Yard and Garden

maple leaves

Yesterday was another gorgeous day, and I noticed more details in our yard.  I was mowing and found big patches of wild strawberries all over, for example.  There were some mystery plants that I wondered about for a couple of weeks and had begun to guess were lilies of the valley.  Well, I spotted a cluster of buds confirming that guess, and I am pretty excited about it since I’d almost bought some to plant but hadn’t.  There are all sorts of little surprises to enjoy and appreciate out there.  🙂  I always dreamt of having Japanese maples, and we have a few red ones.  In front it turns out that there is a beautiful pink dogwood all but covered in ivy.  I’ll have to tackle that with pruning shears.  There is a lovely deep pink cherry too and a purple lilac.  I feel very fortunate.

cherry

I gathered some dandelion blossoms to try making wine with.  Yesterday I picked a second batch, but the biggest haul was the day before.  My husband and I enjoy the cheerful blooms, weeds as they may be, and I was a little sad to eliminate them from the yard Wednesday.  Yesterday morning I was happily greeted by an entirely new crop of sunny yellow flowers though!  I’ll write about the recipe and process some time in the future, but picking the flowers led me to notice the beauty of our lawn.  There is not much proper grass but it is colourful with sprouts of our red Japanese maple all over the place, the dandelions, purple violets and white ones that have little purple sunbursts in the middle, some sort of mint-family plant up in the shady area, the lilies of the valley, tiny white flowers that I never saw before, purple things that I presume are from bulbs, garlic mustard, clover, and tiny blue flowers that I fondly recall from spring recess in elementary school.  I’m glad it isn’t just grass.  By the way, I was told that in Romanian dandelions have two names.  When they are in bloom they have a horrible name translating to “pig’s farts” but when seeded out are more kindly termed “puffballs.”  Interesting.  😀

around tree white violet japanese maple sprouts  violet

My garden is doing well.  Some of it is at least.  Unfortunately I managed to kill most of my sprouts off, somehow, and maintain my position as a serial killer of plants.  I started a couple of new trays and am trying to rescue the remainder of the first set.  Some of the original sprouts do look like they may survive, but they have not actually grown any bigger than having a pair of real leaves at best.  I gave them some fertiliser a couple of days ago, and they regained greenness, so there is that.

In the old garden bed the alliums have done beautifully.  The three types of onion are close to a foot tall, and there are between 40 and 60 of each.  The garlic is shorter but looks great, and there are a similar number.  I don’t think I expected cloves from the store to do well in this random climate, but it may go pretty well after all.  This morning I spotted three sprouts of corn, finally.  I also found six sunflowers in the old bed to join the six bigger ones around the yard.  I found a few chives but no scallions yet nor melons, but the radishes are growing fast.  They came up at least a week ago and I already thinned them.  The purple carrots showed up a couple of days ago.  Oh, the mystery plant from the old garden bed turned out to be bleeding hearts rather than peonies.

bleeding hearts

radishes corn chives sunflower

My herbs are happy as long as I water them a few times in the day.  It has been so hot in mid-afternoon!  Yesterday the dill drooped but once watered I actually saw it spring back up.  I’ll admit that I ended up buying pots of them after losing every last basil sprout etc, but some seeds that I scattered directly in the tub have begun to grow.  I’m pretty sure it is cilantro, but I hope some lovage will too.  Buying them let me add some pretty purple basil and some awesomely spicy oregano which is nice.  I’ve a white and a mini aubergine too which I hope will be ornamental besides tasty.

herbs

The new seed trays are faring alright.  The best at sprouting so far are the “Mitoyo aubergines,” but a couple of tomatillo verdes are looking nice too.  I hope several of each actually grow this time, but if not I’ll have a smaller garden and will purchase some more plants at the farmers market or something.

In the flower tubs and beds nasturtiums are doing great as well as the chocolate vines and “black charm” lilies.  Two days in a row now I found that something pulled up a dahlia in the old whisky barrel.  I have no idea what creature to blame or why it is leaving the poor thing to dry out.  Strange.  I do, however, know to blame our local deer for coming into our yard to mow down a bunch of hostas.  They came right up to the corner of the house and bit them right down to the ground, and it happened in a narrow window between my watering them in the morning and finding the devastation before lunch.  I was around all that time and am pretty surprised at their brazenness.  😀  Little brats treating my plants as a salad bar!

bulb tub twobulb tub onechocolate vine and black charm lilyother chocolate vine and a nasturtium

Anyway, the decorative stuff is growing very well now.  I transplanted the two surviving castor plants a week or two ago, and they look happy.  Spike-y things have come up in the flowerbed by the house, around the stump, and the whisky barrel.  I think those are the gladiolus?  Almost every sweet pea that I planted sprung up around 10 days ago, and they are happy.  I even put one in the rotted wood of the stump, and it is growing like a champ.  They are around the fence and deck as well as in front near the retaining walls.  They’ll be pretty.  Nasturtium are just as easy and have begun well in all the beds, containers, and the hillside.  Some other things are sprouting too, but I haven’t figured out which of the seeds they are.  I scattered and prayed with several packets including wild thyme, love-in-a-mist, Atilla strawberries, and poppies.  😀

sweet peas

The goji berry isn’t super happy but should be okay.  I may have been overwatering it or perhaps it has been too hot.  It looked better when it was cooler out.  The tree wisteria began to leaf out this week, and I expect it to grow aggressively now.  I was worried about the Montmorcy cherry, but it finally began to show some green buds just recently.  Meanwhile I was worried about not seeing any growth where I had marked certain lilies in the tubs, but when a shipping notification arrived yesterday I realised that I hadn’t even planted them yet!  Apparently the black star callas and black cat pansies will arrive today.  Woot!

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