Saturday, May 31, 2014

The end of spring song

Have not been updating because oh so busy, but I've now given my Purple Carrot People talk at the MG state annual training day, and spent all of last weekend outside doing garden and yard care, and today I have hit the wall several times (it's not even hot; I'm just bushed. Or maybe shrubbed). So have some photos.

Front corner with ninebark, magnolia, rose and juniper.
Closeup of one of the last ninebark blooms.
Closeup of the Bonica rose.
Blueberries - ripe in a couple of weeks!
The Japanese painted fern, again.
Siberian iris.
Some of the many tasks that need accomplishing right now (just the outdoor ones):

  • Dismantle the three raised beds I've been using for herbs in the front yard for the last ten years or so. They are too close to the blueberries, and the plants are all pretty antiquated anyway. I'm done moving two of them; viable herbs have been replanted in the fruit garden. Still have to get the last one out (I think the huge sage growing there stays), move the soil, and decide how to arrange the space - maybe widen the flagstone path and plant something on the other side of it.
  • Finish cleaning up and mulching the fruit garden (the former vegetable garden that now has afternoon shade in half of it - which is where the currants go). I'm about two-thirds done with the front half, the part before the black raspberries. After giving away oodles of black raspberry plants, I think I'm at the point where I'll just mow down the rest of the shady side ones. The sunny side ones, which I'm keeping, have been neatened up and are close to fruiting, but still need more mulching. Everything in back of them is a jungle. The relatively tidy section has raspberries, blueberries, currants, a Nanking cherry, strawberries, a gooseberry, and a goji berry.
  • Try not to think about how awful the rest of the "way back" area is. Someday I will get it under control and stop the constant seeding of invasive weeds everywhere.
  • Tidy up the various planted beds everywhere else - actually going pretty well, though I still have to throw mulch around to keep the weeds (and excessively enthusiastic other plants) I've pulled from coming back immediately. If I can get everything to the point where I can stand to look at it, then I might be able to get somewhere with actual design, instead of just stuffing plants where there's room.
  • Get some control over the more wild areas that are not in the way back, like the gravel driveway full of weeds, the slope down to the fenced fruit garden, the area around the fence, the perimeter of the driveway, etc.
You may hear a theme here, the same one I sing out every year - gain control before it's too late! And with the amount of rain we've had lately, and the temperatures settling into something like summer range, there isn't much time to get ahead of the weeds anywhere. I'll fail to do so in most places, but maybe succeed in a few. A lot's been done so far, and it's only… oh damn, it's almost June...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Generally there are lots of May showers too

… which is why I'm doing this post now. This is the May Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post, because I know I won't have time to do one later. I'll link it on the May Dreams Gardens post on Thursday morning, before getting on a plane. (Graduation, in Houston.)

So this is what I had blooming this morning, which might change by the end of the week, because that's how fast things are moving. Spring, what spring?

There are still some daffodils, though! These are the stunning Pheasant's Eye, and I am so glad I caught them blooming, because I suspect all this 80+ degree weather is going to do for them fast.

First bloom of the quietly stunning little Geranium maculatum (at least I'm pretty sure that's what it is; could be a cultivar of the species).

And ha, I see you hiding there, honesty (money plant, lunaria) - you will be all over the place in a week or two.

Lilacs are still going…

And so is the red buckeye.

And a few tulips have survived the deer and the heat. I think this is Tulipa batalinii 'Bronze Charm,' but it's been there a while so I don't remember.

This is Hyacinthoides hispanica, Spanish bluebells, if you can call a white one "bluebell." I do have them in blue too, and a few in pink. These ones were supposed to line a path that is no longer in existence, but they're still happily sitting there. I have others that are twenty years old.

Not many azaleas left on our half acre, but these ones in front of the house are still pumping out the flowers every year and don't seem to mind getting afternoon sun. They look particularly spectacular in the twilight and dawn hours, especially since we currently have bright green icicle lights hanging from the porch. It's kind of surreal, the combination. I do really need to prune these when they're finished blooming.

Oh look, there were some more daffodils.

Chives in bloom. I am in the process of moving three square raised beds' worth of herbs. Among about twenty other urgent gardening tasks.

This is one of the many areas where I have too many Stylophorum diphyllum (wood poppy or celandine poppy, whichever the nicer one is, though it is nice in the way that means it takes over every bed it's in, in a very attractive but still obnoxious way). Need to do some thinning.

Bridal-wreath spirea. Always very charming if a bit Miss Havisham.

And this isn't very flowery, but I like the (totally accidental) combination of the Japanese painted fern and the sweet woodruff (with a few incidental lily of the valley, which otherwise prefer to come up in the path).