Posts Tagged ‘gardening’
Since our grapes have began to ripen we have had a lot of wasps under the arbor. They are getting the juice from the. grapes that have fallen. They don’t really bother anyone but many people, especially children, are afraid of them. It’s easy just to shoo them away but it is much nicer not having them there at all.
I just found out about this neat gadget that you can hang in your garden to repel wasps. Wasp are very territorial and this little lantern shaped thing looks like a wasp nest and so wasp take one look at it and take off.
I was skeptical that it would work, but thought it was worth a try. Just hung it up today and the wasps have all vanished. The juicy fallen grapes are still there but no wasps.
I got it at Lowes and there are 2 in the package. It says that it should clear an area of 200′. Now that I’m a little skeptical of. I only hung one for now though. I’m saving the other for next year in case this one doesn’t survive till then.
I have a big variety of roses and of course I have favorites. I tend to like the pastel colors rather than the vibrant ones. The Brandy Rose is a beautiful, soft colored rose that is really pretty in all stages. When it’s fully open it is just as gorgeous as in the bud stage.
This morning I was strolling through the garden and just enjoying, when I noticed a bee nestled in one of the roses. I couldn’t rouse him and thought he might have expired. I moved on but came back and he was still there, tucked down in his beautiful bed. I ruffled him a little just to make sure he was really alive and sure enough he was. But he refused to be run off. I left him there, enjoying his rest. Curious creatures, bees.
One of the joys of growing your own fruit is being able to bottle as much as you want or need to without it breaking the bank. Peaches in the store and at the Farmer’s Market here on Thursdays cost a small fortune. It’s one thing to buy some to eat but having enough to put up is a whole different ball game.
The Red Haven peaches are going to finish up by early next week and then the Hale Havens will begin to ripen. I’ve tried one that was almost ripe and it was sweeter than the Red Havens. When I’ve finished bottling peaches from the first tree it will be about time to get started on the second…and so on and so on. Six trees should take us through September and then it will be time for a well deserved vacation.
We do share a lot of our peaches, thankfully so many people really like peaches. I can’t imagine what we would do with all that fruit if we didn’t share.
We have six peach trees and all of them have peaches that ripen at different times. This way we have a long peach season and we aren’t pushed to do something with all those peaches all at once.
We have Red Haven, Hale Haven, Autumn Star, Elberta and Early Elberta. We also have a mystery peach that has been here for about 50 years, which is about 46 years longer than us. The Red Haven is the first to ripen and it is a teaser. The peaches turn beautiful, rich shades of red and peach long before the peach is ripe. Looking at the tree you would think it was ready to be picked. Not so. Those peaches may look ripe but they stay hard as rocks for quite a while. Then one day they begin to soften. Thankfully, they don’t all soften at the same time, just a few here and there. Soon though they will all be ready to pick.
We like to share them and of course we eat quite a lot too. We will be busy bottling peaches for the next six weeks or so.
A couple of years ago I planted 6 thornless blackberry vines in a patch I had prepared just for them. It turned out not to be such a great place because the nearby trees didn’t allow enough sun to get to the plants and so they grew but didn’t produce much fruit.
Last fall I moved them to a sunny area near the raised vegetable beds. I provided something for them to grow on by driving two pieces of rebar into the ground, one on each end of the blackberry bed and arching a PVC electrical conduit (which I had painted black to blend into the background) over the bed and down onto the rebar. This works great because it is a little flexible and I can pull it down a little so that I can reach the berries.
Apparently the vines are very happy
in the new location because the vines have more than quadrupled in number and are producing prolific amounts of berries. We will have plenty of berries this year. The berries are huge and when they get ripe they are so sweet. I picked a basket full today to make a cobbler. Being sweet is great for just eating raw but for a cobbler, the tartness of the berries is perfect.
Our garden is four years old now and I’m familiar with most of the plants in it. I don’t know the names of everything, but I “know” the plant. There was a lily that I had ordered from a catalog and planted that first summer. It came up and grew year after year but it wouldn’t bloom. The stalk was a little spindly and it never would grow very tall, but at least it kept coming up.
This year it not only came up but it came up in a couple of clumps with lots of little lily babies all around it. The stalks are thick and strong and then it began to set buds. I was so excited to see if this lily was going to finally bloom and to see what it would look like.
Not only did it bloom, it is the most beautiful lily I have ever seen. I am so glad that it is multiplying because I wouldn’t mind having this throughout the whole garden. A lily well worth waiting for.
On the other hand…
I think I mentioned earlier that when my Dad passed away I dug up his Lilies, a Heaven On Earth rose, all his Irises and a Honey Crisp Apple tree he had just planted. I planted these things all over the garden, not knowing what colors the Irises and the Lilies would be. There were some beautiful ones, like the deep roses colors but the bright yellows I’m not fond of. I like the “cool” colors of blue, pink, lavender and purple better. One of the Lilies though is white with maroon speckles inside. Not very pretty to my eye, but it sure is healthy and has tons of blooms. I just wish it weren’t in such a public spot, right by the sidewalk. Maybe some passserby will think it’s pretty.
For Mother’s Day our sweet grandchildren usually give me a Lowe’s gift card. Perfect gift for a gardener, right?
I always buy Clematis with those gift cards because then they can see what they gave me and watch them grow more and more beautiful year after year. That’s how I came to put Clematis by the front gate area. I’d never grown Clematis before but I kind of had a little idea that it was a delicate little vine with a few flowers here and there. Oh my, was I ever surprised when beautiful things started to happen. It only took a year before there were plenty of bloom. Yes, the vine is very delicate, which is surprising considering the amount of growth it puts on each year and the abundance of blooms it produces.
We have nice people stop all the time to chat about the garden. When the Clematis are in bloom (a very long time) most comments and compliments are about them.
The peachy Day lilies beneath them set off the pinky lavender of the Clematis really well. Both SO easy to grow.
The Delphiniums seem to get bigger and taller each year. Pretty amazing since all of them came from a little packet of seeds I planted in June four years ago. The first year they barely came up and were so little and spindly. The following year wasn’t much better, just a little taller. Last year though, they just decided to get up and grow and this year they are taller than ever, about 6′. The stalks are much sturdier too. I guess Delphiniums were meant to teach me patience because I sure wasn’t impressed with them at first. Glad I decided to just leave them alone to see what they would do. (Check out the picture to the right, that was the 2012 version. See how much taller and fuller they are this year?)
Now the Hollyhocks on the other hand are not as prolific and showy as they were
in past years. The first year was sketchy because they are biennials, which means they come up the first year and bloom the second year. When they did bloom, it was gorgeous, with big beautiful flowers and lots of lush foliage.
This year, and a little last year, they have many problems. The leaves are covered in rusty looking bumps, the flowers are small and sparse and they are only reaching about 6′ at best, many not even that tall. Since they reseed so freely every year, I don’t want to continue with this crop so soon I’m going to rip them all out and clear out the bed and replant fresh seeds. I think if I can get them to grow a couple of feet that they will bloom next year. We’ll see.
It has been a nice, warm summer so the flowers are thriving this year.
The arbor built over the south gate a couple of years ago has finally been covered in roses this year.
All of the Clematis are finally maturing enough to really begin to put on a show. Most of them are 3 years old, some are 4 years old.
Here are some shots of the garden that include roses, clematis, hollyhocks, catmint, salvia, peonies, irises, feverfew, centranthus, lavender, daylilies, oriental lilies, snapdragons, hostas, dogwood, delphiniums, larkspur and many others. (Click on picture to enlarge)
My Dad was a gardener and had a pretty good collection of beautiful Irises. When he passed away, I dug them up and moved them to my garden. They didn’t do very much that first year (2012) since they were just getting established, but this year they have been spectacular. It has been wonderful having such a variety of color in the garden. I had no idea Irises even came in so many colors.
I also hadn’t realized how heavenly scented they are. Their perfume drifts over the garden all day, but especially in the early morning. Ah, bliss.
Here are some of the many colors abloom in the garden this year.
This doesn’t even include the White, Yellow, Blue and Black ones. Irises are one of my favorite flowers, rating right up there with Roses, Clematis and Peonies. I just wish their beauty lasted all summer.
A friend was kind enough to give me some of the old windows from her home. I knew I wanted to use them in the garden, just wasn’t sure exactly where. I really liked the idea of hanging them in the grape arbor, since it’s like an outdoor dining room for our large family gatherings.
There are a lot of ways to use old windows though. I considered mounting them on the side of or back of the garage, where there are no windows.
I really like using old things in the garden to make it a cozy, comforting place to be. We have some really old things tucked here and there throughout.
I’ve tried all kinds of ways to provide support for climbers, like sugar snap peas and green beans. Most of them have their drawbacks. Last year I created a framework of long bamboo poles. That worked pretty well except that even though I made it very tall (about 6 1/2 feet) the peas grew even taller. It became a balancing act trying to keep the whole thing from toppling over. I had re-bar stakes to support it but it just wasn’t enough. Besides, until the peas got tall enough to hide some of the bamboo, it seemed a bit of an eyesore.
This year I decided to try and make something a little more permanent. I got some of those heavy metal fence post that have little nubs on them. I had to get up on a tall ladder to pound them into the ground deep enough (about 18″-24″). The little nubs all along the length of the posts let me decide where I would tie the twine. I strung heavy twine horizontally in several places, both high and low. Then I strung string vertically between them. I left a tail on the string at the bottom for the peas to attach to and begin their climb. I almost strung wire for the horizontal support but thought I’d try the twine for this year. It seems like it would be easier to clear out at the end of the season instead of pulling all the dead vines off the wire. I guess I’ll soon see if the twine is going to be enough support for the heavy vines.
Even though we have beautiful, black loamy soil, each Spring we like to add a layer of black mulch.
The mulch we use is produced by our town by composting the leaf and limbs that are taken to the land fill. I think the “black gold” we buy is about 4-5 years old. It is so rich and so it not only keeps the weeds down and the roots cool and moist, but it also adds nutrients back into the soil. It will continue to break down over the year and next year we’ll add another layer. The plants respond very well to it and it makes the garden look much nicer too.
The town I lived in in Tennessee did about the same thing but on a much smaller scale. The mulch there was full of debris and not quite as composted, but at least it was free. All you had to do was drive up and start shoveling it into your truck or trailer. Here, we may have to pay $30 a ton, but they load it for you.
One little hint, don’t ever go right after a good rain. The mulch will be much heavier and much more expensive.
Oh happy day when the Lilacs are finally in bloom. I’ve always loved them and had planted 4 a couple of years ago. They haven’t done much until this year and there are quite a few blossoms to enjoy. They smell so good and seem to last a long time.
In my Dad’s yard were huge Lilacs that bore massive amounts of blooms. I would cut arms full each year to bring home. I realized that in the house a little goes a long way. They have rather heavy perfume. But when the weather is nice and warm (it’s getting there) I can open the windows to get some ventilation. Then I can have them everwhere without driving us out.
This bouquet is for a friend’s birthday, but soon this house will be smelling good!
As if the gorgeous sunshine and warmer (74′) weather aren’t enough to make me super excited that Spring is finally here, the peach and plum trees are in bloom and the birds are singing away.
There is so much to do in the garden, but I have to admit that it has been hard accomplishing anything because I just want to BE in the garden, absorbing all the things coming back to life after such a long, cold winter.
The yard help came and went and did such a fantastic job (I’ll post pictures later of their work) that I can take time to enjoy the garden. It is fun to see things coming up that I had forgotten were there. In the Fall I usually put in more perennials (mainly because they are on sale then) and so it’s a surprise to see the new plants emerge.
The Aprium trees were in full bloom when temperatures dropped down to the mid 20’s so I’m not hopeful of getting many, or any, of them this year. The Apricots and Cherry buds were beginning to open and so this may be a bad year for them too. If we don’t get a lot of fruit, at least the trees will have a year to rest and get stronger.
Now we just have to wait another month before planting the rest of the garden, the annuals and vegetables. Gardening teaches us patience.
Even though I love the spring time when the temperatures rise and the inversion lifts and we have unlimited sunshine, I can’t help but dwell on the massive amount of work ahead of me as I began to remove the winter kill as well as the unwanted growth from the flower beds.
I suppose it is because our growing season is so short, things really start growing very fast once they’ve come up. This applies to perennials and weeds alike. But even more than that are the many plants that come up in the wrong place. Take Hollyhocks, for instance. I love them, they are majestic and beautiful and can add so much to a garden with their height and colors, but unfortunately, if not cut back before they throw their seeds, they will re-seed all over the garden.
This applies to many plants, including Feverfew, Foxglove, Purple Cone Flower, Cosmos, Snapdragons and quite a few others.
These pictures show how awful a garden can look in the early spring. There is the dead growth from last fall, the weeds that have wintered over and are thriving and then there is the good plants in the wrong places.
This is an unusual spring in that I am bringing help in to clean up the mess and get the garden off to a “clean” start. I’m so excited. What usually takes me all spring to accomplish (and sometimes half the summer) will all be accomplished in one day. I hope my expectations aren’t too high because I really have a vision of what the garden will look like at the end of day.
I’ll post before and after pictures to show the amazing differences.
After a very cold, snow laden winter and a very chilly, wet spring (since March 21, the official beginning of spring), we finally have some sunny and warmer weather. What a beautiful day it is and even though the yard looks pretty bad still with all the winter debris still lying about, there is beginning to be some growth and even a few flowers.
The fruit trees are in bloom and the tulips are doing their thing, which is being gorgeous.
I look forward to a all that’s coming in the garden, perennials coming back up, blooms beginning to pop everywhere, little tiny fruit beginning to form on the apricot, apple, plum, peach and cherry trees. I guess most of all I look forward to just being in the garden, whether working or relaxing, just being there, instead of shut up in the house.
Speaking of house, this week all the plants that had to winter over inside get to go back out and the house will return to normal. It is kind of nice have them around us when the winter is raging outside, but enough is enough and the house always seems so much larger after they are all returned to their outdoor places. They’ll be happier and we will too.
It’s snowing again today and should continue for another day.
One of the best things about snow here in the desert is the moisture it provides to the plants in the early spring as it melts, giving them a nice jump start. We get so much more moisture (in the form of snow) in the winter than in the hot summer months. We fight the dry heat, which can really take a toll on plants.
We’ll soon be leaving on our winter vacation to warmer climates. We leave with lots of snow on the ground and hopefully when we return, it will be to the very beginning of spring. Even then we can certainly get more snow, but it probably wouldn’t stay on the ground for very long.
Ahh Spring and Summer. How I miss you.
We’ve just returned from Arizona where the lemons, oranges and grapefruit are hanging heavy on the trees and it’s the middle of January.
Here in Zone 6 it’s possible to grow citrus but they have to be in large containers so they can be brought inside to protect them from the bitter cold of our winters.We grow Kumquats and Mandarin oranges in large pots and when it’s nice and warm again they will go back out into the bright sunshine.
They do well inside if there is plenty of sunshine to keep them healthy and thriving.
This spring they will be transplanted into much larger pots so next winter it will be a challenge to bring them inside. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
When looking at our property on Google maps, I found photos of our yard before we bought it 3 years ago. The bird’s eye view is from about 2 years ago. It’s fun to see how it use to be and how it is evolving. It is still a work in progress. Most of the plants are in (there is always room for more) but they will begin to grow and change and the garden will mature and become a more peaceful, relaxing place.
Take lots and lots of pictures. You’ll be glad you did. I wish we had taken more, especially of our lawn being carted off. We rented a sod cutter and cut up the lawn. Then we put out a huge “Free Sod” sign and our lawn was hauled away by many neighbors. They were happy and we were left with a clean slate.