Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Garden Update

As one would expect for this time of the year. .
Lots of things are going on in the yard too! The spring flowers are still showing off. .and the summer flowers are getting flower buds in preparation of their own displays.
The grass is green. .and is starting to fill in the bare spots. .but there are plenty of green weeds doing their part of coloring the landscape too! As in many other parts of our country, the weather has been unusual, to say the least. .and we go from unseasonably warm (like 98 degrees two days running) to unseasonably cool (frosting many areas). 
The goldfish are active. .eating water bugs and playing games with one another.  A few weeks ago, Cami and I picked out a small yellow Koi and a black, google-eyed goldfish to add to the collection.  The boys spotted the two new tadpoles Sunday evening, and they have also found a ton of snails. .which I did NOT place in there. .how they got in I will not know. The one large snail that Cam and I bought a couple weeks ago has resurrected itself after 4 days of laying belly up at the bottom of the pitcher pump water feature. .and got relocated by Grant. .to his indoor fish tank.
The plants given to me by friends, the new ones I ordered, and my own shrubs that got a new location this spring are all holding their own.  The yard is perfumed by honeysuckle, iris, and dianthus.  I FINALLY saw a hummingbird Saturday buzzing around my orange honeysuckle vines.  I have not yet been able to get close enough to get a good look at it. .but hopefully soon. .I pray he will make himself at home and spend the summer with us.  Devin also spotted another bluebird out the window Saturday. .so I am hopeful that they are using our nest boxes.
The knock out roses are in full bloom and are quite striking! As are the peach iris. We enjoyed a bouquet of them on the kitchen table for the BBQ.  In fact, I was able to quickly collect 4 bouquets of different things to set around the house. .I LOVE fresh flowers!! The peonies have also had a great year. I bought a cheap grab bag of them a few years ago. .and this is the first year that they have had more than one bloom apiece. They smell divine. .and have graced several vases in the house. There is a white one, probably Maxima variety, a middle pink and a bright pink plant.
The dianthus and pink snapdragons that I planted around the stone bench that used to sit by the fire pit have made a comeback.  We started the antique metal furniture project 2 months ago and haven't gotten back to them. I hope to have them done soon to put back in this area for seating, especially since we started with the firepit the other night to fix some mallows!!
The veggie garden is doing very well!! I mentioned once that I was going to plant without tilling this year, and so far that is working.  After I got back from my mom's the weeds in the unmulched back half of the garden were taking over. I had Grant haul the tiller out there so I could make quick work of getting rid of them.  Unfortunately, the tiller shot crap. .and I still had to pull weeds.  So, I guess I was 100% tiller free this season.  Because of that method, there has been some remaining straw to pull across and protect some of the plants.  The beets have been thinned, and the carrots (visible right behind the beets in the photo) will need thinned soon too. .I am still amazed that they even came up!!
Here are the potato plants. .and as I dug out some Johnson grass last weekend, I noticed that the reds are making taters. Can't wait!! Saturday I managed to get 5 varieties of tomato plants, 2 types of pepper plants, 3 squash, 3 rows of baby corn, 3 rows of okra, 2 types of cucumber seeds and 2 varieties of watermelon, plus a small stand of dill planted.  I was beside myself with joy, because I was afraid that I wasn't going to have time to do it all. Things went in quickly. .and we are hoping for some rain this week.  Grant is pleased that his strawberry plants are setting fruit now. .and I am trying to find a place to put some raspberry bushes when they go on sale.  We'll still need to lay some newspaper down and cover it with straw in the back as the seeds sprout.  The ground covered with mulch from last year was significantly better than the harder, sunbaked soil in the back. And the weeds are much fewer throughout the previously mulched part, as you might expect.
the larkspur stand is adding some character to this weedy patch
The greenhouse is being cleared out slowly. We are still picking tomatos. .and the plants have had a lot of new lush foliage and blooms start again.  I know that it has everything to do with the abundant sunshine and added warmth.  Most of the house plants are moved out to the decks. .which leaves the house looking empty, but the outside entrances look inviting. 
It's hard to believe that May is more than 1/2 over now. School will be out for the younger ones next week. Devin is playing baseball this summer which is getting underway.  The big boys have been to tractor safety and will be helping our families with farming this summer. Everyone is looking forward to the first trip to the lake and the pool.  And I am eager for a morning warm enough (and unscheduled enough) to enjoy my coffee on the deck.
Penstemon strictus (Rocky Mountain beardtongue) is show stopping this year!!! It is supposed to be 24 inches tall by 36 inches wide. .and is just gorgeous! It is also holding up well in the vase with the peonies.
The window birding has been VERY good this week too.  And I consider my discoveries to be an encouragement for my soul from my heavenly Father!! Last Saturday in the midst of a particularly stressful day, we sighted the hummer and the bluebird.  Monday, while on the phone begging my sis in law to come watch the sick one for graduation, I spotted FOUR cedar waxwings in the elm tree next to my pond. I have NEVER seen one of these beauties here. .despite our abundant supply of cedar berries for their dining pleasure!! 
photo courtesy of cornell web site
I discovered in my birding book that they migrate out by the first of June. .so I was REALLY excited to have seen them here!! I am especially pleased with how our backyard habitat is shaping up. .and find pleasure daily at the sights and scents available to me right out my own door! Thanks for joining me today on the mini-garden tour.  Have a great week. .it's about over!


  1. Now that is a sweet garden tour! Would be nice to be able to hit pause and soak it all in. Like those peach irises behind the Knock-outs.

  2. Interesting about the snails. I wonder if they are same kind we get them in our fish tanks? They can hitch rides in on water plants, or teeny tiny ones can come in unknown in the bag when you add fish to your tank.
    You garden is looking great!! I am patiently waiting for my Bleeding Heart plant to bloom.

  3. The plants are looking good. So exciting that you saw a hummer!!! Snails are stowaways and come with plants quite often. Mine came with a water lily a friend shared one year. And, if you have two you will have more! The roses are really blooming for you. I love bringing in iris and peonies too. My peonies buds are about to burst. I can't wait! I'm having good luck with my minimal tilling in the veggie garden this year. I need to mulch soon. We got about .28" of rain last night maybe more today!

  4. Enjoyed this post, Melanie! Loved seeing all the growing things. Was that a "Bleeding Heart" in the first photo? Beautiful! Also loved the irises and roses, and seeing the vegetable garden stuff. Fun! Jonathan is excited to see our stuff coming along - we sampled the first peas the other day out of the first pod that was full. Yummy! Just ate it straight off the vine. :) Enjoy the late spring days!

  5. Cool that you have the waxwings! I've never seen one. So glad you got some hummers. I bet you're excited to have school over so you can spend the days in your garden! Everything looks beautiful, I don't know how you do it!

  6. I am seriously impressed with your yard and all of your gardening, all the flowers and vegetable plants! Really, you are awesome! Plus, you work full time..don't you? And have children and a go girl! You are doing a fantastic job. I am envious!

  7. I wish you lived closer to me. I have a very low landscaping IQ. I would trade you pumpkins and fall decorations for a landscaping plan. I love keeping up with your family. Tell Jeremy 'Hi'.