Saturday, December 4, 2010

Now we've gotten our first REAL snow! I think I can safely say the 2010 gardening season is over :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First snow!

We got our first snow today --appropriately on the first day of December :-) It's not much snow --just a powdery dusting, and it's verrryyy cold out!

However, it seems perfect since today is the first day we open a window on the Advent calendar, and put out a few Christmas decorations.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wow, it's 65 degrees today! On November 22. Sometimes I'm amazed at how much our daily weather can fluctuate. I wonder sometimes what it would be like to live through a year where each day hit the average temperature.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This iris started blooming in late October, and succombed to the cold just recently. Crazy iris.

Almost Emma's birthday --my traditional break between fall and winter. And it looks like it's going to be much like the year she was born --it's been really warm for November, and this weekend it's supposed to go below normal. We have our first chance of snow next week. I have one potted plant we were given that I did not get in the ground. I think I'm going to see if Rob can do it --one shovel, and he'd create enough of a hole, and then we can just stomp it in :-)

I have so enjoyed sitting in the hammock swing this last week, relaxing after work. Each day, I look around and think of how winter will descend soon, and I won't get to enjoy being outside until spring comes again.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Well, about a week ago now, we finally got a couple of days of heavy rain, along with an intense wind storm. Now that wind is coming from the NW and drawing in cold, Canadian air. It dropped into the mid-20's last night, and I got the electric blanket hooked up :-)

I was planning on splitting some things, like the shasta daisy and bee balm, but it was too dry, and now I think it might be a bit late. We'll see how early November goes.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I spent another hour today watering part of the garden. It has been a very long time since we've had any rain, and there isn't any in the forecast.

Today I watered the area with foxgloves on the north side of the house. That side doesn't get any direct sun, but with our warmer than average temps and no rain for a month, the plants were really water-starved. Everything started standing up straight again after the watering. However, because even the deeper ground is dry, the water won't stay near their roots for long. At least it hasn't been as hot the last few days as it was last week.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I think I've spent the whole day watering. I've had the sprinkler on the birch tree garden, in three different places, since about 11 a.m. Finally turned it off around 2:30 p.m., and just finished hose-watering the East side and front. Now Heidi is getting her turn with a trickle. It is 89 degrees out today!! Last year we had our first snow flakes on October 10th. That would be tomorrow. Crazy how October can be so different.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I planted a few new bulbs for spring --three different kinds of lilies, and a few more of the "fireworks" alliums. I put lilies behind the birdbath in the birch bed, on the edge of the privacy fence behind the liatris, and behind the siberian iris near the mudroom porch. The dirt (can't call it soil) near the mudroom porch is still like digging into cement. I add compost with everything I plant, but it almost doesn't seem to make any difference! I hope the bulbs will manage.

We desperately need rain at this point --I've been watering the thyme and coral bells planted near the front porch, but everything needs a good soaking. No rain in the forecast right now, but we've had some wonderful warm autumn days. It's hard to complain.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

We've dried out a bit, so a stint out in the garden only garners a few mosquito bites :-) I've been able to weed the bed out in the pasture, and today I was able to plant some thyme and transplant a volunteer hollyhock.

We got the pool closed last weekend (it took two weekends total) and I'm so grateful every time I look over and see that black cover! It's so nice not to have that hanging over our heads.

The goldenrod and purple asters are just beginning to bloom, and the sedum and anemone are in full bloom. I still have a lot of garden clean-up, but there should be some nice cool days in October for that.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The end of summer

This has been a very wet summer, which is unfortunate because now the mosquitoes are so bad that you really can't go outside unless you are covered in Deet or in the middle of the pool. At least it's been hot enough to make use of the pool!

The flowers are pretty much done --the brown-eyed Susan is still blooming, and the purple aster and goldenrod will probably start blooming in a couple of weeks, but that's it for flowers. My blue thistle flower bloomed, but I've hardly seen it because it's behind the flowering quince and I can't spend any time outside. (Well, I've spent lots of time outside, actually, but I'm either in the pool or on the riding mower.)

The cicadas have been amazing this year as well --there is a constant noise, rather than just one every few minutes. It gets annoying after awhile!

It's been really hot and humid the last couple of weeks (typical August) and it's supposed to cool down to around 80 this week, with a bit less humidity. If I can cover myself in Deet, I might be able to do a little garden clean-up.

Friday, July 2, 2010

An oriental lily, an Easter lily, and a daylily. It is lily season right now :-)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well, we've had so much wet weather, we're not much farther along with the patio. However, the gardens are doing well, and we certainly don't need to water anything! These photos include a couple of coneflowers and the back garden. We've been lucky --with the early warm spring, both the roses and coneflowers are getting a bit of time before the Japanese Beetles demolish them.

Friday, June 18, 2010

We are having a flagstone patio put in, out the sliding glass doors. I'm very excited. These are a couple of photos of the rocks that will make up the patio. I'll post photos of the completed patio later.

Some more photos, taken on June 14th. One is of the front steps/wall that Rob built last year. The others are of the corner hosta bed, which I really love, and the birch tree bed.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A couple of flowers from this morning. I was out fertilizing, since it's supposed to be incredibly hot later today. Thank goodness it's supposed to cool off a bit next week.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

New Tomato Bed!

Rob finished building the new raised tomato bed a couple of days ago, and we got it filled with dirt (a mixture of compost, top soil and peat moss) today. My six tomato plants are now planted and enjoying the sun :-)

We still have another raised bed nearby that Rob built, which will eventually have strawberries in it. Rob is still deciding if he wants to change its orientation before we fill it, though --we're a bit worried because we've built these on top of the septic field. I'm actually wondering if we should move this second one off the septic field entirely --with strawberries, it would actually be attractive (as opposed to the tomatoes, which just get wild and gnarly), so it could go somewhere else on the northwest corner of the house.

Emma and I went to get some bone meal to mix into the tomato bed this morning, and I found another baptisia, but this time a lighter blue one. I don't know where I'm going to plant that yet, but I'm excited about it. I also got two more lupines, but this time I'm going to plant them in the shady east bed. The ones I have in the birch bed are obviously getting too much sun.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some new photos of the garden. It's been hot for the last few days, and things are moving a bit fast. The baptisia and garlic chives are in full bloom, as well as the iris. The peonies are about ready to open, and my one poppy blossom has opened.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yesterday evening, Rob and Emma and I finished mulching the birch bed. We had to take the rocks that form the path out first, and these horrible, tiny, biting ants always form colonies under the rocks. So we also used some pesticide to kill the ant colonies. Then we used about 7 or 8 wheelbarrow-fulls of mulch. Emma was a lot of help --even using the pitchfork to fill the wheelbarrow and wheel it to the garden several times on her own. It looks great especially from the upstairs window in the guest room.

Today Rob spent time working on the raised beds he's making on the west side of the house for tomatoes and strawberries. It'll be really nice to have the tomatoes close to a water source.

The yellow iris have started blooming, and look very nice with the purple ones. The orange iris should be blooming soon as well. The garlic chives around the birdbath are also blooming. Most everything else is still just a lot of green.

It's supposed to get rather warm this weekend --I wish it wouldn't because it rushes everything.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day :-)

Above are pictures of us and the yard, clearing brush.

Yesterday we (Rob, Emma and I) cleared brush for five hours. Rob had the chainsaw, and Emma and I dragged branches out of his way. After that we all piled the branches into the tractor wagon and got them to the burn pile. At one point the burn pile was over 10 feet high. We now have a big pile of ashes, and a couple of areas that are under control again. We had several other areas we wanted to attack but we underestimated how big a job it was :-)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Well, we were dry and very windy for a week (we actually had a fire alert --in the county we're allowed to burn brush, and they said no fires until the wind had died down because everything was so dry --just 10% relative humidity). Last night we had some storms come through and give us about 1/2 inch of rain; it also has brought much colder temperatures. It was only in the 40's today and very wet. Tomorrow won't be much better.

We got 10 yards of mulch delivered today, and I'm hoping tomorrow will be cool but drier so that I can start loading up the wheel barrow and trucking it around to the gardens. It's a LOT of mulch :-)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Last night we had a storm that dumped a lot of rain, which we needed. Yesterday we also got the mower started and mowed for the first time. So, this morning the gardens looked really beautiful from the second floor windows with the grass neat and green and the mulch all dark brown and wet.

We have lost one of the birch trees, however, and it's going to have to come down. The top of the second one doesn't look great, so I'm wondering if that one will also go in a year or so. Those trees were from the Arbor Day Foundation, and they don't send out the more expensive, resistant varieties of trees. I was thinking that perhaps we could replace the one that's already dead with a River Birch. I had thought about putting in an ornamental crab apple or plum, but I like having birch trees there because they give filtered sunlight.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yesterday I had three Liatris delivered --bare root-- and got them in the ground today. I really don't like getting bare-root plants, as I've had some very bad luck with them actually growing. We'll see if these make it.

I was going to mow today --the grass and dandelions are really getting out of hand, but the mower wouldn't start. It's battery needs a little push, I think. Rob is going to see if he can pick up a battery charger tomorrow, since this seems to happen each spring.

The garlic mustard is getting out of hand too. Emma and I pulled a big patch of it a few days ago, but I need to get some Round-up on that patch, because I'm sure we missed some roots (it was hard to get to, in the woods) and even the tiniest bit will grow back again, flower, and leave 500 seeds in its wake. Most of our property we can't protect, but the woods near the garden we try to keep clear, so that we don't have to fight it in the garden itself.

Life has been a bit busy for enjoying the gardens the last week or so. I bought some basil and a few annuals about a week ago, but they're still sitting in their box on the porch because there hasn't been time to do anything with them. The tulips are done, which is the end of the spring bulbs; the bleeding heart and grape hyacinth are beautiful right now. Usually the next thing to bloom is the iris, but not till the middle of May. The Korean Spice Bush by the office window has it's three heavenly-smelling blossoms, but the Service Berry tree didn't bloom much this year.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We had some days in the high 70's last week, but today (and tomorrow) are in the upper 50's, so it's been back to spring. It was windy today, but still nice. Rob used the weedwacker and chainsaw for the first times, and burned another big brush pile. Emma and Kirsten played outside all day, while Erin and I worked on our courses.

Emma and I put some towels out over the hostas since it's supposed to frost tonight. I hope the bleeding hearts will be okay.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We're having another series of hots days --in the 80's. But it supposed to cool back down into the 50's and 60's this weekend --good gardening weather. Above is the view of the garden bench I'm posting several times a month so I can see how it changes over the spring and summer. And above that is a picture of one of the heather plants with a sprinkling of flowers.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's a gorgeous day! Rob is burning the pile behind the garden, and cleaning up various branches that have fallen over the winter. Emma is helping. She also helped me give Albert (our trumpet vine) a trim. The daffodils and tulips made it through the frost/freeze a couple of nights ago, and everything looks beautiful.

Above are two pictures of Albert, the trumpet vine. The top one is from today, after I'd given him a trim.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Apparently it snowed early this morning --I'm glad I wasn't awake to see it. It's in the 30's outside, with a brisk northwest wind making it feel colder. A good day to stay inside.

I did, however, go out and spray Liquid Fence on the new growth --especially the tulips, since they haven't bloomed yet and the bunnies love them. It's supposed to be back in the 50's tomorrow, and I'm sure the bunnies will be out and nibbling again.

One good thing about the cooler weather is that the daffodils and hyacinth will last longer.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Just a couple of photos today. The tulips were blowing in the wind, so it was impossible to get a good focus.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring Rain

Today was much cooler --it got up to 59 this afternoon after the sun came out. We got a nice soaking rain last night, and some of the daylilies look like they grew several inches overnight. Everything just looked so green this morning.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I was going to write more yesterday, but that's what happens when Emma is on spring break.

Today we've had some clouds and quite a strong consistent wind, so it hasn't felt as hot outside. I actually watered the peonies on the west side --that ground is so yucky, and they just looked parched. I also added more mulch to places in the birch bed --I think I've almost re-mulched the whole thing. Even the hosta are coming up there, because of these hot days. I managed to dig up a few of the squill from the corner and transplant them: near the crocus and allium in the northwest bed, by the birch trees, and just behind the corner of the fence by the swing bench.

I don't understand why, but both the redbud and pussy willow we planted last year appear to be dead. The pussy willow is likely from the rabbit damage over the winter, but I don't understand why the redbud died. I want to replace the pussy willow (and then protect it over the winter) but I'm wondering if we should try some other ornamental tree in the spot where the redbud is.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Too hot too soon!

Yesterday was hot. Today is going to be hotter --85! I'm not used to the heat, and I don't particularly like being all sticky again so fast. The daffodils don't like it either --they go way too fast. We could use some rain, too.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Emma and I did a bit more clean-up yesterday. I was surprised to see the hostas in the northwest corner already poking significantly up. The daylilies and iris are also really greening and growing. The yellow crocus are pretty much done, but the purple are beautiful right now. The squill are really filling in now too.

Today I got the rest of the iris out of the east bed, and with Emma's help I added some compost and a new layer of mulch. I'll have a couple of empty spots there --maybe I can pick up something like coral bells for those at the nursery. I also got the pasture bed cleaned up and Rob and Emma cleaned and filled the birdbaths.

After the squill is finished blooming, I'd like to dig up some from the southeast corner and get them moved to the woods, in preparation for filling that corner in with dirt and making a real garden out of it. It appears that Rob's application of Round-up late last fall has taken out the iris and hostas, so we can just fill it in.

I still need to clean up the strawberry/brown-eyed-susan bed.

It was a beautiful afternoon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

We did a bit more cleaning in the garden today --yesterday snow, and today it's 50 and dry enough to work out there :) The pink glory of the snow is up near the swing bench, but the bunnies got to it before I found it and sprayed it, so most of the buds have been eaten. Such a bummer. Emma helped me add some mulch to spots near the birch trees, and we put out the chimes and garden ladies.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Snow on the first day of spring!

Typical March --it just loves to get in those sneak attacks. However, I'm sure the blooming crocus and snowdrops will be just fine, and nothing else is really up enough to be harmed. It's accumulated a little bit on the grass, but it's already melting. Tomorrow we're supposed to go back up to the 40's, so it won't be sticking around. Maybe it will be our last snow of the season? We can hope.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I did a tiny bit of garden clean-up today. It wasn't terribly warm, but the crocus needed some of last year's stuff cleaned away so we can see them. The bleeding heart has little tiny tips up, hopefully it will take it slow. It's not even April yet. The daffodils are coming up in the paddock, which surprises me -it seems early. The snowdrops in the woods are blooming, and the squill are beginning to show their blue faces as well.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well, I ordered the tomatoes from WFF --six altogether, including three of the Amish paste and a Sungold. I also ordered the liatris and some coral bells (heuchera) for the northeast bed that we finished building last year. I got those from Bluestone Perennials.

We had rain this past weekend, and it looks like more rain is moving in. It's in the lower 40's, so the remaining snow cover continues to shrink. Over the weekend we found that in addition to our snowdrops, we also have crocus at the northwest corner that are about an inch up --they were revealed as the ice melted off of them, so they must've been growing under the snow. Some of the alliums are also growing.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

First flowers of 2010

Yesterday I checked out the East bed, and found the snowdrops Emma and I planted last fall, blooming! That bed is always warm, and I guess I've finally found an area where the critters didn't find the bulbs.

Most things are still pretty snow-covered, although we do see more bare ground each day. This weekend we're supposed to be in the 40's, and I'm hoping we can get rid of a lot more of this old snow.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Still Winter

I need to remember that. The sun is strong enough to be melting the snow slowly, even though the temps are only just above freezing. We might break 40 this weekend. But we still have quite thick snow in some places where it drifted.

I haven't really ordered anything this year. I need to order my tomatoes, and I wanted to order some liatris. I'll need to look for that in a catalog, or maybe at the nursery.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Waiting for another winter storm --not too big, but probably a bit over 6 inches of snow. Things were just uncovered again. However, it will be back in the lower 30s by next weekend, so I imagine this snow will go away a bit quicker than the last.

Today we talked about creating some raised veggie beds along the west side of the house --Emma wants a raised bed for strawberries there too, which would be a good idea because it would keep the strawberries a bit contained. I think my tomato bed by the garage is rather played out, and could use some soil renewal. I'll probably just let the strawberries take it over for now. It's nice to spend a bit of time thinking of growing things.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

First post of 2010

Well, here we are in February, 2010. It's been a fairly snowy winter so far --really cold in December and early January, but milder now. Still winter --below freezing most days, but not so bitter. A lot of our snow has melted off with a couple of just-above-freezing days over the last few weeks, but we're expecting a new batch of snow tomorrow evening into Tuesday.

All the plants are still pretty well buried, which is good because it cuts down on the frost heaving. The only bed that isn't covered, as usual, is the East bed.

I was ready for the garden to die back in the fall, but I'm now ready for spring again. I'm looking forward to April, and looking for the green growing tips poking up.