Bzzzz June 6th, 2011

Sometimes when I look at photos of my garden I think, “Hey, that looks pretty good.” This isn’t one of those times.

I don’t know why, but it seems that for all the work I’ve been putting in, the flowers just aren’t cooperating. Things don’t look as full as I want. The grass isn’t green and lush. I’m dissatisfied. It’s just not…enough!

Perhaps it’s because all of these photos were taken around June 1. This is the second month of this year’s marking time in the garden with a monthly overview shot of the potager. May’s photos are here. Maybe things will get better. But the point of documenting is to show warts and all. So here goes…

Potager on June 3

The naked spot in the potager is where the ‘Speckled Trout’ lettuce was just pulled up. I found that it bolted more quickly than the other lettuces. The rest of the lettuce is still doing well—‘Red Sails’ and the heatwave blend from Cook’s Garden.

Next to the mimosa tree limb trellis I’m giving some yellow pear tomatoes a shot, despite the past fusarium wilt problems in the potager. They are supposed to be resistant and I haven’t grown them in this spot before. I’m fully prepared to yank them out if they look sick.

The herbs are healthy, although the cilantro insists on bolting after about five minutes of heat. I still need bedding plants for the borders but haven’t been able to bring myself to choose from the measly offerings of annuals at the garden center. *snore*

Herb bed June 3

We have been enjoying the new, cleaner look of the tree line from the back patio. In fact, the tree guys have been out doing some more edge clearing so that we can now see the trees for the forest. I’ll have before and after photos at some point.

View from the back patio on June 3

There are a couple of cute little details. The ornamental oregano is a new plant for me this year. This one is Origanum rotundifolium ‘Kent Beauty’.

Ornamental oregano – Origanum rotundifolium ‘Kent Beauty’

And, given how partial I am to chickens, I think the little chicken form covered in hens and chickens is adorable.

A whole new meaning to hens and chickens

I will work on being less critical, less persnickety and just enjoying the small bits of beauty.

P.S. You can click on the photos to see a larger version.


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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.)

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