Bzzzz April 20th, 2010

The spring days grow longer and warmer. Of course, it’s welcomed. Still, the precious bit of time at the end of the work day that I can spend watering, weeding, moving plants, starting new plants, potting up containers, is never enough. I have big plans for the summer of 2010. Where will I find the time? And the energy?

The side garden near the chicken coop—where we sit on the bright green Swedish bench to watch Chicken TV—is a major project. It was a long-neglected area that we once referred to as Winifred’s Poop Garden because of its liberal use by our now-deceased Belgian Malinois.

Last year I divided variegated hostas and supplemented them with ‘Sun and Substance’ and a couple of ‘Blue Angel’ hostas. The slugs love the variegated hostas, so they’ll slowly be replaced with other plants. Several tiarella, or foam flowers, have gone in. Twenty more are on the way. I’m keeping my eyes open for more dramatic, thick-leafed hostas that Mr. McGregor’s Daughter tells me will be more slug-resistant so I can toss the variegated slug bait to the chickens.

Trying to establish a little green bit of lawn in front of the bench where the two little Papillons can lounge has been a struggle. It was looking pretty good last summer, but the snow plows did severe damage as they piled 5-foot tall walls of snow in the area this winter. The chickens are attracted to the fresh soil when they’re on walkabout and have managed to dig up the tiny grass seedlings I’ve been nursing. Now I’m thinking I’ll transplant more of the creeping Jenny from other parts of the yard to create a different kind of ground cover.

In the front of the house—a shady, north-facing exposure, the ‘Encore’ azaleas are blooming despite severe damage from the heavy snow. The hellebores have been casting off seedlings for a couple of years now and I will be moving them over to the woodland garden sometime this summer.

In the potager,  the angelica anemones are blooming.  I must figure out a plan for them, as they re-seed prolifically and clog up my garden paths. I feel guilty pulling them up like weeds, but what is a gardener to do? One must have paths!

I continue to be amazed by the simple little yellow pansies that I had planted in window boxes last fall. They hibernated under a couple of feet of snow and snuck out small blossoms despite the cold. Now they’ve roared back to life. I need to re-plant the window boxes, but the pansies look so vibrant and healthy, I’m temporarily relocating some of them into other containers.

I continue to tell myself to put one foot in front of the other and to stop to enjoy the sound of the birds and the beauty of spring. After all, the work is for a reason. Right?

Posted In: Gardening, Gardening Life

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Bzzzz August 5th, 2008

I love critters. (Especially when they don’t eat my tomatoes.) And I’ve been wanting to invite some chickens to live here at Bumblebee Garden for some time. So I’m just tickled pink that I finally worked up enough nerve to place my order for an Omlet Eglu house and three white leghorn chickens.

I’m already thinking about names. Maxine, after my 90-year-old great aunt? Minnie Ruth, after my grandmother? Olivia or Outa (as in “oh you’da died”) after other family members? Let the games begin!

Despite the fact that the temperatures here in August have been humid and hot, the garden is still looking fairly good, although the inevitable decline is just around the corner.

The malabar spinach is just beautiful. It’s wonderful in cooking, but you don’t really want to eat it raw. Imaging picking some leaves from your front landscaping. Hummm. Very green tasting.

Those are some zinnias that the butterflies just adore. And behind them are some Fordhook lima beans. My teenage son adores lima beans. In fact, he may be the only teenager in the world who adores lima beans. So, by God, I am growing him some lima beans.

The container plantings are just coming into their own. Well, after all, I did hang on to those pansies from last fall a bit longer than I should have.

Good grief. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I’ll be planting fall containers again so soon.

Where does the time go?

Posted In: Chickens, Container Gardening, Gardening

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