Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flower Thursday

I've been taking pictures of my flowers the last few weeks meaning to post them here on Fridays and call it Flower Friday. Wouldn't that be cute? Except it NEVER HAPPENS. When I want to post, it's not Friday, so I wait and then Friday comes and I'm like, pff it's Friday, forget that. So, welcome to Flower Thursday. My tulips have been in bloom for the past few weeks. They have been beautiful:

These came from some bulbs I planted last fall: mini tulips!

Sadly a few of the tulips that bloomed first are starting to get raggedy petals, so they are nearing the end of their run for this year, but I have definitely gotten my enjoyment from them. And now that I know that, in addition to letting their leaves stay untouched until they start to die, I should not water them throughout the summer, hopefully I will get even better production next year.

I have a few other plants that are flowering already: vinca vine and these little guys we picked up last year, a spring-flowering daisy called "Little Leo":

In the "producing buds" camp I have columbines and my little azalea. Columbines make such pretty flowers and all of mine look very robust so far.

I've been doing little bits of work around my flower beds the last few weeks, but not a ton because the weather has turned cooler and wetter. I pruned my big arborvitaes and cut the little one way back to get more sun and air to my peonies. These peonies were here when we moved in and they didn't flower until I did my first drastic pruning of the arborvitaes. But the past two years they've gotten powdery mildew and started to become less productive, so I thought they could use a little more room.

Oh, and baby plants. I have them. A florist/nursery nearby runs a perennial sale each Spring where you can get a 4-pack of perennial seedlings for $1.50. They have a large variety of plants available and it is a crazy madhouse of plant people every year. This year I had to park on a side street nearby and almost got into a collision with another crazy minivan-driving gardener while trying to find a spot. I picked up forget-me-nots, sweet peas, Irish moss, primrose and something else I can't remember. I'm excited to plant them, along with the ferns and peonies I got from my awesome friend Yvonne, but first I need some DIRT. My husband and I are considering getting our very own pile of dirt this year. He has serious dirt envy whenever we sees piles sitting in other people's driveways, and so do I if I'm honest with myself. I can never get enough compost or or sand. So here's hoping that we can get that sorted out because I am ready to work!

Until the next Flower Friday Random Day of the Week, I bid you happy gardening or Spring enjoyment or even happy sewing/embroidering because I think that was supposed to be a subject on this blog, too, so we can't forget about that.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Garden Update

Yes, it's the first week of April and my tulips are just about ready to open up. I'm not complaining; I'm always proud and grateful when they make it this far without being frozen or beheaded by rodents. I have counted almost 20 buds/blooms in my small planting and 35 in my larger set, though that bunch is lagging a bit behind (aka slightly less ahead of schedule).

I can think of only a few perennials around my flower beds that have not come up yet, and that may just be because they're not going to come up at all. That's the sad bit about perennial gardens: when a plant just doesn't come back. I almost feel like I offended it somehow. Sorry, dudes :(

The weeds will surely always come back, however. These past few days I've spent some time hoeing out dandelions, other weeds and rogue bits of grass. While I've been out there, I've had a few lost-in-the-garden moments when I decide I really need to start working on some problem I'd never really paid much attention to or even realized existed before. Tuesday it was rearranging a few stones on the patio and yesterday it was completely tearing out the pachysandra behind our grill.

I always forget before pictures, but imagine this entire space filled with horrible pachysandra

When we first moved into this house five and a half years ago, we had lots of pachysandra in the backyard. Pachysandra is a pretty good ground cover option if you want something you'll never get rid of. It has these roots that are just a huge pain to get out of the ground and then if you leave bits of it in the soil, it will start growing back. I hate this plant. Sometime during our first summer here I tore most of ours out in an agonizing process that involved a garden claw *and* weasel. Neither was anywhere close to the right tool for the job, but I did it. A patch remained in the bed next to our back patio but I left it alone because it was out of sight behind our grill and I couldn't bear the thought of dealing with it. Until yesterday.

Boo. Ya.

It turns out pachysandra is much easier to tear out in early spring because the sun isn't beating down upon you as you toil fruitlessly and because the soil is wet, so your toiling is actually quite fruitful, as the roots of the plant are much easier to dislodge. Also, it is probably a good idea to not use a garden tool that you heard about on TV. I had much more success with my handheld hoe, seen in the lower right corner of the picture below.

This is me not making a hoe joke

I also decided to pull out the stone border at the edge of the bed because the whole thing was just a mess. I managed to dig some ruts for the stones to go back into, rearrange them and pour some extra dirt in there before it was time to go back inside.

And I did it all without getting my pants dirty. *smug*