Saturday, May 30, 2009

Roses?! Rock on.

Yes! Both of the rose bushes on our lot have flower buds. These poor plants have been receiving threats from my better half and Miss A since the day we moved in. They didn't do anything last summer, preferring to concentrate their energy on hamstringing my husband while he mows and snatching pets away from neighbors. Could it be my promises of getting them a real, genuine big-rose-bush trellis to climb on if they behave? I’m not sure. I can’t wait to see what colors they are.

The little bed I recently yanked sickly roses from has been reseeded with sweet peas and snapdragons. The sweet peas are well on their way and will need to be thinned soon. I just have to figure out how to train them up our wooden privacy fence.

The bearded iris is in full bloom. There are two versions on the lot. The first has a lavendar top, deep purple bottom and yellow beard. The second is a white iris with a deep purple trim. As mentioned in a previous post, the irises along the sidewalk bed will be adopted out. However, I will have to thin them from the SouthWest bed as well. They are on one of the rose bush’s turf and things are not going well.

The peony bush in the back bed has a lovely, white bloom. The peony in the sidewalk bed has color in it's buds. These guys really surprised me this year. They are just a shadow of the scrawny, frail plants from last spring. I’m a bit worried about moving the one in the sidewalk bed. I don’t know quite when I should do it. Plus, I’ve been told peonies are fussy about getting relocated. Any tips?

Other updates: the lupine in the south bed is in full bloom with beautiful white petals. I didn’t realize how wonderfully fragrant they were. Bachelor buttons are popping up in the front bed from last year’s wildflower mix. I’ll move those once the seedlings are a bit older. Other plants in bloom include Jupiter’s Beard and Foam Flower. Lastly, the lilies in the sidewalk bed are sending up shoots with buds, allow with the Coral Bells and Lamb’s Ear.  

Monday, May 18, 2009

One Year Mark

The tenth of this month marked our one year anniversary in our home. The lot has seemed to reset, with the Star of Bethlehem in full bloom in the front bed. I remember marveling at these little star-shaped flowers when hauling furniture to and fro from vehicles on moving day. They were the first flowers to greet us and they've returned en mass to celebrate our anniversary.

I’ve also noticed in all the beds containing irises, the plants have sent up their claw-shaped buds. I’m ready with the stakes this year! Last year, they were almost done blooming before I found out I could purchase little bamboo stakes to help support the stalks with the top heavy blooms. I also read that an old pair of pantyhose, cut into strips, is excellent material to use when binding plants to stakes. The material is more flexible and doesn't strangle the plant as a twist-tie might.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Spring Nursery Crawl

Miss A and I went on one heck of a nursery run today. I called ahead and obtained hours of a handful of nurseries in the area. Some were recommended by coworkers and friends while others were discovered at the Home & Garden show I attended earlier in the year. Then it was on to Google Maps and to plot our course. We did the whole run in twelve hours with stops for lunch and dinner. My little car was packed with plant life.

Here are the spoils:
bridal veil astilbe
yellow archangel
Solomon’s seal
maiden hair fern
white bleeding heart
nicotiana (score! perfect for the moonlight garden)
dwarf irises
cardinal climber morning glories
black pansies
2 varieties heirloom tomatoes
Mt. Airy (yay! one of two on the whole crawl)
3 varieties of nasturtium
cardinal flower

some annuals for hanging baskets:
bright orange celosia
deep purple heliotrope

for a tabletop pot:
orange osteospermum

for a planter:
dusty miller
burgundy salvia

2 hanging baskets of wandering jew and licorice plant from the Farmer’s Market

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fieldtrip : Fredrick Meijer Gardens

My better half and I took a trip to the Fredrick Meijer Gardens today. It was a bit cool and breezy, but we enjoyed our time strolling about the various outdoor grounds. They have several types of environments present on the property, showcasing the types of plants appropriate for each.

There were so many different types of tulips in bloom. I liked the look of the Black Parrot tulips emerging from mounds of lamb's ear. There was also an orange and yellow streaked tulips with pointed petals paired with some grape hyacinth. The contrast of the colors made both kinds of flowers seem all the more bright and vibrant. When pairing a spring blooming bulb with a perennial, I wonder what has to be done to ensure the perennial doesn’t compete with the bulb.

From our trip there, I now am on the lookout for black pansies, a Lenten rose, and a shrub called Fothergilla or “Mt. Airy.” I first spotted it when entering the more wooded, dappled shaded area of the outdoor gardens. The bristled, white blooms looked like they were suspended in the air. While young and low to the ground, one of these would look great with our dark leaved, coral bells.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New Blooms

Spring is so freakin’ exciting! Here’s an update on activity happening on the lot.

West House Bed
The lily foliage is very full. I’m pretty sure they’ve created a mini Everglades.

Southwest House Bed
The two surprise purple hyacinth are long gone. The tulips are also reaching the end of their blooming period. Iris blades are almost full grown and the rose bush (which I still haven’t read up on) is healthy and beginning to snarl.

South Front Bed
All flowers are now open in this bed. There are the yellow and red tulips mentioned in my previous post, two kinds of yet-to-be-identified tulips that opened after the others and the beginnings of the Star of Bethlehem.

East Sidewalk Bed
The orange/yellow tulip fully opened up. It’s absolutely beautiful. Like the southwest bed, irises in this bed are getting larger by the hour as well. I cannot remember what type of irises they are. 

Gate Bed
The ice stick tulips have run their course. However, having opened later than the others, there are still some grape hyacinth in this bed. The hosta I rescued from the willow and moved to this bed survived! I was worried because I had moved it so late in the season last year. Just the beginnings of the leaves are emerging from the ground. The chocolate mint I planted here is doing well. The foam flower now has stalks extending with tiny clusters of buds. The fiddleheads of two of the Japanese painted ferns appeared a week or so ago, and one of them is doing very well. I also found, at a hardware store, a bare root jack-in-the-pulpit for this bed. I’ve planted it but am very dubious as to if it will do anything.

Fence Bed
The ice stick tulips in this bed were finished about a half week ahead of the same tulips in the gate bed. The hollyhocks in this bed are getting huge. I guess the whole self-sow thing was a success for that plant. I’m curious to see if they will be the same color as the mother plant or if they will each have their own hue. The Queen of the Night tulips are in full bloom. The hibiscus is looking...well...dead. I’ve read they are late to wake up, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. (Hey, it worked for the scilla.) Last but not least, I bought two different types, four each, of snapdragons for this bed. 

Loki’s Bed
This bed is going to be adorable. I'm pretty excited about it. Miss A helped me to border the bed with violas. One of these little flowers is in my favorite photograph of my dear Loki-cat. He seems so peaceful in the photo, lounging in the sun at the edge of my mother’s garden, that I thought it appropriate to place violas in his memorial bed. Late blooming grape hyacinth are at the corner of this bed. I was going to move them this fall since they seemed to struggle this spring, but now they look so healthy and good with the violas I’ve changed my mind. Oh look, a new ivy found it’s way into the bed. Now, how did that happen?!

Backyard Bed
The blanket flower and plumago have finally broken above ground. Everyone has returned from last year. Even the violas and morning glories successfully self-seeded. The russian sage already looks like it’s due for a trim.

Alley Bed
Some deep pink tulips and grape hyacinth are in bloom here. They look wonderful with my  neighbor’s weeping cherry which is also in full bloom. The remaining hosta in this bed is already several inches out of the ground. The snake wort and some asian lilies have caught up with the sedum. I’m pretty geeked about the lilies. I have no idea what color they’ll be. The bulbs were abandoned in a planter left on the front steps of the porch. Miss A helped to give them a more permanent home in this bed.

New Bed!
Yes, that’s right...a new bed. Actually, this one was existing last year, but is very unkempt and full of lanky roses. The two rose bushes seemed to come up healthy at first last year, but then grew sickly looking. It seems to damp and they don’t have enough room. For about ten minutes I tried to carefully extract the plants so I could give them to Mom G. However, near the end, I was using all my strength in trying to bust through the mile-long roots with the shovel. My better half finally yanked five bushes out of the ground. Yes, I thought there were two but there were actually five. Yikes. I filled the bed with new soil from the compost pile and realigned the bricks. It’s now a blank canvas.