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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Just looks "Springier" every day!

Now as I pull in and out of our driveway I see the front yard starting to look like it's old self.  I can see the changes happening daily.  
I love looking through the "red haze" of new growth on the Spiraea 'Magic Carpet'.
This is one plant that looks dead in the winter, but as the new reddish leaves appears it reminds me why I like it so much.  Not too long until it's pink flowers appear.
A lilac bud is beginning to open.   They are one of my most favorite flowers.  Every year that 'Ludwig Spaeth' has become more established, it has shared more flowers.  I don't usually cut them because I like to enjoy them on the bush, yet I want to bring them inside to be able to smell them in our home too.  Maybe this year there will be enough for both.  
The lilac (syringa x prestionae) 'Miss Canada' has buds beginning to open as well.  It's supposed to bloom later than syringa vulgaris, but looks like they will be blooming around the same time.
I love the color of the new peony growth.  This is from my peony that was planted many years ago, before I thought it mattered whether I remembered the variety or not.  I will post pictures of it in bloom and see if anyone can help me identify it.  Another one with a great scent!
Yeah, the verbena bonariensis has returned!  It's on the borderline of hardiness here.  The good part is that it reseeds, so I know I'll still have more plants anyway.  I love how it looks growing up through other plants.  It really looks pretty with my rose 'Iceberg'.
Our newly planted magnolia 'Vulcan' came with a few buds on it.  I think a few buds were damaged by the last cold spell, but there are a few that have started to grow.  I hope I get to see at least a of couple flowers on it this year!
Now if it doesn't rain I think the littlest gardener and I will head out to a nursery today to see if there is any spring temptation there!
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Monday, March 30, 2009

After the rain.

We've had a lot of rain and cold weather again, but the sun came out yesterday!
I was so happy to go out and see what was new in the backyard.  I've been noticing that our yard doesn't look so "dead" anymore.  Even though not much is blooming, it just has a different look and feel about it.  Sometimes a good rain makes the plants really "pop".  Do you ever notice how things almost grow overnight after a good rain?
Here's what I found in our backyard:
My 70 percent off Pulmonaria.

Currant 'Wilder Red'

Finally tulips!

Marsh marigold before rain

After rain!

The hardy fuchsia by the pond, it's alive!

A volunteer viola bloomed.

An oriental lily makes it way through to the light!

Muscari, just beginning to go for it!

That's a whole lot of new growth in just a few days!  Sometimes it is worth being stuck inside for a few days when you get so much new color to look at.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

My journey!

A few days ago Dirt Princess at Trials & Tribulations of a Southern Gardener said she took the time to really notice the little things as she was on her way somewhere, was she on a journey or a destination?   She found lots of interesting sights and shared them on her blog.   She suggested others take the time to do the same thing and share their journey. 
I'm pretty observant about most things.  I think a lot of that comes from being a nurse.  You have to be or you can miss something very important.  But I know that some days as I drive to my destination I'm not noticing some of the little things.  I tried to capture some interesting sights as I drove to my daughter's preschool and did errands the other day.  I pulled over to take the pictures, and so some are not as clear because I stayed in my car so it could be as accurate as possible.
As we left our home I noticed that my neighbors daffodils were beginning to bloom.  I had noticed the heather a few days ago, but not these daffodils.
A little further away I saw that the church that is adding on, left the row of old crabapple trees in place.  I hadn't really thought about it until today.  They will be blooming soon and always are so pretty.  
Down the road a ways I passed my best gardening friend's house.  I see the fruit trees in her "orchard" are beginning to bloom.  Before I knew her I watched all the work being done on her yard.  It was the talk of the neighborhood that someone was finally taking care of this large yard that had been neglected for years.  Now that I know her I get to enjoy it all the time.  
Driving down the highway the lights were all green (the only time I hoped for a red light and not one!) so I missed taking pictures of the small river that runs along side of it.  As we get closer to my daughter's school you can see a small pony area.  They had a sign saying that they did pony parties, but I have to say the quick glimpse into their stalls was not pretty.  I don't know much about horses or ponies, but it looked kind of crowded.  They had a large pasture around them.  Maybe they were eating inside, usually they are out of their barn.
Here is one of the many Starbucks that we pass while we're out.   I guess that's what you would expect to see around the Seattle area.
I took the long way home and passed another part of the river.  There are bike trails all along it and it's busy no matter what the season.  Very blurry I know, but I hope you can still see the beauty in it.
I also passed one of the wineries that is pretty well known,  Chateau Ste. Michelle.  Later in the spring I will go there for photos.  It's absolutely beautiful.  Well worth a visit if you are in the area.  
At a stop light I found a row of plum trees beginning to bloom.
Closer into the "downtown" area of the city I live in I've noticed this wall before.  I never thought about what used to be there.  It's been cleared of any buildings and is covered with blackberry bushes now.
Here is a magnolia tree that I see is getting ready to bloom.  Every year I wait to see the show it puts on.  It's at a 4 way stop and people always take their time when it's blooming.
A few things I noticed but couldn't take pictures of since I was driving:  
Daffodils planted in a large clump in a ditch with no houses or businesses nearby, the large fields where people grow the flowers for many farmer's markets around here, the pea patch that is empty now, the huge sod farms in the valley and the baseball fields in the middle of the valley.
I think this was such a great idea.  I'd love to see if anyone else wants to share their journey too and take the time to notice the little things.
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Update on the edibles.

I've been keeping an eye on things in our "side yard".  This is where the majority of our fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown.  I've found seeds sprouting, buds opening and new growth appearing.  Almost everything is looking very good so far.
facing south

In my daughter's raised bed I've found that the red onion sets
and bush peas are sprouting.
She just replanted her sugar snap peas since the first batch never grew.
In the next bed down, the blueberries are all continuing to put out lots of flowerbuds.  I don't think the last cold spell we had damaged them, so that is a relief.  These are the flowers from 'Misty'.  It is usually evergreen and has the prettiest blue-green leaves.
I've got lettuce planted at the front of the beds since the bushes give that area bit of shade.  I noticed that the romaine lettuce is starting to sprout. 
In the next bed down I just planted some broccoli 'Early Dividend' starts.  I wasn't going to plant it this year, but saw the starts and decided I might as well.  In the front of the bed I planted the garlic that I got at the SAGBUTT meeting from Molly of Life on Tiger Mountain.
In the next bed is a fig tree 'Dessert King'.  It's supposed to be a good one for the Northwest.  I'm not really that into figs, but my husband really wanted to try.   I've got strawberries under it right now, at some point they may not get enough sun.  For now the strawberries are usually  pretty far along by the time the fig leaves get very large.  
Something else my husband really wanted to try was hops.  He's been known to make his own home brew before.  In fact he made a special batch for our wedding reception.  He thought it would be fun to try growing his own and see how they turned out.  Last year we had a cool summer so they didn't really do much.  I was surprised to see them popping up out of the ground here.  I told him he needs to put something together for the hops to grow up, since they can get quite tall.
The herbs are planted in pots and in other random places in the side yard.  The chives are looking good, the rosemary, oregano and sage look pretty beat up.  I may have to replace them this year.  
There is a pot of mint that is just coming back to life.  I've got basil started inside that will also go over here.  The tomatoes and zucchini will also end up in this part of the yard, and I'm beginning to wonder where they will all go.  I may try some tomatoes in large black pots this summer.  My Poppa (grandfather) always grew them in pots on the deck of my grandparents condo and always had good luck with them that way.
  facing north

Now we just need some sun and warmer weather and we'll have lots to eat!
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Feed problems

Just testing to see if my feed is back up. Pin It

Friday, March 27, 2009

I finished the potting bench!

I'm so glad the weather changed a bit over the last couple of days.  I was able to check something off my spring to do list.  I got the potting bench fixed up and stained.  I've been trying to remember how long ago my husband gave it to me, it was at least 5 years ago.  The poor thing started off looking so nice.  I took very good care of it and used it quite a bit.  Over time though it got rained on and used as a toy storage and catch all for anything that didn't have a place.  After realizing that it was looking so bad and the weather was taking such a toll on it, I decided it needed to be taken care of.
Here is how it looked a month ago.  I had even taken off a lot of things to take the picture.  I found a lot of stuff to throw away.  I'm finding a new place for toys somewhere else in the yard.
Now this is its "before" shot.  Very weathered and a little warped.  I had to repair the lid that covers where potting soil is supposed to be stored.  It usually is just full of water, so I need to come up with a solution for that.  As you can see by all the water underneath, I spilled it all down myself as I tried to slide the basin out.  Oops!
The first trick was trying to read the smallest print ever on the can of stain.  Nothing like holding a something at various angles and in different lights to try and read.  I'm not ready to admit I might need reading glasses yet, so I blame not being able to see it on the manufacturer's small type.
I put this on macro to see if it was any easier to read.  

Anyway, I really hope I was able to pick out the most important pieces of information.  One being that it needs to be above 40 degrees, another that no rain is forecast for 24 hours.  Hopefully the weather forecast is correct and both will hold true.
I applied 2 coats, the wood just sucked it in.  I thought I did a pretty good job, especially since I managed to keep my 2 1/2 year old entertained with her coloring while I stained.
Here is the after.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  I didn't expect it to look new, just better.  It's supposed to be weatherproof for up to 6 years.  I think I'll find some new drawer pulls to make it look a little different.
Glad to have one thing checked off that list.  Now onto the next item!
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Finally a camellia!

I thought that this pretty flower deserved her own post.  This is camellia japonica 'Kumasaka'.  Normally it should bloom January through March.  I'm sure the cold winter we had is the reason why it's behind.  None of the other buds look quite ready to open. This flower was at the very back and close to the house, probably the most protected area of the shrub.  It's almost like it's hiding and I only noticed it as I was going into our garage.

2 days ago


This morning

The lighting made it hard to show the color very well.  It's much deeper pink than it appears in the picture.  This camellia is planted near the front of our home for some needed color during this time of year, also because I wanted something evergreen since you walk past it every time you come to our front door.  It should only get 6 to 8 feet high and 3 to 6 feet wide.  It gets a lot of shade there, but seems to be happy.  It gets just covered in blooms.  I'll take pictures when the whole shrub is in bloom and hopefully the color will show better then.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cherries, strawberries and fairies!

Even on the grayest of days in the spring it seems like I find another sign of spring each time I go outside.  Earlier in the day I went to a craft store with my sister, it was almost as tempting as a nursery.  But since I knew that I would never actually do the crafts, even though they looked so easy, I managed to find a couple of things for the garden.  It's funny that I can find garden related items almost anywhere!  When I got home I went out to hang my new star which I'm hoping will patina on it's own.
Then I nailed my new birdhouse to a fence post.
While out there I found that the weeping cherry tree is very close to blooming.  We planted this tree about 10 years ago and it was the skinniest little thing.  It was supposed to be pink and was for a few years but over time the flowers are now mostly pale pink to white.  Any idea why this would happen?  It's an ornamental cherry, but it produces the tiniest cherries you've ever seen and the birds seem to love them.
My ornamental strawberry (fragaria) 'Lipstick' also has blooms on it.  This flower looks a bit faded, but they will be deep pink and produce little strawberries which are edible.  I find this to be a great groundcover.  It blooms from April to September and we do get lots of berries on ours.  We don't eat them mostly because it's by the sidewalk and I don't trust that a dog or cat hasn't been in there.
On my way to the backyard I found that my daughter had built a new fairy house of moss and bark.   I can't believe how pretty it is, she has planted this whiskey barrel completely on her own.  There is a small Japanese maple towards the back of it.  I think it is 'Bloodgood'.  If you can believe it I found this for $5 at a local nursery several years ago.  She has golden creeping jenny and lamium planted in here as well.  This planter is in mostly shade below our neighbors cedar trees.
I noticed she had dug up a few bulbs and added them as well, although they aren't blooming yet.
 Sure signs of spring when you see the flowers of cherries, strawberries and signs of fairies!
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Worth the trip outside.

Yesterday ended up being COLD and rainy.  I wanted to start working on getting the potting bench ready to stain, but it was too cold to stay out for very long.  I've heard the word snow mentioned again in our forecast, although they say it will be mixed with rain.
I wanted to check on my Hellebore 'Blue Lady' because I knew she was very close to blooming.  Here she is, and I think she's beautiful.  There are a couple more buds and they look as if it will be another week or so before they open.
I found a little surprise here.  It seems as though the larkspur that barely grew last year reseeded anyway.  I found a few of these around, so between these and my wintersown ones I should have lots!
The ligularia dentata 'Othello' is just coming up too.  I think the leaves and stems have such a pretty maroon color to them.  The leaves get quite big and round, the flowers are tall spikes of an orangish/yellow color.  This is one I grow for its foliage.
This clematis is a very fast growing one.  If I remember correctly it's called 'Ville de Lyon'.  It grows up a post that has a birdhouse on it and gets to be at least 10 to 12 feet tall and just covered with maroon flowers.  This and my clematis jackmanii are probably the most prolific bloomers of all the clematis in my yard.  I'd say next to hydrangeas, clematis is my other "signature plant."  
The peony 'Sorbet' that I bought at the Northwest Flower and Garden show has made its way up, I wonder if I will be lucky and get a bloom or two this year...
This was a real surprise to me, although I'm not sure why since it's usually a spring bloomer.  This is deutzia 'Chardonnay Pearls'.  I've had it for about 4 years and it hasn't grown much in size.  It's only about 2 feet high, but it gets absolutely covered in white flower buds that do look like pearls.  Once they open it's covered in beautiful white flowers.
Seeing this new growth made trying to take pictures with numb fingers worth it!  
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