Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Let it pour!  Finally a break from the oppressive heat and humidity.  I love sitting and listening to the rain.
 My newest blueberry additions.  They were 1/2 off at Home Depot so I couldn't pass them up.  Here are Bluecrop and Jersey.
 My Golden Delicious had a bad case of rosy apple aphids.  Lady bugs to the rescue.  There is also another underneath a nearby leaf. I love these hungry beauties.
 My Dwarf Honeycrisp apple tree from Stark that I planted last Fall.  She's branching and leafing out nicely.
 Fat N' Sassy peppers are starting to bloom.  They are thriving in the crazy heat we've been having.
The "shell" garden.  Petunias, impatiens and nicotiana line the back edges.  Onions are the large patch in the front.  Freshly planted geraniums (a gift from my mother-in-law) are near the birdbath and front center.  One Cherokee Green and two Celebrity tomatoes are staked behind the birdbath.  Scarlet Nantes carrots and 3 Salad Bush cucumbers are to the right of the birdbath.  I may hate this heat and humidity, but the garden is thriving so far.

Friday, May 25, 2012

After a quick trip to the A. C. Moore craft store for some drawstring tulle bags, tomato bagging has commenced.  These are the 5 x 6/5" bags.  Not too big, not too small.  They have printable coupons, so I got these at 40% off.  So $3 for 18 bags.  I didn't think of it at the time, but the store also had a large size bag.  I was thinking those might be perfect to protect my grapes from the birds.  Last year the birds ate every last grape in the course of one night.  Not this year!

Monday, May 21, 2012

 Lincoln Peas in bloom.
 Earliglow strawberries are still producing well.
The death of Lady Emma Hamilton.  Clearly not as lush as last season.  Also, despite the relatively dry weather, she is covered in black spot.

 Looking behind the rose, clear evidence of Rose Rosette Disease (RRD).  Heavily infected with this virus.  :(
 An up-close view of the excessive thorniness and red hue.
 When cut, the canes are noticeably soft.  She was "shovel-pruned" and secured in a plastic bag this afternoon for disposal.
 Her gorgeous final blooms and buds were removed.
They now adorn my bathroom window so I can smell their delightfully sweet fragrance one last time.  She will be missed.

Friday, May 18, 2012

 I love this combination.  Double Knockout roses with Maynight salvia.
 My new favorite rose.  Abraham Darby!  The fragrance is delicious.  Plus it's strong enough to smell by just walking by.  The blooms are packed with petals once fully open (only partially open in this picture). 
LOVE THIS! I HIGHLY recommend these to clean your hummingbird feeder ports.  I purchased 25 "Economy Disposable Black Mascara Wand Brushes".  I have used pipe cleaners in the past, but wow....  I used these for the first time this morning and I'M IN LOVE!  The feeders look like new.  I found them on eBay for only $3.50 which included shipping!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I was getting worried.  I placed out my huge, red tablecloth first thing this morning out of desperation.  A little female just landed near it moments ago.  What a rush!  I was getting worried.  In past seasons I saw them much earlier.  What a great day!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

 Pretty combination.  Double Knockout rose, Maynight Salvia, daylily, and heuchera.
 A surprise volunteer.  I haven't grown coreopsis in two years.  I used to grow Tequila Sunrise.  A lovely dwarf variety with variegated foliage.  It only survived about 3 years.  Two years later...surprise.  What a fun plant to pop up in the crack between the house and sidewalk.
 My dwarf Alberta spruce has had issues since I planted it last summer.  Lots of browning along the bottom and huge sections died off.  Since we had such a severe drought last season, I figured that I must not have been supplementing it enough with moisture.  Turns out, mites are most likely the continuing problem.  Check out all the webbing.  Ugh.
 Guacamole hosta shaded with pink and white azaleas.
 My Golden Delicious apple tree had some funky leaves.  I peeked inside to find lots of ants and aphids.  Yum.
 After unrolling the leaf, here's what was inside.  Where are the ladybugs when you need them?
 Felix Crousse peony with my new birdhouse in the far back (left side).  We just put the birdhouse up today.  I can't wait to see if we get some curious renters.
 Fat N Sassy peppers are loving the heat today.  The Kennebec potatoes are doing well in their containers.  I will have to fill them up the rest of the way with soil now that they are tall enough.
 Reliance grapes are starting to form.
 The entire vine.  Now I only hope I can keep the birds away from them this season.  They ate EVERY grape OVERNIGHT last season.  EVERY GRAPE!
 Ville de Lyon clematis gracing the porch.
 Navaho blackberries are blooming their hearts out.
 Raspberries are already in bloom!
Double Knockout Rose.
For years I've wanted to plant Burpee's Brandy Boy tomatoes.  $5 for 30 seeds and about $5 for shipping was much more than I would ever consider paying.  They just sent me another FREE SHIPPING coupon code.  I figured it's time.  I ordered my Brandy Boys.  I'm going to grow them in containers in case frost comes before I get a good harvest.  The free shipping coupon is good until May 14, 2012.  The code is FSH132.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Everything is in the ground.  I'm sore and tired but couldn't be more happy.
Four of my 10 tomatoes.  Clockwise starting at the top left: Sandul Moldovan, Sun Gold, Sun Gold, and Kellogg's Breakfast.
My composters in back.  Mixed strawberry varieties in the raised bed in front of them.  The front bed is Music garlic and Kennebec potatoes.
 Caroline raspberry plants.  3'x3' bed.  I planted only THREE plants here in the fall.
My Fat N' Sassy (King Arthur) bell peppers.  This is a 3'x3' raised bed.  I placed one pepper in every square foot.  This spacing works beautifully for me each season.
Oh yeah!   It was just as sweet as it looked!  Best year for strawberries yet!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Reading dimensions and visualizing them in your head are two different things.  Here is my new S&K 16 Family Purple Martin Barn.  It seems so much bigger in person than I expected.  I'm not really complaining.  I'm hoping to have a lot of happy bird families living in this very soon.  Since I'm not around water, most likely it will be filled with sparrows.  I don't mind one bit.
This is one of the birdhouses I made this Spring.  A nesting wren pair has already claimed it.  They have been loudly building their nest all day.  They put on quite a show.
This Earliglow is almost ripe!  The underside is a bit pale, but I don't think it'll last until the end of the day.  There are several others just like it!
This white throated sparrow really appreciates something that a lot of people despise.  A tasty dandelion seedhead.  It stayed around quite a while munching on these seeds.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My feeders have been up for weeks.  The migration maps state that they were spotted in the area weeks ago.  But no hummingbird sightings HERE yet. I'd like to think that I just miss them EVERY TIME they visit.  Either way, I'm pulling out the big guns!  The bright red table cloth.  If they can't see this, then I give up. Okay, not really.  I just need to feel like I'm trying.
I didn't have great germination with my outdoor sowing of carrots so far.  Granted I didn't try too hard like I did last season.  Last year I sowed them, watered, covered lightly with plastic wrap until germination, and had great results.  This year I was optimistic (lazy).  I just waited until the night before a rainy day, tossed them down, watered, and ignored them.  There were huge fluctuations in temperatures around this time as well.  Frosts.  Record heat.  A strange Spring.  Needless to say I had a few bare patches.  To fill in, I cut off the bottom of a milk jug and sowed some seeds on top and watered them in.  Covered with plastic wrap until germination.  I just transplanted them outside before the taproots got too long.  We'll see how this method works. Now to go and stare at the hummingbird feeders...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What's worse than having the stomach flu and severe head cold AT THE SAME TIME like I do right now?  This.  I cut this off the top of my Lady Emma Hamilton rose from David Austin.  I looked it up to be sure.  Definitely Rose Rosette Disease.   :(  There is no cure.  The only suggestion is to dig up the plant (roots and all) and burn it.  It's the only way to protect the other roses.  It's RARE that I would spend $40 on a plant (includes shipping).  I would like to think that this is just an opportunity to try something new, but she was just getting into her prime.  Such a lovely rose. 
 On a brighter note, my Earliglow strawberries are starting to ripen.  Three weeks ahead of last year.
Since it was a nice, partly cloudy day, my young plants made their journey from my covered porch to the sidewalk to get a bit more of sun.  With temperatures staying in the mid-50s tonight, they will be able to spend another night outdoors.  Maybe even get to feel a little rain dancing on their leaves.