"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Monday, May 30, 2011

End of May blooms.

First I wanted to say thank you to everyone for all your really nice comments on my recent posts!  I've been very slowly trying to make my way around to visit, it's been very busy here (as I'm sure it is with everyone else this time of year), but I'm enjoying seeing what's blooming elsewhere in the world.
Our weekend ended up being a great one, very productive around the yard.  The weather was mostly overcast, but at least the temperatures were in the low 60's and it didn't rain more than a few sprinkles.  The plants are slowly but surely catching up to where they should be.  I had wondered a month ago if June would look as good as it normally does in the garden, and it appears that it will be just as pretty as usual. 
Over the weekend we replanted many of our vegetable seeds, I'm beginning to think birds are part of what's causing the new sprouts to disappear.  Hopefully the bird netting will help with that.  It doesn't help that our dog and the neighbor's cat also enjoy lying on the warm soil in the raised beds.  I sowed many seeds with the Littlest Gardener; 3 types of Sunflowers, 2 types of Cosmos,  3 types of Zinnias and lots more.  I think I need more seeds we planted so many in just the new beds.  We also took a trip to the Antique Rose Farm and bought a new David Austin rose 'Harlow Carr'.  It will go in the entry bed, hopefully the rose will motivate me to start working on it.  We repaired and restained the raised beds in the side yard too.  Even better is that my husband seems to have adopted the front raised beds.  I see him out there checking on things, watering and he even came home from work requesting fish fertilizer and kelp after talking about vegetable gardens with a friend at work.  I knew the scientist in him would show up one day in gardening.

Here is some of what is blooming now:
Meadow Rue

Lots of Columbines with the Meadow Rue.  The yellow Columbine lives up to it's name 'Yellow Spotlight'.  I started it from seed last year, it's about 4 plus feet tall.

Clematis 'Miss Bateman'

Lilac 'Ludwig Spaeth'

Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'

Spanish Poppy (Papaver rupifragum) that I bought at a plant sale earlier this year.  I'm going to try to save seeds from it.  It reminds me of the color of orange sherbet, I just love it.

I think 'Gertrude Jekyll' will be the first rose to bloom this year.

The Pink Flowering Dogwood still has lots of pretty flowers left.

I added a couple Snow in Summer in front of the picket fence along the sidewalk.  It seems to love where it is.

White Columbines.

Irises, peonies, lupines, Clematises, roses and so much more are ready to burst open.  I hope you all had a chance to enjoy your gardens this weekend.
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The pond in May.

I was hoping to get out in the garden during my couple of hours of free time today, but the rain returned.  Instead I decided to take some pictures of the pond, since I don't think I have recently.  The colors are so rich out there even with the rainy skies.  Everything is looking so lush and it seems that even without much blooming it still looks really pretty.

Hostas, heucheras and ferns are just some of what is looking good right now.  I've realized that my backyard seems to be at it's best in the spring, while once June arrives the front yard takes over in being my favorite part of the yard.  I've tried really hard to make the back yard lower maintenance and focus more on foliage rather than flowers.

The Ligularia 'Othello' (behind the Hostas) has finally gotten too big for the slugs to destroy.

The ground cover with small white flowers is Sweet Woodruff.  It has spread like crazy around the back of the pond.  It's pretty easy to pull up in places I don't want it, but right now it looks so nice covered in those tiny white flowers that I just leave it alone.

To the left of the pond it's beginning to look like a jungle.  There are several shrubs along the back - Hydrangea 'Limelight',  Ninebark 'Coppertina' an American Beautyberry 'Profusion' and more.  In front of them are Daylilies, Coneflowers, Oriental Lilies, Penstemon, Hollyhocks and lots more.

A fairy waiting for Geranium 'Rozanne' to bloom.

Astillbes are getting huge and have lots of buds on them.  Lots of purple Columbines are blooming across the pond.

This is the view from the deck just outside our family room.

Not the greatest picture, but I wanted to show one of the Spotted Towhees that hangs out regularly in the birdbath under the apple tree next to the pond.  Right now you can hardly see the birdbath because the plants around it are so big.  This pair of Towhees must be nesting nearby, at least one of them is in the yard most of the day.  They had splashed most of the water out, so I guess the good side of the rain is that it will get refilled.

I noticed that the two pairs of Chickadees that had been working on nests in birdhouses, one being the one behind the pond, haven't returned for a couple of weeks.  It seems like this crazy spring weather finally made them change their minds.  This is only the second year in the 12 years we lived here that there aren't any birds nesting in our yard which is disappointing. 
I know many people are having terrible storms and tornadoes to deal with right now.  I hope everyone is staying safe.  Let's hope that this strange spring will soon be on it's way so we can enjoy being outside again.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

New flowers in bloom on a sunny day.

We had a nice stretch of dry and warmer weather last week.  Everything in the garden seems to be growing twice as fast as usual, probably making up for how slow they were from the cold and wet weather we had most of this spring.  Flowers that are behind are definitely close to blooming finally.  I've seen buds on irises (fewer than last year though), roses, lupine, Hydrangeas and Persian cornflowers.  June is usually my favorite month in my garden, especially the front yard, and it looks like it'll be as pretty as usual.

Lewisia cotyledon

Woodland Phlox smells really good.  I just planted it last year and it's doing great already.

Columbine are blooming all over the place.  Most are self seeded and all look different from each other.

This Tiarella has been in my yard for years, but it had been in a dry shade bed and never did that great.  Last summer I moved it to a front bed which is shady and the soil never dries, looks like it loves those conditions.

The Pink Flowering Dogwood blooming a month late with far fewer flowers than last year.  It still looks very pretty though.  The Dogwood in my backyard had no blooms at all this year.

Deutzia 'Pink Minor' is covered in flowers.

Alliums are just starting to pop open.

The new Clematis in a front container is so pretty, it's difficult to see the shades of pink in the picture.

Over the weekend we planted the plants that I had started from seed months ago.  So far everything looks good even though it's still cool at night.  I couldn't take looking at them withering away under the grow lights.  Looks like we'll have rain off and on this week, but the temperatures are supposed to stay in the 60's at least.
Thanks for all your kind words about Linda on the previous post!  She will be missed by many of us out in here in the blogosphere as well as by her family and friends.
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Friday, May 20, 2011

Remembering a blogging friend.

I'm sure by now many of you have heard about Linda (Rain Gardener) of Gardening by Trial and Error passing away.  I was shocked and very saddened to read that she had passed away earlier this week.  I was very lucky that not only did I get to know Linda through her blog and emails, but we even got to meet one time in person when she drove all the way to my house to visit me and my youngest daughter.  She, like many other bloggers that I've gotten to know, was an extremely generous and giving person.  When she arrived at my house she brought me one of her handmade cards and unloaded her car with plants and seeds, she even brought plants for each of my girls.  In a recent email from her she told me of her recent cancer diagnosis and then went on to ask me what plants she could bring to me, and went on to list all the different plants she thought I would like.  I told her that after she felt better we'd talk plants, but she still wanted to know what I would like.  
As anyone could tell from reading her blog she had a great sense of humor and was very sentimental about things and loved the birds that visited her and was always forgiving of the deer who chomped down her flowers before they got to bloom.  I remember her touching tribute to her father after he passed away.  I just felt I had to share with others what a special person she was and how she touched my life.  I wish she could come to see how well all those plants she shared with me are doing and that I could've gotten to see her beautiful garden and meet her husband whom she adored.
Darla has an address of where we can send our condolences to her family.

Saxifrage 'London Pride' from Linda.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Container plantings for some color.

After several nice days of enjoying the sun and some temperatures in the low 60's we ended up with a rainstorm that brought the amount of rain in one day that we normally get for the whole month of May.  The upside to it was that it watered many of the seedlings that are finally sprouting and kept the newly planted containers watered.  Normally I have planted most of my containers by now, but I wasn't feeling very inspired too because it had been so cool.  But my inspiration arrived at the beginning of last week when my winnings from a giveaway from Heather at Dusty Bay arrived.

Heather hosted a contest by Proven Winners and the winner (lucky me) won $100 worth of Proven Winners annuals.  The plants came packed really well, each huge and flowering 4 inch pot was individually wrapped in brown paper.  The whole box and wrappings went right into the recycle which I loved, many mail orders plants come with plastic and packing peanuts.  Every plant was healthy and loaded with flowers.  I was sent Calibrachoa Superbells 'Blackberry Punch', Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost', Lobularia 'Snow Princess', Mecardonia 'Gold Dust', Supertunias 'Vista Bubblegum', 'Royal Velvet' and 'Pretty Much Picasso'.  I've bought their plants many times at nurseries, but after seeing the great quality the mail order ones were I wouldn't hesitate to mail order from them either.

My husband and I had lots of fun planting our new flowers in all the containers I've been collecting.  This is a small galvanized washtub we found at a flea market.

A row of containers between the two big beds in the front yard.

The large washtub I found at an antique mall awhile ago full of water garden plants.  Two of the plants are just emerging but will be tall with flowers later in the summer.  I'll share pictures of how this changes during the seasons.

This year I decided rather than buying a hanging fuchsia already planted I'd make my own using the starts I found at a grocery store.  I love how this hanging basket looks compared to the plastic or pulp pots I usually find them in.

I went outside to find my husband planting this shade container by himself, usually I do all the containers and he helps carries them to where I ask him to put them.  Now if I could just find him outside weeding one day I'd really be happy!

You can see how huge the plants were by how they already fill out the window boxes.  Normally I fill them full of lots of different flowers, this year there was only room for three each.  One day I'm hoping my husband will build a wood window box for this window.

I still have several planters to fill and others that are still holding on from last year, but the now there are lots of spots of color until the perennials finally get a chance to start blooming.
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Fertilizer Friday the 13th!

Finally a chance to join in on Fertilizer Friday!  Blogger had been down so I guess many of us are late in getting our posts up.  I was so happy to have sunny weather, new blooms and my husband off for a couple of days during the week.  Nothing unlucky about this Friday the 13th!  We spent most of the last two days outside enjoying sun and nice temperatures in the low 60's.
Here is just some of what has started blooming now:

The apple tree is covered in blossoms, more than I've seen on it in years.  Luckily the bees have had some dry days to come to visit and pollinate.

Columbines are just starting to bloom.  These ones face way down and are hard to take pictures of (especially since I was on the phone with my sister while trying to take these).

Bergenia flowers.

Saxifraga 'London Pride' which was shared with me by my blogging friend Linda from Gardening by Trial and Error.

My first bloom on a Trillium, does it do more than this?  It's seems to be stuck at this stage.

A new Clematis growing in one of my wine barrel containers.

Geums are starting to bloom.  I'm waiting for one called 'Double Bloody Mary' to open, sounds yummy right about now.

Polemonium or Jacob's Ladder the grape scented flower.

Weigela 'Minuet' is the first of the Weigelas to bloom in my garden.

A new plant Erysimum 'Apricot Twist' smells really good.

Yesterday at Sweet Pea's track meet the Littlest Gardener and her friend played in this grassy field full of tiny daisies.  They were collecting the cut grass and decorated the piles with flowers and pine cones.  I loved how they didn't need any toys to have fun.  And it was even better since the track meet was 3 hours long, the previous weeks have been cold and cloudy and rainy.  Sweet Pea is a 7th grader and running varsity against 8th and 9th graders and doing really well, especially the 400 meters.

This is another thing my husband and I did yesterday, put together a new potting bench.  We are trying to decide how to paint or stain this potting bench - any suggestions welcome!

I hope you'll take time to visit Tootsie Time to see what other gardeners have blooming today.
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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Our newest members of the family.

This was the perfect weekend to add new members to our family.  Not only am I a mom to my kids, but a mom to our pets as well.  As many of you know our pet rabbit Cookie died unexpectantly about a month ago.  The girls were very sad and still talk about how much they miss him.  Sweet Pea decided she wanted another Holland Lop, so we were able to find a breeder and just picked him up early this morning.

This is Blackthorn the Holland Lop.  The breeder named him after a spring blooming flower, I looked it up and it's in the Prunus family.  Sweet Pea liked his name and is keeping it.

He was so happy to have so much open space to run and hop in.  His one ear likes to stand up, I think it gives him character.

Over the winter we lost quite a few fish for some reason.  My friend that lives nearby also lost most of their fish this winter.  Today we bought 4 new fish.  We found these koi at the local pet store, they were very inexpensive ($3 - $5 each).  These are the two the girls picked out.

I chose these two yellow ones.  The one on the right is a butterfly, but I think the other one is too although it was in a tank with just regular koi.  I chose them for their beautiful colors.  For some reason I love yellow fish.

Hopefully they'll like their new home.  There are only about 4 or so other fish in there now and maybe a couple of tiny babies that we had seen a month ago.

Hope you all get a chance to work in your garden this weekend, the sun is trying to come out here.  Happy Mother's Day!  
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