Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Planting did the end of May get here so quickly!
Photos are on another computer so this is just a quick update.

Planted pole beans and one row of bush beans tonight.
Planted 2 zucchini seeds under a small plastic covering. The ones planted inside on May 13 didn't sprout, but the squash, pumpkins and cucumbers did. They'll all be in the ground by this weekend.

I'm picking lettuce for everyone who will take it as the broccoli is claiming the space for its own. Salads for lunch and dinner should be good for me too!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Digging Doubles

On Saturday, I started preparing the two new beds for planting pole beans soon. They are on the north end of the garden area. The land slopes down a little and a few test holes in this area last year indicated less top soil and more rocks. I've been putting off the digging but it couldn't wait any more. Sure enough, two loads of rocks came out of the two 4 feet x 6 feet areas I dug.
...Including this nice specimen, above. It will get a bath and be incorporated in the garden somewhere.
Next, two loads of the last of the sheep straw compost went in (had to replace all of those rocks with something).
Above, is the start of the digging with a trench down the middle of one of the 6ft section where the bean structure will go. Then, I also dug along each side of the shown trench. I don't do double digging in the most orderly manner, but similar idea. I remove about a shovel's depth of soil (here, thrown along the rest of the bed) , then loosen (& remove rocks) from another shovel's depth. Next, mix in compost and toss in soil from the next section being dug. It all gets stirred around a bit in the process. New beds get this treatment, but repeat beds don't seem to need it.
Now to let it settle. I started with the middle 6 feet (each bed is 22-23 feet long and 4 feet wide) so I can get the bean structure (laying next to the bed) in place before planting seeds. If you haven't seen the bean structure in action, check out this posting from last August. If you cannot tell, the structure spans the two beds and the path goes underneath it.

I'll work on the other areas in each bed over this next week (part of one done tonight). After I finish throwing around dirt, I'll tidy up the pathways too.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Busy Bee Weekend

The bees have found the irises that were stashed in the garden during a flower bed redo two years ago. They weren't supposed to still be in the garden, but they are. Not the sharpest photo as it was so bright outside when I took it, I couldn't see how it was focusing. I spent a lot of time in the garden today with the bees and irises too. I'll have to post about that in a day or two as I'm fading fast now!

Did have a sighting (& a quick scream) of Herbert up on the hill (or his twin). I was heading up to the hillside retreat and just barely avoided stepping on him. I hope to see Petunia or younger cousin Daisy in the garden soon. Probably not enough tall grass and too much activity. But I'll do my best to accommodate her if she returns.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


The once little broccoli seedlings are quickly taking over the lettuce. We harvest lettuce about every evening, but it looks like I need to harvest more. Last year, the broccoli was too close together. With growing still to do, I think they'll be about right. Don't worry, there is more lettuce stashed throughout the garden. And some more little broccoli seedlings too. I spy a calendula volunteer in there, also.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blossom Sighting

On May 20th, I noticed the first blossom on the snow peas. This is one that I started inside and transplanted. Last year, the first open blossom was on June 4th. On May 13th, I planted a few more pea seeds in gaps along the pea fence. I saw last tonight that they are breaking ground.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Next Round of Sprouts

Here are the lemon cucumber and rouge vif d'etampes pumpkin seedlings from seeds planted May 13. There is also one delicata squash seedling but the romulus zucchini have still to sprout. One cosmos and 3 marigolds have also sprouted. I plan to start some pumpkins and squash outside soon. I'm starting some inside and some outside to see if there is any difference in how well they grow. Our weather stays cool this time of year and these warm weather vegetables might like spending a little time inside.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Anita's Magic Seeds

Dear Anita, can you see all of the smudges on your magic seed packets from trips to the garden? You know they are being planted! Being picked in your Easter drawing has been a such a spring treat. Thank you so much for the generous prizes! I can only hope my garden will someday look even a little like your wonderful Country Cottage Garden.
Above, sunny mix cosmos and white marigolds are planted among the purple blooming lavender and anise hyssop. This is one third of the newly expanded herb/flower bed. In the middle third will be a seating area. The flowers will make it the best spot around.
Watch this space, above! The dill and calendula are both here as you suggested. This is in the vegetable bed in front of the seats, for maximum enjoyment. The cosmos and marigolds varieties are finding their places among the vegetable beds too.

And here is the other third of the expanded herb/flower area. The rain stopped digging for the day, but it is almost done. Hmmm... Love-in-a-mist and hollyhocks might like this space? There will be more lavender here also.

And over in the sunflower row along the fence, the morning glories are already poking up out of the soil! The Rouge Vif d'Etampes pumpkins will be nearby, in the pumpkin patch.

Oh, how I will enjoy having you in the garden with me all summer! I treasure the plants that got their start from someone else and visits to the garden are like visiting friends. Your garden is an inspiration and your blog so fun to visit. Thank you for sharing your garden with me!

Happy gardening to you!
Paula, aka Petunia's Gardener

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bloom Day Bonus

Remember this Why Wait post from February, here?

The bromeliad (or air plant) is finally blooming. Then it will produce a new plant clump, or pup to the side. It is rather interesting that it does all of this with just a little water now and then. This plant moved in with us some years ago and was only one clump at that time.

What a week! A busy weekend too, but that's ok. We started off with record high temps this week. Now we are back to cool and rainy. (I think the garden is happy to have a drink, but would also like some of the warmth.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

May 15th Garden

Here are the stone "endcaps" in place in the garden. I hope they'll be a nice way to separate bed and grass, and easy enough to trim around. These stones had been elsewhere around the house. You can see some progress on the expanded herb/flower area (new bed #2 here, also with the chair in it). Check out this link to compare May and April photos and see earlier monthly photos. The other 2 new beds this year are at the far end and have the bean structure in them. They still need some preparation. The little A-frames are giving a little protection to the tomatoes.
I can also see that the "endcaps" are also going to be a nice collector of rocks. Later, I'll move them to the growing rock pile outside of the garden.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bloom Day May

Where have the days gone since April 15th? Here are some of my currently blooming favorites, but not a complete list. Be sure to check out the most popular flower in the garden and the last photo in this collection. For other Bloom Day posters, see the comments to Carol's Bloom Day post on her May Dreams Gardens blog.
These chives are offspring from my first herb & vegetable garden in Alabama. They've moved along with me several times. We've been picking the most open flowers to include in our salads, but I think I should let some fully bloom now. This Aquilegia / Columbine is the most prolific self-seeder and bloomer in the garden so far. I hope the hummingbirds have found it.
This Aquilegia (right?), above, has been the most surprising. I don't remember if it bloomed last year after it was given to me, but if it did, I don't remember that it looked like this.
This sedum flower is the most unreal! It's like a little outer space / alien flower.
Scratch and sniff this Dame's Rocket (thanks to a reader, now I know it's not phlox) above! It blooms every year beneath the window by the computer. I love being outside at dusk when it is especially fragrant. The lilacs are also in competition, but I walk by this flower bed so much that it is imprinted in my spring memories.
So here it is! This little wonder is the number one stop on all of the bee tours right now. You can hear the tree buzzing from across the garden. That's what brought me over there close enough to see these flowers, each only about 1/8 of an inch across. Rhamnus purshiana - the native Cascara in the NW. Before long, the beautiful Waxwing birds will be socializing in the trees while munching on the Cascara berries. I wonder if I can sprout more of these small trees from the berries or a cutting. Now watch out for the bees. They're flying distracted and likely to run into you.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Grow Tomatoes Grow

Hey, that's me growing in the garden! I'd like to see Petunia soon, though. There are 5 tomatoes planted out under several of these little protective A-frames (and I'm wearing protective fleece). My neighbor gave me plants from an heirloom mix she seeded so I'm hoping for some colorful tomatoes. I tried to capture the two under this frame and captured me too.
This A-frame has 2 more tomatoes, plus 4 younger Sungold tomatoes just getting used to the outside world. These 4 are from the March 24 seedings. The planted tomato in the bottom left corner is one of the tricky tomatoes from the March 3 seedings. All of the Sungolds had nice strong stalks. The one in the ground was planted deep so he looks rather short. The anise hyssop with them will be planted as soon.
Later this week, I'll have updates on the main garden. Today, I did get the sunflower bed (left side, above) and the pumpkin patch (right side) prepared. I planned to plant sunflowers today, but decided another day or two wait won't hurt.

And now it's time for some of DH's warm birthday brownies! The tomatoes will get their treats later this week as it is supposed to warm up alittle.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hawthorn Blooms

The hawthorn tree that protects our little hillside retreat is blooming. With no sheep or other creatures eating the seedlings, one day there will be a hedge of these trees. Being on this hillside, that is just fine by me.
I must not have looked at them very closely in the past. Very pretty and with a light fragrance, I think. Here is the same tree, decorated for the fall.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tiny Surprise

Monday evening was the official season opening of our hillside retreat. We trimmed the path, carried up the chairs and then dear husband, Emily the cat and I had a nice sit. During the preparation, I came across this tiny wildflower. Any idea what it is called?

You can read these short posts about creating the hillside retreat last September: The Idea, The Acquisition and the The Installation with photos. It is a nice spot this time of year, with the green grass growing on the hill and the hawthorn trees in bloom. We still need to get Emily her own chair, though.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Star of Borage

This small borage plant, and one other, overwintered. Now, they're full of flower buds while the self-seeded starts are just getting a full set of leaves (all over the garden). Borage becomes quite the bee magnet so I'm happy this one is open early for business. Some gardeners like the flowers and cucumber flavored leaves in salads. They can be a little prickly, though, so I mostly enjoy watching the bees and other critters that visit the flowers.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Shucks! Missed it again!

Ahh, sorry Becky! I missed World Naked Gardening Day! Sunday was going to be a bit too cool for a make-up day, so here I am on Pajama Gardening Day (the day after WNGD), in fleece PJs and robe. Actually, I'm weeding. After heating water for coffee or tea, I go "water" any weeds creeping up between these pavers by the patio. Today, this weed was nothing but a dry brown leaf that crumbled when I rubbed it with my foot. I have to admit, though, I don't limit PJ Gardening/Weeding to one day a year. It is a very productive way to start off the morning out in the fresh air and birdsong.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

So, it's May, remember to breathe...

A younger ornamental cherry tree in the yard is now blooming. Its flowers are very fluffy! Very different than the earlier blooming cherries.

Finally, today, I hope to spend some time in the garden. Without much attention in the past 2 weeks, so many volunteer sunflowers, borage and weeds of course are popping up everywhere. I want to finish the stone row endcaps I started, transplant more broccoli, lettuce, chard and maybe some tomatoes and plant some flower seeds.

I'll bet you I don't get even close that done! I'll need to watch the hummingbirds buzzing around, check out every corner of the property to see what is growing, putter about in the barn and maybe clean of the patio tables/chairs so they are ready for use. So what if the to do list doesn't get done. As long as I'm outside, it will be a good use of the day.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Get Ready, Get Set...

Sleep! After a little time tucked in like this, I'll be as good as new. And I'll have a field day visiting around the blogs. The special event wrapped up today. I gave up a beautiful gardening weekend, but the out-of-towners had nice weather.

I've not hosted an event quite like this before, but we used the space we had and I think everyone had a seat and something to eat! It's a great group of people in my profession and we always have lots to discuss. Looking forward to next year (and in another city)!