Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Beds-n-blooms

(click to enlarge - and focus)

Things are in full swing in the garden beds. This extremely early, mild (decent rain) weather has jump started things to the max. The arbor bed (and veg bed behind it) are lush and bloomiferous. It's just loaded with false indigo, lupine, Dutch iris, foxglove and columbine. And soon-to-pop are pink peonies, English lavender and feverfew. Apparently the hollyhocks are not going to make much of a show this year. Perhaps they are of a biennial nature? Doesn't matter. Every year has it's star.

And this year it's foxglove. Wintersown last year, they made large clumps in the beds. This year they are stretching up and strutting their stuff. There only seems to be 2 colors: a darker purplish and a lighter purplish. There are some unopened spikes yet to come so perhaps the later ones will be a different color. (Later in the day: another color is blooming - ivory.)

Either way I'm now determined to never again be without these spring beauties. Just as soon as they started getting tall (even before the blooms) I threw a handful of seeds into a large pot to sprout next year's plants.

And here's another nice surprise. Penstemon grandiflorus. Another 2009 wintersown winner.

I love the thick grey-green foliage and the lavender trumpets of this perennial. Being a May bloomer is also nice. I think I'm going to have to start some more seeds of this for next year, too.

Here's a shot of the ring bed from a new angle; from the south looking uphill. Thought I'd show a different perspective of the on-going bee-forage project.

I've moved around some of the plants this spring. I'd planted the Joe Pye weeds too close together. Also some of the milkweed. As you can see here, the 3 kinds of milkweed I planted last year are really doing well.

This variety (shame on me for not knowing which variety off the top of my head) appears will be short because it's already budding up to flower! Woohoo!

Theres a lot more going out there, but what now I've got to actually go out there and get some more work done. (Oh, my aching back. LOL)

P.S. Check out the Vegetable Beds page for the first 2010 post. Also the Propagation page for the last 2010 post. Obviously there is an order to these things. ;-D

P.P.S. The Flower Beds page has been updated. The first post of 2010. And it only took me, what? Three months? My bad.... ;-D

Friday, May 21, 2010

Got the blues?


My 1-year-old clematis (H.F. Young) is going great guns in the pot next to the garage. I just love the Wedgewood blue flowers. And the blooms themselves are quite large - over 6" across!

But really, the blue eye-candy above is just to get your attention for an exciting post. And it's NOT on this page, but on the "Plant Propagation" page. Please, pop over there to read an amazing tale of plants and portents. :-D

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Aye aye!

Last year I did up a post about the kinds of butterflies visiting the gardens. (You can review that butterfly post here.)

At that time I didn't mention one particular butterfly - the red admiral - because I never saw one.

Well, this year sure is different. I don't know what has been added to the environment (unless it's just the extra warm, extra early spring weather itself), but this year I've got more red admirals than the entire Chinese fleet! LOL

At one point I counted 9 or 10. They don't seem to be visiting any blooms (although I did spy one on a rhody once). Most of the time they are flitting around, and around, and around. I swear they are doing laps around the house.

When they aren't flitting, they're usually resting on leaf litter (my fall mulch of choice), or sticks. In this pic one of them was sunning itself on a deck railing. The colors are striking and for once I could see the tiny blue spots, not just the white, orange, black and sable.

Other butterflies I've already seen this year: tiger swallowtail, eastern black swallowtail, and the ubiquitous cabbage butterflies.

The year is starting well, and promises to be a really flitt-ful season. Hope your gardens are all a-flutter too. :-D

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The green wave

(click to embiggen)

I'm running out of deck space. All the GUL plants (even the annuals) are up from the basement. The veg plants are all hardening off. The WS plants are exploding out of their jugs and need to be either planted or potted up. And instead of addressing all these issues, I'm off in the driveway - filling pots with mix and planting more seeds.

I may need an intervention!

On May 10th the bird bath froze. Usually May 15/18 is our date for final frost. I'm thinking that 10th freeze may have been our final. *knock wood* If so, now I can really get into gear. woooohaha

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hawk watch


Friday after the front moved through the temps fell from 75F down to low 50s in no time. The winds were, to say the least, brisk. Through it all the resident redtail hawk kept a keen lookout for lunch.

Just has I took the top pic, she spied a squirrel in the dogwood. I (through no skill of my own) caught her launching herself off of the arbor. If you click on the pic and then magnify the shot, you'll see that her eyes are steady on the prize while the wings are blurred in flight. Pretty cool, no?

It's been a week of roller coaster weather again. Saturday it only got up to 43 with steady winds of 25+ with gusts over 40! All day then through the night. It's settled down quite a bit today with NW winds at 10-15 instead. This morning it was 33. The day hasn't gotten much warmer, it being 47 right now. Tonight it will plummet to 32 (which means here it will get to 27 or so). The bird bath will be frozen over tomorrow, that's for sure.

But before the temps headed south, a lots of good things happened this week: There are an abundance of toads out and about. While weeding I was startled several times when they hopped out at me. (Boo!) LOL And despite the awful cold and wind, my 2-year-old clematis is displaying some big blue flowers.

Meanwhile, the ring bed is sporting quite a few plants I wintersowed last year:



asters, 4 kinds of milkweed, 2 kinds of Joe Pye weed, butterfly bushes, lavenders, lots of echinacea tennesseensis, blue flax, white balloon flower. I'm also going to have quite a display of foxgloves (goody goody!).

Oh, and lets not forget a bee fave - lavender hyssop. All of them have come back. Those things are so covered all season that I think the bees are in the seeds!

I just hope tonight's freeze doesn't doesn't do too much damage. My poor babies....

(Monday morning update: Yep, it's 30F out there and the birds are skating across the birdbath.)
(P.S. The squirrel made good his escape yesterday.)