Thursday, April 28, 2016

More than gold. .

The honest reflections of an eight year old. .
I just love that girl!!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Planting of the Veggies!

Hey, Hey!!
We have had one little frost since like the first of March. .
And I am having a hard time believing that it is still only April!!
So I have been chomping at the bit to get stuff planted!

We enjoyed 4.75 inches of rain last weekend. .Prom day, of course!
But everyone was so glad to see the rains after the week full of the worst fires in Kansas history right in our neighborhood here. .that NO. ONE. CARED!!
My tomatoes have been in the wall of waters for about 2 weeks now. .
And I decided I needed to get the rest of them planted.

The pictures aren't great at all. .
Boring, pretty much. .
But I needed to map the beds so I can remember which plants are what.
My biggest issue at the end of the summer. .is that I have no earthly idea what plants are where anymore. .Because I can't easily find my little tiny labels!! 
And I'm too hurried and lazy to look for them!
I hope this works much better for me!
3 raised beds on the east side of  the house.
In the front one. .Bed #1
on the north side starting front of picture to the back. .
Beefmaster tomato
Super Banana Supreme pepper
Celebrity tomato
Gypsy sweet pepper.
On the south side is, ,
Green bell pepper
Snow White cherry heirloom tomato
Valencia orange pepper
Jetsetter tomato 

Bed #3 which you can see directly behind bed #1 in the top picture. .
has 3 rows of clemson spineless okra.
Bed #2. .the northernmost raised bed.
Only 4 tomato plants at this point. .
north side is a big boy tomato
Big beef tomato
south side is a Lemon boy tomato
1 renegade potato plant from last year
and a Jubilee heirloom tomato.
Bed #4 in the front.
on the east side are two mucho nacho Jalapeno plants.
6 sweet banana pepper plants (with a garlic plant in there too)
On the south side of the bed are 5 short rows of beets, another garlic plant, and a tiny basil plant.
In between the raised beds are where I opted to plant a couple bulbs of garlic last winter. .like in January. .Oops!
Bed #5 has Straight Eight cucumbers on the north side and National pickling cucumbers on the south side. 
To the right of the photo (not very easy to see) is a huge tarragon plant that I never use because I don't know how. .some sage, chives, oregano, lemon balm, and a bronzeleaf fennel plant that I never got around to harvesting. It not only overwintered. .but I found 3 small plants coming up from seed in other areas! 
I guess I will try to figure out how to use it. .It is sure is pretty. .and gourmet-ish!!
I planted 4 tomatoes in the memory garden. .
I should repost some of the early pictures of this space. .
It has been the best changing garden in my career!!
It may be hard for you to determine that there are 4 tomato cages in this photo. .
I can tell that. .
In the cage closest to left front of the photo is a Parks Whopper tomato.
The one directly to the south is a Cherokee Purple tomato.
The farthest south near the Atlas Cedar is a Salsa Roma tomato. .
And there is one right near the pedestal birdhouse which is a Juliet grape tomato. 
Remember how I mentioned that Jeremy is becoming a gardener as well??
He had been so focused last summer on hooking his drip system up to water his tiny cedar trees. .
That my Valentine rhubarb plant got more water than it has seen in it's lifetime. .
We hooked the drippers to take care of the rhubarb and a couple blackberry bushes as well as the tiny trees. .
So the rhubarb is happy, happy, happy!! 
And so will be the gardener the day she gets a pie from this critter!! 
Again. .
being stewarded by a too-busy gardener. .
I thought all my asparagus plants died.
They have never taken off. .
probably because of neglect.
SOO. .
I bought 14 more roots and planted them a couple weeks ago. .
And Jeremy added a dripper hose to them. .
And today whilst rummaging around this back area. .
I found all of the 4 plants that I knew had survived of the first 10 I planted 4-5 years ago now.
Yay us!! 
We love them grilled. .or roasted. .or wrapped in prosciutto and goat cheese!! 
A tiny little columbine that survived it's first year in my garden!
The shady and moist narrow garden on the north side of the house may be a winner! 
Feeling cocky because ONE had survived. 
I bought a few more at Lowes a few weekends ago. .
When I caught them on a flash sale for $3.00 apiece!!
Behind it is a hosta that is supposed to be 5 feet tall. .
It's been pretty pathetic these first few years. .
But it may be settled in and ready to go now!! 
We have decided to add some privacy to our west deck. .
Something that we SHOULD have done about. .
Um. .
16 years ago!!
But I was afraid that we would tear up all the plants. .
So I dug up this clematis from his little spot there.

He won't die. .
But he didn't thrive there either. 
I am hoping that this area on the north side will be a little better. .
Not as intense sun. .but hopefully enough sun that he will perform. 
Here is the north side of that deck!
We had some reclaimed church windows. .
In my head plans. .
I knew that I wanted slats to partially see through. .
And I also know that I don't do perfection. .
Instead, I prefer complete randomness. .
That way no one can judge my lack of measuring and precision!
I think this fits the bill!!
Jeremy, as usual, couldn't picture it in his head. .
But was pleased with it too!
The west side is almost done. .
Complete with change of slat direction and different heights on window placement too.
Hopefully by next weekend, it will be all finished up!!

In the rock planter we made several years back. .
There is a clump of maiden grass on the left and a Karl Forester grass on the right, closest to the deck. 
A darker colored sedum clump that you can see..
along with a hardy little dianthus plant loaded with cherry red buds. A few hen and chicks are loving their life there too--a swap from Gardener on Sherlock's house. 
This is the biggest pain in my butt site. .
The west side of the house. .
Hot. .windy. .nothing likes it here!
Climbing on the deck rail is an orange honeysuckle bush. .nearly ready to bloom.
I ordered some little starts from High Country Gardens. .and am hoping that they will be up for the challenge. Rock garden goes in after this if the plants are a no-go!! 
The green grassy clumps are actually old hyacinth foliage and some Magic Lily foliage.
I don't have a lot of curb appeal. .
But my little front flower bed is finally looking fuller.
The same day I got the columbines. .
They were also having a flash sale on these salvia plants!
I added some along the pond. .
Where I have the same issue of too much heat. .and too much sun!
I put a couple little gallardia plants in there today. .and some more plants from HCG down to the driveway. .filling in among the existing--but sparse plantings!
The green hedge looking thing in the back. .are 3 spirea bushes I dug from my MIL's border years and years ago. .I noticed a smattering of blooms on the north side of them today. .Can't wait to see them in full bloom! 
Little water irises blooming.
My pump died this winter. .
And in delaying the purchase of a new one. .
Both of my big Koi died!! They grow super fast. .So I will have to get some more at Petsmart this summer! 
My friend Pat got a bunch of hybrid iris starts from a gardening buddy out west. .And several years ago, she shared some with me. .This is the first time it was big enough to bloom. .LOVE IT!! 
Well. . 
That's all for the garden diary today!
Thanks for tagging along during our very busy day!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring Planting

We are so glad it is spring around here!!
We are continuing to try and steward our little section of the world. .
And in the past. .
I have tried to keep a notebook to keep track of what gets planted where. .
So I thought that I might try and do a better job of that online. .
On the little blog I already own. .
That is full of all sorts of stuff!
Our homestead is at least 103 year old. The only thing that was growing here when we moved in 18 years ago. .
Was a tree row (in the area with these two young cedar trees), a smattering of big, old, ugly cedar trees in the yard, some elm trees that broke limbs with every wind storm, 1 lilac bush, and a small handful of red tulips. UG!
But looking at the bright side. .
It was a clean slate for the gardener!
With the exceptionally bad drought over the last 5 years. .and the age of the cedar row. .
Most of the trees died. .It was a mature wind row. .and we didn't realize the extent of the benefits until my husband cut them A.L.L down 3-4 years ago. Before he cut them. .he had gotten seedling cedars from the local extension office and planted them. .running a little water line to them--but neither of us did a very good job at checking the line or turning it on. So many of them died. .and the ones that have survived haven't thrived.  The ones closest to the hydrant are growing well. .as you can see. .and we look forward to the wind break from them soon!
We (I say "we" loosely. .it was mostly not me!) planted a row of lacebark elm trees to the north side of our house. .in between a couple of rows of the new cedar trees. Those have been in for 2 summers now. .and they are growing fast and well!
Jeremy is starting to grow the heart of a gardener. .
And he decided that he would like a small orchard out near the tree row. 
So this weekend. .we ran to Wichita and went to my new favorite nursery there. .
Hillside nursery. .on south Hillside.
We bought 5 fruit trees (only because Cami insisted on a peach tree)
And yesterday in the beautiful spring weather (even without much wind!!) we finished the water line and planting of the trees.
Starting from the north and heading toward the house we planted. .
One Golden delicious apple
One Honeycrisp apple
One Stella sweet cherry
One Montmorency cherry
and then to the east of that row, we planted one Red Haven peach tree. 
The root stock on these bare root trees found in their cellar was phenomenal!!
And the apple trees were left with a nice branch structure too!
The peach tree was blooming. .and somewhere online I read that their little tiny tree had like 5 peaches the year they planted the twig. .and 180 peaches the next year. How lucky!
At Lowes I had found these purple leaf sand cherry bushes. I put two of them right on the south edge of the pond. .I have had trouble finding stuff that would grow there. .it's HOT. .the plants that I have had there look too much like WEEDS when they aren't blooming (which was most of the summer). .and I couldn't deal with that view out the window as we ate dinner every night!! These bushes claimed they were ideally suited for ARID DRY conditions. .(Like ours has become over the last few years) So I put them in. .and will hope for the best!!
I also came across $.99-1.99 tomato and pepper plants last week in Oklahoma. .So I dug these old wall of waters out of my basement (I seriously can't remember how many years it has been since I used them. .bet it's close to 10!!) There is a frost advisory on for tonight. .but I would not be surprised if this is the last cold night. At least the tubes will protect the little plants from the wind. .and we are hoping for good deep root systems before it gets HOT! Their are 3 varieties of yellow tomatoes (my favorite) and the other 5 are varied reds. The pepper plants will come inside tonight and go into the garden in a few more days. I think they might get along well in the gaps of these raised beds. 
The green house hasn't had any seedlings started in two winters now. But it does a nice job of overwintering my growing succulent collection. .and this little stray larkspur!  Those will be replanted into pots on the west deck. .where less hardy plants wilt quickly due to the sun! The succulents add a nice flavor. .and I don't have to water the pots EVERY DAY. .something that has been impossible for me in this season of my life!
This sitting spot has become the family favorite. Devin and I cleaned up the water feature to the right of Jeremy in the picture. .and it has been running for a week now. .LOVE the sounds. .especially when the windows are open and I can hear it in the house!
These guys blessed me a ton. .
Because they all helped out with the planting and water line running. .
And Devin will learn to be the chief water man this summer!
Whether he likes it or not!
I have a few more things that we planted that I didn't snap photos of. .
But hope to do so soon! 
Hope you are finding some time to STOP. .and smell the lilacs!
Have a great week!!