Wednesday, May 26, 2010

See? I really AM still gardening

Weather for the past few days. HOT! The type of weather that caused me to leave the South.
Forecast for the next few days - Sunny and in the low to mid-70's - yeah, baby, yeah!

Things are finally starting to settle down at work. It's still busier than usual but I no longer feel like running away from this place, screaming.

And now I have a few minutes to fill you in on my latest gardening adventures.

Last week I got a few more plants. One thing I always make sure to plant are Petunias. I know - very common flowers - but I love them. This year I planted my standard magenta colored Petunias, but I also picked up some purple and whites called 'Rhythm and Blues.' Being a musical-type person (I have a music degree, anyway) I thought them appropriate.

I'm singing the blues in the night
Since this picture was taken they have already grown and started draping over the edges which was what I was hoping for.

I also picked up a Hydrangea. It was marked down due to a little frost damage, but it's recovered nicely and the blooms are already bigger than this picture.

Frost bitten but feeling much better now
The flowers are coming in a nice pale pink. My only problem is that the sun it gets during mid-day is causing it to droop drastically. By the time the sun passes it perks back up again but I can't see how that could be good for the plant overall. I'm going to try giving it more water. I really don't want to have to move it.

Remember that corner bed I created a few weeks back - the one that sloped? Well, I realized that I didn't like that slope after all so I used some of my remaining liner and raised the bed.

Raised Corner Bed
To the right of that corner is my Iris bed. Last year I planted a Clematis plant in the middle of it but it didn't grow more than an inch. This year, it's growing like gang busters and it likes ladybugs, apparently.

Clematis loves the ladies
Since this picture was taken last week, the plant has grown at least another inch, maybe more. I'm going to have to get that trellis put in if it keeps this up.

I planted the Clematis for my father-in-law. When we moved in he told me about the huge Clematis his father had planted in front of the house. He's mentioned that plant several times so I've gotten the impression that he remembers it very fondly. I only hope this one turns out as pretty as that one. (I've seen pictures and it was very nice.)

My last project last weekend was to line the front beds and finish mulching. I placed some potted plants in the bed to fill out the empty spots and add some height. I also planted more Marigolds and the Daylillies are filling in. It's still a little bare, but looks better with the mulch.

The Lilacs flowers are gone now but I enjoyed them while they lasted. So did our annual tenants.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Carriers of the Magic

I guess it's normal for kids to hate bees. I know I sure did. In fact, I and my friends had a bee nemesis every summer. Actually, it was a Bumblebee nemesis. There was a post on the corner that had a large knothole and every year a Bumblebee would take up residence. Being six-year-olds we were convinced it was the same bee - and it was MEAN. If we ran past, it would always chase us.

Enjoying the Wildflowers

Of course, now I know that the Bumblebee wasn't mean - she was just protecting her nest - and she never did sting us. (We were too fast for that pesky insect, we were.)

Now, I love bees of all kind. As little as six years ago the distinctive sound of bee buzzing would send me into a panic causing me to run inside as fast as I could. Now when I hear it, I look around to make sure I don't squash my number one garden helper. And guess what? If you don't run away from a Bumblebee, it won't chase you.

We always get a lot of Bumblebees in our yard. The Dandelions attracts them early and they stick around all summer for the Phlox, field wildflowers and anything I happen to plant.

Two years ago they particularly liked my late-season flowering Dahlia. There were several blooms and for about a week they were swarmed with Bumbles. This didn't make my husband happy (he has a 'thing' about bugs of any kind) but I loved it.

Bees on the Dahlia
I've never seen very many Honeybees around here until this year. I was glad to see them since I'm sure most gardeners out there are aware of the mysterious bee disappearances.I'm still seeing Bumbles but I've seen Honeybees more often than I'm used to. One even stopped for a photo shoot - after scaring my husband inside.

Heh, heh. Puny humans.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm still gardening...

Things in my neck of the woods have been absolutely insane. I work for a lumber company that recently bought out another. Since I'm in the IT department it's been an extremely busy time for me. My paychecks look nice right now but free time has been a rare commodity.

I did get to do some gardening this past Sunday, which I'll post about later, but finding time to blog is even harder than finding time to garden.

Hopefully, by Memorial Day things will have settled somewhat and I can get the vegetable garden planted. Right now, it's just a big pile of tilled dirt.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Family Tulips

I've mentioned these before but I thought a short history on what I like to call 'The Family Tulips' might be of interest - or at least kill some time before I can get back into the garden again.

Our first Spring in this house was in 2005. In the front yard, close to the driveway, a lonely little tulip grew and opened up.

2005: All by myself...
My parents-in-law told me that that tulip had been blooming yearly for over a decade. There had once been a rather large bulb garden in that area that included tulips, daffodils, crocus, etc. but it had gradually died out. No one lived there anymore so the bed wasn't replenished. The tulip and a few daffodil leaves (that never produced flowers) were the only things left.

So, the next year we expected only one again - just like we had been told it would keep doing until it finally just died away. I don't know if the tulip knew there were people living in the house now or what, but it brought along two of its friends.

2006: Three part harmony...
For some (stupid) reason, I didn't take any pictures of the tulips in 2007. I know the number never went down and I think there were still three, but I can't be sure of that.

However, in 2008, the trio grew into a quintuplet. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of them when they actually opened. (Apparently, my documentation skills used to really suck.)

2008: It's beginning to be a party!

Last year, 2009, they decided that five was just too boring and brought along two more friends:

2009: Lucky Number Seven

And this year, three more decided to join in. (In the picture only 9 are open, but the 10th will be any day now)

2010: We will soon rule the yard!
I've been considering building a bulb garden around the family tulips but I never do it. I'm curious to see how many are going to keep coming back without me doing anything. I know I should probably dig them up and see if they need separating, but I just can't make myself do it. They've been doing so well on their own for five years now, I don't have the heart to take over.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May Birth Flower

This month's birth flower is the Lily of the Valley. It symbolizes purity, sweetness and humility.


I'm better than you are, but too humble to admit it...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Very Busy Weekend

May 1st's weather: Very sunny, high in the mid-70's
May 2nd's weather: Mostly cloudy, slight breeze, high in the low 80's, just a bit muggy

No posts this past weekend - but that's because I was in the garden all weekend long. I did eventually plant most of what I purchased on Thursday and Friday but most of my weekend was spent fixing up existing beds.

I did some work on the Garage-side bed last week but realized 'containing' just the tall Phlox was kind of stupid. It even looked a bit truncated.

Before any changes

Only Phlox Contained
So, I did what I should have done in the first place and 'contained' everything on the side of the garage, which included the Lilac bush. This caused an empty space between the Lilac bush and the Phlox, so I got some Coral Bells and planted them in the gap:

Finished Product
I also extended the little path to the door with flat stones. No one uses that door, so the path isn't really functional, but I thought the stones added some flavor to the whole thing:

Flat stone path
And that was my Saturday. It doesn't look like a large bed, but the area around the Phlox and Lilac bush was covered in thick grass. Pulling that was a real hassle.

On Sunday I worked on the South side of the house and just a little bit on the front.

You see, last year I created a new bed on the south side of the house because it was a plain white wall with no interest whatsoever. It was also the most visible side of the house for passersby and it seemed a waste not to have something pretty to show them. Problem was, I didn't think forward and didn't line the fencing with stones like I do everything else. The stones are aesthetically pleasing and, more importantly, keep grass and weeds away from the fencing making it easier to mow and keep looking neat.

I was going to use more stones, but decided to use the stack of bricks for which I've been trying to find a good use. Many were old and broken and made the border more interesting visually.

South Side Border
Between this bed and the Iris bed in front (which I also lined with bricks) was a triangular open area. Last year I stuck a pot of Petunias there and it looked nice, but the grass in that corner became unruly. So - more grass digging for me. I really liked the way it turned out:

Corner Bed
The plank of wood is for the pot that sits there. You can't tell in the picture, but that little triangle slopes down pretty steeply. I planted a few annuals in front of that plank of wood to fill it in.

Also in that same corner is my Hosta bed. There was really nothing to do to it except add some mulch. I also gave Alfie the Lady Beetle a job. I used to have a plan rock in the corner to level out the bed. I thought he would add some color to the corner.

Alfie's a working bug now

And, lastly, I worked a little bit on the front bed. I planted the Azalea bush and the Rhododendron I picked up on Friday. I planted them on opposite ends of the house. I also planted some Marigolds along the fronts of the beds.

Azalea Bush

Rhododendron Bush
As you can see, I ran out of mulch. I made sure to get the bushes done but I have to fill in the rest, which is okay since I don't have anything to plant there right now anyway and won't for at least another week.

It was a very long weekend and I can't believe how sore I am now. But, it's worth it to see the beds shaping up.

So, what did you do this weekend?

Rhododendrons & Azaleas: A Colour Guide