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

Monday, May 31, 2010

May end of month view.

May is finished and I hope the weather it brought is finished as well. Our highs over the weekend were in the low 50's and it was either raining or at least drizzling the whole time. I finally gave up on waiting for the sun to appear and spent a couple of hours under trees in the path garden cleaning up and doing a little weeding. Most of the garden is doing fine, but the seedlings and vegetables seem to be on hold waiting for a little sun. It looks as if it will be later in the week before sun and some warmer weather will be here.
Today I remembered that it was time for the end of month view with The Patient Gardener. This part of the garden sure has gone crazy and looks like a jungle now.

I never imagined the Hydrangeas would actually ever get this huge. After they finish blooming this year I plan to cut them way back. Hydrangeas seem to thrive in my yard, must be the acidic soil that we have. The Columbines are finishing blooming and then they will be cut back too.

A new plant from last year is Trollius 'Cheddar'. So far I've only found this one lone flower. The scent reminds me of jasmine.

Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium) against Heuchera 'Caramel'.

The Jacob's Ladder have really multiplied and have no signs of mildew. The Bleeding Hearts are still blooming, I usually cut them back a bit after they are done. Spiderwort is getting ready to bloom in this area too. Heucheras are blooming as well.

On this Memorial Day I also am thinking about all the men and women who have and still are serving our country. Thank you for your service and for helping to protect our country.
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Fertilizer Friday - May 28th.

May has been an unusually wet and cool month for us. We've had a total of 4 sunny days, the rest have been cooler and rainier than average. I'm definitely hoping that June brings us some more sun and dryer weather. Part of living in the Pacific Northwest means we have to put up with a lot of drizzly and gray days, but it sure pays off on the sunny days of summer when it's not only clear and bright but there is so much green around us as well. On these rainy days I try to remind myself of that. Some days that helps me, but right now I just want to go outside and garden.
As well as hoping June will bring better weather, I can already tell the garden is going to be at it's best then. Peonies and Poppies are about to pop, Foxgloves are beginning to flower and rosebuds are bursting. The Hydrangeas seem to have many more buds than usual. I can't wait!

Persian Cornflower (Cenataura dealbata) has it's first bloom with lots more on the way. I love these flowers. I'm going to have to see if I can divide this one.

Pincushion flower (Scabiosa)

I wanted to show just how much work the ladybugs have gotten done in the week they've been in the garden since I posted about releasing them here. This one is working on 'Honey Perfume'.

I couldn't believe Strawberries were already forming. I better start putting the beer traps out for the slugs before they discover these berries.

Very exciting to see pears forming on both of our little pear trees. These are on the Littlest Gardener's tree.

I planted this Ninebark (Physocarpus) 'Coppertina' last Fall for the foliage. I didn't realize it would have these cute pink flowers. This shrub is growing like crazy. I've read it can be prone to powdery mildew, hopefully I won't see any on this one.

For some reason I've been buying lots of Dianthus this Spring aside from starting a couple of different types from seed. This one is called 'Spotty'. I love the clove scent the flowers have.

Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' fully opened.

Awhile ago I posted about being surprised at a Clematis that I thought was supposed to be something else. Well I finally solved my mystery. This is 'Piilu'. It has very bright pink flowers with a ruffly edge.

My newest Clematis 'The President' came with one lonely bud that looks a bit tattered. I'm hoping it will brighten up this back fence once it begins to grow.

Visit Tootsie at Tootsie Time to see who else is "flaunting their flowers" this Fertilizer Friday.
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Side yard and driveway gardens.

Two parts of the garden that I realized I rarely take pictures of are the raised beds in the side yard and what I call our driveway garden. Both of these areas are on the same side of our house which is separated by our backyard fence. I tend to focus most of my energy on the rest of the yard, but this year I'm trying to pay more attention to these places as well.
The side yard is by far the hottest part of our yard. I've put up a thermometer and have found on sunny days it's usually 5 degrees or more warmer there. The kids tend to play a lot here as you can see by the buckets and other toys. After being inspired by one of the displays at the Northwest Flower and Garden show I'm planning to brighten up this area and make it even more kid friendly. We may paint the stepping stones bright colors as well as repaint the raised beds something a little more colorful.

Looking towards the front gate the Littlest Gardener's rainbow garden is in the whiskey barrel. She's chosen quite an assortment of flowers for it. I've let her pick what she wants to plant in here and she does a surprisingly good job of digging little holes to plant in for a 3 year old. The closest raised bed to that is Sweet Pea's garden. She has Sugar Snap Peas, lettuce, carrots, potatoes and chives in there so far.

Growing in one of the beds is some Broccoli. So far the slugs have left this plant alone.

Here are the blue potatoes we're growing after seeing them on Gloria's blog Dakota Garden. We shared the left over potato starts with another little friend of the Littlest Gardener so she could grow some too.

"George" the garden snake. Thankfully these are the only types of snakes you see in our garden.

Just over the little fence at the entry to the side yard is the big purple Rhododendron in full bloom.

Now out on the other side of the fence is the driveway garden. This has been an area that has been fairly neglected. It's full hot sun here and until we moved our faucet (the pipes froze over the winter and we rerouted the plumbing) it was really difficult to water this part of the yard. There are a couple of roses, lavender, Lamb's Ear and daylilies in front of the raised bed. In the raised bed is a very small Magnolia tree with mostly annuals under it right now including Poppies, Larkspur and Cosmos. Towards the front are Coneflowers, Oriental Poppies and hopefully the Dahilas. Behind this bed is Lilac 'Miss Canada', which are the pink flowers you can see, and behind it is a huge Lacecap Hydrangea that was here when we bought the house.

The unknown Pink rose is beginning to bloom.

And 'Tamora' is flowering too. The fragrance of 'Tamora' is very nice, not as strong as 'Gertrude Jekyll' or 'Abraham Darby', but still very good.

Hopefully the weather will improve once school is out and the girls and I will have some fun projects to work on in these two areas in our free time.
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Ladybugs on the loose.

As I mentioned in a previous post we've had a lot of aphids in our garden, much worse than usual for this time of year. Rather than spraying with pesticide which will also kill the good bugs we decided to release ladybugs again. When we have tried this before it made a huge difference in the aphid population. I also think it's a great way to teach my girls about how nature works, and how there are natural predators for many of the "bad bugs" in our garden. For example Dragonflies are excellent at catching mosquitoes, certain types of wasps will eat Aphids and of course spiders trap and eat many different types of "bad" insects. Rosie at Leaves n' Bloom did an excellent post about how beneficial lacewings are in the garden too.

These Ladies in Red are the same type of ladybugs we've released before. There are 1,500 ladybugs in this bag. We kept the bag in the refrigerator for a day until the weather was more cooperative. Keeping them at a lower temperature makes them "sleep" and then they quickly wake up after taking them out.

We trimmed off a corner of the bag and the ladybugs slowly start finding their way out. We had them crawling all over our hands as we carried the bag to different parts of the garden to release them. It's important to release them later in the day after watering so they don't just all fly away.

You can see they have plenty of aphids to eat. On the package it states that adult ladybugs can eat up to 80 aphids a day. They will also eat Spider mites, thrips and white flies.

We tried to have them crawl right onto the plants, but occasionally we had to shake them out a bit.

If you held the bag to your ear you could hear them crawling around inside. There were ladybugs with no spots and ladybugs with many spots. It's a myth that the number of spots they have equal their age. The number of spots can tell an entomologist what species of ladybug they are though.

Sweet Pea rescuing one off the driveway.

The Littlest Gardener sprinkling them on her rainbow garden.

Already getting to work eating Aphids.

Also according to the package it says that an adultLadybugs lay about 1,500 eggs in her lifetime. The baby ladybug larva look nothing like a ladybug, so you need to be careful not to get rid of the them. The larva will eat about 400 insects while in that stage, which lasts about 3 weeks.

Hopefully many of the ladybugs that we released will lay eggs here in our garden so that they will continue to be our natural pest control. When I see any ladybug eggs or larva I'll be sure to share pictures, I had never known what the larva looked like before we released ladybugs.
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Fertilizer Friday - May 21st.

Another week has flown by and it's hard to believe it's already Friday again. The last couple of days we've had some crazy weather. It started off beautiful this week, but as the week progressed we've had some heavy rain showers and quite a bit of wind. Some of the plants got a bit beat up between the rain and wind. I'm just waiting for a nice quiet day to get out and do some work now.

In the front yard the white Lupine is blooming with more Allium 'Purple Sensation' as well as daylilies and lots of Columbines.

Foxgloves are really close to blooming now and I'm excited to see just how many there will be. I've found lots of little seedlings which I'm leaving so they can bloom next year. Baptisia is on it's third year here, and it has begun to leap.

I showed rose 'Abraham Darby' just opening a couple of days ago and now it's in full bloom. There are many buds coming too.

The birdhouse behind the pond has Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' going crazy on it. This is one of my favorite and easiest Clematis. I had tried to tie it up a little, but the wind really blew it around. The Chickadees are busy flying in and out feeding their babies so I'll fix it when they have moved out.

'Ville de Lyon' will open more, but I was so surprised and happy to see them starting to bloom I had to take some pictures.

Clematis 'Miss Bateman' is blooming great too. Clematis 'Alionushka' is the other vine growing and it was also blown over by the wind. I spent part of yesterday going around and tying plants up. The Snowball bush (Viburnum opulus) is so loaded with flowers that they are bending to the ground. I've cut quite a few to bring inside.

Another Clematis 'Crimson King' was doing great. This picture was taken a few days ago, but after the wind beat it up the flowers and quite a bit of the vine are very droopy, I think some stems may have been broken.

Penstemon heterophyllus 'Electric Blue' is a new one that I just planted. It's just started to bloom, maybe it liked the wind.

Geranium 'Johnson's Blue' was moved to a sunnier place and already looks much less leggy than it did in the previous spot.

I appreciate all the comments and am doing my best to get around to visit everyone. It has been very busy around here with little time to get on the computer let alone get in the garden. After this weekend things should start quieting down, and I'm sure looking forward to that.
To see who else is "flaunting their flowers" visit Tootsie at Tootsie Time who hosts Fertilizer Friday each week.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Now I'm really getting excited!

Part of the fun in reading other garden blogs is being reminded of what I will have blooming in my own garden soon. June is usually my favorite month in my own garden, many of my very favorites bloom then. Many of those favorites have already begun blooming in other parts of the world. Since the garden still seems to be running ahead by a couple of weeks I've been excited to see some of these flowers just getting ready to bloom.
Roses are probably my most looked forward to blooms right now. I added a few new ones last year and have already managed to find a spot for a new one this year. I think at this point unless I remove more grass I may be out of room for now.

'Abraham Darby' - is loaded with buds, unfortunately it is also loaded with blackspot. I'm trying an organic spray for it, and hoping it will help.

'Gertrude Jekyll' - even open only this much the fragrance is wonderful.

'Tamora' - my newest rose has the most beautiful buds. I think if it didn't open any further than this it would be fine with me.

My unknown pink rose that came with the house. It had been in a rather shady spot in the backyard. Since moving it to the sunny front yard few years ago it has just gone crazy. It's over 5 feet tall already.

Another good smelling flower are these daylilies. They grow near white Lupine and look beautiful together. The Lupine is just starting to bloom too.

The newly added Allium 'Purple Sensation' seems to be much taller in the full sun places that I planted it. I know I'll be adding more this fall.

I think the Alliums look pretty with the Iris. Cameron of Defining Your Home Garden had this combination on her blog last Fall and I thought I'd try it here since I had no idea where to plant the Alliums.

Something I've noticed in the last couple of weeks are just how bad the aphids are this year. They are on everything. I would be out there everyday with the hose trying to spray them off and I've been to busy to use the dish soap and water spray method (which doesn't always seem that effective to me). A few years ago we released ladybugs into the garden and within about a week the aphids were GONE! The Littlest Gardener and I are going ladybug shopping this week so we can get rid of the aphids the natural way.
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