Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Is Everywhere

Everywhere you look now you see signs of spring! A lot of our climbers are putting on shows for us right now and most of them are doing it for the first time. This ‘Tangerine Beauty’ cross vine was one of our rescues last year from the half dead discount section in one of the local big box stores. It put out a pretty good bit of growth last year, but this is the first time it’s bloomed for us.


This is one of two white Lady Banks that I know of, I would like to have all of them but we are running out of room. There is also a pink one that I haven’t been able to find around here. This is ‘Alba Plena’ and she is a vigorous, but welcome grower in our garden. Her blooms are a little smaller that quarters and I think they are just adorable. This rose has very few thorns and doesn’t appear to be bothered by any of the nasty rose diseases.


The Akebia or Chocolate Vine is blooming for the first time as well. I’m told if you have two or more of these vines they can produce a delicious fruit that taste similar to melons. I’ve noticed a faint scent from the blooms but nothing that reminds me of chocolate. I’ve also read the some years they can be much more fragrant than others and no one seems to know why.


This is Lady Banks Victorian Rose ‘Lutea’ and I love it! I don’t know why I didn’t plant this closer to the house so I could enjoy it more. It’s been a favorite of mine since I first saw it growing years ago in a friend’s garden. It has no thorns that I’ve noticed and doesn’t seem to grow as fast as the ‘Alba Plena’.


This is the Potato Vine Solanum Jasminoides. We planted this vine two years ago at the suggestion of our friend Carol and I’m so glad we did. This little vine is quite the work horse when it comes to blooming; it starts in the spring and continues until frost. It seems to be a slow growing vine, so I’m going to make sure it has plenty of nutrients to give it a boost this year.


This is Jezebel, some of you may have seen her nest in an earlier post when she was building it. We chose to name her Jezebel because she seems to be very popular with the boys. She’s been behaving more like a lady since she’s laid her four eggs. Since we are in the garden all the time she has become accustomed to our presence and isn’t as shy as she use to be. She’ll still fuss at you if you get too close.


Louisiana Iris ‘Owen’s Yellow’ is sporting its first bloom for us. This is another rescue from the dollar trailer at our favorite nursery.


Last year I waited for ‘Point In Time’ to open its bloom and just as you could start to see some color the flower spike fell victim to the water hose. One wrong snatch and it snapped right off.


‘Trouper Orange’ is blooming for the first time this year. I was hoping that the blooms would be less red and more orange, but it’s still a pretty bloom, just not what I was expecting.


Everyone has been complimenting us on the way we chose to nestle this ‘Chocolate Chip’ Ajuga up in the rocks. The truth is we forgot it was planted there and I buried the rocks in that spot. It just decided to grow up around them. LOL


Jamie and I decided to go green this year. Even though our garden is full, most everything dies to the ground during the winter. We decided to work on improving the bones with evergreens this year and this Tea Olive is the first addition. We will slowly be replacing some of the tropical plants with plants that can provide interest all year.


Last but not least we finally found a base we liked for the Armillary. But, we are facing a problem with the garden décor right now. I was just discussing this with Phillip from Dirt Therapy yesterday via email. Jamie and I both love garden statuary and we’ve established a pretty good collection so far. Here in lies the problem, when everything grows in, the pieces will become wonderful accents, but right now as Jamie puts it “It looks like a cement truck threw up in the backyard.” Past experience has taught me that when you find a good deal on something you like you need to get it then, otherwise you come back a week later when you’ve changed your mind and it’s no longer available. What to do, what to do? I guess we will just have to stop for now and let things grow in a little and exactly how much is too much anyway?


Monday, March 30, 2009

The Bully

There was a big time bully at the bird feeder this weekend and he did not play well with others. I wanted to go thump him oh his little head and tell him to be nice!




Monday, March 23, 2009

In Your Dreams

'In Your Dreams'

In Your Dreams

Tall Bearded Iris ‘In Your Dreams’ is in its second year of blooming in our garden. I can hardly wait for this beauty to get large enough to start sharing it with other gardeners. It was introduced in 1999. According to all the literature I’ve read on this Iris it is supposed to be a mid season bloomer, but as you can see it’s blooming on the third day of spring. To me, that’s not mid season. LOL It bloomed the same time last year. The blooms are said to reach a height of 3 to 4 feet, so far ours have stayed about two feet tall.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Yay! Spring Has Sprung!

I am so tickled that today is the first day of spring I just got up and did a happy dance all the way from my desk to the fax machine and back! How shall I celebrate the arrival of spring tonight? Hmmm… any suggestions?

Okay, on with the blog. Yesterday, I was walking around the garden doing little things here and there that needed to be done in preparation of my lawn mowing this afternoon. I looked around and noticed so much was going on, I needed to go get my camera (which is about to depart to camera heaven BTW) and take some photos.

All the redbuds are blooming right now and up until yesterday I had never noticed the subtle difference in the bloom colors. The Texas redbud is always the first one to bloom. It’s quite prolific in its show and the flower is two shades of purple, the base of the bloom being much darker than the petals.


‘Forest Pansy’ is the last to bloom in our garden, but I wanted to place these photos side by side so you could more easily see the difference between it and the Texas Redbud. The flowers of this redbud have a slightly darker base that its sister the Texas Redbud and the petals are a lighter shade of purple, almost lilac colored.

Forest Pansy

The second redbud to bloom in our garden is the good old fashioned Eastern Redbud. Its blooms are a beautiful shade of pink with purple highlights. The base of the bloom is a darker shade of pink. All three are beauties to behold and hopefully we will be making room for a fourth tree soon. Annie at the Transplantable Rose has gotten me all keyed up to find a Texas Whitebud now and I won’t rest until I find one! (And make a place for it.)


The Japanese magnolia is still holding on to some blooms, even though it’s begun to push out foliage.


These yellow irises have been blooming since the first of January and will continue to bloom through this month. I don’t know what the cultivar of this iris is or where I got it from, but it is a work horse when it comes to blooms. Sometimes it even starts to bloom in December!

Yellow Iris

The Spirea is starting its show of lace like flowers. It’s going to get a haircut after the blooms stop in an effort to produce more dense growth.


Last but not least of my discoveries yesterday afternoon was this fine new robin’s nest just waiting for eggs to be laid. I had seen the robin making trip after trip to the site, so I figured I would find a nest here. I’ll get pictures of the eggs and the babies as everything unfolds, that is, unless the stray calico or Possum, the Siamese next door don’t find them first.

Robin Nest

Everyone enjoy the first day of spring! Tell me what you plant to do in celebration!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Xin chào Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon

Iris x hollandica 'Miss Saigon' is the first iris to bloom in our garden this year. We planted this last year and didn’t get a single bloom out of all the foliage. Everything I’ve read says that Dutch Irises should bloom later in the spring, but ours is always the first species to bloom in our yard. ‘Miss Saigon’ gets 18 to 24 inches in height and sports a beautiful bloom. Dutch Iris prefers sun to partial shade, but I have had other cultivars do just fine in full shade. The flowers come from corms or bulbs rather than the rhizomes we’ve come to associate with irises. Unlike her sisters, she prefers her feet to planted about 4 inches in the ground.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Productive Weekend

Double Mist

Our weekend started off early on Saturday morning. I managed to wrangle Jamie out of bed to ride to my favorite spot to watch the sunrise. However, there would be no sun on this morning. The fog was so thick it was almost noon before the sun decided to make an appearance. That’s okay, at least we got an early start on the day!

Single Mist

We got our new martin house put up and the wrens wasted no time building their little nests in it. We pulled it back down this afternoon and removed all the material they had dragged into the house. Nothing personal against the wrens, but there is a reason why they call it a martin house. I don’t know if we’ll get any martins this year or not, however I do intend on keeping it clean for them if they do show up.

Martin House

We also put up two new bluebird houses and of course, the wrens found them too. But they’re a lot easier to clean out than the martin house. The martin house isn’t hard to take down, it’s just a nuisance to have to do it.

Bluebird House

We also managed to get the remaining two of six poles in place for the climbing roses; you can only see five in this picture. The roses will be trained to climb up the ten foot poles and they will follow a steel cable that will be threaded through the top of the poles. We already have the holes drilled but the cable hasn’t been put through them yet. It will take a little while for the roses to get to that point; meanwhile, the cable can be put in on a later date and that money can be used on something we need now (like more plants for the garden).

Speaking of… We bought and planted several new plants this weekend. We purchased 4 variegated Winter Daphne, 2 Dwarf Alberta Spruce, 2 Dwarf Mugo Pines, a Tea Olive and a Crepuscule Rose. In addition to getting all that planted, we also managed to get the large side bed cleaned up, weeded and were able to get several more things potted up to give to friends.

Rose Polls

On our ride back from our favorite nursery, we drove past a concrete statuary place in the middle of nowhere. We decided to stop and ended up leaving with two new planters for the end of the patio; we really like them, too. The plan is to place a bench between the two planters. We are going to place an eight foot high trellis the width of the patio, that will cap off the end of it, behind the planters and bench. It will be placed just behind the three daylilies you can barely see emerging in the picture. I’m not sure what we will plant on it; right now we are leaning towards several different complimentary colors of thunbergia until we come up with a more permanent solution. I’m also considering Evergreen Wysteria or some other evergreen vine. We are certainly open to suggestions and welcome any you may have.


It was a good weekend...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

We Finally Got It!

Well! It finally happened, just when I didn’t think we were going to get any snow it decided to come. Jamie’s mother called at 4:30 AM this morning and made us get out of bed to check for snow. She lives about two hours north of us and she said they were getting boo coodles of it. Up we go to the window and we see plenty of flurries, but no accumulation. About 5:00 AM it started coming down pretty good and it’s been snowing for the last seven hours. Yay! I’m so happy we got snow! I don’t know what I’ve enjoyed more, watching the snow or the birds playing in it?