Garden Update 5.20.13

This is the perfect time of year to spend outside in the yard. We’ve got the garden started, the MR has a pile of dirt to move around, we’ve stopped at garden sales and the hardware store to pick up new plants. Flowers are blooming, veges are coming up, plants are growing, things are looking good–mostly.

In the past, I’ve been pretty haphazard in my choice of topics. Whatever is on my mind is what I’ve written about, but order can be fun. So I’ve decided to try something new. The MR spends most of the weekend working hard outdoors, so I thought Mondays might be a great time to recap what’s going on around here in the yard, the garden, the orchard, and the flower beds. It’s a bit of a mouthful and a lot of work, but let’s see how it turns out.

If you were to drive up to our house, this is the view you’d be greeted with.

laying on the dirt

It looks a little rough at the moment, but just you wait and see. The MR has been hauling dirt around for the last month filling the garden boxes and adding it where it was needed. This weekend, he expanded the garden bed next to our room and then leveled out the patch of grass adjacent to it. He topped it off with some grass seed, and in a few weeks, it’ll be looking good. You’ll be amazed.

I remember looking at this flower bed recently and being disappointed with the meager array of plants and abundance of weeds, but all I have to do is take a look back at pictures from when we moved in to realize we’ve made huge strides. The MR expanded the bed,covered up some ugly cement blocks, and gave it a meandering edge. It makes it a little less formal and softens the edges. It’s fun to see that so many of the plants I picked up at the FFA plant sale last year have come back in full force. I love those little dianthus/mini carnation/pinks–call them what you will they’re cute.

Flower bed Collage

I bought chives and sage last spring and put some in containers and planted the others out in the flower bed. The MR recently moved the container plants out to the yard as well, and look at the difference in size. I wasn’t sure the ones we set out in the ground were going to make it, but they’re more than double the ones from the pots we had on the deck.

two sizes of herbs

The 4×4 post is a hose guard to help protect those herbs. I have a beautiful curved metal one with a glow in the dark orb that gets taken out by the hose every time I water. This looks much more substantial, but I do believe it needs some beautifying.

The MR asked Baby Girl and I at dinner last week if we’d noticed the palm tree that was blooming. Huh? Palm trees bloom? BG had hopes of a coconut palm or some other amazing tropical find. I don’t believe we’re that lucky, but it certainly is blooming.

Blooming Palm

I didn’t say it was pretty; it’s just kind of weird. But the hostas and decorative grasses we planted last year are looking good, and the planting strip off the portico is starting to fill in.

Entry Collage

Let’s move on down to the orchard and take a look at what’s going on off the meadow. I’m sorry to say it’s a bit of a mixed bag. We have apples–little, teeny, baby apples, but apples nonetheless. The pears have some nasty bug that lays its eggs on the leaves, and then burrows inside–rather unfortunate. The MR used some bug spray on the pears and the rest of the trees for good measure. I don’t know if it was the poison, the deer nibbling it, or the shock of transplant, but the nectarine tree has seen better days. And while the currants are going to have a banner year, the blueberries are looking a little underwhelming. I need to prune off all the dead branches and maybe douse them with some worm castings and/or some organic fertilizer.

Orchard Collage

And that brings us to the garden proper. The carrots have failed to make an appearance. Maybe the seeds were too old (they are from 2009), maybe the seed tape was a silly idea, maybe it’s time to try again. Gardening is not an exact science. While the carrots are a no show, the lettuce leaves have begun to poke up their sweet little heads. The peas are a bit of a problem. Earlier this week, I was quite excited to see the beginnings of a row. Imagine my surprise when I found all those tender young plants pulled up. The MR blamed slugs, but slugs just mow down their victims at ground level and leave a trail of devastation. Something has been pulling up the peas. Bunnies, deer, birds? Maybe all of the above. We’ve put in a little fence for the moment until something more permanent can be put together. The potatoes in the grow bags are holding their own. Maybe the critters are frightened of the bright color…

Garden Collage

That’s one of the fun things about gardening, each year it’s a new experience. I thought I’d just go out and smile at my luxuriously growing peas and start on a little trellis to attach to the chain link fence, instead I’m trying to figure out how to save the few that are left. Along with the trials, come wonderful surprises like the field of foxgloves we found last year. They’ve just started blooming again.

Foxglove with house

Last summer, we grew our tomatoes on the deck, and that’s where they’ll be again this year. I had really good luck with giant plants and tons of tomatoes using walls of water, but that’s a little tacky for the deck. Up here, they are safe from predators, get lots of reflected heat, and are quite convenient for snacking when we sit and watch the sun set. For now, they’re in a protected spot next to the side wall, but eventually they’ll be out next to the rail like last year.

Tomatoes in a row

I’ve been continuing my war against the barberry. Someday the planting bed next to the driveway will be beautiful–just not today. But we have plenty else to be going on with.

How’s the great outdoors been treating you? Moving any dirt? Finding any magic?

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3 thoughts on “Garden Update 5.20.13

  1. We have tomatoes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is our first try at them since we have been here 13 years, and the freezing wind killed the first plantings. We planted 4 more and the wind came up again, but not at cold. So, the stalks are really sturdy and have lots of flowers (yes, I too use my finger to pollinate) and now I have tomatoes that are about 1 1/2 inches across!!!!! To say we are very excited is an understatement. Yippee!

  2. Pingback: May Recap | bigwhitehouseonthehill

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