Friday, July 30, 2010

Triumphs and Tragedies

Here we are again and it's Friday.  I don't know where the time is going lately.  Feels like I haven't accomplished much of anything.  Especially after seeing what that husband of mine has been up to.  Whether I get anything done or not the garden moves on of its own accord.  So let's take a look at this week's Triumphs and Tragedies.

Despite realizing that the white malva needed to be staked after a heavy rain two weeks ago you would have thought that I would immediately stake my Malva moschata 'Rosea' when the winds went up to 50km an hour this week.
Nope.  I'm kinda lazy that way.  Instead the malva fell over and I had to prop them back up with this wine rack thing (which incidentally isn't doing such a great job).  The stems aren't broken though so I'm still getting some lovely blooms to look at.
I must look for some proper stakes at the garden centre as the malva was not the only victim.
My lovely Rudbeckia laciniata 'Golden Glow' snapped right in two.  And it was just about to bloom too.  Luckily a small shoot went unscathed so the plant will survive but now I'll have to wait until next year for flowers.

I worried like crazy over my tomato plants this past spring.  At times they were yellow and limp and I worried for their health.  Well I decided to give them a shot of fertilizer and look at them now.
Those are some tomatoes!  I'm very excited to see lots of tomatoes coming along and lots more flowers just waiting to turn into tomatoes.  And after that they will turn into fresh tomato soup, yum.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Accidental Orchardist

I came home from work today to a big surprise.

I parked the truck and out of the corner of my eye caught sight of a red ladder in the apple orchard.

So I walked over to investigate.  What do you suppose I found?

Totally not what I was expecting.  What the heck is going on here?

You see, earlier this morning the power went out and my employed at home woodworking husband couldn't turn on his power tools.  So he decided to wander outside.  There he found the wind had knocked down some apples out of the trees.  So he decided to pick them up as he remembered I had told him it would be best to clean up fallen apples so disease wouldn't spread.  (Smart man!)  But he had a bit of trouble because under the apple trees it used to look like this.
The climbing nightshade I wrote about in my last wildflower post has completely taken over the orchard.    So hubby decided to do a little cleaning up.  By the time I arrived home the orchard looked like this.
WOW.  Between him and my mother I ought to just sit back and sip a martini and wait for all the work to be done around here.  Jody himself couldn't believe what he'd done.  I was practically jumping up and down with glee and he just said, well, all I really wanted to do was clean up a few apples but then I was just enjoying myself.

The man is a born gardener and he doesn't even know it yet....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wildflowers or Weeds?

People define what a weed is in many ways. 

My mother has a small sign in her kitchen that reads "A weed is just an unwanted flower".  That's one way.  But what else should you consider?

Take a look at this Goldenrod.
Gorgeous yellow and green blended together en masse.  An interesting shape with tall panicles that spray out at the top.  The heavy sticky pollen is an important source of nectar to honeybees, wasps, flies, beetles and moths.  But where do you often see this lovely flower?  Ditches, hedgerows, abandoned fields.  In other words, weed territory.  But is it a weed?  Solidago is actually native to North America so this plant is not escaped from some other location nor is it invasive.  It's only crime being that it grows wherever it likes and forms large clumps.  I quite like this plant and don't really consider it a weed.  That said I have removed some of it from my yard as it just so happens that it really likes my flower beds.  I would prefer it went to live in the meadow with the other wildflowers.

What about these Daisies?
Everybody recognizes a daisy as a flower right?  Well that depends.  Not all daisies are created equal.  This daisy is actually Chrysanthemum leucanthemum or the Oxeye Daisy.  Often classified as a noxious weed this plant originated in Europe and has moved to North America.  It forms dense colonies and crowds out other native plants.  So as pretty as it is, I would consider it a weed.

Here's another pretty flower springing up all over the yard and coating plants and trees with it's white and pink tinged flowers.
This plant is actually Field Bindweed (the name says it all doesn't it?).  Originating in Europe it has moved into North America and spread itself everywhere.  This vine will cover plants, trees, fences, and houses displacing everything else in it's path.  Incredibly difficult to get rid of as each flower produces seed and each piece of root will produce another plant.  We are very unfortunate to have this plant all around the perimeter of our property.

What about this lovely yellow flower?
This is a form of St. John's Wort and I was certain this was a propogated flower when I saw it coming up in my flower beds next to the Maltese Cross.  What a pleasant combination!  And then we went for a bike ride last weekend and I saw this plant in every ditch and roadside and realized this wasn't a purposefully planted flower at all!  In fact many areas consider St. John's Wort a high risk invasive weed.  Now I have to rethink that flower bed.

Our meadow is simply covered with White Yarrow at this time of year.
It smells wonderful and looks great with it's fluffy leaves and large white flowers.  I thought for sure this was a native wildflower.  When I checked I was correct, yarrow is native to North America.  It attracts beneficial insects like predatory wasps and acts as an activator to speed up decomposition in compost piles.  But then I saw something interesting.  Buried in the flower bed underneath a bunch of grass I found a plant tag.  For White Yarrow.  Could it possibly be that this plant escaped from the flower bed into the meadow?  How would you classify this plant then, flower or weed?  It's a conundrum.

Another vine that seems to be getting into everything.
These plants surround my apple orchard climbing up and around.  They have small purple flowers and red berries in fall.  Almost sounds kind of nice.  They are in fact Climbing Nightshade or Solanum dulcamara.  Like the Bindweed they reproduce by seeds and roots.  This plant is poisonous and is considered a weed in most areas.  Introduced from Europe it has spread throughout North America where it takes over areas that would otherwise be habitat for native plants.  Another weed to be removed.

I guess if I had to tell you what I learned today it would be this - before you randomly throw a plant in the weed category, find out what it is and what it's doing in your garden.  You just might be surprised.

Today's post was inspired by Wildflower Wednesday at Clay and Limestone.  For more wildflower posts please visit here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weeds in my Spinach

My vegetable boxes have been breached .... with weeds.

Any idea which one?

Here's a refresher of what the boxes looked like

1.  The first box was lined on the bottom with newspaper and no grass was removed

2.  The second box had the grass dug out from underneath and the ground was lightly 'forked'

3.  The last boxes had the grass dug out, rocks removed and compost added.

If you answered #1 you'd be correct.  It was the newspaper.

I have a confession, this first happened a month ago.  It took no time for the weeds to get in.  Instinctively I grabbed that first weed and yanked it out.  Pretended like it didn't happen.  But this time they're back and bigger than before.

What went wrong?  Initially I laid the newspaper so it went under the wood frame and a collar surrounded it.  But the crows were making nests at that time and ripped all the visible pieces out for themselves.  Likely they tore pieces of the newspaper out from under the box.  Another big reason is that newspaper simply breaks down quite quickly.  I had hoped it would last the season but obviously not.  The moral of the story, don't use newspaper to line your boxes, it's not going to keep the weeds out.

How are these boxes operating otherwise?  Fabulous.  I really really like them.  A few weed seeds have blown in but otherwise there are few weeds and the soil mixture is so light that they're super easy to pull out.

The tomatoes are obviously quite happy with them and they look pretty snazzy too.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Transplanting in Summer

Ideally plants should go into the ground in the spring. The temperatures are cool, there's lots of moisture in the ground and once in the ground the plants have all spring, summer and fall to grow some strong roots and prepare themselves for the coming winter.  When you purchase plants in the spring they are likely to be just out of the greenhouse and quite healthy.  The downside is that everyone is in a rush in spring to purchase plants and nursuries know this. The prices at times can be steep. Especially if you're looking for a particular specimen. I purchased only one shrub and a few annuals and tomatoes at nurseries this spring as I simply could not afford to pay nursery prices. And though I love my lilac I regret that purchase because it was, quite simply, too much money for a common lilac. The bulk of my spring purchases came from local perennnial sales where I found many staple items such as hosta and lady's mantle for as little as a dollar a piece.

In mid-summer you're more likely to catch a break on the prices of plants but it isn't the ideal time for planting.  However, with a little care these plants will do just as well as any other.  The main issue is heat.  If you have a shady spot you can hold plants there in their pots until fall when the weather is a little more accommodating, making sure to water regularly.  If you'd like to plant them right away do so but put a layer of mulch around them to keep the ground cool and water frequently.  This will go a long way to helping them adjust.

One of the problems with buying plants 'out of season' is that these poor guys have been sitting on store shelves for months now. That means they are more than likely root bound. What does a root bound plant look like?
It ain't pretty. But with a bit of patience it's workable. Try soaking the rootball in a bucket of water to loosen things up. Then sit down with your plant and get acquainted. You can try a variety of measures to pull the roots apart. Use your fingers or your pruners to pull and tease roots out from the ball. Cut the roots as necessary. Yes that's allowed!! It's amazing what a plant will recover from.  Your root ball should look more like this by the time you're done.
Why do you want to pull the roots apart?  Well if the roots are left in this state they will simply continue growing in a tight little circle.  They don't realize they've been released from the freedom of the pot.   That tight circle will eventually cause them to strangle themselves.  So it's really important to make sure those roots are pulled out and placed in a nice wide hole for them to expand in.  It's time consuming but worth it for the health of your plant.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Triumphs and Tragedies


I bought plants.  Lots and lots of plants.  On sale. 

There is Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'

Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diablo' otherwise known as Diablo Ninebark

Ligularia 'Osiris Cafe Noir' and 'Osiris Fantaisie'
After seeing this for the first time at the gardens at Green Gables I had to find my own!

I am really really really excited. 

And I have no place to put this stuff.  Well sure, if you count the 3 acres of lawn and one measly flower bed but there's no prepared spots for all these plants and the flower bed is already crowded with my spring purchases.


I'm back to digging out patches of lawn to make room for the plants.


I am so tired of digging.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What to Put in Your Compost Bin

Now that we have compost bins we have to fill them.

The size of your compost pile and a proper mix of materials is the key to good composting action.

A 4 x 4 x 4 cube is the ideal composting size.  In our case, we took the 4 foot square cube and sloped the front of the cube for easy access.

Filling them has been relatively easy because we had a pile of materials just waiting to go in.

Materials included:

horse manure
wetted down sawdust
sod with some dirt attached
cut lawn grass
kitchen scraps (including egg shells, vegetable and fruit stems, seeds and peelings, and coffee grounds)

This is actually an ideal scenario because you can layer each material in the bin, giving it a bit of water to moisten as you go along.

Here's the first bin completely full with layers
Within a week this bin was hot.  It's hard to tell when the weather is hot anyway but if you stick your hand over top you can feel it.  For those who aren't squeamish you can stick your hand right in there.  A compost thermometer is often recommended but honestly, if you can feel the heat with your hand do you really need a thermometer to tell you the temperature?

Two weeks later and the material is starting to compress.  It's hard to make out but the level has begun to sink in the picture below.

This means the materials are starting to break down but it also means you'd better get in there and stir!  The materials are starting to compact under their own weight which means there's no air getting in which will slow down the composting process.  Although materials will continue to compost without air circulation the composting will slow down considerably and things will start getting smelly.  Nobody likes a smelly compost bin!

If you find your bin is attracting masses of flies and the smell is overpowering it is likely out of balance.  This means you may have too many green or brown materials, too much water or not enough air.  Think of baking a cake, if your batter is too wet you throw in some flour to bulk it up.  You want something that's not too dry but not sloppy either.  Same with compost.  If it's wet and slimey try throwing in sawdust, straw, dried leaves, or shredded paper.  This should suck up the excess moisture and balance things out.  Conversely a dry pile will also start to smell sour.  It needs water and some green material. 

Stirring your compost means you're adding air.  The organisms breaking down your materials for you need air to breath, don't let them down!  Another benefit to stirring is that it brings materials from the outside of the pile to the inside allowing them at the heat in the middle to better break down.

Now I made a mistake that I should warn you about.  I was in such a hurry to get some green material into my bin that I dumped whole weeds in there.  Some people recommend that you shouldn't compost weeds, or at least stay away from them when they are in seed because your compost will then be full of weed seeds.  I agree when it comes to particularly aggressive weeds like bindweed but dandelions don't bother me (the seeds will just blow in from my field anyway).  What I did find a problem was that I didn't cut the weeds up.  When I tried to get my garden fork in the bin to start turning it kept getting caught up in all those darn weeds.  So I had to try and cut some of them apart after the fact which was messy and not entirely pleasant.  If you're able, cut up large materials before they go in the bin.  The smaller the better.

With any luck we'll have some finished product to show you in about 6 weeks time.  I'm hoping there will be enough to top dress my newly planted trees and new flower bed in the fall to prepare them for winter.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Problem with Landscaping

I have a problem with landscaping in that it demands that I make decisions.  And for every decision I make there are ten more things that arise to be decided on.

For instance, if I decide to place the vegetable garden next to the garage, as I have done, should I also place a bed around the garage and incorporate it into the vegetable garden?  My first response is yes, I definitely should.  It would provide a background for the vegetable beds and help to complete the space and make it distinct.  Landscaping decision accomplished, right?  Ummm, maybe?

A bed running the length of the garage where the red wheelbarrow is sitting would be a nice backdrop for the vegetables.
When I think about the garage I also think about how badly misplaced it is.
So far apart I had to cross the road to get far enough away to capture both the house and the garage in one photo
The garage is full size and was meant to hold a vehicle plus room for tools.  However, it is located, quite literally, a field away from the house and there is no driveway leading to it.  This makes it completely inaccessible in winter and completely useless as a garage.  I'm using it as a potting shed right now but honestly the space is somewhat wasted on me. 
More of a storage space than potting shed
So how about moving it? 

We could hire movers to pick the building up as there's no foundation underneath it and place it near the house.  But this would cost quite a bit of money and begs another question, is having the garage close to the house worth several thousand dollars to me?  I'm not sure. 

How about putting the question another way, would moving the garage increase the value of the property?  While I think it would make the property more appealing I don't think the value would actually increase.  (Please note, we are not selling our house. I'm simply asking this question to help figure out the pros and cons of the issue.  Sometimes it's good to consider how a third party would see things)

Another question, if the garage is moved what then do I use as a potting shed?
How about that empty shed sitting in front of the house?
So maybe we should switch the garage for the shed.  That would make sense.  But the garage is quite large and would block the view of our pretty house so is this really the best location?  And so it goes.  For every decision I make there are more questions which then leads me to decide that I had better not make any decisions!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monthly Garden Bouquet

It's time for my monthly garden bouquet, care of Noelle at Ramblings from a Desert Garden.

This couldn't have come at a better time because it's too stinking hot outside to do any real work.  So walking around with clippers in hand was the best way to spend my time today.

There are several things to consider when cutting a garden bouquet.  Such as, what flowers do I have enough of that I can clip for a bouquet.  At this point in time my flowers consist mainly of those planted by the previous owner.  These are generally hiding under a thick coat of weeds.  If I can find them, I can cut them.  I did purchase some new plants in the spring but these are too small at this point to cut anything off of them.  The other option is weeds, of which I have a lot.

So after perusing the above options this is what I came up with
If you read my post on Friday you'll know I confessed to my dislike of lilies.  But the fact of the matter is that there's a heck of a lot of daylilies out there just ripe for cutting.  And I have to admit the strong orange and yellow colours suited this crazy heat we're having just perfectly.

The next step was to find something to complement the day lilies.  I liked these tall grasses with their fuzzy heads.  They are growing throughout the wild portion of our yard and are just breaking into seed which is an yellowish, orange colour which complemented the flowers.  I also liked the spikiness of them.

Also growing with abandon throughout our meadow is white yarrow which offset the strong colours of the lilies.

After putting this all together I realized I was lacking some greenery to pull the look together.  After looking throughout the yard I realized, I have none.  That's right, no greenery here.  So I substituted chamomile.
This brings up a good point.  A nice bouquet needs some greenery to set off the vibrant colours of the flowers.  The same can be said for your garden.  So if, like me, you can't find any nice greenery in your garden you might consider visiting your nearest nursery and purchasing some foliage plants such as salal, camellia, or ferns to better show off your collection of flowers.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Garden Bag

The weather network tells me it's 27 degrees celcius today, and feels like 37 degrees due to the humidity.  That's just insanely hot.  So instead of working in the garden this afternoon I'm taking a siesta.  However when it starts to cool down in an hour or so I still plan on getting outside.  I work full time during the week so unfortunately I have to get my gardening time in whenever I can, whatever the weather.  To make things a little easier I have a garden kit that comes with me wherever I go in the yard.

The first item in my kit is the bag itself.
You need something to carry all your stuff in.  This bag was a gift from a girlfriend and I almost sold it in a garage sale prior to moving out east.  Jody convinced me not to and thank goodness!!  In such a large yard I can't always be running back and forth for stuff so this bag has been a godsend.  It has pockets all round for various tools, closes easily with a magnet and it looks good so I can feel like I'm not such a grub when I'm out in the yard.

My first, must have, item in the bag is sunscreen.
I don't naturally tan so I have to make sure I'm covered in sunscreen at all times.  Too often I've waltzed out the door into the yard forgetting my sunscreen and regretted it later.  If I have sunscreen in my bag at all times it's unlikely I'll get burned again.  I've purchased a bottle of spray sunscreen so when my hands are covered in dirt I don't have to smear myself all over.  Also purchased, a tube of lip screen.

My second item is Gatorade
When you're hot and tired and your head is hurting it can be the end of gardening if you have to go to the house to get a drink.  I'm more likely to lay down on the couch and not come back out.  To make sure I don't collapse in this humidity I pack a cold bottle of Gatorade.

Not only does my skin burn but I'm a mosquito magnet.  So I also need a bottle of repellant in my bag.

A garden bag wouldn't be complete without garden tools!
My husband bought these for me as a stocking stuffer a few years ago.  They're meant for children but they work great for us big people too.  My favourite attribute - they're light weight.  I don't want to be lugging a super heavy bag on my shoulder all over the yard.  These tools are great for all sorts of jobs I might encounter and they won't hurt my shoulder.

Something for cutting must also be included.
These are my go to, gummed up, use on everything scissors.  The needle nose is great for deadheading and getting into tight spaces.  The serrated edge also makes them great for cutting open bags of compost and garden twine.

My bag would not be complete without my absolute favourite tool of all time.
My felco pruners aren't lightweight but I simply can't do without them.  They can be used for everything from teasing out plant roots when transplanting to pruning perennials and small branches.

And my final item are my garden gloves.

Atlas NT370 Nitrile Garden and Work Gloves, Green Apple, Small

I won't show you a picture of my actual gloves because they're seriously yucky.  But I have a pair each of the pink and purple Atlas gloves pictured above.  These gloves are very thin and it doesn't feel like you're wearing anything at all.  This makes it very easy to pick things up.  I also have a separate pair of 'work gloves' which are heavier and used for things like firewood.  I don't think you can ever have too many sets of gloves.  One of the reasons I like gloves is that because as a kid I hated bugs.  I couldn't stand to look at, let alone touch, anything resembling an insect.  Things haven't really changed all that much.  I don't mind photographing bugs now but I'm still a little queasy about touching them.  Gloves have made all the difference.  I can stick my hand in anywhere, pick up slugs and worms and I don't worry.  These gloves make gardening possible for a person like me.

That's the basics of my garden kit.  Various tools can be added according to the time of year or what project you're working on but these items are indispensable.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Triumphs and Tragedies

Posts have been a little scattered in the last week or two but I think we're back on track now which means it's time for Triumphs and Tragedies.

How about a little Triumph to start things out.
mmmmmmm, apples.  I'm thinking apple cider and apple chips.  How about you?

I don't know what to qualify this next one as.  Months ago I saw little green shoots popping up around the trees near the front drive and assumed they were daffodils.  They did not bloom but as they grew they took on the appearance of what I thought were irises.  They still didn't bloom and I figured they were in poor health and I was unlikely to see any flowers at all.  Until this week when I came in the driveway from work and a flash of orange caught my eye.
That's not an iris.  It's a daylily.  Now an unexpected flower usually makes me giddy with happiness and I'd consider it a Triumph.  But, well, I guess I have to confess.  I don't particularly like lilies.

There I said it.

Feel free to throw things at your computer if you like.

I have no defence.  It's just there's flowers that make you smile and some make you go..... meh

I can't be expected to like EVERYTHING can I?  Surely there are others out there who have a plant they secretly can't stand.  Perhaps there's a flower you see everywhere that you think, oh, that again, ho hum.  It's not that I hate lilies.  In fact, I was just looking at Jean's Garden today and she has some really gorgeous photos of her lilies.  But if I had to purchase a plant for my garden, lilies would be at the bottom of the list.

Well, now that I've ruffled your feathers let me divert your attention and show you this Tragedy
That's bindweed choking everything out and having killed the mountain ash in the foreground it's now working on the one in the background.  I am going to have to rip that out piece by piece.  Feeling sorry for me yet?  We'll consider it penance for my comments about lilies.

And here's yet another Tragedy
The white Malva moschata got taken out by the rain and collapsed in a pool all over itself.  I guess this plant requires some staking.  Will need to remember that for next year.

Let's end on a happy note shall we.  If anyone remembers I purchased a small chunk of rhubarb in the spring.  Well look at that rhubarb now.
That's one happy plant.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bloedel Conservatory

Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC
The Bloedel Conservatory is located in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia.  The park stretches from West 29th to West 37th Avenue and across from Cambie to Main Street.  The Conservatory sits at the top of the hill overlooking the city, which if you haven't seen it, is an incredible view.  My first visits to this park were as a child.  My father grew up a few blocks from what was then called "Little Mountain".  Our family did not live in Vancouver but my father took us to visit the neighbourhood of his childhood and see the beautiful gardens.  As an adult  I moved to Vancouver, ironically just a few short blocks from my father's old home.  There I spent many happy hours at the park and in the gardens going for walks.  Jody and myself celebrated an anniversary dinner at Seasons in the Park, the restaurant there.  And I have spent many rainy afternoons inside the Conservatory lounging with Rosie, the African Grey parrot.

I am sorry that I don't have any photos to show you of this wonderful spot.  Unfortunately I did not have a digital camera at that time and I do not own a scanner now.  Let me instead paint a scene for you.  Picture yourself in a warm dome with the sun shining through.  Parrots are squawking and small birds fly through the trees.  A small lizard might run past your feet and the lush leaves of tropical plants brush your face.  A small stream trickles and fish occasionally dart by.  The Conservatory is an ecosystem supporting tropical flora, birds, fish and reptiles.

I was incredibly disappointed today to learn that the Conservatory is in jeopardy of being closed down.  The Vancouver Park Board has decided they can no longer afford to operate the Conservatory and are looking for private investors to take over or re-purpose the building.  All I can think is, where will Rosie go?  The birds and parrots within this building are free to fly throughout.  This is their home and it is a good one.  What of the hundreds of tropical plants and trees?  What about the lost educational opportunities?  While I understand finances are always a concern and this is an aging building which is costly to run it I'm angered because it feels so unnecessary.  Very few people realize the Conservatory exists.  I walked there once with a friend who asked what's this weird building for?  In fact Queen Elizabeth Park is used mainly by locals who live in the neighbourhood.  I lived in Vancouver for years and never once saw advertising or publicity for this spot.  There is no bus which takes you directly to the park but rather you get dropped off at the bottom of the hill on the main road and have to walk in over the lawn.  Depending on your age and your health this can be a major hindrance.  There is also very little parking so if you drive in it is also difficult.  You can't complain that something isn't popular and not bringing in money when you've done virtually nothing to support it.

Van Dusen Botanical Garden Association in conjunction with Friends of the Bloedel Conservatory have put together a proposal to take over this property and I have great hopes they will be allowed to do so. However, budget is always a concern when it comes to public spaces.  If you're interested in plants, gardens and promoting education of flora and fauna, please check out the link and consider donating a few dollars.  Better yet, if you're in the area, visit the Conservatory.  It could be the key to keeping this wonderful facility open.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Garden This Week

I've been so busy telling you all about the destinations on PEI that I've missed out on telling you what's new in my garden!  So without further ado I bring you these newly discovered plants.

The large flower bed in the main yard is piled high with weeds and what's this?  ....  A search of the gardening encyclopedias tell me this red flower is Lychnis chalcedonica or Maltese cross.  The yellow flowers are a type of St. John's Wort.  Likely Hypericum kalmianum.

This colour combination when seen from the house is simply stunning.  The red and yellow colours are so vibrant and although the actual number of flowers is small the colour carries and is easily visible from quite a distance.

The veggie garden is filling out and we've begun picking lettuce, spinach and radishes for dinner.  I even cut some cilantro for a corn salad the other day.  The smell of the fresh cilantro was AMAZING.  A million times better than the limp stale cilantro I've been forced to purchase at the grocery store.

This beautiful blue and orange black wing moth was laying out in the grass this week.  When I looked him up I found his name is Ctenucha virginica.  Apparently their habitat consists of fields with flowers.  Hmmm, is there one of those around here somewhere?    

The Spirea 'Goldflame' is now in bloom.  Although it's no longer gold but more a chartreuse colour.

Bell flowers have appeared and are contentedly blooming alongside the Spirea.  Had I known this earlier!!  I purchased the exact same type of bell flower at a plant sale in the spring.  Oh well, they are so beautiful I don't mind having extra.

A white Malva moschata is also blooming in the same area and this is another double of a plant I purchased in the spring!  Although my purchase is a rose coloured variety.  Seems the former owner and myself shared some of the same taste in flowers.