any garden!
Like this last of my Iris beauties to bloom.
I was surprised by this lemon yellow Iris when it bloomed amongst it's already spent purple counterparts. I find that my gardens go through color changes throughout the year. You might think I planned for Early Spring to be yellow (daffodils, narcissus, and such)...Late Spring to be purples and blues (Bearded Iris, Siberian Iris, etc)...Summer tends to be more fiery with pinks and oranges (daylilies my one true love) and...Fall with it's deep dark solomn reds, oranges, and browns...But you'd be wrong. I simply toss everything in together and then marvel that I haven't made a mockery of the gardening experience. Yet, I've never been truly unsatisfied with any of my gardens.

Such is the case with my Compost Garden. Every plant in this new garden (planted fall of '07) was saved from a Gardening Friend's Compost Pile. I really had no idea of what I was "saving" I just grabbed anything that I could and shoved them in the ground. I am pleased to recognize many of my favorite plants (Siberian Iris, Daisies, and Daylilies) and even more excited about the plants I've never had before including Virginia Bluebells. I love the entire garden but I'm not loving the weeds creeping up over my rock border as they launch yet another attack on my garden bed.

However, this isn't the only gift from a Gardening Friend that is currently giving me delight.

Thanks Apple for this bit of fire in my "Adirondack Fire Garden".

And another "Thank You" to Marci for the gift of Sundrops making today Sunny!

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Iris Beauties!

I hate to Brag...But I'm going to anyways! I have even more Iris varieties opening every day. Because I received these as gifts after blooming last year I've never seen many of these in bloom. So each day is a bit like Christmas for me. Yesterday, I was surprised with this Pink/Peach beauty. And just like the best gifts it has some beautiful ruffles along it's edges.
I was stunned when I saw the coloring of this magnificent Iris this morning. The center is such a beautiful light blue with more traditional Iris colors on the outer petals. I think I'm in LOVE!
And Finally, the Iris that I tracked down for my husband has bloomed. I had heard rumors of an Iris named "Banjo Blue" and had to have it for my banjo-picking hubby. Although in this photo it might seem slightly lavender in reality it is a stunning blue.
I have no idea what the variety name for this Iris is. So I've decided until I find out that I'm going to call it Radish. Seems color appropriate.
We had a lot of thunderstorms and rain last night. I was worried about my poor flowers and rushed out to check on them at 6:15 a.m this morning. I was thrilled to see this beautiful Iris display!

And soon we will move from Iris time to Daylily time. Don't you love gardening?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Veggies: The Good, The Bad & The UGLY

The Veggie Garden has been planted for 10 days now. I wish I was more enthusiastic about it. But like all of my garden attempts~The first year is never as successful as I hope, wish or dream it to be!

We've had some Good: Green Beans! Near the bottom of the Rustic Trellis!

Lettuce Seedlings Everywhere! (Wild Child "helped" with planting.)

Potatoes! First attempt at growing Potatoes for anyone in my family! So far...So Good!

We've had some Bad:

Unexpected Frost takes it's toll on my Precious Peppers!

And we've got plenty of the Ugly:
Is there anything Uglier than a plant killed by frost? My poor Peppers!

June Blooms

Despite my lackluster care of my garden this year (notice the weeds in the background of all the pictures) I've been enjoying the Iris Blooms. They have been absolutely beautiful so far. However, I am still waiting for my favorite "Blue" Iris to open. Until then though, I thought I'd share my Iris bounty with you.

I live in FEAR...

As you know I am trying my first veggie garden. Because we have been sooo busy with the medical needs of my oldest daughter I haven't been able to focus on my gardens (veggie or flower) like I normally would. This has left me in a constant state of worry about my unprotected youngsters ~ yes, I mean veggie seedlings! My children seem to delight in the very thing that causes me the most worry. It's especially worrying to see my young gardeners-in-training lured to the dark side by their new found "friends"...If only the kids could see the truth about their "friends".

"OOOhhh, That Wascally Wabbit!"

Monday, May 26, 2008

Still Gardening without my SuperPowers!

You may have thought that I abandoned this blog but that is not the case. I have however, abandoned the idea that I am Superwoman and by doing so have given myself permission to focus on the big stuff right now and let all the small stuff wait. Unfortunately, compared to my Daughter's J.M.E. everything is small stuff.

That doesn't mean I've given up on gardening. No, I'm far too addicted for that! In fact, I've even expanded my gardens! Yes, it has taken me this long but I finally have my Vegetable gardens planted. Yeah, me!

But sadly, the grand plans and schematics that I had hoped for were scraped due to well...lack of time between Dr. appointments! After hours of back breaking work by my strongman hubby a plain lawn was transformed into 4 equal plots for veggies. Equal in size not in soil quality. The soil from one plot to another varied immensly from perfect topsoil to pure clay.

In the background you might recognize a rotatiller under that tarp. You may be thinking that my husband isn't the strong man I've discribed but I assure you he is! That Machine is the most contrary piece of gardening equipment to ever be invented! It ran well for about 2 minutes and then it would over heat. My hubby called it the "one row workhorse". You'd complete one row and then it would rest for 15 minutes before it would start again. So all in all, hubby did about 6 passes with the Machine and instead broke all that sod up with an old fashioned Maddox. What a Man! What a mighty fine man! All in all, it took him about 3 days of work. (Of course, with our schedules he did it over a two week time period.)

Then it was time to plant. At last!!! I was so proud to put in the peppers I had started from seed myself. They looked as good as the ones from the Backyard Farmer. While there I also purchased my onion sets. And as soon as I planted these prized possessions of mine I began to worry about a little creature I had seen in making his escape from my flower gardens just a few days before. Was I doing little more than setting up a free buffet for this cute vandal?
We've discussed fencing but we haven't gotten there yet...

After planting we carefully laid out our new watering system. We attached a 100 foot regular garden hose to our water spicket. At the other end we attached a four way splitter to which we attached four Seeper flat soaker hoses (by Gilmour Gardening Innovation from Wal-Mart for approx $13 per 75 foot hose). With one easy step I can now water all four gardens without wasting water, energy, or time (which is highly prized at this point). My new gardens are now ready. But will they grow?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Rustic Garden Spring Blooms

I haven't been able to post as much as I like to so forgive me if this has too many photos and not enough text. It's been very busy around here and especially in the garden. As you know I had big plans for a raised veggie/kitchen/potager garden this year but sadly I think I'll have to compromise. With GardenGirl's recent health issues I have not been able to find time to bring in the necessary soil so it looks like I'll be rotatilling after all. Ssshhh, don't tell the relatives. So as we look prepare for that adventure I've been slowly making my way through the gardens and doing some light spring weeding. Here's a tiny peek of The Rustic Garden today, May 1st 2008.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Are these Daffodils MUTANTS?

My cousin and I were talking about bulbs about a month before we could even see the ground. She had some bulbs that she was nervously awaiting their first spring time blooms. She had just purchased a home and was a bit desperate to turn the bare earth into a welcoming garden. Today I received news from my cousin that her bulbs (although blooming about a month later than everyone else's) had finally begun to bloom. She was overjoyed but something was amiss. She had planted full size single bloom daffodils. So she was bewildered when she found this:Can you see that there are three blooms on each stem? She asked me if it was a type of Daffodil that she was unaware of OR if her brown thumb has now turned into a RADIOACTIVE Thumb? Need a closer look? Here's a shot of another Mutant Daffodil... I've never seen anything like it so I turn to you for HELP! Have you any idea what type of Daffodil this is?

Or do I have to start sewing my cousin a Superhero outfit? After all, Peter Parker got a neat Spideyman suit when bit by a radioactive spider. What do you think of calling her "The Bloom Booster"? I like it...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

E Day Resolutions?

Earth Day. It's the "New" New Years. I don't know about you but I stopped making New Year's resolutions a long time ago... but now everyone seems to be making Earth Day Resolutions and I can not resist. Why not try to "Go Green"

So with the assistance of my kids we have decided that we will be plastic bag free. We have about 10 of those "free" giveaway canvas totess that have never been used so we are going to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! By using the totes we will: Reduce the amount of plastic bags filling our landfills, Reuse the totes for a purpose, Recycle any remaining plastic bags in our home.

That was our Earth Day Eve resolution last night. And I'm proud to say, I've gone shopping and returned without any plastic bags! And what's more the canvas totes were so easy to carry that I didn't have to struggle to hold my daughter's hand in the parking lot! One more reason to Celebrate Earth Day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Adding More Rustic Charm

Boy, did my family need Spring Break this year. We planned on sleeping in, snoring until noon, watching movies, eating popcorn, sitting on the couch and generally giving in to the laziness we haven't had time for. But the danged weather refused to cooperate! Who can sleep in on mornings that look like this:
And who can resist temperatures in the50's at sunrise? Not me... or my children! So we were up and at 'em by no later that 7:15 every morning. We enjoyed checking to see when the daffodils would open and were very happy when they finally put on their show.

The week was thoroughly enjoyable despite realizing that the bright sunshine is yet another trigger for gardengirl's seizures. A good pair of polarized dark sun glasses were the best buy of the week.

The unusually warm weather also led to an unusually helpful hubby and since winter hit while I was in the midst of starting a rock garden I was more than happy to recruit him to help me get the project underway...again. But sadly, he is easily distracted.


Could it be?

Yes, he's finally going to build my Rustic Arbor! for my Rustic Garden! I've dreamt about having a arbor frame the entrance to the rock garden. {wipe a tear} I've waited so long... and now hubby has done all the hard work and left me plenty of space to do the twig work that I so love. This is how my new arbor looked late yesterday:

And this is how my brand new Rustic Arbor looked just seconds before my daughter ran into it will the tractor:

And After...
No damage Done.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Beauty of the First Spring Flower

Yes, I know that there have been tons of posts about the blooming of every variety of crocus but... I cannot stop myself! Finally, in my garden, is the very first blooms of spring. With all the hectic worry that has filled my life lately it was so pleasant to stop and "smell" the flowers.

I'm LATE but I'm a Winner!

I'm very late with this post but (in my defense my life has been focused on my daughter and her medical issues) I am here at last! I won a copy of Cultivating Delight by Diane Ackerman from Kylee at Our Little Acre. It's a delightful garden read that has been very entertaining to me as I wait (endlessly) in doctor's offices. It reminds me that outside those dingy gray walls there is life. There is Spring. There is Gardening... And on a rare day home (a dingy gray day) it's a perfect way to relax.
Thank You, Kylee!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Peeking Peppers in my Peat Pots

This the first year I've used peat pots or peat pellets. I've heard so much about them (both good and bad) but I have to say they are so easy and convenient that I may be hooked! I started a most of my seeds on 3/22/08 and have seen great results! And more importantly, today I...

Peeked Pepper Plants in my Peat Pots!

I'm a Happy Gardener!!! And lookee at my greenhouse:

Lots of Green!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tiny Bird Brain Gardening (Part 2)

Everyone knows that hummingbirds love red flowers but do you know why? Because although tiny, a hummingbird's brain is quite knowledgeable about where to find the most nectar. Red flowers tend to have more nectar than other colors. Does that mean a hummingbird garden should be completely red? No, hummingbirds also feed at pink, orange, purple, yellow, and even white flowers. The real attraction for hummingbirds is shape. Think "Tubular" and you'll be thinking like a hummingbird.

So what does a garden need to be successful at attracting hummingbirds?
  1. Flowers: You can choose combinations of annuals, perennials, flowering shrubs, vines and even some flowering vegetables to attract hummingbirds. Remember that they prefer "hot" colors and to overlap the bloom times so the garden never runs out of nectar. Although, not every flower has to be red, a patch of red flowers will act as a "Come and Get Me" sign. Also, regional wildflowers provide more nectar per bloom than other flower varieties so if at all possible "Go Wild!"

  2. Sun & Shade: Hummingbirds prefer to spend about half their time in the sun, 1/4 of their time in partial shade, and the remainder of their time in full shade.

  3. Shrubs & Trees: Essential in providing both partial and full shade they also provide locations for perching, shelter, and roosting.

  4. Flight room. While most birds perch to feed, hummingbirds don't always have that luxury. They need room between flowers to fly and hover. A tiered flower bed works best for hummingbirds.

  5. Water. Hummingbirds love to bathe (actually to shower). And are very resourceful at finding water for bathing in. They prefer moving water such as beads of water left on leaves after a rainfall or the fine spray of a waterfall. To set up a hummingbird shower in your hummingbird garden use a nozzle that gives us a continuous fine mist.

Favorites for Hummingbirds

  • bearded iris
  • bee balm
  • bellflower
  • buttercup
  • butterfly weed
  • carnation
  • catmint
  • columbine
  • coralbells
  • daylily
  • evening primrose
  • fireweed
  • foxglove
  • impatiens
  • hummingbird's trumpet
  • hollyhock
  • larkspur
  • loosestrife
  • poppy
  • sweet william

Friday, March 28, 2008

Polka-Dots and Mud!

I know I promised hummingbird info in my next post but...
I ACTUALLY DID SOME GARDENING TODAY!!! Apple~I'm sorry for the pain that this is going to cause. Look away now. LOL.

My hubby surprised me with a trip to my favorite store: The Backyard Farmer. Brian was able to offer me some great advice for my veggie garden and I had a wonderful time at the store. And I bought a new pair of rubber boots. Believe it or not, I never actually had a pair before! I always just wore my winter boots when working in a muddy garden. But not anymore! Now I have state of the art, old fashioned Wellies!
After we returned home, I slipped into my new polka dotted wellies and my other spring gardening gear~thermal sweatshirt, fleece hat, and cheap gardening gloves. After all, there is no sense ruining my favorite garden gear in the mud! As I worked in the garden several of my neighbors drove and gave the courtesy honk & wave. One even rolled down the window and hollared, "She's in the garden! It must be spring! WooHOO!" And it made me realize that my neighbors know me as the garden lady or the dog walking lady. Neither is an occassion I dress nicely for. They may never have seen the real me (you know~clean!). Just to be sure I don't make that same mistake here below I've posted both versions of myself. Clean and well... MUDDY!

Don't believe that I'm all that muddy? Just look at my gloves at the end of the day!

Don't you love gardening in the spring?