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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's gonna be great...

So many people around here are talking about how behind their gardens are.  Many of us are still waiting for flowers that normally bloom in March and April and here it is 4 days from the beginning of May.  Someone mentioned that everything will probably be blooming all at once. 
I keep wandering around looking to see what is close to blooming, but it looks like most flowers still need a bit more time.  Right now the Hellebores are finished, daffodils are done and the Camellias are starting to fade.  The violas and pansies seem to be the main source of color aside from a pulmonaria or two.  I've got some tulips finishing up while the next round are getting close to opening. 

The Snowball bush, Abelia and Columbines will probably all be blooming at the same time in this corner.  Maybe even the trilliums will bloom with them.  All were either blooming or had bloomed this time last year.

A new Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) 'Little Lanterns' was just added to the garden above.

Will the Deutzia, roses, iris, lilies and Oriental Poppy all bloom at the same time?  It's beginning to look like it will be that late here.

Columbines, Peonies, Alliums and iris don't normally bloom all at the same time in my garden, but they sure would look pretty all together.

It already is looking pretty, but full of flowers will be even better.  I've moved many plants around since last spring and am looking forward to seeing how they will look in their new spots.

The pear trees are loaded with flowers.  Wouldn't it be great if we had lots of pears this year?  Last year we had 2.

The Lilacs have gotten so tall that I don't think I'll be able to smell them.  They may bloom with the Dogwood tree at the rate they're going.  The Dogwoods were in full bloom this time last year.

Chickadees are still deciding on birdhouses.  This seems very late for them.

They sure seemed interested in this one.  Their babies may be leaving the nest when the Clematis that grows up this post is in bloom.

These tulips were a pretty surprise when I saw them coming up.  I don't remember when I planted them or if they were even here last year, so they're a bit of extra color when there isn't a whole lot of other flowers blooming right now.

When things finally start to bloom, it's gonna be great!  Early spring, late spring and early summer flowers all at once.
Is your garden ahead, behind or right on time? 
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The picket fence is finally white!

After two months of waiting to paint the picket fence, we finally got it finished today!  I started on it Friday and spent 6 hours painting, my mom came to help for a couple of hours and we had fun visiting while we painted.  Then Saturday my husband and I got the rest done.  I'm so glad all the hard part is finally done and it looks just like I pictured it would.

Gracie waiting for a visitor.  Luckily she's not quite smart enough to figure out that she could squeeze through, so we can never leave her out front alone just in case she realizes it.  She has been so happy to run around the front yard and stick her nose out to say hi to neighbors walking by.

Awhile ago I sprinkled Bachelor Buttons and Poppy seeds around and they are starting to sprout.  As it warms I'll sprinkle more annual seeds around the fence.

The arbor that my husband and father-in-law built is all painted.

The Littlest Gardener was following me along to tell me about the Ladybug she had found, the first we've seen this year.  (The hanging baskets with plastic are our neighbors, not sure what he's got planted in them this year.)

I love seeing the white fence now when I look out our front window.

We're trying roses in these large pots and we'll see how they do.  The ground here is probably not the best for roses, clay with poor drainage and this is where it starts to slope.

I can't wait until the fence is covered in flowers this summer!

We actually hit 70 degrees today and both my husband and I got a bit of a sunburn, I think we forgot how hot the sun can get since it's been so long since we felt it this warm.  It looks like the Easter bunny will be hiding the eggs inside, the rain is supposed to return tomorrow.  
Happy Easter!
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Edible front garden raised beds update.

Somehow we ended up with another nice day today!  It was fairly cloudy, but they were big puffy cumulus clouds with blue sky behind them and plenty of space for the sun to shine through.  I think it got into the mid 50's and it was probably the first day I've felt like spring might really be coming.  I've been having so much fun buying and planting seeds for our new raised beds in which we plan to grow all edible plants.  Anything from vegetables to fruits to herbs to flowers.  This has probably been the most exciting planting project I've had in years. 
I thought I would share what I've got planted so far, although it doesn't look like much now it should look great in another month or so.  Then I should be able to plant some of what I've got started indoors as well.

Looking down the biggest of the two raised beds.  So far in here there are three types of lettuce, mustard greens, two types of beets, bush sugar snap peas, garlic and onions as well as herbs, Dahlias, blueberries and Violas.

I never thought about growing Mustard Greens until the Littlest Gardener handed me a seed packet of 'Ruby Streaks'.  What a pretty color they are already.

Rosemary, garlic and you can just see the Sugar snaps sprouting.

Pretty Violas add lots of color now (and they are edible).

Lettuce sprouting!

Looking down the smaller of the two beds.  Not much happening... yet.  I've got radishes, Swiss Chard and carrots planted as well as herbs, blueberries, dahlias and Violas so far.

After looking at lots of pictures of edible front gardens I've decided to plant most of my greens and root vegetables along the front of the beds and will plant taller things like tomatoes and eggplants in the middle.  I should be able to grow greens for much of the year and they will add some interest when the tomato plants are looking ugly at the end of summer.  I'm also following advice I read about planting colorful varieties of what I plant such as the Mustard Greens 'Ruby Streaks' and the Swiss Chard 'Bright Lights'.

I'm going to try to take at least monthly pictures of how these beds are looking and keep track of what is doing well.  I want it to look pretty as well as grow yummy food since it's our front garden.  What is your most colorful variety of edible plant that you grow?
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Making the most of an unexpected sunny day.

This morning while watching the early news I saw reports of snow in some areas south of us.  After seeing that I didn't have much hope for how our weather would be today.  The sun tried coming out between rain showers all morning then finally broke through and stayed out the rest of the day.  The Littlest Gardener and I headed out to plant 'Golden' beet seeds, two hours later we finally got them planted.  It was so pretty I wanted to take advantage of the sun and got some cleanup and weeding done and dug up a dead hydrangea and planted a new one in it's place.  The Hydrangea was 'Ayesha' which had bloomed sporadically over the 10 years I've had it and I guess finally decided it didn't want to be here anymore.  I had an 'Endless Summer' left from when I rearranged our front flower bed, so now it finally has a home.

It's hard to tell from the pictures because it was a bit cloudy but it felt warm (53 degrees is feeling warm lately) and the sun was out.

Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum) has gotten a little beat up, but it's starting to bloom.

Currant 'Wilder Red' has the cutest little flowers.  I'm not sure if all currants area bitter, but these ones are unless they are completely ripe.  The birds even leave them alone.

Frittilaria or Checkered Lily is blooming and has 4 or 5 more buds on this stem.  I didn't realize more than one flower came up from a bulb.

The garden fairies have been busy in the garden, they are waiting for the Bluebells to bloom.  I think they may use them for hats?

I moved Clematis 'Nelly Moser' to the arbor over the path two years ago.  Up until then I had gotten one bloom from her.  She's got quite a few buds already.

The apple tree is loaded with buds.  Last year after a very mild winter we had very few blooms and about two apples.  I think this will be a good year, if the worms don't get to them again.

While I was taking pictures of the apple tree there was a pair of Juncos annoyed that I was standing close to the birdbath they've been using lately.  It seemed to be looking up to the sun.

The Marsh Marigold is still blooming.

I'm not sure if anyone else around here is noticing that the birds don't seem sure about when to start nesting this spring.  They seem to be starting and stopping.  I've seen Chickadees going in and out of 3 different birdhouses (and I think they are 3 different pairs) as well as Towhees, Wrens and Crows with nest supplies in their beaks.  It's been going on for several weeks.  Usually it seems they pick their birdhouse or nest spot and they are pretty consistent about visiting it and bringing in their nest building supplies.  I wonder if the unusually cold weather has anything to do with it?
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Friday, April 15, 2011

April Bloom Day and Fertilizer Friday.

I wanted to first say thank you to everyone that left comments on my last post about our rabbit Cookie.  So many of you left thoughtful messages and we all really appreciate them.  Sweet Pea is doing better and we hope to start working on the little memorial garden this weekend.
I also realized that since it's the 15th of the month and a Friday that I can join in with both Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and Fertilizer Friday.  The garden is still behind by quite a bit, but I'm beginning to notice a lot of deciduous shrubs and trees starting to get their leaves.  The weather has still been very cool and wet, but at least there have been some sun breaks here and there and the flowers seem to appreciate it.

When the sun is out all of the tulips open up wide, on the cooler days they close back up.  These are the Greigii tulips I found at the grocery store last year.  They have stayed short but their bright color makes up for their lack of height.

The only daffodil that came back from the year before, all the rest just had foliage.

Old-fashioned Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) even closer to blooming.

The entry garden has tulips, hellebores and muscari blooming.  The Jacob's Ladder has taken off growing and has flowerbuds.  There are Bleeding Hearts coming up everywhere.  This bed had a Japanese Maple in the center of it that died last summer.  Once it dries out some I plan to do a lot of rearranging since many of the plants toward the front won't have the shade from the tree anymore.

In the shed garden hellebores, daffodils, primroses, tulips and Flowering Currant 'King Edward VII'.

I started some roses from seed this year and this Rose (Rosa chinensis) 'Angel Wings' has it's first bloom.  It even has a very light fragrance.  The flower is less than an inch across.

To see what else is blooming today visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day or Tootsie Time for Fertilizer Friday.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Feeling blue.

Yesterday was a sad day here.  Sweet Pea asked me to write a post to tell about what happened to her rabbit Cookie since she knows many people that read my blog know about him and have asked about him. 

Unfortunately Cookie our Holland Lop rabbit had to be euthanized yesterday.  I had just shared a picture of him and our dog Gracie at the end of last week.  He had been acting fine until Sunday when Sweet Pea noticed some changes.  He continued to eat, but seemed a bit quiet.  By Monday afternoon he definitely wasn't himself and we called a vet that specializes in exotic pets.  She suggested we try dissolving some rabbit food in water and feeding it to him and then to bring him in early in the morning.  It turned out he had something called GI stasis (where basically the GI tract stops moving) which can be caused by a number of things.  There wasn't anything that could be done at the stage he was at and it was obvious he was in pain.  The young woman vet we had was very kind and got choked up when she saw the Littlest Gardener crying.  When Sweet Pea got home from school I had to give her the bad news and she of course was heartbroken.  She is quite the animal lover and is very sensitive about them.  Cookie was like her baby.

 She told me he loved the Pink Flowering Currant that bloomed outside his hutch and the flowers that are in full bloom right now.  She wants to make a memorial garden for him around his hutch and include pink flowers and his favorite plant Hellebore.  Not sure how she knew those were his favorites, but they did spend a lot of time in the backyard together.

 To some people he might have been "just a rabbit" but a pet of any type can become like a member of the family and you get to know their little personality traits.  He was very social and loved to be pet.  I'll miss seeing him when I look out the back windows or hearing him clang around in his hutch for attention when I was working in the garden.

A lot of you commented on my Facebook page and that meant a lot to Sweet Pea.  I'm sure at some point she'll be ready to share her love with a new baby rabbit.
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

A little gardening squeezed in.

Today was the last day of spring break for my kids.  I promised them after the last school break, in which we worked on our front yard most of the time, that this break would be more about fun and not garden or house projects.  In between bowling, playdates, sleepovers, swimming lessons, lacrosse practices and a trip to the zoo I still managed to find a little time out in the garden here and there.  I've also decided I need a new attitude about our less than spring like weather, that if it's not raining I should still go out and garden even if I need a coat.  It could be a long time for perfect garden weather to show up, so I might as well just make the most of what we've got.

 This was my first year using grow lights to start seeds and something I learned was how quickly the soil dries out, just trying to stay on top of the watering has been quite the job.  This is why most of my indoor plants don't live long.  I was able to pot up the pumpkin, zucchini, pattypan squash and butternut squash seedlings.  I also repotted the white miniature rose my husband gave me for Valentine's Day.  I plan to let it stay outside once I get it acclimated to the temperature.

 Plants that I ordered from Bluestone Perennials back in January were delivered and are waiting to be planted along with more new Violas.  Almost all of the wintersowing (in the covered containers) have germinated.

 A cute new garden angel from my sister.

 The pond pump died on Friday evening after 8 years of running continuously.  What I thought would be a quick swap of pumps turned into a 3 hour project.  The new pump cord didn't fit through the conduit underground (it goes under the gravel path to the outlet) so the old one had to be dug up and a new bigger one buried.  Then the new pump didn't fit into the biological filter box so I had to do a little work converting the new pump to work the way the old one did.  Now that the new pump is in I can see how much power the old one had lost.  I'm thankful this didn't happen during the middle of winter when it really would've been a tough job.

 We went to a flea market called 2nd Saturdayz after Sweet Pea's lacrosse game and found a couple of garden things including this washtub.  It was a really nice indoor flea market with lots of great things for sale, a lot of which could be used in the garden or for outdoor decor.  It was different from flea markets I'd gone to when I lived in San Francisco which were huge and outdoors with everything you could imagine for sale.

 Another neat old watering can was bought there too.  Golden Mock Orange (Philadelphus) has leafed out and I've been trying to peer between the leaves to see if there are flower buds in there.  I love how it smells when it blooms.

 I found this fun booklet for sale at the flea market.  It was an ad for Lydia E. Pinkham's vegetable compound that had garden ideas mixed in.  From what I found online about it, it was written in the 1920's.  I love these old ads for medication that claimed to cure everything.

 This is one of my favorite pages showing how to create low cost gardens.  There was another page on garden pools (watergardens) and rock gardens.  If you enlarge this you can read the ad about this vegetable compound curing cramps, backaches and "nerves".

 Tulips in the shed garden finally bloomed.  Inside the shed I hung some shelves on a day earlier in the week.  I impressed myself by pre-drilling holes and using the level.  Usually I get impatient and just throw things together rather than taking my time and doing it the right way.  The shelves are really sturdy and have given me more space inside.

 Today I found these cute bulbs Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa) blooming.  I had forgotten I even planted them last fall.

 I'm so glad I was able to get some gardening things done this week, just getting out for a short while here and there helps.  It's always surprising how much can get accomplished in a short time of being outside.
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