Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Color bursts in June

June, at least if you "design" like I do, is all about bursts of color in the garden. Here's the driveway side of the house currently:


with the magenta and purple spiderwort, and a bright yellow daylily echoing the fading foliage of the celandine poppies (which should not be there at all, but that's a project for later). There's also some white astilbe and a crazy wild black cohosh, not quite blooming yet, for which I am actually going to reorient the path, since we are whapping it aside every time we walk by.

There are also orange zinnias in front of the spiderwort:


which work surprisingly well.

It's cheating to include these for GBBD, since they are done blooming now, but I also had martagon lilies ('Russian Morning') over by that house wall a week ago:


So far those and the black cohosh are the only plants that have successfully survived total smotheration by bleeding heart hedge and then risen above it to bloom. I'm getting more of them!

Pretty nice combination (in a more subdued way) out by the mailbox too:


This is where lamb's ears are actually useful, and they work with the creeping sedum, the tall sedums in bud, and the bit of thyme in the top left.

There are brodiaeas out there too, and roses:



The 'Bonica' roses were spectacular in first bloom this year - dying back somewhat now, but completely covered not long ago.

A few of the other flowers in bloom right now:

Rose campion (used to have more of this! Where did it go?)

Stokes' aster

Orange daylily of the common type

Cool mix of bachelor's buttons (grew from seed, along with the zinnias)

Motherwort, in one of the wilder areas

Feverfew
And not my personal garden, but a few cool things from the demo garden yesterday:

Arugula flowers
Giant mullein we're letting grow in a fruit bed

Shallot flowers, as pretty as many ornamental alliums (although I should cut them off to enhance the root development)
Hope everyone has a colorful Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Quick update: the wall and the veggie plot

Progress is being made on the retaining wall:



Nick says he'll be done this week - thank you!!

And here is my community garden plot, photos from opposite corners:



If you are trying to figure out where my plot ends, the far corner in the lower photo is the green watering can.

This is the prime time when everything is doing beautifully - still harvesting greens, tomatoes and peppers coming along fine with no disease, and just look at that lavender. The potatoes have beetles even though they were supposed to be resistant, but it can't all be sunny.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Current state of the Food Forest Thing

And other Half-Acre projects - coming along slowly but making progress.

Let's start with the prettiest photo, which shows the first couple of what will be tree and underplanting groupings.


To the far right of the photo just above the chives is a young crabapple tree; there are also two pretty much invisible stick-like figs (one new, and one that I thought was dead until I bought the new one). Also lots of herbs, some bush cherries, some rhubarb, and raspberries (some in pots) that will be moved.

Pulling back:


you can see what's going to be a path and some more planting area - this is just upslope of what turned out to be a T-shaped planting of black raspberries developed from the old parallel lines plus jungle. Transitioning from squares and rectangles and straight lines into curves and ovals, both in imagination and reality, is one of the hardest things about this project, especially when some of the straight lines have to stay in place.

Up by the green shed there is Nick's retaining wall project:


which will include an herb spiral and will be glorious but is now extremely transitional. We have piles of carefully-sorted soil and gravel all over the Way Back.


Which is fine because most of it was weeds. Wall blocks and other materials coming soon. Done in a few weeks I hope!

I have new currants and jostaberries that I didn't photograph, and also some beach plums that are inside a fence for deer protection:


Everything is so tiny and hard to get photos of just now. The fencing is temporary and inconvenient, and I'm going to replace it with something attractive since it'll have to stay there a while. You can see some of the black raspberries to the right, which also need fencing. Wood, decent-looking, painted. By fall. The beach plums are hard to spot in the photo, but you can see the squash plants I stuck in there, and also the wee little seedless che tree:


Looking down the hill - we took out huge amounts of weeds along the neighbors' barn and put in sod:


It's another straight line but at least it's neat, and the top part wants to live.

On the other side of the Way Back, above the former playhouse (now pot shed, no not that kind of pot), I planted a dwarf weeping mulberry:


I have fond childhood memories of such a tree and want to recreate them for any child who might someday play in our yard. When it gets big I'll tame the surrounding mess of lemon balm, mountain mint, motherwort and other vigorous plants, and create a suitable fairy landscape.

My kiwis are still alive! I had terrible doubts after the desiccating wind incident, but they leafed out again.


No fruit this year, but I will take living plants. Beyond this, on the driveway side where we took out the privet hedge (which is what made the kiwis subject to wind damage), I've put in six more blueberries:


though they are pretty hard to see in that photo, and yes, we desperately need to tidy up the beds. Nick is helping me with that, too - see bed in back with nice edging:


Any plant-related chaos will be tidied later, but edging helps me pretend it's coherent.

There is much more to be done in other areas, but here's one I'm thinking about:


This tunnel of darkness is what happened when we got serious about pulling out invading vines and spreading forsythia and pruning the holly, and now it's a nice grotto that unfortunately opens onto the driveway and allows people passing on the other side to see right through to our hot tub and garbage area. I am thinking organic screen made of branches installed in the ground, or a hobbit hole door, or something like that. Good project for a hot summer week.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bloom Day May

Hello all! For most of what I have flowering right now, please refer to my Mother's Day post. Very little has changed in the following week, except that it would really be cheating now to say a daffodil is still blooming (the remaining poeticus flower is kinda hanging on in a droopy sad state).

Here in Maryland we have had almost three solid weeks of some-rain-each-day (it didn't add up to a large amount altogether, but we set a record for consecutive days of measurable rain, at 15, and then it kept raining after the day that broke the record). It's stayed pretty chilly, too. I have not put the tomatoes in yet. On the whole the flowers are good, though, and I think at seasonal average.

Additions to the previous post:

Chives

One of what I think of as "Barbara's poppies" (they were overrunning her vegetable garden, so I rescued some)

Cranberrybush viburnum now open

Alliums also opened up

Amsonia starting to bloom. I have more of these to go in that I grew from seed.

Penstemon

And one lone rosebud!
I've been thinking about bulbs to put in come fall (yeah, I know, but what else can I do when it rains all the time?). Now that I've cleared out the beds along the driveway (former privet hedge now turned over to blueberries, and the vinca pulled out of the larger bed), I'm going to try tulips again, hoping that the deer stick to their plan of avoiding that side of the house. And I'd like to put in a bunch of fragrant daffodils near the deck. And more alliums out front. Maybe hyacinths when I've got the vinca and ivy out.

Meanwhile things progress very slowly in the Food Forest Thing out back, but in the drier periods we've done a little. Today I need to get mulch on the black raspberries. No time like the present... before it decides to rain again.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Flowers for Mother's Day

Things that are blooming right now:

Mock orange

Golden alexanders

Columbine

Last of the daffodils - a poeticus
Pansies (with lettuce in planter)

Honesty (lunaria)

Bleeding hearts still going strong
Cranberrybush viburnum just about to bloom

Geranium
Scattered petals of:

glorious red buckeye
The thing that is no longer Allium bulgaricum
This is an Allium - about to burst forth
Dianthus that came back from last year despite being an annual

Clematis that likes to crawl on the ground near the mailbox

Sweet woodruff and celandine poppy

Lily of the valley
Bridal wreath spirea with nandina
Recording these in case they're gone by the fifteenth! Sunny today after a week and a half of rain - I wish I could have done more outside but my shoulder is very painful (hope this will pass). Got a few more plants in the ground though. Things are coming along...