Tuesday, April 30, 2013

They're Back

First bloom of the season

welcome back

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Garden this Week

Green things are starting to poke out of the ground around here.

Daylilies are one of the first plants to show signs of growth
Blue things too.

These plants are barely bigger than my thumb nail

Every fall I plant a few more bulbs of Siberian Squill, each year hoping my lawn will be transformed into a carpet of blue.  I noticed a funny thing this year. There are plants in places where I'm fairly sure I didn't put them.  And these plants are tiny.  Is it possible my squill is finally producing seed and spreading?

The weather has finally shifted for real and this past week I've been able to start gardening for real.  The ground is perfect for digging right now.  Damp but not wet.

Every year I say I'm going to transform this crescent bed into a much larger garden.  Once again that hasn't happened but I did add an extra 6 feet to one end of it.  

As we say around here - How do you eat elephants?

One bite at a time.  

A few extra feet each year and one of these days it will be the garden I'm dreaming about.

Also extended was the bed behind the garage.  Last year it looked like this.  Only a small portion dug out for the Golden Glow and the rest a mess of weeds.

Not this year.  I have plans to plant dill and zinnias in this location....and perhaps some of those extra sunflower seeds I couldn't resist buying.

Smaller chores have also been completed.  Jody asks where I'm working today - in the flower garden... 

I was only thinking about looks when I created this huge bed.
I didn't think for a minute about how much work it might be.
Which one?  THE flower garden.

oh yes, the monstrosity in front of the house.

The rogue willow has been moved to a more appropriate location, the perennials have been cut back making way for new growth.  But there's still a host of things to do - pulling weeds, mulching, moving plants.  But the weather is cool yet, perfect for working and I'm enjoying every minute.

Monday, April 22, 2013

House Renovation #127,891

 Well maybe not quite that many, but it sure feels like it some days.

Anyone want to take a guess what's going on here?

If you look closely at the photo below you can see the paint on our house has been peeling quite badly for some time.  I often find strips of paint laying in my garden beds.

First step, scrape it off.

Next step....

Friday, April 19, 2013

Basil is hard to grow right?

A couple years in a row I purchased basil seedlings from a nursery.  They did not do so well.  Black leaves, refusing to grow, overtaken by weeds and eventually forgotten.

Basil must be hard to grow right?

Last year I decided to grow basil from seed, starting indoors, hoping that perhaps it might work better.

I planted a lot of seeds as I expected that most would die.  They did not.  Well that's okay, I was sure some would not make it through the transition to the outdoors.

wrong again.

By mid-summer I was giving away garbage bags full of basil to a co-worker who loves making pesto.

and then I made pesto...  and little frozen basil cubes...  and a crap load of pasta.

I planted basil seeds again this year...  maybe just a few extra in case some die .....

Because we know basil is hard to grow right?

I have now potted up some 36 basil seedlings and I still have another flat to go.

Next year would someone please remind me that basil is NOT hard to grow at all.

and would anyone like a few extra seedlings?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Triumphs and Tragedies

It's been a long while since I've written a T&T post but it seemed like it was time after this past weekend.  There's been a myriad of good and bad now that I've gotten out and about in the yard.  Let's start with some triumphs shall we?

The sun was out this past weekend, and while there's still a bit of snow in places, it was a beautiful day for a walk in the woods.

This wooded stretch was snowy but it's the last snow we'll see this year
Although the golf courses aren't open yet there's very little snow left on our property creating a perfect opportunity to try out some new golf clubs.

These little flashes of green don't look like much now but they're a sign of things to come.

Those are daffodil shoots.  I planted dozens (I meant to write down how many but of course, forgot..) of a variety called Golden Echo last fall.  

Also appearing are the shoots of columbine.  

I've had a sudden strong urge to start clearing out flower beds and getting ready for the new season.  

Unfortunately garden chores got sidetracked quite quickly as there are other spring chores to attend to.

A splitter is absolutely necessary when you've got 8 cords of wood to get through
Splitting firewood isn't exactly a tragedy, but when it keeps me out of the garden I consider it a negative.  Unfortunately, if we want a warm house in winter it's imperative that wood gets split and stacked in spring so it has the summer to dry.  

Which brought us directly to another tragedy.  One of our maple trees has been in decline since we moved in.  Back in 2010 it looked like this.

Not quite alive but not yet dead.  Every year it looks worse and this year we found many broken branches scattered at the base.  It was time to take it down.

I hate to remove any trees but you can see on the top left of the tree how there is a dead branch hanging.  It was becoming hazardous to leave this tree standing with branches constantly falling.  The good news is we added substantially to our firewood pile with the wood we got from this tree.

Another unfortunate discovery was one of our newer trees.  I planted a native witch hazel in 2010 and it's been growing beautifully ever since.

Well until now that is.  It's located near the roadside and I'm guessing a load of snow from the plow might have hit it this year.  The main trunk now looks like the photo above.  My thought is that trying to fix it simply won't do any good.  A repaired trunk will always be weak so maybe it's better to just prune off one side.  Does anyone have any better ideas?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pets and Plants - GOOPS

A couple months back, during a break in the winter weather, I ventured into the garage.  I don't often visit the garage in winter as there's usually several feet of snow to push through to get there.  However, the garage is open to other members of the family year round.

A cat door was cut in a boarded up old door frame at the back of the garage
Specifically, a cat door has been cut at the back of the garage to allow our feral kitties access to a warm dry place to curl up.  The door is high enough that skunks can't jump in but unfortunately it does not deter raccoons.  Now, there is no food of any kind in the garage so even if the coons get in there should not be a problem.  

But not this time.  In their quest for something edible they ripped open a box of bone meal, threw a bottle of fish fertilizer to the ground and finally (in exasperation I think) shredded a box of kleenex.  I cleaned up the mess and decided to take the fertilizer up to the house.

Smells like fish but doesn't taste near as good
The moral of the story here would be, lock up anything that smells even remotely like food to an animal.  Otherwise you're looking for trouble.

Several weeks ago I started my yearly foray into onion growing.  Every year I try growing onions and I've yet to have much luck.  This year though someone suggested that I give my seedlings a little boost of fertilizer to get them going.  I'm willing to try anything at this point so off I went to retrieve the fertilizer from the window seat where I last left it.

I carried it down the hall, through the dining room, and into the kitchen.  Mixed a bit into a watering container and then .....

What was the moral of this story?  oh yes, that's right, lock up anything that smells even remotely like food to an animal.  (How many times do I need to learn this lesson?)

Somebody .... ahem ....

I'm willing to bet I know who

had bitten through the bottom of the container leaving a rather large tooth hole.  I suddenly realized I was dripping stinky dead fish fertilizer all over the house, all over my clothes and hands.

I think I can firmly say I've learned my lesson now.

This little piece of garden/pet wisdom is brought to you today via Joene for her monthly Gardening Oops.  [aka GOOPS]