State of the Garden 25th April, 2016

 

Today I must remove the last of the leaf piles from the yard and mow the grass before it grows too tall for the reel mower.  Luckily the weather is perfect for it, being overcast and with a high in the low seventies, but I’d really rather use my day off to tackle painting or even a sewing project.  The regular chore list is long for the day, so I doubt that I will get around to any painting, but there is yet a chance of brushing on a section of trim paint in the kitchen this afternoon.  I’m getting impatient with the bare primer in there, and I’m increasingly driven to buy a few cans of colour for the master bedroom/stairwell/dressing room now that I chose a shade, but I know it will realistically be a long while before I could actually tackle it.  In the living/dining room the trim around the windows is only primed too, and I keep going back and forth on using the ‘coconut ice’ trim colour to highlight them or the dark grey that I opted for on some of the trim and the heat baseboards.  Right now the grey seems like a nicer idea, but…

Meanwhile, at least the garden is increasingly pretty and pleasant to relax in.  All of the tulip varieties have at least one bloom, and I’ve accumulated so many photos in the last week or two that I’ll have to break up my posts into a few categories.

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During the past few weeks I have continued transplanting and sowing seeds.  I happened upon trays of ajuga at Home Depot and brought some home.  I’m rather excited at the idea that the spaces between the slate pieces might be filled in by it.  Of course I was pleased to get the blackest sort, but I broke it up with a mottled lighter sort too.  Today I’ll place the last few under the hammock and in that area.  I’d already sown seeds for dragons blood sedum all around the pathways, but I am unsure how well they’ll fill in.  Besides the seeds I bought a pot of that and put a few clumps near the garden beds.

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There is some of the ajuga a week or two back.  I’ve read that it spreads very quickly, but I wonder how fast that is?  I’d like it very much to have a dark filled path area this season!  The ajuga is welcome to spread into the grass too, heh.

There was a weird grass at Home Depot that grows like a cork-screw and likes shade.  I put it under the hammock stand to help it blend into the garden better.  Something more much be done to hide the stand, but it is not simple since I want to be able to approach it, it is shaded, and there are maple roots all over to deal with.

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I also picked up three pots of purple sweet potato vine.  Last year I added one late in the season and liked it, so this year I snapped it up at first sight.  This time I placed one in each galvanised tub and one in the old whisky barrel in the rather sparsely gardened back corner.  Sweet potato vine trails so beautifully, and they’ll have time to grow nicely.  This year I hope to keep the corner from remaining an empty eyesore, but the squirrels or something keep fighting with me on the matter.  They rip out half or more of what I plant there, and I’ve had little luck with seeds either.

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The temporary fence has, knock on wood, done a great job of keeping the deer away from the hostas and tulips around the house.  They only ate a bit near the cedar face this spring and left things alone otherwise.  I’m eager to pull up the ugly posts and have them out of my way, but last night I saw that the deer had just nibbled the hostas in front of the retaining wall by the street.  Should I risk it?  I’m so impatient and it would help with mowing and removing leaves today, but…  Darned deer.

In the front of the house I’d put in some fall bulbs, and some have bloomed nicely:

More views of the garden:

 

 

Now I must try to finish all of my chores.

 

First Tulips!

After the cold snap completely killed a few of my newest and most interesting plants I am glad that today I can write something positive regarding my garden.  It was a gloomy and rainy day until the sun came out and cheered things up for around two hours.  I’d begun some transplanting in the rain, and when I was done I napped in the hammock for a while.  I am so glad that the warm weather is now here to stay!  The extended forecast is perfectly spring-like.

I’m also very pleased that the deer never yet destroyed the tulips that I took a risk in planting.  Well, they did come over the fence and ate the ones that someone else had planted long ago, but they shied away from the house (unlike last year) or were thwarted by the string fence around the flowerbeds.  Great success!  😀

Knock on wood.

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As for the frost damage, the free Tibet plant is done for sure.

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I was even more sad today to find that the mottled angel wings were entirely gone too!  I hadn’t noticed or expected that, and it was one in particular that I really had wanted.  The other variety, sandy wings, is perfectly happy.  Strange things, plants.  Also, the underwood trillium lost one of the two leaves and looks unwell.  I was tempted to replace the three (well, hopefully add in the trillium case,) but I just can’t do it.  Perhaps next year?  I did find a site offering tomato plants beyond the sort big box stores sell, and the price was good enough, so tonight I purchased some heirloom and tasty varieties.  I’d entirely forgotten to source the seeds that I’d hoped to find and wouldn’t have time to start them even if I was decent at starting seeds.  I’ll post more about them later, but as an example I went for a couple of the Bulgarian tomatoes hoping they’ll be similar or as tasty as the Romanian variety I’d like to get.

These are the new ones that I planted today:

I have read that ajuga grows very fast and will be a nice ground cover.  I put it sort of staggered in the midst of the slate pathway.  I think the lighter and darker purples will be nice.  The sedum is dragon’s blood.  I also scattered seeds of it a while ago, but when I saw these at the store it seemed like a safer bet to start with too.

The first rococo tulip is starting to look less bizarre.  Some of the tulips are oddly short on the stem, I have found and don’t know why.  Meanwhile, I love the hellebore in the background.  I was hesitant to add it, but the blooms are so long lasting and pretty that I have the opposite of regrets.  😀

 

Tomorrow it will rain, but Wednesday is going to be sunny and gorgeous, and afterwards is looking nice too.  I’m sure I’ll be sharing as more tulips bloom!

Weather Woes: Attempting to Save my Garden

The warm days this spring tricked me, and it seems that all the trees and plants in my area were fooled too.  After lovely days even in the high seventies, leaves and flowers had opened on maples, forsythia, cherries, and azaleas to name a few.  Now I have awoken to snow two days in a row, and the low tonight is projected to be only 22!    Yesterday we had cold and strong winds besides the snow.  One of my newest plants didn’t fare well, but the rest seemed perfectly okay… So far.  For days I’d kept an eye on the forecast hoping it would improve, but instead the night temperatures sunk even lower.  So, I did some research to save my garden.  I knew I’d need to cover everything, but I was hoping for an easy, cheap, and effective way to do it.  It turns out you cannot have all those qualities at once, no surprise.  😀

The cheap option was to pile leaves over everything, and I do still have plenty of them piled in the corners of the yard.  However, the idea of relocating them and tediously removing them from tender plants again wasn’t appealing.  Also, the wind might disrupt that plan.

Of course I could pile the leaves and then secure plastic sheeting over it all, and that was what I expected to do, except with hoops or some other support to avoid using leaves.  I read that allowing the plastic to touch any plants would cause them harm, so I tried to find some hoops, but they turned out to be expensive.  An alternative is to make them of PVC and rebar, but I had very little time for this and never made it to the store.  I’d hoped to buy something to use like that and yard stakes or staples at least, but I had to make do instead.  Luckily I had opted to buy protective sheeting on Amazon.  It is supposed to be better than plastic especially in that I can leave everything covered during the day.  That is beyond helpful, because we have a few days of freezing lows in a row, and then next weekend as well.

During the past few weeks I’ve worked overtime and spent most of my free time on social obligations and napping instead of getting basic chores done.  I’m exhausted, and I didn’t have time or energy to tackle the garden protection very well.  When I awoke from napping after work yesterday it was already 17:00, and I rushed outside to do what I could before nightfall.  It was cold and windy already, but luckily the plants still looked fine (aside from the one.)

The Pinellia tripartita had perked up so happily.  😦

I sure hope all my plants do not end up like that or worse!

I’d hoped to make my own yard staples out of wire hangers.  We always have an annoying pile of them from the cleaners, but alas I’d recently cleared them away and only had a handful to work with.  It is a shame, because they worked very well and quickly to secure the cloth.  Instead I had to dismantle my carefully made rock borders for weights.  I tried to give the tulips some room by making arches out of reeds meant for stiffening 18th century stays, but I gave up on bothering after the one row.

Here is what I ended up with:

This morning:

I have my fingers crossed!  There were small sprouts along the path that I did not cover, and I left the beds around the trees, and the shrubs to fend for themselves.  I’m not sure how many of the multitude of sprouts around the path stones were from seeds that I sowed and how many are wild things, but I expect any weeds will fare better where there is no cloth.  I spotted one nasturtium sprout near a chocolate vine trellis, and it is covered.  I suppose it will be a week before I lift the sheets and see the results, but I wonder about the tulips which were so near blossoming.  The daytime highs are in the fifties after all.  Such crazy weather!

State of the Garden (1st of April, 2016)

This evening, after work, I was enjoying glorious 78 degree weather until it rained.  Poured, really.  Hammock time over, but it has given me time at the computer to write.

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The cats also enjoyed the weather, because I could open the doors and let only screens act as a magical force field to keep them inside.  (That’s how I figure they see the situation anyway.)

Things are sprouting and shooting up like crazy in the extremely warm days that we’ve had, but sadly there will three night with lows in the mid to low 20s (‘merican) soon.  I’m hoping to preserve what’s been planted by protecting it all with sheeting and hoops or something, but I am not looking forward to the work of it.

Anyway, I finally went ahead and bought a shade umbrella.  It is very welcomed, and I may get another smaller one of some sort to shade the hammock or to use on the other patio.

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This one is from Ikea, because I liked their selection in black and white.  I do wish it had the fancy LED lights on the ribs that some other stores offer, but the colour is worth it.  Having a cantilevered one is wise for our small deck and since we don’t have a table set with a spot for a centred umbrella.  Overall I like it very much.

Another view:

new shade umbrella and patio area

I also found some lovely hanging planters at Home Goods, and you can see them in that shot.  They are tin or more probably galvanised steel with a funnel-like hole at the bottom.  I’ll be putting nasturtiums and dark, dark purple sweet peas in them?  I love the rugged and rustic look combined with the sweetness of cutwork edges and crimping.  Hopefully they’ll not be ruined by being exposed to the elements.

pretty new planters

In March I spaded up another area of the yard to add a new flower bed, and I gathered all the rocks that I could find for a border.  Then I moved some pieces of slate to make path-ways since I couldn’t source any more of them… at least not except a full pallet’s worth.   I would like to extend the paths under the length of the clothesline to the weird old garden area which one day may become a patio or something.  Perhaps I can create more flower beds too along it?  Less mowing, but more weeding!

new paths and flower bed

new flower bed and paths

Here are shots of the black elderberry bush, onyx odyssey hellebore, petunias, and red lettuce that I’ve planted already.  I’m quite pleased with the lettuce especially.  It melds very well with my flower plans.  The tulip is rather strange.  It’ll be fun when they bloom.

Lastly are some random sprouts that I have my eye on.  I sowed many types of seed, but I suspect much of these are wild things.  I’ve seen gorgeous photos of dragon’s blood sedum around flagstones, and I hope mine will germinate and take off quickly.