Monday, May 30, 2011

A hot day!

I mowed, and mowed, and mowed today.  It looks nice, though.

Here is black raspberries, getting ready to make some fruit.  They line the edge of the property, and we always get a good harvest.

This bed has a lot of iris, because it's one of the plants that will thrive with the black walnut trees so close.

A close-up of an iris I was given last summer by a friend.

We leave a couple of patches of pussyfoot to bloom in the grass for various bees and native pollinators.  We mow it down before it goes to seed. It's very cheerful looking.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I got my last two tomatoes in today.  Emma and I went into town to visit a bead store, and stopped at a greenhouse on the way back.  I was looking for Sun Gold cherry tomatoes; I didn't find them, but I did find another sweet yellow cherry tomato --hopefully it will be just as good.  We also bought a full size yellow that she picked out.  We already had two Early Girl plants in the ground, and we're just doing four this year.  I've decided that I will only do as many tomato plants as I have tomato trellises, and I now have four of these.  It's the only trellis I've found that holds up to the weight of the tomatoes and the incredible prairie winds.  They're expensive, so I buy one a year :-)

I have a basil plant in the ground now too, and it's getting all brown from the cold nights we've had.  I've put a little plastic bell over it, to try to keep it a bit warmer.  This spring is so the opposite of the one we had last year. Weather is funny.

Our carrots are sooooooo slow! I'm thinking we might be able to harvest some baby carrots by August.

Friday, May 27, 2011

After visiting with a gardening friend yesterday, I came home with a Jack Frost brunnera and hollyhock seeds. 

We've got a shady bed outside Rob's office window that contains ferns, perennial foxglove, and a Korean spice viburnum.  Next to that, we had two weigela planted.  It wasn't our idea --we had a friend (with a landscape architecture degree) help us with landscaping that area, and I'm not sure what she was thinking.  Weigela need sun, so these two tiny shrubs have been sitting there for three years now, never growing.  Since I plan to expand the current shady bed into this area, I had asked Rob if he'd dig up the weigela.  He hasn't had a chance yet, so while I was planting the brunnera in that area, I decided to see how well rooted they were.  I grabbed a branch and pulled.  The whole thing came up with a tiny root.  Same thing with the second one.  I've dug three-year old shrubs before, and it's pretty obvious these things had not grown any new roots since they were planted.  Made it easy to get rid of them.  :-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cultivating a Weed

Last fall, I found a cluster of basal leaves near the yellow foxglove but in the walking path, and carefully transferred it, and watered it through our dry fall.  It came back beautifully, growing in the back of my shade garden.  I took a look at it today, and here is what I found:
That is definitely not a foxglove, so I figure I've been carefully cultivating a weed.  Anyone have any idea what kind of weed this is?  I haven't ripped it out yet --I figure I'll give it time to bloom.  It doesn't look like any of the other weeds we have growing around our property.

The purple iris are blooming --they look a bit washed out in the strong sunlight of this picture.  I have an orange iris (Cinderella's Carriage) planted in front of them, that should bloom soon.  The two look great together.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's drizzling today.  Still, I couldn't help but wander the gardens, pulling weeds and admiring the next inch of growth.  Some of the purple iris are getting ready to bloom, and many of the plants are enjoying this cool, drizzly, overcast day.  They look green and lush.  I brought a couple of lily of the valley in with me, to enjoy their scent.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden Blogger Bloom Day, May

After some good soaking rains over the last few days, this afternoon brightened into perfect gardening weather.  It was cool, sunny, and windy.  In addition to getting a few things planted and others transferred, I photographed the plants that are currently in bloom.  So here is May 15th this year, in far northern Illinois.


Sulphureum Barrenwort

Creeping Phlox

Bleeding Heart


Korean Spice Viburnum

Flowering Quince



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I had to go out this afternoon to water the newbies --any soil moisture is quickly gone in this heat.  (All my moisture ends up on the outside, dripping down my face.)  It's a few degrees cooler than yesterday, and some high clouds have moved in, so it seemed like a good time to capture a few of the later-blooming tulips --they'll probably be shriveled up by tomorrow. 

These little pink and yellow ones are similar to my species tulips, and of course I don't remember what they are called. They've carpeted underneath the birch tree.

This group of species tulips was supposed to be all one color, I think, but both colors are so bright and glowing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The daffodils collapsed and the tulips wilted today.  91 degrees!  I really wish the weather wouldn't do that to my flowers.  The trees went from a few buds and flowers to leaves today.  I wilted with the tulips.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers Day Planting

We got to the garden center today to pick out some annuals and perennials.  Emma wanted to choose for a garden of her own, so we've given her part of a bed we created last year in front of the house.  It gets a good amount of sun, and here is the mixture of perennials and annuals that she chose:

We also planted the annuals in the barrels we have next to the back porch.  Then I lost energy, so the rest will have to be planted throughout the week. 

The plant in the center is corkscrew grass, which Emma spotted.  Here is a close-up:

 The spring bulbs are almost done, but here are some tulips that are still looking very nice.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Albert the trumpet vine got his haircut yesterday.  Dragging the ladder way out to him, climbing it with the long handled pruners, and then holding them above my head while I cut away last years growth is never my favorite job.  And there is one tentacle that is sticking straight up from the top that I just can't reach with the pruners, no matter which side of the tree I place the ladder on. 

This afternoon we're going to go buy some annuals.  And other stuff, perhaps :-)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Still Early Spring

We are back in the 50's today, but the later spring flowers are still firmly in bud.  We need a week or so of warmth to get the apple tree buds and the redbud flowers to open.  I took a picture of the birch tree garden from the back patio today --I see lots of spots that need bulbs this fall, but it's hard to remember where the tulips and daffodils are planted in October, when their foliage is gone, and other plants have spread into those spots.  Maybe I can remember to come back and consult this photo.