Saturday, May 30, 2009

Clover time

Talk about precocious! The lack of rain and above average temps have turned up the heat on the white clover. It is blooming! I hope this isn't a sign that it's going to be a long hot DRY summer. *whimper*

But the honeybees are sure enjoying the early flush. I'm happy to see so many climbing all over the sweet-smelling blooms. But could I find any to photograph when I showed up with the camera? Noo-oo. But they're there. Trust me! :-D

Fortunately we DID get a little rain Thursday evening, though not near enough what we need. However, I took it as a sign that it might be time to start planting out into the new RING garden. Click HERE for more info. Meanwhile, I'm off for another day of planting, etc. Stay tuned...

Friday, May 22, 2009


While it is still very early in the bee-season here (after all, the bird bath froze solid earlier in the week!) there is some bee activity. At first I thought I had been blessed with an abundance of BUMBLE BEES. But when I followed them around I discovered they were really pesky CARPENTER BEES and they were doing a real number on my garden shed. Holes everywhere!

I have seen some hover flies since the crabapples finished blooming, but not actually on any of the few perennials that are in flower. Right now I can see perennial geranium, dianthus (pinks), lupine, columbine, fuchsia, false indigo and some early rhodies. And then there are the zonal geraniums I potted up a few months ago from dormant roots. They are in bloom too but, honestly, they never seem to attract insects of any kind. Even the hummingbird flies right past them, preferring the fuchsia. (To that effect I'm growing only a few zonals this year, replacing them in flower boxes with short varieties of zinnias. Zins get lots of action!)

I did spot a couple of butterflies: a tiger swallowtail, and a very small (unidentified) dusky-colored one. But unless I start wearing my camera around my neck, they don't wait around for me to run get it. Camera shy?

So I was happy to actually have the camera on hand when I heard some buzzing around the lupines. All the noise came from this one little gal. (I couldn't tell if it was a mason bee or another solitary type of bee. Sorry. My bad. :-( ) It was hard for me to snap her pic; she was just too fast for me and seemed to be everywhere at once! I kept hoping to get a profile of her on the blossoms to show that her brilliant orange pollen sacks where just full to bursting. But, alas, this is the only pic that actually came out clear enough to see her on the flower. If you look closely you can just make out one of her fat sacks peeking out from behind her. I'm thinking she should get quite a haul. Seems she's got the run of the place right now. :-D

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Final freeze? oh pleeze, oh pleeze!

(5/19) Tuesday a.m.
It got down to 32F last night. But this morning the birdbath is free of icebergs and all shipping lanes are open! There was frost, but not as heavy as Monday morning. Hopefully this is winter's final hurrah and I can now enjoy playing in the garden without having to check the weather channel every hour for updates.

Let the garden games begin!

(5/18) Monday a.m.
It got down to 29F here and the birdbath is frozen solid! (I'm beginning to understand what the "F" after the temperature is really for! ;-D )

One more night of temps like this and then I should be able to start planting out! Woo hoo!

(5/17) Sunday:
They forcast for 38F tonight. Which means in my neck of the woods it will get down to 29-30 and I expect a freeze. Then maybe frost again Monday night. But then on Tuesday....

We're supposed to be out of the weather woods and looking good! I'll keep all my seedlings and starts under wraps for 2 more nights and then easing up on the nightly blanket ritual.

Meanwhile, check out these two posts: One with updates on my great tomato experiment and one on yet ANOTHER new flower bed.

More soon when all the ice is gone... ;-D

(click on red text to view project details)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Looking up - literally

My neighbor and I were remarking on the astounding show from this white crabapple this year. While we were standing there I kept glancing over at the boughs looking for bees and pollinators. After all, this is a bee sanctuary. These spring-flowering trees are supposed to entice the bees because not too much else is blooming right now. But alas. I saw nothing.

Finally, in the conversation, I voiced my disappointment to my equally bee-friendly nabe. He just looked at me, then pointed UP. I looked. And was dumbfounded. Way up there I saw hundreds of insects flitting and buzzing and darting and swooping in and out of the topmost boughs. The sun lit the petals so they practically glowed against a sky as blue as a robin's egg. Ahhhhh. I think I just stood there and grinned like an idiot.

What a wonderful way to end a 3-day span of labor-intensive garden work. During those days I created a 47-foot long arcing privacy bed that will not only be the first display visitors will see when coming up the driveway, but will give me much needed relief from the main road, the golf course, and other homes that have removed a lot of trees and shrubs. I also made a bed around the late (and lamented) fallen ash tree as well as edged the 2 border beds along the driveway.

And I am still working with the vegetables, notably dealing with my annoying success with tomatoes. There is still a lot of seeding going on too and am sowing bee forage annuals like sunflowers, African daisies, and even more varieties of zinnias (have I mentioned I like zins a lot?). Gosh, and I thought I was busy in April!

(click on the red text to view project details)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Feeling BLUE and lovin' it!

I've mentioned before that I do not treat my lawn. Heck, I scarcely mow it. LOL

I thought you might enjoy a look at what benign neglect can wrought. These spring violets and mini violas are just lovely, especially when punctuated with bright dandelions. I really enjoy the show. And as the weeks progress, the color palette will change as other wild and untamed 'weeds' strut their stuff.

Here's something I've always wondered about. When the lawn gets away from me, instead of letting all that cut grass lay on top of the lawn and turn brown and nasty, what would happen if I took the time to actually bag up an acre of grass? Well, it looks like this:

Now, what's a gal to do with all this WEALTH of bio-degradable material? Stay tuned....

Friday, May 1, 2009

May? MAY? What the heck...?

[Note: click on the red text to see project details]

Better yet, when the heck? I only stepped away from the keyboard for a few days, no? A little work in the basement with the plants, eventually getting them outside. And to do that I had to do a little work building several hoop houses (yeah, that's right, several!.) I did a little weeding. I edged the 2 border beds around the driveway. I planted peas. But, honestly, how could it be 25 days since my last post? I'm going to get to the bottom of this - ask questions - take names. Honestly! (Well, just as soon as I can find the time.... *sheesh*)

Obviously April was THE busy month as I tried to keep on top of several fronts at once. Throw in a class term test, car problems and taxes, well -- I guess I got a little overwhelmed. I wasn't even able to visit some of my favorite blogs for lack of time. There was just not enough of me to go around. If I had time I would visit the Seventh Street Cottage blog and get his plans for a cloning machine. (After all, he owes me big time for stealing my "gardening with a green fist" logo. (Hmm, I wonder how long it would take for another Kris to take root. Sure could use the help... LOL))

I did write up a couple of posts on the related blog pages: There is are updates about the WS project (lots of jugs with lots of sprouts), and how the GUL tomatoes and peppers are faring outside in the big bad world, and even some news on the vegetable garden front.)

Bottom line I'm busy as a bee -- AND in good company! I've noticed lots of big bumbles enjoying the pachysandra and myrtle blooms. Also the crabapples are in full flower and getting their share of attention.

My current push is to get the annual flowers to sprout: 5 kinds of zinnias, African daisies, snapdragons, things that will give summer-long color and eye-candy. As for the bee forage plants, so many varieties sprouted in the WS jugs. I'm most excited about 4 varieties of milkweed that are doing well, various hyssops, monarda, Joe Pye weeds, etc. I should list them all. I should write up another post. I should... *whoa nelly!*. (A little voice in my head speaks up: " P A C E yourself, for crying out loud. Your fingers are going to cramp up ALnd ATHEmnN whatE WIlllll AHppeenb?) *arg*

Yeah, might be time to stop for now... Stay tuned! :-D