Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some Wildflowers

I noticed that Gail, from Clay and Limestone and some other bloggers are celebrating wild and native flowers all week, and not just having Wildflower Wednesday, which I missed.  I have posted some of these beauties already, but wanted to be part of the party.

These lily of the valley plants are descendants of those planted by my mother-in-law over 30 years ago.  When I did a search to see if they are wildflowers, I saw there is a wild version, but this isn't it.  I took it upon myself to keep them in, since they have persevered all these years.

The ginger that used to be shaded by the silver maple is doing fine so far.  I dug some out to give to our son, just in case the hot summer sun is too much for them.

I hadn't checked for blooms yet, but saw lots of buds and a few blooms when I dug some up.  You don't see them unless you look for them.  They are cute little things.

I hope the Geum, 'Prairie Smoke' gets more blooms than this.  I have another one or two, also, but forgot to check the others.

I tried to do a search to see if this verbena is a wild one.  It was given to me by a friend who lives in the country.  It survived the winter, unlike the 'Homestead' I've planted a few times.  It looks to be spreading more, too.  I grew something like it a long time ago in another garden.  I hope I can keep it under control.

I got this sweet rocket from my friend who gave me the trilium and rudbeckia.  I want to let it bloom, so I hope it makes it after that.

Some of the pasque flowers are forming their fuzzy seed heads while still showing some blooms.

The trillium looks like it likes its new spot.  I hope it has enough room.  I'm thinking it dies back in the summer.  If not, it's going to be covered over with helenium, rudbeckia, and coneflowers.

I remember other bloggers referring to trilliums, but didn't know they grew around here.  How cool to have one for my plant collection!

I've loved Virginia bluebells for awhile, and am happy to have had these for a couple years.

 The Rudbeckia,  'Goldquelle' that I got by knocking on a stranger's door and asking for a start is growing.  At some point, it will be taller than the Virginia Waterleaf, which has done well, and not reseeded, as I have kept it deadheaded so it can't produce seeds.

 The Rudbeckia, 'Golden Glow' I got from the friend I saw this weekend is the plant that is a bit wilted on the right side of the photo.  I think it will come out of it.  This dirt will not be showing once the false baptisia and  globe thistle join the rudbeckia in getting tall and filling out.

I included this photo of leadplant in case anyone just planted some last year, and think it may not have survived the winter.  I used to wonder that each spring, too, but now, I just wait until it is ready to start growing again.  Maybe this will be the year I make some tea from it.

I love butter and eggs, but they are far too aggressive for our small property.  These have lived in this tub for 4 or 5 years, now, and do well.  I've had to weed the violets out of them, though.

I let a few violets grow in the vegetable garden and in some pots.

I have some more native and wild plants coming up.  Maybe some will be blooming for the next Wildflower Wednesday.  I think the rabbits are eating the woodland phlox like they did last year.  I saw a bunny today.  It will not be getting into my veggie garden, though! 

I'm going over to Gail's blog to link up.  You can go there to see who else has posts about wild or native plants.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

This Weekend

We had a good weekend.  Saturday morning, I left 50 minutes early to stand out in the cold in line to get into the annual Spring Fling plant sale.  Our son, T.J., took K.J. to our house, and Grandpa watched him so T.J. could join me in line.  We ended up being 5th and 6th in line.  I stuck to my list, and missed out on some things I would have liked to look at, but my goal was to check out before a long line formed, and I did.

I like the way they organized the cashiers this year.  They went back to the old way of folks getting their plants priced, and then moving up the same line to pay.  The last few years, you had to stand in a line to get priced, and then find another line to pay.  It was a mess, and provided for people to cut in lines.

I don't have my list with me now, but there is lemon grass, 3 kinds of liatris, a euphorbia of some kind, a couple asters, and some agastaches.  I had already planted the 2 pasque flowers I decided I needed to put in the side bed where the other ones are.

 There was a plant on my list that I was very excited about, rudbeckia 'maxima', but they didn't have it after all.  Another I was tickled about was seeing on the list is what Gail calls PPP, "perfectly pink phlox".  The plants are small, but they will find a nice home in the new flower bed.

When I got to my car, I saw a dear friend, Jo, who I hadn't seen for awhile.  We hugged and talked briefly, but noticed cars were waiting for our parking places, so I got into my car, but then, she came over to my passenger side, and asked for a ride home.  She had locked her keys in her car!  Well, of course, we did a yard walk, and I remembered her having a tall yellow plant I was pretty sure was a rudbeckia, and maybe even the maxima I wanted.  She was happy to share.  This evening, she called to tell me she enjoyed the newspaper article, and we talked about the plants she gave me.  She said her grandmother called this plant golden glow.  The plants she has are from her grandmother, so this is a wonderful passalong plant!

Jo was so thankful I was going to take her back to her car, she gave me this beautiful trilium.  I call the events of the day a God thing.  I kind of caused Jo's keys to be locked in the car, due to sidetracking her, but then, I was able to take her to get her keys, and then she provided a great substitute for the plant they didn't have after all.  Then, to get this lovely plant, was an added blessing.  She said they are wild, and endangered in some places.

She also gave me some Solomon's Seal.  I didn't get it planted yet.  Hopefully, I'll be able to tomorrow.  The plant on the left is one I moved to plant one of the pasque flowers.  I don't remember what it is, but it gets floppy, and I am not very fond of it.  My son forgot to take it and the spiderwort that I had divided and didn't need all of.  He did rescue some plants I had dug out of the area under the tree Friday, and not taken care of.

I went out in the rain before it got dark Saturday evening, and got the bicycle basket planted.

Another awesome thing about the weekend, was getting the rest of the chicken wire around the vegetable garden!  When I saw that we were going to get it done, I was so excited, and yelled at any rabbits that may be in earshot, that they were no longer going to be entering MY vegetable garden.  Larry cut a flap out of the gate area so we can step over the fence.

We ran out of the coated wire we were using, and I went to the closest hardware store, forgetting it was Easter, and got some little pull tie deals, because I couldn't find any wire.  As we were working, some Bruce Springsteen lyrics kept going through my head, "You ain't a beauty, but hey, you're alright, and that's alright with me."  LOL  Now, we need to put a fence around part of the garden across the street.

Larry told me we had a coupon for a free 4 pack of annuals, so I chose this viola.

Baby C.J. and Mom weren't feeling good today, so K.J. and Dad came over for him to find the hidden Easter gifts in the house.  We spent some time outside, too.  Our son loves to look under rocks and stepping stones to see what critters may be there.  I love this photo of K.J. holding the millipede. They also talked about centipedes not being good to hold, because they bite.  Later, K.J. was talking about how some bugs are good, and some are bad.  He's awfully smart for a 3 year old!

Here's a link to an online version of the newspaper article.  The article in the paper had a nice photo of Ben's garden, and one of one of my hellebores, and a large photo of Heidi and me.  My pink tulips are in the online version.  I just noticed that you can see more of the photos she took on the online version, and one can buy them.  That's weird, because the one of me and Heidi could be bought, too.  I don't expect anyone to do that!  

I told the reporter that I have so many blogs I love, that it was very hard to come up with a list of favorites.  I said if I did the list another day, it could include other blogs.  I don't know if I really have favorite blogs, anyway.  I don't keep up with any of them well, but try make an effort to visit as often as I can.  I think that's true of a lot of us.  Also, I haven't kept up well with Linda from Scotland or Catherine from France.  That's who I was thinking of when I told her I had blogger friends from those countries.  I mentioned other countries, too.

Well the weekend is over for me.  I need to get myself to sleep so I can get up for work.  I hope you had a blessed Easter.

Hodge Podge, and Hi to Local People

If you are here because of reading the article in the paper, welcome!  The words in different colors are links to other places in my blogs, and one to Ben's blog.  There are also links in my sidebar to some of the subjects I've posted on, and links by dates so you can see photos from different seasons or read about a particular plant.  Here's a link to the post about the tree coming down.

I went out and bought a paper before ours got here, so I could read the article and get this several days in the making post up.  I wanted to see if there was anything that needed to be corrected, not because of the reporter so much, as the fact that when she asked me questions, I kept starting to answer, then got sidetracked.  I also interrupted her several times.  She did an awesome job writing the article!   (Thanks, Kathy and Erin for your patience.)  The article starts off talking about my international friends.  I am pleased to know people from all over the world, but the people I keep in contact with the most regularly are in the United States.  She quoted me from my profile, which I need to change, since I now have 2 grandsons, not one.  Everything else was spot on accurate.  I also enjoyed reading what she and Ben, from The Deep Middle talked about. 

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by after reading the article.  If you do not have a blog, you can leave a comment by checking "anonymous".  Starting a blog is not too hard if you know how to export photos to your desktop.   It would be fun to have a larger group of local garden bloggers like there are in other communities.  Blogging makes me more aware of my environment, and helps me notice things I may not have otherwise. I also have a Christian blog, and one for our grandsons.

When the newspaper photographer came, I asked Larry if he wanted to be in some photos.  I should have known to mention it before she came, because he needs time to process things like that.  He graciously allowed me take a photo of him with his weed digger for this post.  It's his yard, too, after all, the place where he grew up.  It was he and his dad who planted the tree when he was a boy, dug from a neighborhood alley.

(To my fellow bloggers, the title of the article was, "Flowery Blogs".  The subtitle was, "The only thing gardeners love more than gardening is talking about gardening."  I like that.)

We have a neighbor who sculpts wood with a chain saw.  One of these days, I want to show some of his work in a post.  A few days ago, he was nice and let me hire him for a small fee to cut some steps out of the tree trunk.  He also cut 3 larger chunks for stools.  He didn't want any of the wood for his work, because silver maple is too soft.

I put some of the pieces in this bed, which is the one that led me to the Cottage Garden Forum at ivillage, which led me to blogging.  The larger one will probably go back into the new planting area once the stump gets removed.  It sounds like it will be soon.  One guy had come, but realized he needed help digging the dirt out of the raised area so the stump grinder could get to the stump.

Yesterday, I was able to do my first thinning of the lettuce and spinach.  I usually start when they are a bit smaller, but it hasn't worked out to get out there, mostly due to the weather.  Here are some before photos, followed by the photos I took at the same time, then the after I thinned the lettuce photos.

 I also found a couple radishes that were barely large enough to pick.  I didn't take photos while I was thinning.  I did last year, though.

I never buy lettuce plants.  I plant seeds, and as I thin, pull the roots off, and put the little thinnings in a bowl to take inside.  My goal is to create some space between the plants, and have some salad to eat later.  As they grow, and start to touch again, I thin some more. 

I harvested some of the violet leaves for the salad mix, too.

To clean the salad greens, I run water into the bowl they are in, and swish them around.  I lift them out, leaving most of the dirt in the bowl, and rinse a bit more in running water.

I usually leave them on the drainer about 10 to 20 minutes, then put them on a clean towel, and close it up and gently blot.  I don't use my salad spinner much, because the lettuce tends to get bruised.

I find it stores well in a plastic bag with a paper towel in it.  I forgot to try the lettuce keeper I got last year.  I'll have to see if I can save some plastic bags by using that.

Back in the garden, the beets are up!

I planted this asparagus last spring.  It didn't grow a lot.  I hope it does this year.  The onions are growing OK.  Usually, I plant them in a bed instead of in a straight row down the length of the garden.

I can't remember whether this kale was planted last year or the year before.  Soon, it will probably blooming.  I'll let it because I like the looks of the blooms, and the insects like them, too.  I picked some of the leaves to add to my lettuce mixture.

We only have chicken wire on 2 sides of the garden.  I'm hoping to finish up tomorrow or next weekend.  The rabbits have nibbled some of the lettuce, and are almost finished with the pea plants.  I wish I would have covered the plants.  Well, next year, this will not happen!

The garlic is doing well.  I'm not sure whose garbage lid that is, but I left it there for the birds to drink from.  It is ready to be dumped now, though.

I can't remember whether I planted the cilantro growing near the spinach, or if it planted itself.  I do get volunteers most years.  The sunflowers were from last year's plants.  I won't let all of them grow.  There isn't room, and the squirrels always tear them up.

 I was excited to  discover the showy milkweed I planted at the edge of the vegetable garden last year survived the winter.  I hope there are lots of monarchs this year.

 The purple milkweed is up in the side yard.  Another one I planted is not up so far.  The wild milkweed and butterfly milkweed are not up yet, either.

I think this is the swamp milkweed, 'Cinderella' starting to peek through.

I had to include a photo of the tulips looking so pretty against the bicycle.  I got the basket planted in the rain Saturday evening.

I was excited to see my first bee for the season.  It was shy, though, and did not stick around long enough for me to get it in focus.  Later in the season, they will let me get quite close and not fly off.

I've been enjoying hearing the birds sing, and watching them on the hunt.  The other day, I saw a blue jay take a worm from a robin.  It flew away before I could get a close enough photo.  This robin kept looking at me, taking a few steps, and looking again.  Maybe we entertain the birds as much as they entertain us.

I keep getting different ideas for where to put the new planting areas, and what shape to have them.  I thought I was going to do something similar to what's on the other side, then, decided to have it go across the front, from sidewalk to sidewalk to create privacy.  That way, the more level area even with and behind where the tree was can be a seating area.  Now, I'm thinking about having a number of differently shaped beds, so they can each have unique things in them, and leaving more paths of grass.  I'd love to surround the whole seating area with plants to enclose it a bit.  We may put a black fence like the one across the way in the front part of the area, and plant on both sides of it.  Maybe we'll do it in stages instead of all this year.  I bought a book today on beds and borders that has some great ideas in it.

Larry and I dug some of the dirt out to make it easier for the guys to get the stump grinder in, and so we can have some dirt to put back into the hole.

Here's the area that I will leave the grass in.

I plan to include a spot for this hollow piece that was home to the squirrels.  It's one of the main reasons the tree had to come down.  I may put some dirt in it, and plant something.

 Happy Easter!