Thursday, June 15, 2017

Blooms in June

Our weather here in Maryland went from chilly to blazing hot this past week, and has now moderated a bit, but we're not getting the promised rain, so I need to go do a lot of watering. I've got a few minutes to share some flowers for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, though.

(An update to the last post: the berm is finished, and I've put in some available suckers of holly, viburnum, and pawpaw, small mahonia and redbud seedlings, and a few perennials. None of them may survive considering the weather, but I'm doing my best. I will put up photos soon, but they are likely to be boring.)

Here are some of the flowers blooming in my garden now:

Opuntia humifusa, Eastern prickly pear. Excited to have this doing well!
Lily, not sure I ever knew the name

Balsam. Grew this from seed - a curious old-fashioned flower.

Daylilies just starting to emerge


Hollyhocks! Saved these from the deer with Milorganite.

Camomile. Time to make tea!

Nicotiana, self-seeded plants, lovely.

Phlox 'Cherry Caramel' - grew this from seed

A red yarrow whose variety I am too lazy to go look up


Squash flower on one of the plants that came up behind the compost bins

Clary sage


Walking onions in bloom! These are the weirdest coolest plants.

Lavender is gorgeous everywhere

Valerian still going
I have a lot more flowers in June than I used to, which is great. Hope everyone is enjoying the blooms in their gardens!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Half-acre update: infrastructure edition

Last year's changes in the Way Back are bearing fruit this year (literally, in some places!) and we are making progress on taming the wilderness that's left. This is largely thanks to my son Nick, who is in charge of hardscape and heavy lifting (I just do plants). Here are some of the things he's created in the last year or so:

Edging for beds, here as a continuation of the patio just behind the house (also his work). This is not part of the Way Back, but I wanted to point it out since it's extremely useful in defining what's planting bed and what's "lawn" (I put that in quotes advisedly; we'll work on having more grass among the weeds in the fall). So far just two beds have been edged with pavers, but we'll have stone or something else around all of them eventually.

Edging by the parking area. We put down a new load of gravel so it all looks very tidy for now.

Retaining wall in back of the parking area, and herb spiral just below, behind the shed. This marks the entrance to the former vegetable garden, now unfenced and planted with herbs, fruit, and whatever the hell else I want. There's a path running just below the wall, which needs to be finished up, and on the other side we'll have a formal paved entrance to the less-formal garden. With a mosaic!

New compost bin, built out of the Trex boards that made up our old deck. Eventually it'll have a top to keep animals out.

Fence around the black raspberries. The planting is in a T shape, with simple (non-supportive) fencing on both sides so the plants can grow between and not need to be constantly tied up. I still need to prune regularly of course. I was going to cover this all with bird netting, but I think instead I'll just tie up shiny streamers to see if that deters the birds at all, since netting is such a major pain. The blueberry hedge in the front yard has a Micromesh covering over it this year, which looks weird but is so far keeping the birds out (and it can be taken off easily once the fruiting is done).

Nick working hard on moving soil! Between digging out for the patio, for the retaining wall, and to remove the mixed gravel and soil that made up our parking area, he created some huge piles in the messy areas of the Way Back, which are currently being reorganized into a berm that I'll be able to plant on. Photos to come when it actually looks like something. And I'll put up some photos of what's already planted in the more organized areas, as well. I am doing a lot with free and cheap plants. And learning what will immediately be devoured by deer, groundhogs, rabbits, and birds, what can be temporarily protected and then left to fend on its own, and what they don't seem to like at all. A learning experience, hopefully leading to a productive and pretty garden.