Favorite Places Around My Garden

I’ve been busy lately, so I haven’t been posting as much, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been taking photos of my garden. Here’s a collection of some of my favorite moments around the garden during June. All of them are set up as slide shows, so if you click on one thumbnail, you’ll get to flip through the show.

1. Blooms and foliage in the perennial bed. First came the flaming astrilbe blooms, then the hostas. Hostas blooming below are the tiny “mouse’s ears” and my favorite “golden tiara” that has a beautifully variegated bloom that’s beautiful with the chartreuse leaves.

2. My brick wall garden continues to make me happy. The ferns, begonias, coleus, and sedums are happy, colorful, and beautifully textured.

3. Sedums scattered here and there around my garden.

4. My old cat watching it all.

06 01

Gardening from All the Angles

Real human visitors actually standing in my garden! I’ve had quite a few of them lately and it’s been really, really fun!

If you weren’t able to visit my garden in person, here’s a virtual tour. I had the place looking pretty neat and tidy, if I do say so myself, though it was nice of the plants to cooperate with me! Particularly noteworthy was the honeysuckle, which was in full bloom for the garden tours. I wish I could bottle the smell and spread it over the whole year. It’s so sweet and joyful.

Click on any photo below to get a slideshow tour.

And a view from closer up (again, click on any photo for a slide show)…

My elderly cat has been enjoying the sights, also. He’s starting to have trouble getting around but still enjoys watching birds, getting rubs, and eating his fancy cat food. To make it easier for him to look out the back door, I gave him a chair. He’s incredibly happy about that.

Shamoo watching the yard

Five Years in the Garden

Five years ago I started my garden. It’s grown beyond my wildest dreams.

In 2009:

Perennials in 2009

In 2014:

Perennials in 2014

In 2009:

Vegetables in 2009

In 2014:

Vegetables in 2014

To celebrate all that new growth, here are some images of this spring’s plants emerging (click on any one for a slide show):

I’m discovering that I went a little crazy planting lettuces and greens in my new raised bed. I was too excited by all the new possibilities that the extra space would afford me and now it’s ALL ready at the same time. John and I are doing our best to eat it before it expires!

We’ve done a lot of salads, John’s making green smoothies for breakfast and lunch, and I’ve got a great soup recipe that can incorporate giant fistfuls of all of these greens. We keep harvesting it by the bowlful and laughing because afterward you can’t see the spot where any is missing.

It all tastes so good. The list of what’s growing is:

  • Vates collards from Seed Savers Exchange
  • Cilantro from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Apollo Arugula from Seed Savers
  • Rocky Top Lettuce Mix from Baker Creek
  • Salad Blend Siamese Dragon Stir-Fry Mix from Baker Creek
  • Tatsoi from Baker Creek
  • Shanghai Green Choy from Baker Creek

look at all the greens!

The Appearance of Green

Two weeks ago, my garden was just starting to show some traces of green. I left for the weekend and was amazed to find a garden full of whole plants when I returned!

Sprouts:

Leaves:

Blooms:

A garden!

P1090796

And the plants are doing well in the greenhouse, too!

Beautiful Winter Browns

lots of goldfinches

The cold winds are blowing ever onward. We had another blast of very cold air last week and I noticed a particularly large flock of birds eating at my feeders. In this photo, I think I can see about 50 goldfinches plus a couple juncos eating seeds off our side porch and from the thistle feeder in the background (click the image for a larger photo and you can try to count them yourself). I resorted to spilling seeds on the porch just to have enough area to feed them all.

While it’s been cold, we’ve only had periodic dustings of snow–just enough to show the critters’ comings and goings around our house. I’ve been on the lookout for raccoon tracks, but (thankfully) haven’t seen any. There have been plenty of tracks from a couple marauding cats and, of course, all the birds.

birds

cat dance

There is  beauty in my brown garden.

brown garden

This year I left the dry astrilbe seed heads and I like their addition to my winter garden along with the dried hydrangea flowers and assorted leaves still clinging to plants.

astrilbe

hydrangea 1

blackberry leaf

lace cap

fern

All the wind in the bare trees has kept my wind chimes in motion. It’s even been enough to activate the little bells that are part of the tree jewelry I made last summer. I got a new chime for Christmas and I’m experimenting to find out where to put it so it will ring. So far I haven’t heard it, so I’ll have to keep working on it. It sure looks nice, though.

bells

bell close-up

Life isn’t only shades of brown, though. Inside my house I’ve got four orchids in bloom and one working its way toward a bloom.

points of color

 

Looking Back, Thinking Forward

One of the things I final photo of 2013accomplished over the Christmas break was finishing my seed orders for the upcoming year.  I spent part of a couple days flipping through the colorful, glossy, extra large photos of prime produce in my seed catalogs and reading the luscious descriptions of flavors and scents.

I resisted temptation this year: I only got a few more things than I can reasonably fit into my garden and I didn’t get any of my previous years’ duds, meaning no carrots, squash, peas, melons (well, OK, a couple melons), or spinach. This year I am going to try a couple varieties of the (super hip) blue tomatoes, so wish me luck.

Garden projects I’d love to do in the next year:

  • Create a pool of moving water for the birds
  • Turn the container garden area into a real raised bed
  • Paint the exterior of the house so I can finally create gardens where the painters will need to tread (I spent vacation time creating a way to test color ideas in Photoshop)house front good idea 1
  • Repaint the blackberry trellis
  • Relax and Enjoy my garden space!

Activity at my bird feeder has picked up. Each morning finds 7-8 goldfinches hanging on the thistle feeder in their butter-kissed but drab winter attire. There are also masses of English sparrows, doves, house finches, and cute little juncos that Shamoo loves to watch. Several days ago the woodpeckers were out. In addition to one of the usual downy woodpeckers, I was treated to seeing a red-bellied woodpecker helping himself to some sunflower seeds.

Looking back at the past year, I put together videos reviewing 2013 in my garden. They’re a series of photos I took out my back door roughly once a week. I had forgotten that the houses across the alley from us were built in early 2013. The construction activity is one point of interest.

Vegetables:

and

Perennials: