Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Good Night Bumble Bee, Sleep Tight

I found a bumble bee sleeping peacefully on my fuchsia this evening. At first I was concerned that he may have died but after a closer inspection I noted that his antennae and abdomen would move every now and then.

I did a google search. I hope this is information is correct - it seems that bumble bee nests can often be small so the males may find a flower to sleep on. I also learned that male bumble bees do not have stingers so it is OK to take a closer look.

Sleep tight little bumble bee.

In the Morning Sun

I went into the garden this morning to take some photographs. Our beautiful weather has been wonderful and I'm excited that it just may continue through the week.

This bearded iris is my absolute favorite flower in my garden.

Up close and personal.

Worshiping the sun.

I love the vibrant colors in my fuchsias this year.

They were a Mother's Day gift from my husband.

Simply stunning!

Our first home, where we lived more than 10 years ago, had beautiful lilac trees all over the lot. They were old trees, and the wood was thick - thick enough to climb on. I was sad to say goodbye to those trees. Of course, a few cuttings had to come with me! Only one cutting survived and this is it. I plan to propagate a few more now that this tree is well established.

The bracts of my Kousa Dogwood are beginning to turn white. Soon, this tree will be graced in its pure white spring attire.

More rhododendrons are blooming.

This pale pink rhododendron is my favorite. The bees must like it too, because they were all over it.

I would love to have a garage that is as beautiful as this!

Every garden needs a statue. I started the petunias from seed. They should be blooming soon.

Ah - my one and only very lonely pea. This was given to me by a friend after my many attempts to start peas from seed failed.

The Kennebec potatoes are out of control - again. Guess I'll be hilling them in today.

The russets must like the weather we are having, too. They are doing well way down in that garbage can.

Do you see what I see? This is one of my summer squash plants.

I know that onions are biennial. I don't know what their flowers look like. This store-bought onion sprouted on me, so of course I couldn't throw it away. I had to plant it.

These first sunflowers are getting big. I have another set that are doing well, but since they were planted later (at the proper planting time for our location) they are much smaller.

Got rock? We do. Too much of it!

Friday, May 22, 2009

What's Growing (and What's Not)

I planted beans next to the corn plants today. And... believe it or not, I'm on my 3rd attempt with peas. Yup. My daughter and I planted peas in late May. Why? Because it bugs the living daylights out of me that I couldn't get a single pea to germinate from the first packet I bought - and I found a packet on sale, so I thought I'd see if peas from a 2nd packet would germinate. If anything, it was fun for my daughter to poke the round peas into the ground.

The strawberries didn't seem to make it. I'm not sure what happened there. I planted according to the package directions - and at the time the package said to plant them. I pulled them out and planted them in a large pot and put the pot in the sunniest spot in my yard. Now I'm just going to see what happens. The "strawberry bed" has been converted to an herb garden. If I can't grow strawberries this year, I'll grow herbs. :o)

My Kennebec potato bins went crazy during the recent days of rain. As soon as I saw them, I was rushing to get them filled in again.

My large can of Russet potatoes hasn't been as active. I'm guessing it's because they don't get as much light way down there in the bottom of a large garbage can.

It looks like my bearded iris are about to bloom. They are my favorite flower in my garden. I can't wait to see their beautiful faces.

I'm almost finished installing another raised bed. I double-dug it to 12" like I did with all the other beds. I tell ya - my wrists are getting so tired from digging out the rocks. But, this year, we just didn't have the money to invest in building up and using soil mixes.

Tomorrow I hope to finish filling in the new bed with screened soil so I can begin the process of getting some more of my seedlings out of my house and into their new home.

Last, my tomatoes continue to amaze me. They seem to like their new home on the back patio.

The three early planted tomato plants are flowering. It's fun to see.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happily Growing Along

On May 14, Ciscoe Morris wrote in his column that it was finally time to plant tomatoes. My hubby just couldn't help but tease me about how I planted way too early. Of course, I couldn't help but run out and snap a photo of these beauties that are already beginning to bud with flowers. They have come so far... now I just hope I can keep them alive until they fruit.

The "field" of corn is coming along. I know that this may not be enough corn to actually get pollination - although that would be nice. My main goal here is to teach the children how corn stalks grow (they planted the seeds) - and to grow a living "pole" for more pole beans.

So far, the summer squash seems happy in its bed.

Viola! Just another pretty face in the crowd.

Our state flower in all its glory. This is such a pretty time of year. I truly enjoy seeing all the plants in our garden happily growing along.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

First Harvest, Strawberry Bed and More

It's harvest time! Well, not quite, but I did pull this absolutely delicious radish from the garden on May 10. This morning, I pulled two more. The leaves were shading some little seedlings. Wow! As a child, I remember how delicious I thought radishes were, but I quit eating them because I haven't liked them that much as an adult. Now I know why - my mom grew radish in her garden when I was a child. They were GOOD! Store purchased radish are not the same. The three radish I have pulled out of my own garden this year have been so delicious I plan to find every little nook and cranny that I can tuck some more radish seed into.

This is a photo of my tomato plants on May 8. They've grown much taller and are developing flowers. I'm wondering if it is too early for tomatoes to flower here in our Pacific Northwest weather. We will soon find out.

I have been busy working on more beds. As with all my beds, I am double-digging to at least 12". My body just can't take double-digging any deeper than that. The ground gets too rocky and the rocks just get bigger and bigger.

As I fill them back in with native (sandy) soil, I screen all the rocks out. Then I add a little bit of aged steer manure and some compost.

Can you believe ALL of these rocks came out of the strawberry bed? I can no longer count how many wheelbarrows full of rock that we have dumped over the cliff. It is a long and tedious process, one that I hope pays off big-time with a beautiful and thriving garden.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day to all! We don't celebrate May Day in a formal sense, but when May rolls around I am so excited to see all the beautiful changes that spring has in store. It is now 14 days from our "safe" planting date. Soon - all the effort of bringing plants inside each night will be past.

I'm not a big fan of a lot of statuary in the garden. But, I do think it is fun for the children to see a few fun items decorating the garden. I like that this bunny almost looks real.

The garden is beginning to green up. I can't wait to see a lush garden filled with lots of plants and texture. I love how big my tomato plants (along the back wall) have gotten, and I am very grateful that 5 of my early started sunflowers have survived to this point.

I'm also noticing that we need to paint the caulk on the house before the plants make that chore a little difficult. LOL!

My seedlings are patiently waiting for the moment it is safe to plant them in their final homes. Yesterday, I did transplant 11 petunias that I started from seed. When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was check to see if they survived the night. They did. Thank goodness! I'm holding back on planting these remaining petunia seedlings just in case something happens to the others.

Ever wonder what a 42' long trench looks like from below?

Ah... the trench project. I dug 1/2 of the trench myself. Thank you to DH for stepping in and helping me out with the 2nd half. This particular trench is almost finished.

I know a few little munchkins who loved to play in it.

One little munchkin in particular thought it was very cool to watch the water make it to the end of the trench.

We laid the pipe and filled it in. Just a little more sod needs to be placed back on top and it will be finished.

Unfortunately, we are not finished with digging trenches. We still have one to dig along the side yard. The new one will be more complicated. It will be attached to a gutter and rain barrel system and will drain into a rain garden.

Poster by Good Nature Publishing.
I was given one of these beautiful posters last night at a rain garden workshop.

What's a rain garden?
The rain garden poster says it best:
Rain gardens work like a native forest by capturing and infiltrating stormwater from rooftops, driveways, and other hard surfaces. Rain gardens reduce flooding by absorbing water from impervious surfaces; filter oil, grease and toxic materials before they can pollute streams, lakes and bays; help to recharge the aquifer by increasing the quantity of water that soaks into the ground; provide benefical wildlife habitat.

And, last... does anyone have any idea what this strange looking bug is? I thought it was pine needles at first. I wish I could have gotten a better picture - the morning sun was glaring on it.

Edit: I learned that this is a "Plume Moth". A better photo can be found here:
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