Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday and a Few Other Things

Our high today was 54 degrees, so Heidi and I went out to take photos to replace the snowy background and header photos on the blog.  I noticed a post today for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday, so took some photos for that, too, but then, when I went to my last month's post, saw that I had already put most of the little plants coming up in that one.  I also put a couple in my Foliage Follow-up post, so, I am just going to put one in.

I just planted a few of these Golden Alexanders last summer, and they haven't even bloomed yet.  I am very excited to see new growth, and hope they bloom this year.

I decided to emulate Gail and write information on growing Zizia Aureas, but when I went to do some research, found conflicting information.  Maybe it depends on what part of its range you grow it in.  It is a member of the carrot family, Apiaceae.  Some places said not to let it dry out, others said it can handle dry soil.  The size of the plant varies from 12 to 36 inches.  It has small yellow flowers on clusters that remind me of parsley blooms.  One of the reasons I was drawn to it, is that it is a host and nectar plant for black swallowtails.   I'm tickled to see the plants survived winter, and hope they grow well.

Some of the hellebore blooms (not native or wild) are now open, and I am so excited at the prospect of spring approaching!

I decided to include some photos that were taken the 19th.  The crocus blooms, also not native or wild, were more open than when I first posted them.

When I looked to see what kinds of veggies I had to make soup with, I discovered some carrots I had picked just before our first hard freeze.  Yuck!  

I'm glad I was able to pull these out of the mess, and clean them for the soup.

I hope you are having a great week, and enjoying the stages of spring you see on different blogs and wherever you live.  I am hoping by next month, I will have a better offering for Wildflower Wednesday.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Signs of Life for Foliage Follow-up

Our highs for the next week are supposed to be in the upper 30s to lower 50s, so the 11 inches of snow we had last week are on their way to being wonderful moisture for the plants. I walked around a bit in the yard after work today, seeing what foliage I could photograph for Pam's Foliage Follow-up.  Some of the plants stayed green through the winter, and others are just coming up.

I'm thinking the 'Wink' dianthus has been green all winter.

I just planted a few plants of this Alyssum wulfenianum last summer.  It is supposed to bloom from May to July.  That's a nice long bloom time.  I just looked it up to see if it's native here, but it's not.  I did buy it from our local arboretum, but not all of their plants are native.  This is an evergreen plant.  It should spread some this summer.

I had to look at photos of the garden last summer to remember that yes, this is a viola that was sold as a perennial.

I had noticed plants like these at the arboretum garden, and asked what they were.  I was told they are pussytoes, and they didn't have any for sale.  I was given a little clump, but the squirrels kept digging it up, and it didn't make it.  I was pleased to find some for sale later in the season.  The tag says, "Antennaria", but I didn't get a good photo of the rest of the tag.   It probably overwintered this way, too.

 This is Betony Woundwort. 

It looks like all of the phlox plants in the front of the border are greening up.

I think this is new growth on the poppies.

I've read we are supposed to cut back the previous year's leaves on the hellebores, but they sure held up well.  Am I just supposed to cut back wilted foliage, or all of it?  I think it's too soon, though, because it's still getting below freezing overnight.

There was too much snow to get to the buds for GBBD, so I'll show this one now.  I sure like the color!

I love hellebores, and sure am enjoying seeing those of yours in warmer places!

I was tickled to find some Phlox pilosa plants, after enjoying Gail's Practically Perfect Pink Phlox blooms.  The only thing is, the first ones I found are called, 'Happy Traveler'.  After that, I found some that are straight Phlox pilosa.   I'm not sure if I should keep the ones that are not native.  I hate to pull them out though.  Oh, I know, I'll make sure they don't set seed.  Does anyone know if the seeds on the native ones will be changed by cross pollination from these?  What I do know, is that the rabbits love them, and I need to protect them so far.  I think these have been pretty green all winter.

The candytuft plants were evergreen.  I am so looking forward to flower buds, then flowers!

The iris plants are greening up and growing new little plants.

I am glad the two poppy mallow plants made it through the winter.  I'll need to make sure they don't spread farther than I want them to.

Plant life is so amazing!  The larkspur plants don't live all summer, but the seeds get planted by nature, and come up in late summer.  They live over the winter, and then grow again.  I have been reading different books on native plants. Some list plants that can be considered invasive in some places.  I'm thinking larkspur and bachelor buttons are on some of those lists.  While I want to start growing more and more native plants, my garden will always be a hodge podge, or should I say, "eclectic".  I will do my best to be responsible with the plants I grow, and not let them become aggressive, and I will pick plants that benefit insects and birds.  Larkspurs and bachelor buttons are sentimental to me, and I plan to continue enjoy them.

Hey, I had to lookup how to spell "eclectic" and love one of the definitions I found on  "not following any one system, but selecting and using what are considered the best elements from all systems."  In my case, it's not what I consider to be the best elements from each, but whatever I like from whichever elements, not necessarily all of them.  Maybe that sends me back to being hodge podge.  OK, I'll try to be less wordy.

Presenting, larkspur seedlings, some of which will need to be thinned:

I think I have recently shown the Helenim  hoopesii.  I am please it has made it through the winter.

This is a plant that got about 2.5 feet tall, and was loaded with little yellow flowers all summer.  I thought it was a native when I bought it from the arboretum, but it's not.  

Speaking of eclectic, these strawberry plants under the bench in the front yard look quite happy.  They are in an odd place.  I will probably want to move some around.  I think the birds will be appreciative of this choice of plants, unless I get a screen on them.

The Geum 'prairie smoke' plants I moved around from other parts of the yard look like they will be pulling through.

If this winter would have been as cold as it normally is, a number of these plants may have died back more, and this dwarf sage in the front yard may not have lived.  I am glad it will be here for another season.

Of course, the snapdragons are planning on being here another season.

Even the daylilies are starting to get a little green.

I just went to get the link to Pam's blog, and see her theme is, "bold foliage".  I love all of those agaves and other plants she is able to grow in Texas!  Well, my connection to that theme, is how bold some of my foliage has been to make it through the winter, and how bold some of it is to be making its way up now, before winter is over.  Now, may the time until next month's bloom day and foliage follow up go very quickly!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February Bloom Day

I am excited to report a few outdoor blooms for this month's bloom day!  This little clump of crocus is in the planter on the south side of the house.

These daffodils are also on the south side of the house.  There are a couple buds on the clump. 

I still have some yard art blooms, and as you can see, the snow is not all melted.

There are only a few indoor blooms.  I was surprised by these kalanchoe blooms while watering plants a few days ago.   I pulled some of the dried up leaves before taking the photo.

I'm not sure if it was our daughter or me who got this little cactus pot for Larry.  This one has been blooming off and on for a few weeks.

There are a few holiday cactus blooms still coming on to finish up this season's round of blooms.

Begonias are inconsistent bloomers for me in the house, but when they do, I sure enjoy the pretty, petite blooms.

Of course, I still enjoy the dried flowers year-round.   Strawflowers keep their colors well.

I am having fun seeing spring unfold on other blogs.  The hellebores are quite lovely, and I am hoping mine do well this spring.  I am looking forward to seeing what is blooming this month your way.  Find other blooms or join in at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Winter is Back

I have been saying this has been a wacky, weird winter.  It seems like it has been mild in lots of places.  Just when I had decided it would be OK to skip winter all together, here it is!  With all of this snow, we are even on the national news!

When I got up a little before 7:00 a.m. it looked like this:

When I looked out around 8:30, I took some more photos, from the front and back doors.  I did not venture out.

I included this photo because I think it's the only one with the evergreen trees across the street.  They always look so pretty in the snow.  The lump is our grill.

I don't show the back yard very often.  The small area behind the picket fence is where I grow the herbs I use for cooking.  I also grow some in pots near the back door.

It is supposed to snow most of the day.  If it snows as much as it already has, we will be getting more than was predicted.

I got some more photos taken around 5:00 p.m.  Our next door neighbor to the north knocked on our back door while we were eating to let us know our car port was starting to come down due to the weight of the snow.  (At the 10:00 news, they said we got 11 inches.)

The piles of snow were deeper this afternoon. I like how the variety of objects in the yard look with snow caps on.

Shortly after I went in, I saw the rabbit (or one of them) that lives here out here on the sidewalk.  It stayed there until I opened the door, and it went in its "door" under the deck, which is to the right of  the herb garden, where it must have a nest. 

Here is our poor tipped carport.  Larry's heated bird bath is in front of the garage.

The photos here are in the order I took them, so here is the vegetable garden.

Heidi and I went to the front to take photos for my header and background.

She did well in the deep snow.  I walked in the tracks in the street.

I feel kind of bad for leaving this bike out for the winter.  I probably should have stored it, but when I got it, I knew it was not in good enough condition to be ridden.  I hope it holds up OK.

I took a number of photos for insurance purposes.  Larry contacted our homeowners' insurance, and they will be sending an appraiser.  I hope we will be able to replace the carport with one that will be sturdier or better designed/built to withstand the snow.  Larry and I tried to get the long snow rake dealy, whatever it is called, down to get some of the snow off of the carport, but it was wedged between where the carport was coming down, and the blue tarp.  I don't remember what is under the tarp, but that is what was keeping it from coming down further. 

I saw a couple guys outside two houses down, and walked over to ask one of them to help us get the rake/shovel out.  It was the neighbors' brother who came over and said we need to prop it with something.  He cut these beams, or whatever they are called, to the correct height.  I gave him a little cash, because it was so nice to have his help.  I felt bad, too, because he had cut his finger earlier in the day, and still went out and shoveled driveways and sidewalks all day.  (That's Larry finishing up.)

Well, I'm glad I got some lettuce, spinach, kale, peas, and radishes planted Thursday.  I had already planted several kinds of lettuce on January 5th, earlier than ever, because the soil was not frozen.   I always like to plant some seeds early.  I've mentioned I call it my "gamble garden".  I am not a gambler in other ways.  Really, this isn't much of one anyway, as my rate of getting a crop has been virtually 100%.  The seeds wait for the soil to be warm enough, and once up, they seem to be able to withstand temps into the 20s, and even snow.  Once in awhile some of the seeds don't come up, but that happens even in April or May.  I was a little worried about the January seeds coming up too early, because of how warm it continued to be.  Now, they have a nice blanket of snow, and when it melts, they will have some nice moisture to help them germinate.  I don't think I've planted peas this early before, though, so I'm not sure how well they will do.  I should mention that the main reason I do this, is that the soil is frequently too wet to plant things once spring gets here.  This way, there are some in, and I can be patient to wait for the soil to be dry enough to plant more.

We are getting closer to spring, and I am looking forward to it.