Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bees, Peas, and Hummingbirds

Last night I was weeding when I saw this bumblebee hard at work. Look at all that pollen he had collected.
Desperate to see my first hummingbird of the season, first thing this morning I took the tablecloth off my kitchen table and hung it on the clothesline. If this doesn't get their attention I don't know what will.
In approximately four square feet of soil I manage to have handfuls of shelling peas a day. I went out early this morning and picked these tasty treats.
A great way to start the morning.
A great way to finish the morning.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Last night before some storms hit I harvested the rest of the romaine lettuce. I rinsed it off, left the roots attached, and placed them in a large bowl with some water in the bottom. They have been in the refrigerator all night and look as fresh as it did last night. I wish I had thought of that before.
With the lettuce harvested, and since the spinach has bolted from the excessive heat, I planted the corn that I started two weeks ago in a 72 cell tray under grow lights. They were planted yesterday evening as the clouds from the looming storm started to arrive. They endured the storm beautifully. Only two or three had leaves that were bent over. I'm guessing squirrels since one plant was dug up. I planted them 4 per square foot. I know many of you will think I'm nuts, but I wanted to see if it really would work.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Signs of Progress

What a wonderful way to wake up in the morning. I venture out into the garden to find that over half of my tomato plants have started producing blossoms. I turn around and find that my Salad Bush hybrid cucumber has also opened up its first flower.

As for my flowers, my William Baffin climbing roses are in full bloom. The Blue Hill salvia is also attracting many bumblebees. The Husker's Red penstemon which was planted last Spring is producing its first blooms. The dark foliage with the white flowers makes a striking combination. It was the only one, out of the three planted, that survived the hungry rabbits last season. To the far left in the picture is the foliage to my verbena bonariensis that just started blooming earlier this week. The light, airiness of the foliage allows the plants behind them to still be viewed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Fort Laramie Strawberries in my Flower Pouch. The squirrels only ate a couple so far.
Fall Gold Raspberries

Monday, May 24, 2010

What's Blooming in the Garden?

Graham Thomas rose (tea scent...only medium-strength fragrance in my garden) hiding amongst May Night salvia.

Felix Crousse peony. Just added a few weeks ago from Jake's Greenhouse. Lightly scented. Blooms can fill up your hand. Stems need support to hold large blossoms upright.
Magnifica coral honeysuckle purchased from Michigan Bulb. Unscented. Planted to lure in some hummingbirds! I'm waiting patiently.
Rosy Returns daylilies (two plants) in front, May Night salvia (three plants) in bloom, and one Little Joe Joe Pye Weed in back.
Asiatic Lily (cultivar unknown)

Sun Gold Tomatoes

After hearing all the rave reviews on Sun Gold hybrid tomatoes, I just have to try them! I ordered seed from Johnny's for this season. A few days ago I had mentioned that some of my tomato foliage looked as though something nibbled on the outer layers of the leaves. Whatever was munching on it did not completely eat through the leaves. Now the holes have begun to heal over. Luckily all of the new foliage is clean and healthy with no signs of damage.
On a bright note, of the 20 tomatoes I've started, the same Sun Gold is the first one to develop blossoms. I may finally get to taste this highly-regarded tomato for myself! I can't wait!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Now What?

Looks like insects have found my tomato leaves. Overnight they went from healthy to being dinner. Something has been eating them, but not all the way through. Looks like there must have a whole swarm of them. They did quite a bit of damage overnight. Great...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What the...

Squirrels. Birds. Who knows? All I do know is that the four muskmelon plants I planted out a couple of day ago were eaten. Ugh...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Night Gardening

This evening around 7:30pm I went out and planted 17 of my 18 tomato plants...One is waiting for the peas in my son's large container out front. It's a clear, warm, starry night. I planted, staked, and mulched every tomato. By the time I was ready to mulch it was already completely dark outside. Despite a sole mosquito that was dancing around me, it was a lot of fun. I've never gardened at night before, but the cool calmness outside was refreshing. Hopefully when I wake up in the morning the plants will all be planted was really dark.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Garden Pictures

Below is my backyard. It is on a very steep slope. This area used to be covered by a very large, diseased bush. That was removed when we moved in. Now this is my perennial and vegetable garden.
On the far left, drooped over by blossoms, is my Bristol Ruby weigela. There is a Pink Knockout rose in bloom to the right of the weigela.
On the far right is my Knockout rose and Pink Delight butterfly bush.
In the bad middle are two climbing roses, William Baffin. The thorns are vicious, but it's just starting to bloom. It will reach its peak very soon. It's very large arching canes work very well at filling in the empty air space below the blue spruces. The spruces won't allow anything to grow in that middle sections due to the canopy created by it's branches. The soil is bone dry. Baffin helps to fill in that area.
Although you can't tell from the picture, there are two large open areas. One on the back left (behind the Walker's Low nepeta) and in front of my Blue Hill salvia on the right. On the left I will be planting a hybrid, bush pumpkin with compact vines, Spirit. On the right I will be planting one Verde tomatillo and one Black Beauty zucchini.
These are my five square foot beds. From front to back I plan on using them for the following:
Bed #1 (front bed): Right now there is Jericho and Little Gem romaine and Bloomsdale Long Standing spinach. Soon it will be the bed used for my Serendipity sweet corn.
Beds #2-4 (the middle three) will hold my tomato plants. One plant in each corner and one in the middle. That's 5 tomatoes per bed.
Bed #5 (last bed) currently holds my garlic that was planted last fall in six squares (16 cloves per square). Another square holds a Fort Laraumie strawberry plant, and one will be for my celery (4 per square foot).
Normally I wouldn't say that thorns are pretty, but the thorns on my Golden Zest rose that I planted last season are quite breathtaking. Who knew?
These are my onions from Dixondale Farms. The long day storage sampler. They are all doing beautifully. I think my first time growing onions from starts is going to turn out very well. The black plastic is just leftover weed barrier that I didn't fully get around to pulling up yet.
Little Marvel peas. These are the peas that my son planted in his large container. They are performing better than any of the other three varieties planted around the garden. I wouldn't exactly call these peas little though. The vines are already over two feet tall. They are very vigorous and blooming heavily. It's great that my son is having such good garden success his first time around!
Lady Emma Hamilton rose by David Austin. These flowers really pop in the garden. They look like little bursts of flame. They have a strong citrus fragrance. I can't wait to bring some of these indoors. As you can see in the picture, the aphid infestation that has subsided left behind some damage to a few of the leaves.
Immaculee peony. I purchased this peony on clearance at the grocery store last season. It has a light-moderate spicy fragrance. It isn't fully open yet, but I wanted to get a picture in case the thunderstorms knock it down tomorrow.
I call this picture 'Wishful Thinking'. It is one of my five new hummingbird feeders (for a total of six). Every year I only have a couple of sightings. I'm determined to see more! Not only have I purchased the feeders, but I planted some Jacob Cline monarda and red impatiens. I've also have Flare salvia and Empress of India nasturtium ready to plant once the weather stabilizes a bit more. They seem to like my Royal Red butterfly bush in past seasons. My Magnifica coral honeysuckle is blooming heavily right now, but I haven't had a sighting yet. That doesn't mean much though since it is on the side of the house that doesn't get paid much attention.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hardening Off

For approximately the last week all of my plants have been on my porch getting some direct sun and fresh air. With the exception of my cayenne pepper plant that was plucked out by a bird or squirrel, they are all going strong. I did have to bring them back in the house this morning. The winds are really whipping around out there and temperatures are about to drop.
On Tuesday I plan on planting my Purple Ellagance lavender and Asclepias tuberosa outside. Perhaps near the end of the week, when the temperatures rebound, the tomatoes will be planted. Right now they are about two feet tall, very lush, and the perfect size for planting. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate.

Ville de Lyon Clematis

A few days ago my Ville De Lyon clematis started opening up its first blooms in my garden. I planted it last spring, but it didn't get large enough to bloom...until now! It's not as floriferous as Pink Champagne, but it does have nice, rich shade of purplish-red.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Felix Crousse Peony

Here is my latest addition to the garden. A Felix Crousse peony to the left of my Lady Emma Hamilton rose. Unfortunately I didn't know that it doesn't have a fragrance, but I still can't wait for the blossoms to open. I decided to get this variety, because I saw "the sign". Should I get another white or the red? Hum... This one has a pair of ladybugs on it. Sold! I walked it up to the counter very gently, not to disturb the ladybugs. I have fresh growth on the tips of my roses that were covered in aphids. My two little friends would be a very welcome addition to the garden....If only I could get them home without flying away!
Darned if the little ladybugs stayed on that peony. They didn't fly out the car windows or fly away when I took the peony out of the car around the house. They hung on. I let them crawl on my finger and placed them each on a rose next to eachother. Right among a pile of aphids. They must have been hungry because they immediately grabbed hold of them and started to have their dinner. I've never seen anything like it. They stayed there eating while my family had dinner. I could see them munching away. They were gone the next morning, but so were most of the aphids! I hope those little ladybugs enjoyed their meal and decided to stay in my garden. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for them. I greatly appreciate their work!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Last season I went through a phase where I just had to have irises. Below are three irises I purchased from Gilbert H Wild...Not to mention all the daylilies I've bought from them as well. Pictures of those will be here in the summer....but for now, let me show you my newest irises.
Enchanted One
This reblooming variety holds its flowers approximately three feet off the ground. The flowers are saturated with rich color, and the stems are strong. This is one of the latest irises blooming this Spring. All of the ones I purchase tend to be rebloomers, so I look forward to seeing these the most in the fall. If you don't know which one to choose, get this one if it's available. A five star iris!
Autumn Circus
This reblooming variety hold its blossoms about three feet off the ground. Strong stems hold the flowers upright unless there is a really bad storm. They are a beautifully, intense shade of purple that contrast nicely with the white.
City Lights
The colors don't look as rich as the advertised pictures. A problem with this variety is its weak stems that can't support the weight of the beautiful flowers.