Welcome to the AMAZING WALL OF SCENT

It’s a wonderful time of year for my garden. The honeysuckle that forms a green fence around the garden is in full bloom and the scent is amazing. It’s a massive, enchanting scent. I’ll miss it when the blossoms are over.

honeysuckle wall

new honeysuckle bloom

yellowed honeysuckle bloom

The honeysuckle in the front looks stunning, but doesn’t smell at all. Luckily for it, the scent in the back often is strong enough to make its way up front, giving the illusion of scented flowers.

these blooms do not smell

close up

I’ve had the pleasure of hosting a couple groups of friends in my garden in the last week. It’s always fun to get to show it off in person, and I’m grateful for their interest and for the fact that they humor me and all my plant talk. Several people were interested to see my garden but weren’t able to come in person, so here’s a virtual garden tour.

Looking East

looking east

Looking West

looking west

Looking North

looking north

The Vegetable Garden

vegetables

The New Garden

just starting out

And here’s a new garden space that I just planted. It looks pretty sparse, but the plants should all spread. I’m interested to see how it develops and which plants will thrive. Since it’s in an exposed area at the front of the house, I was concerned that the neighbors would give me a hard time for spending time and money on silly plants, but everyone I talked to was nice, interested in what I was doing, and adding their own two cents. So, it was a great get-to-know-your-neighbor event.

One of my big accomplishments for the year is getting a black iris bloom. My friend and neighbor Alan has a nice little patch of them in his garden. I transferred one of them to my garden 5-6 years ago, but no bloom. So I transferred a second one in case the first had died, but no bloom. But finally this year…

black iris

In other news of the extraordinary, early one morning I awoke to birds’ alarm calls and looked outside to see a hawk perched on the alley streetlight while holding a dying dove. It was pretty interesting. The hawk sat there for a while before flying away.

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And an interesting bird skull I discovered while mulching the new garden in the front…

bird skull

And a sampling of other photos from around my garden (remember, click any one for a slide show with captions):

 

 

Happy Garden of Rainbow Unicorn Dreams

This time of year is perfect. My garden looks beautiful, in part because everything in it is so fresh and new and excited to be alive. I bought several new plants at the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale a few weeks ago (held, funnily enough, on World Naked Gardening Day (no one was naked)) and I shoehorned them into my stuffed perennial bed so it’s an even bigger and fuller mass of colors and textures. The whole garden is a chartreuse land of rainbows and unicorns, and I’ve been spending all my spare minutes in it.

There are no death zones where plants have decided that I pushed them a little too far and they really don’t like where they’ve been planted. The raccoons haven’t held a kegger in the middle of the perennial bed. Nothing is deflated in the summer heat. No bug or slug infestation has wrecked the place. No single plant has decided to crowd out its neighbors until they die. The neighbor hasn’t lobbed bottle rockets into the yard. The next door landlord hasn’t killed my honeysuckle with Round-Up just because he blames the world for his shortcomings.

It’s a paradise that will fall soon enough. I’m just trying to enjoy it while it lasts.

Early May Garden 2015

bits of color

The plants have all emerged from the ground and most are nearing their full size. You can click through the slide show below to see what’s going on in more detail. See if you can spot my cat surveying his domain!

 

The Garden Unfurls

Things are emerging from the ground at a very rapid pace. It’s amazing to me how quickly the space is transforming itself. Here’s what it looked like about a week and a half ago:

April 9, 2015

And then a week later:

April 17, 2015

Suddenly the world is blooming and growing (click on any photo to find out a little more about what you’re seeing):

Of particular note is the wonderful way that the ferns seem to crawl out of the earth, unfurl, and expand:

And water droplets on hostas are always beautiful:

The Next Phase of Spring

This year, the magnolia bloomed for Easter. It is always such a treat to smell the flowers as I walk up the front steps and to see the grand tree covered in happy blossoms. Unfortunately, the blooms are considerably muted this year because so many were damaged by the cold and never opened. Still, the ones that remain are gorgeous.

Magnolia 2015

Other signs of the quickening spring are appearing everywhere in the garden (click on any image below for a slide show of larger photos):

  • The grape hyacinth blooming (I always loved my grandma’s grape hyacinths: the teeny tiny, knobby blooms and the fragrance!),
  • unexpected little blue blossoms,
  • the Japanese painted fern emerging from the ground like a cluster of cramped bird claws,
  • hops (reminding me of my family in Germany) that’s quickly ascending its support,
  • tiny lettuces,
  • tiny blackberry leaves greening the formerly bare branches,
  • asparagus shoots–the garden’s first edible produce,
  • multi-colored and multi-textured leaves emerging from the ground,
  • a healthy patch of wild ginger and Solomon’s seal unfurling skyward,
  • and violets that fill my yard and refuse to give way.

Here’s an overview of my garden now:

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For Easter, we had beautiful weather in Evansville. I had the afternoon to myself, so I decided to ride my 1968 Schwinn Hollywood Red Line bicycle along the Evansville riverfront and down the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage. It was the perfect day for it. Photos below are: the pedestrian bridge along Ohio Street, the Fligeltaub scrap yard, the flooded Ohio River, and the tulips at the Pagoda.

 

 

Spring: Yeah, It’s Happening.

Spring is undeniably in the air. The first brave crocuses opened at the beginning of February, but were quickly pummeled by the snow. Now, the reinforcements have arrived and are covering the lawn with bright colors and attracting plenty of honeybees. The yard is coming back to life!

The garlic is beginning to rise from beneath its leaf mulch blanket. I’m glad to see it doing well.

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This weekend was beautiful, and I planted lettuces in my raised bed. While doing so, I enjoyed the sedums growing along the edge of the bed.

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The hellebores have popped up within the last few days and are blooming happily. Their blooms are always so welcome at this time of year. I need to plant more!

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And I discovered the first signs of other plants–the ones that will reign over my garden during the summer months. They’re there: emerging just above the soil, deciding that perhaps it is just warm enough now.

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Winter Postscript

This week, the first week of March, it snowed again. We got 8.5 inches, the #5 one-day snowfall total of all time for Evansville. It began with heavy rain on Wednesday morning, followed by a little sleet, and then thick snow. It was beautiful.

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And it created some interesting snow sculptures in my back yard.

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It snowed all night. The next morning the city was quiet under its blanket of snow. Here’s what 8.5 inches looks like:

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I shoveled walks and then went skiing along the levee.

I’ve been grateful to have access to a 4-wheel drive vehicle, which greatly expands my potential skiing sites. It was bitterly cold after the snow, which meant that I got another nice day of skiing on Friday. I decided to try a short stretch of a levee close to the neighboring town of Newburgh. It was also very pleasant, and I saw the tracks of one other cross country skier.

Ski EVV

It was remarkable enough that we had over six inches of snow in Evansville. What was even more remarkable? That the snow we got was *perfect* for skiing.

Most unusual was that the snow didn’t start as rain switching to snow. That meant that there wasn’t the customary inch-thick layer of slush under the snow’s surface to attach itself to my skis in globs and stop all forward momentum. And it was bitterly cold with wind chills below zero, so the snow was crisp and not half melty.

I was out skiing five days in a row and took my camera each day. The Evansville riverfront and the nearby levee protecting the downtown area were a beautiful setting and are not far from my house. I’ve heard that Evansville is one of very few large cities that are on a river but don’t have a city across the river from them, so the view from the downtown is special.

I like the way that my photos capture the different stages of the snowstorm and its aftermath. There’s the gray on gray with the snow still falling, the clearing/clouding before the blast of cold, the crystal clear and bitterly cold and windy arctic blast, the return of snow, and the return of clouds that portended freezing rain and the end of my skiing.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5