Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Grow Food!

 I can't believe there is actually something growing in the vegetable garden that looks like food.  Not a flower, not a leaf, but FOOD!

These are my grape tomatoes and I believe I may actually eat one before Christmas.  The fact that I have MORE than one is already a huge accomplishment, as you may recall, that twelve years ago when I decided to grow tomatoes, I got ONE cherry tomato.  (It was then that I learned that you shouldn't pick the flowers off a tomato plant.)

Having said that, there are white things on my tomato plants (see second photo).  Could these be aphids?  They didn't look like aphids to me.

I left it alone except later in the day I rescued a lady bug drowning in my sedum leaves and moved the little critter to the tomato plants.

Nothing came of the onions, cucumbers, spinach, carrots I planted and I'm chalking that up to poor soil, poor knowledge, poor practices.

I'll do better next time.  Promise.

But right now, I'm happy to see food on the vine!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Ins and Outs of a Meadow

The larkspur is all but gone and the catchfly and bachelor's buttons are quickly fading.

Out with the old... in with the new.

What was a field of pink and white just two weeks ago is quickly being replaced by a field of yellow and yellow and yellow.  And a touch of chocolate!

Rudbeckia, coreopsis, cosmos area already blooming and the sunflowers are looking strong.

Having a meadow is so much fun.... we'll be adding another several pounds of seeds in six short weeks and expanding the entire area to more than double what we have now.

Part of the field will be in partial shade so we'll use seeds that do well in those lighting conditions.

Johnny-Jump-Ups will abound.

I can't wait!

Monday, June 27, 2011


The rocks-over-landscape-fabric project has begun.

To use newspaper under these rocks would prove disastrous in a year or two as the newspaper would begin to break down and let the weeds come through.

Removing hundreds of rocks to weed was not an option, so I went with the landscape fabric much to the chagrin of gardeners everywhere.

But this was the only way to do it.

I work in sections and because the bed is "circular", there's a lot of overlapping and reconfiguring of the fabric.  I bought the commercial grade stuff and I rinse the rocks before laying them down.  Otherwise, I'll have soil and one little weed seed will find its way to that specific spot and grow.  This is how landscape fabric fails:  people lay mulch over it which is nothing more than a medium in which plants can grow.  Plants cannot grow on bare rock... they need a medium.

I thought we had so many rocks around here and now that I'm collecting them and putting them to use, I find I don't have enough.

I'm sure as I continue to garden, I'll find more.

After all, this is Connecticut.  And rocks grow after every rainfall.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Different Kind of Mulch

I am in search of piles and piles and piles of newspapers and struck out today.  But I may get through to somebody at The Day who can help me out tomorrow.

In the meantime, I've begun "mulching" the Japanese Garden.  I'm using stone as mulch here instead of shredded pine bark.  And beneath the stone, there will be no newsprint.  Just landscape fabric.

This garden looks so tiny, doesn't it?  It IS rather small until you have to work on it.

This photo was shot from a balcony off the second floor  From up there, the big boulder looks like a pebble.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Mulch Man Cometh

I adore my husband.

He arrived Friday at 11 PM from a week-long trip to Japan and went to our local Transfer Station this morning (town dump but they don't like it when I say it that way) and got me two truckloads of mulch.  (Our transfer station provides free mulch and compost and for that, I am more than happy to my taxes which are still one of the lowest in the state of Connecticut).

Frank left this morning for another week-long trip to Virginia but by leaving me two heaping piles of mulch, he knows I am very, very happy as now I can move forward with Dogwood Alley.

I have been collecting newspapers and now I'm sorry I told Frank to pay for an on-line subscription to the New York Times.  I don't have enough newspapers.  I'll go to Mystic River Press on Monday and beg, borrow, steal all the newspapers I can get from them.  Then I'll go to New London and get all issues of The Day that I can.  Norwich Bulletin and Hartford Courant are too far from me, but if I have to, I'll hit them up, too.

I gotta get this massive, massive garden mulched.

As it is, I think I'll need another four truckloads to get it done.

It still blows my mind how quickly you can go through newspapers and mulch in the garden.

I'm glad all this stuff is free!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day In My Father's Garden

Papi, I imagine from where you sit, this is your view of your garden.

Since our last walk through here, I've added two more heucheras (twelve feels more balanced to me than ten).  They have just begun to bloom!

Remember Iris?  Our neighbor?  You and mami loved her so much.  Imagine how happy I was when I found this dwarf Iris to plant near your pond.  Her blooms are spent already, but she'll be back next year bigger and better!

Frank added rocks around the edge and inside the pond to let the froggies and dragonfly nymphs in and out.  Silly salamanders were jumping in with no way out so the stones are good for them, too.

The astilbes bloomed today, such a delicate, pale pink with shades of cream.  They remind me of sherbet.

Frances Williams continues to put on a fabulous show for you today.  All of these have buds, some have begun to bloom, and others are in full throttle.

Even the lacecap hydrangea paid her respects by making an appearance today.  In no time, this beautiful shrub will be cloaked in these tiny, delicate blooms.

The balloon flowers were not ready today, but soon.  Soon!

The Knock-out Rose made up for it!

I lay beneath your tree sometimes and look up to you.

I always looked up to you when I was little and that has never changed.

Happy Father's Day, papi.  You always were, and continue to be, the best man I've ever known.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Ever-growing To Do List

Frank left for Japan yesterday and we didn't get the mulch.  So it will be at least two weeks before I'll be able to lay that down.

That should make  my weeds very, very happy.

I had visitors this morning.

Four leaves on two different hostas were completely whacked off in Dogwood Alley.  I went in search of deer resistant plants and all I got was a too-long list of ferns.

I don't like ferns.

They're right up there with azaleas and rhododendrons.  Don't like them at all.

I'm going to leave my hostas in place but I will add a dozen or two heucheras, a dozen brunneras, fifteen to twenty lamiums, and fifteen to twenty pulmonarias.  I hope to get this all planted this weekend.  No husband in the house means no need to cook or do much of anything else.

After living with it for a while, I couldn't stand the Rosebud Azaleas in the Japanese Garden.  I replaced them with liriope.

The dwarf Albert Spruces are bugging me, too, so I think those will be out and planted in larger containers flanking the breezeway.  They looked good there before, they'll look good there again.  So basically, the Japanese Garden is back to Square Three.  The barberries are gone, the azaleas are gone, and the spruces will be gone.

As I alluded to earlier, the weeds are out of control.  We've had some good rains this past week and everything has taken off:  grass, crabgrass, and that unidentifiable weed with a root system that runs a mile long.  The bramble are everywhere.  Chemicals are looking good to me right about now.

If I had the mulch, I could start newspapering the heck out of everything, but I don't.

All of the sunflower seeds have sprouted.  I clearly did not consider spacing whatsoever and these guys get BIG.  Guess I need to add transplanting sunflowers to my "to do" list as well.

I have more wildflower seeds to sprinkle in the Meadow including Rudbeckia and poppies and zinnias.  The cosmos are coming up in the Meadow and the coneflowers have big fat buds on them (aphids, too).

I have to show properties today and tomorrow but I think I can take a day off this week.  Maybe I'll take a shot at going to to the Town Dump by myself and loading the truck with mulch.

But I don't think so.  I don't do the grunt work.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Endangered Species

The dragonflies crash into my windows and die.

I need to hang something so the silly things will stop doing that.

Every time a dragonfly dies, fifty mosquitoes that survive.

Why can't the damned mosquitoes crash into my windows and die?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day for June 2011

Hosta/Frances Williams
Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts the Garden Bloggers' Blooming Day every month on the 15th.  With a meadow for a backyard, I have plenty of opportunity to participate.  :-)

Dianthus/Sweet William

Siberian Wallflower



Lance-Leaf Coreopsis

Beefsteak Tomato


Gerbera Daisy


Shasta Daisy

Bachelor's Button

Monday, June 13, 2011

My First Pepper Ever

Diva asked for an update on the vegetable garden, and as much as I'd like to report that I have an abundance of fresh food growing by leaps and bounds, the truth is the vegetable garden isn't doing too well.

The carrots I planted are barely noticeable.

The spinach never sprouted.

The onions were there one day and then the next day, the wind must have blown them away because I can't find any of the seeds I planted.

The peppers never sprouted either, so I bought three pepper plants and those look great.

The tomatoes have flowers but those were also plants so of course, I should be able to see something come out of the ground.

I have three cucumber plants and six zucchini plants that seem to have gone through a cryogenic phase because they've been the same size for at least three weeks.

But I have a pepper, and I am happy about that!

I'm not going to give up on vegetable gardening, by any means, but I do believe our soil needs to be seriously amended as this is the same soil that had heavy tractors and trailers sitting on it just a year ago.

I'm happy to report that in addition to the pepper, my weeds are also doing very well in the vegetable garden.

Humble beginnings.... best lessons ever!


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