Monday, April 27, 2009

Double the Daffodils, Double the Fun

I’m doing a bit of a time warp, using the date of my photos to backtrack and log the happenings about the lot. The crocuses have left our lot to be replaced by a whole-lotta tulips. The front bed is going bonkers with red and yellow tulips popping up all over. I’m seeing these tulips all over the neighborhood in the front of homes. Since our house was built in 1927, I’m wondering how old these flowers are. Was the neighborhood planted all at once? Were classic, red and yellow tulips in vogue one year? Or, maybe the bulbs have been divided over the years and gradually migrated down the streets, being handed from  neighbor to neighbor. 

As a pretty accent to the tulips, there are several groupings of double daffodils throughout this front bed. This is an introduction for me to the concept of “doubles.” A double flower has many overlapping petals that make the bloom appear very full. Personally, I think it makes the flower look like a poser, the flower actually wanting very much to be viewed as a type of rose. But, that does not mean I don’t find them pretty!

There are also some pink tulips and orange/yellow striped tulips in the southeast corner bed. Another orange/yellow striped tulips emerged from the sidewalk bed. In this bed, the scrawny, non-blooming peony from last year is well on it's way with a full bunch of leaves. It has at least doubled in size. There are two other peonies in the backyard bed. Maybe I’ll see more than one bloom among the three of them for this year.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bloom Update

Wow. I had not realized how much time passed since I last made a post to the blog. I have to get better about making regular updates if I want this to be the handy garden tracker I’d hoped it to be.

Here are several more bulbs that popped over the last few weeks. This first is an Azure Grape Hyacinth ordered from Breck’s. I snapped the picture around the 15th of this month. The size of the mulch is a good indicator as to how little and dainty the flower is. The flowers pictured are planted in the main backyard bed, receiving sun all day long. The other five bulbs were planted in Loki’s garden, receiving a very small amount of sun in the morning hours. The buds of those are just breaking up through the leaves.

Saturday was absolutely gorgeous with sun, a nice breeze, and temperatures in the high 60s. My Ice Stick Tulips, also ordered from Breck’s, finally opened up. The blooms had been ready to do so since Easter. As shown here, they seemed to enjoy the sun as much as we did. These guys are very sensitive to the weather. Today was very chilly and rainy, so the buds were sealed up tight. This fence bed receives more sun than the neighboring gate bed where I planted the other half of the ice stick tulip bulbs. Again, the bulbs in the gate bed, receiving a half of day's sunlight are several days behind the fence bed tulips.

This next flower was an absolute surprise when it started emerging. Two purple hyacinth are living in the southwest corner bed.

Finally, the Scilla survived! These bulbs, picked up from a local nursery, are part of my experiment in naturalizing an area with flowers. I planted the bulbs in the fall as directed on the package. However, instead of placing them in a bed, I cut circles into the turf and planted the bulbs directly into the back lawn near the alley. I can’s wait to see what these will look like in a few years.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bulb & Bed Update

The main reason I‘m using blogging in combo with gardening is to keep track of what is blooming when, which plants I’m introducing to our lot and what in general is and isn’t working. It’s a bonus to discover other gardeners and read about their garden experiences through their blogs. Being the beginning of April, here is an update on what is going on in the lot’s beds.

West House Bed
The daylilies are well on their way. After cleaning up all the old foilage last month, healthy new blades are springing up.

South West House Bed
The bed houses a rose which I should probably trim soon. I’m a bit hesitant though since we’ve still been having some frosty nights here and there. This bed also has iris blades, a dash of purple crocuses, some Star of Bethlehem and a huge grape hyacinth. The grape hyacinth was a surprise, having just popped up last week.

South Front Bed
This bed is full of tulips and Star of Bethlehem. I also found several daffodils. In addition, I noticed this last week two of the three lupine I planted at the end of last summer are beginning to wake up. I hope the other one makes it as well.

East Sidewalk Bed
Toward the south end of this bed, there are a whole lotta yellow, white and purple crocuses. Beautiful. Also in this bed the sedum and irises are well on their way. The lilies, coral bells and astilbe are beginning to stir.

Gate Bed
As the snow has melted and rain has fallen this spring, I noticed this bed is very damp. It only receives sunlight for a fraction of the day. Also, a downspout from our gutters runs underneath the sidewalk and discharges underground near this bed. This summer I would like to run the pipe further into the backyard before allowing the water to discharge. However, there is still activity over the past several weeks. The silver mound I planted late last summer is beginning to show new growth. The foam flower is also beginning to perk up. No signs yet from my painted fern, hosta, moonflower, maiden grass or blood grass. The ice stick tulips have finally broken through the ground this past week. I thought for sure the squirrels had dug those up, but it seems some have survived.

Fence Bed
No sign at all from the balloon flowers or hibiscus, but the savory and hollyhock are both waking up. Also in this bed, more ice stick tulips appeared and queen of the night tulips are well on their way. I haven't seen signs of the red anemones or butterfly tulips yet.

Loki’s Bed
This bed is also very damp and currently the only full shade bed on our lot. The catnip has shown new growth. The grape hyacinth planted in this bed have just broken ground this past week.

Backyard Bed
This was the most established bed on the lot when we moved here late last spring. I placed some grape hyacinth here as well near the garage door. It’s interesting because these hyacinth are above the ground and already showing parts of their purple blossoms. I wonder if it’s due to the fact this bed gets sun all day long and isn’t as damp as Loki’s bed. New growth is appearing on the foxglove (thank goodness), sage, lamb’s ear as well as others. There are also some Star of Bethlehem that found their way back there.

Alley Bed

Tulips are well on their way. The sedum is also happy and prospering. Opposite the drive from the alley bed I planted Scilla bulbs within the lawn. I’m afraid the moles may have gotten them, but my fingers are crossed.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Preparing for Feathered Friends

My better half and I purchased a beautiful, new hummingbird feeder last weekend. This will be the first time we’ll be making an attempt to entice these fascinating little birds to stick around our lot. I called Mom G for her hummingbird feed recipe.

Here it is:
• 1 part sugar / 4 parts water
• boil water
• measure and add sugar
• let cool
• do not add food coloring, honey (ferments) or artificial sweetener (no nutritional value)

Any excess can be stored in the refrigerator. She usually starts with 1/2 cup sugar to 2 cups water and puts only half of the mixture in the feeder. When the hummingbirds find the feed, she will add the rest.

Mom G suggests cleaning the feeder with hot water and a mild (10%) bleach solution between refills. This will inhibit any mold. Rinse thoroughly before refilling. However, she admits at times to just giving the interior a good blast with the garden hose.