Friday, April 30, 2010


When I came home from work Thursday, I was greeted at the front door by the sweet smell of lily of the valley.  The lily of the valley share their space with several daffodils which doesn't affect the beautiful scent at all.

In the back yard, the bridal wreath spiraea is exploding with blooms.  The shrub is kinda tucked behind an arborvitae but it spills out beautifully.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting Bushier

I love seeing the new growth on our shrubs in the spring.
The candles on our mugo pine are really long this year.

The red twig dogwood is known for its beautiful bark that adds interest during the winter but I love the contrast of the little white flowers with the red bark in the spring the best.

The red twig dogwood is next to the lilac in the back yard.  I enjoyed the scent as I took these photos.  The smell is still wonderful!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Growing Vegetables

After I planted the cantaloupe, peppers and tomatoes Sunday afternoon, I took a couple of quick photos of the raised vegetable beds.  We've started enjoying organic salads!  Everything is growing except for the spinach.  I'm now perplexed as to why they won't sprout.  Sigh.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Deep Watering

Take one aqua cone, one two liter bottle with the bottom cut off and one knee high hose...

Put the two liter bottle in the aqua cone...

Put the knee high hose over the two liter bottle...

Stick the aqua cone into the soil next to where you're going to plant...


The knee high hose is an easy screen to keep bugs and leaves from getting down into the aqua cone where they block the drainage holes.  Wire cage is optional depending on the plant.  The full water jug acts as a wind break and a bit of a heat sink for the new transplant.  You can also plant and then put in the wire cage and aqua cone.  This happens to be a bell pepper.  I put an aqua cone by each pepper (3--2 bell and 1 jalapeno), each tomato (2 romas so far--planning on a cherry tomato later) and the cantaloupe hill.  I'll put them by the zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash and cucumber too.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Waiting In The Wings

On Saturday, my wonderful husband and I made a trip down to my parents' farm for a visit.  I took my mom some daisy plants from my garden and surveyed the vegetables they've planted .  On our way home, we stopped at my favorite local greenhouse.  It is a family run operation.  It has a somewhat chaotic appearance but they know where everything is so if you can't find something in particular, just ask.  The main greenhouse has some of everything that likes sun.  There is a shade and house plant green house, and then several other greenhouses that you can browse but most of the plants are more of their main selection with some space for rose bushes and perrenials in different areas.  Besides the whole local owned, family run atmosphere (and the tradition as my mom has shopped there for years), most of their plants are in peat pots.  I snip the bottom for good measure and put the whole thing in the soil.  I don't have 40 little plastic pots when I'm done planting.  Some larger items come in plastic pots but I love the peat pots the best.  My wonderful husband's oldest sister and family now lives in the same town as my favorite local greenhouse so we got some bright colored flowers for her children and this gardening aunt set them up to plant a container for their new home.  They are almost 12, 6 and 4 1/2.  I think it was a hit and I'm expecting progress reports on the flowers especially from our 6 year old niece.  She's all about flowers.  Anyway, we got home late in the day and Sunday had some other things going on so none of my flowers are planted yet.  I have the containers and baskets ready and tucked all the plants by our back steps behind the air conditioner.  It makes for a nice little plant nursery from time to time.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Picnic Table Part 3

It was a busy weekend, as usual.  A lot of gardening and non-gardening events.  My wonderful husband did get some time to work on the picnic table.  It is progressing!

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

I'm A Survivor

I think this is a dianthus.  One with adorable two tone pink flowers.  I planted it last April with several other plants in this tub.  We had a mild fall last year.  I have a photo of wave petunias still blooming on our patio December 1, 2009.  (Then, a couple days later we were nailed by winter).  Anyway, even though we had several frigid spells through the winter, this little guy greened up this spring and is growing!  I'm planning a shopping trip to my favorite local greenhouse today.  We'll see if I can find some new neighbors for this little guy.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Rain Gauge Report 2010 04 23

.65" of rain in the gauge.

Rain Barrel Status
1st rain barrel is full.
2nd rain barrel is full.
3rd rain barrel is full.

The rain barrels were topped off as I'd used a little water since the last report.  I could have filled another set with this much rain.  We've had scattered thunderstorms and showers since Thursday morning.  Maybe a bit more to come.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Intoxicating Lilacs

It is an amazing year for the lilacs.

Last year, we got a freeze that did in most of the lilac buds.  I throughly pruned the lilac bushes last year and am being rewarded with a lot of flowers this year.  The lilac bushes are the only bushes that were here when we bought our house and I've left them where they were.  One is in the front yard and one is in the back yard.  They were very neglected when I got them.  There was a lot of serious pruning the first three years.  And, I do have to spray them each spring to keep the ash lilac bore from killing off canes.  I spray when they start to bloom and then every two weeks through May unless it rains a lot.  Then, they get sprayed sooner.  I wish you could smell the lilacs.  The scent is intoxicating!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rouge Irises

I've posted about "the pile" previously.  A lot of interesting things sprout from and around "the pile" in the wild area which can be kind of fun seeing what we'll get from year to year.  Well, these irises are very determined.  Not only did the little leaves I tossed into "the pile" a few years ago, survive and root in; they're still growing despite having concrete chunks stacked on them earlier this spring.

They are actually going to bloom!  In fact, these are the first iris buds I've found this spring. 

On Saturday, I moved another small clump of irises from the area where the straw is laid because that is a path along the new raised vegetable bed; but I left these guys.  We're hoping to use the concrete chunks to make another flower bed so the irises will be freed soon.  I've condensed "the pile" to a smaller area as I make space to plant pumpkins and gourds.  In the mean time, the irises are going to follow one of my favorite sayings, "bloom where you're planted!"

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Didn't Plant This

Excuse me.  Hello.  Pardon.
What are you doing here?  You're garlic.
What are you doing in my flower bed?  I don't believe I planted you here.

Apparently, I dropped a garlic seed in the flower bed off the patio.  I guess we'll see how well it grows!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Every Thing Old Is New Again

This is the rain gauge which used to be mounted on a post in our back shrub border. Some arbirvide at the base of the post have grown making it hard to get to the rain gauge on that post. So, I starting using the American Red Cross rain gauge. While it is cuter than this old rain gauge, I really need a rain gauge that is easier to walk up and read. My wonderful husband thought we'd get a good reading along one area of our side fence in the back yard. He remounted the rain gauge there for me on Sunday. Now, the old rain gauge is my new rain gauge for my reports.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Birdbaths, How Many Is Too Many?

I maintain a birdbath on our patio all year.  During the gardening season, I maintain four birdbaths.

This first birdbath is in the front yard right under our living room window.  It is a homemade birdbath from two used disc blades and a pipe.  (The base looks just like the top.)  Someone welded them together.  I got it free.  One of  the radio stations in town has a show where you can call in items to buy, sell, trade or giveaway.  It's been there for decades.  Way before ebay, free cycle, etc.  I hardly ever miss a show.  Anyway, one day someone had a free birdbath listed.  It was "out front, just pick it up."  I got lucky.  It was still there and just barely fit into my back seat.  I painted it black and it's been in service for at least five years.  The top disc blade is rusting a bit though.

This birdbath was a Christmas present from my wonderful husband's late paternal grandmother.  I remember her everytime I look at it.  It came in two pieces with an epoxy.  We stuck it together and sat it in the garden.  It's shallow which is great for many birds but dries out easily on hot windy days.  It's cute and has a prominent place in the back yard.  And, seems to be holding up well.  I think I've had it for almost ten years.  It looks exactly the same as the day we sat it in the garden.

This is the year round patio birdbath.  It's just a large container tray with a brick in it.  During the winter, it sits on what we use for the water garden.  All that black helps thaw the water except on the coldest winter days.  I'll put it on some clay pots for the gardening season.  It sits in the perfect spot for us to watch the birds from our kitchen table.

Here's another large container tray with a brick in it.  I try to have a birdbath near the vegetable garden.  Last year it sat on some stacked containers.  It used to sit on the stump of a cherry tree that died.  This year, it's on top of the two extra concrete blocks we had from building our new raised vegetable bed.

How many birdbaths do you have in your garden?

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Potatoes And Redbuds

This is the first year of trying potatoes in containers.  They have sprouted and are looking very healthy.  I'll need to add dirt soon.

The redbud trees are just gorgeous right now. 

Veggie Update

I planted some lettuce in the first raised vegetable bed.  Then, I laid a twig over the area.  It keeps the neighborhood cats from digging in there while the seeds sprout.  Does anyone else do this?

The cold frame on the first raised vegetable bed is looking three fourths good.  We should be eating radishes any day now and the kohlrabi are growing.  However, there is this big gap on the right hand side where my spinach should be sprouted.  Somehow, I completely missed the instructions to soak the seeds first.  This is my first year planting spinach.  So, that area has been replanted with soaked spinach seeds.  We'll see how they do.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rain Gauge Report 2010 04 16

.60" of rain in the gauge.

Rain Barrel Status
1st rain barrel is full.
2nd rain barrel is full.
3rd rain barrel is full.

We had a nice thunderstorm last night.  Nothing severe.

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Photos That Just Say "Spring"

This is the bed under our living room window beside the walk to our front door.

These are our burning bushes with their new spring green leaves and a great group of purple tulips.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gardening Off Sherlock Street...

The tulips are beautiful throughout town this week. These are photos of a yard I pass on my way to work. They planted tulips in the front lawn. This is the first year they've had tulips in front of the house. They also own the lot next door where they plant an extensive vegetable garden (there's no house on that lot). It's had tulips in the front lawn for a number of years but they're really full this year. I took these photos on Tuesday when it was very windy. Notice the trees. The tulips held on in the wind.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rain Gauge Report 2010 04 14

.30" of rain in the gauge.

Rain Barrel Status
1st rain barrel is full.
2nd rain barrel is less than one quarter full.
3rd rain barrel is empty.

I used the last of the water in the rain barrels the other day so I'm very glad we had a shower early this morning.  It was very windy yesterday.  I knew I would need to water all my veggie sprouts this morning.  Because of the rain, I only needed to water inside the cold frames.  May be switching rain gauges soon though.  The one I'm using is cute, but the marks are on the "holder" so I have to pull the whole thing out of the ground to read it, or lay on the sidewalk to look at it at eye level.

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The Tulips Are Here!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Veggie Sprouts

The peas are coming up nicely.
My first radish planting is doing well.  Kohlrabi are in this cold frame too and are coming up fine.
My first lettuce planting is OK.
For some reason my spinach didn't sprout. I've replanted.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Picnic Table Part 2

We had a very busy weekend with family, gardening and construction.  My wonderful husband worked on our picnic table a for a little while on Saturday.  He finished putting the top of the table together.  It is upside down in the photo.  It is heavy!  And, the legs aren't even attached yet.  Hoping to do more on it next weekend.