Bzzzz May 18th, 2011

There have been springs when we have been deluged with rain. There have been years when I was already hauling hoses in May. But this year we’ve been fortunate to have just the right amount of rain—not too much and not too little. I think the purple stuff here likes it too. Maybe we have been having purple rain.

The side fence wisteria is blooming, as are some of the peonies. (Why don’t I have more peonies?)

The baptisia I had to move from the front flower bed into the potager was threatening to die last year. I don’t think baptisia likes to be disturbed, but it has rallied and making a rather nice purple show now.

The irises are blooming, as are the foxgloves. Everything that isn’t green is purple.

I still have so much spring work to do and seem to be forever behind. I still have containers to fill and annuals to plant. There is the truckload of stone dust I need to buy and haul into the woodland garden. And this is the year—I hope—that I will finally install some kind of edging to separate the border beds from the paths in the potager.

For some reason making decisions about what to plant this year has been more difficult. Part of the reason is that I just haven’t had much time because work has been keeping me running. But I’m also weary of the same old, same old annuals I see at the local nursery. I am sick to death of petunias and marigolds and the like. It’s like getting up and wearing the same dress every single day. I need something new and exciting to break through my annual ennui!

Perhaps something purple.

(Click on the photo to see a larger version.)


Posted In: Flowers, Gardening

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Bzzzz May 15th, 2011

Way back in 2007 I cataloged nine months of photos in the potager. I spent the next three years kicking myself for forgetting to do it again. I would get so wrapped up March cleanup, April and May planting, June maintenance and, well, life that I would forget all about taking those documentary photos.

I managed to get out there on May 1 and take the first of this year’s overhead potager photos. Two weeks have passed and a lot has happened since these photos were taken (thank you Mother Nature!), but you’ll have to wait until June 1 to see!

May 1 outside the potager

Looking back and 2007 has reminded me how useful these quasi-time-lapse photos are. The two backyard zelkovas that were planted ten years ago have reached a size to provide plenty of shade to sit under during the hottest months.  We expanded the daylily border outside the potager, although it hasn’t yet been planted with annuals this year. Shrubs, including a willow, butterfly bush (‘White Splendor’?) and ‘Wine and Roses’ weigela have also been added outside the fence to soften the overall look and help the potager blend more naturally into the surroundings. This is the year of the flowering shrub! At last count we have added seven new ones.

It’s hard to believe that ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ willow standard started life here as a small 4′ tall tree in a container on our back patio. It grows so vigorously now that it’s difficult to keep in control and requires a tall ladder to maintain.

May 1 in the potager

The shaggy, hard-to-manage ‘New Dawn’ roses were removed and more of the garden has been given over to perennial crops and fruits to reduce the need for annual planting. The ‘Jubilee’ strawberry bed was installed and has proven to be an excellent investment, providing a bountiful flush of strawberries in spring and a smaller, but steady, crop until fall. The herb bed had gotten so over-run I moved it to a new location last year to start over and added a tuteur with a ‘Clair de lune’ clematis.

We have a fusarium wilt problem in the garden, so it’s no longer a place where I can grow tomatoes. The hunt for a tomato home is now an annual event and, I suppose, will be the motivator to dig new beds. It’s no small matter to dig new beds here and requires a man with a pick-ax and a strong back, a truckload of leaf compost and a lot of iced tea. I suspect that one summer I will just cover everything up with plastic to solarize the soil and take a cruise around the world or something while it cooks.

May 1 in the woodland garden

Back in January we had some undergrowth cleared from the east side woods to start a woodland garden. Harry has spent a good amount of time digging up roots and eliminating poison ivy, getting his first-ever, dime-sized poison ivy rash in the process. In the coming weeks our home-from-college son’s job will be spreading a nice layer of stone dust that I hope will become the bed for a nice layer of moss.

So there is installment number one for this year’s time-lapse journal. June, here we come!

(Note: Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

Posted In: Gardening, Gardening Life

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