May 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 20, 2012

Veggie Patch

It seems every year the vegetable patch changes.  I call it “a patch”, but really it is a set of wood boxes my husband has built to use as raised beds.  The raised beds have been such a life-saver since we don’t have to mess with the hard, clay-ish soil we have here.  From year to year, we may change something about the veggie patch, usually we expand it by adding a new box.  This year, we decided to move all the boxes to a sunnier location since the trees nearby have grown, decreasing the hours of full sunlight the patch gets daily.

Last weekend was supposed to be a wet one, and by all accounts, it looked like my only window of opportunity was going to be Saturday morning; after that, rain was expect through Sunday night.  With my new supply of vegetable and herb plants, I set out early Saturday to get the beds moved, readied and planted before the rain.  Relocating the raised beds was easy with two empty boxes; however, one box still had dirt in it from last year, so I had the long (and boring) task of shoveling and transferring dirt to the two empty boxes.  I used a mixture of bagged garden soil, potting mix and humus to supplement the rest.  Because the sky was overcast and threatened to open up and pour at any moment, I worked straight through the task like a madwoman.  Happy to say, I was able to get the third box moved and in place before it started raining.  I was even able to get two boxes planted with tomatoes, onions and herbs.  I plan to plant beans and peppers later in the third box.  This year, I am trying varieties of tomatoes I’ve never tried before:  Black Krim, Beefmaster, Yellow Pear and Sunsugar cherry.  Also, I planted Rutgers and Supersonic, which I hope will be good varieties for sauce and puree.

I encountered several creatures just moving that one box.  An azure-tailed skink and later a toad surprised me, each gently relocated to another part of the garden.  I had feelings of both delight and dread as I uncovered a nest of sleeping baby bunnies in the area where the box was located originally.  I don’t think there is anything much cuter than the sight of tiny, furry baby bunnies with little ears and feet all nestled together, oblivious to the outside world.  With so many little mouths to feed, it looks like I am going to have to reinforce the plants with some netting and maybe even a fence.

Baby Bunnies…what could be cuter?

May 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, May 9, 2012

March 23, 2012

A Warm Welcome

Welcome back, Spring!  Emerging from my winter cocoon last weekend, I was happy to find you beat me to the punch, and found your way onto our little acreage before me.  Evidence of your arrival is all over the place…

Well, hello there..

Creeping Phlox & Crepe Myrtle

Hydrangea is back!

Clematis & Lilies

Hey, Baby Peony!

August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 28, 2011

August is the Cruelest Month

T. S. Eliot wrote “April is the cruelest month.”  Well, I beg to differ.  In my book, August is the cruelest month.  With the merciless heat and humidity, the prolific weeds seem to be the only things enjoying themselves.  While I do have coreopsis, marigolds, phlox and a lovely crape myrtle to comfort me, I realize my garden is far from being late summer-ready.  Guess that will be my challenge to plan for next year.

This week has been quite a doozy here in Virginia.  A rare earthquake on Tuesday, followed by the news that Hurricane Irene would be a weekend guest, sent most Virginians scrambling to assess damage and to prepare for potentially more. For us, memories of Hurricane Isabel in 2003 will never go completely away.  The wind from that storm brought down twenty trees around our house but mercifully, not on it.  Fortunately, Hurricane Irene proved not to be as ferocious as her older sister, and brought more rain than wind.  Hours of torrential rain can still reap havoc, causing large trees to uproot in sustained high winds, but thankfully, we were spared this time.

This morning, I noticed the garden is bit battered.  The scorched coneflower and black-eyed Susan plants were trampled down by the rain, and the hydrangea looked a little weary. The tomato plants appeared to be in the roughest shape, but I could see no real damage.

I took advantage of the bright, beautiful post-hurricane weather, and started cleaning up the beds in preparation for fall, getting rid of spent flowers and foliage, and making room for my mental planning of next year’s garden. Today was my turn to fight back; the weeds were defenseless against my re-energized, determined hands and the rain-saturated ground that held them no more.

August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Marigold: French Dwarf Double Mixed

August 10, 2011

A Peek Over the Garden Gate: Buffalo

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I escaped the heat and went to hockey camp in Canada.  Spending time in Canada playing hockey with friends during the hottest months of the summer is the best way I know how to cool off and have some fun.  Instead of flying, we drove, and so on our way home we stopped in my husband’s hometown, Buffalo, NY. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect as the area was wrapping up its annual five-week National Garden Festival, giving us the opportunity to go on the popular Garden Walk Buffalo.  Imagine my luck to have two of my favorite things collide so fortuitously on one trip!

Garden Walk Buffalo is composed of many neighborhoods throughout the downtown area where residents graciously open their garden gates to allow the public a glimpse into the havens they’ve created in their front, side and back gardens.  The walk is self-guided and free, but we were limited in our time, so we decided on one neighborhood to tour, the Cottage District, a neighborhood with Victorian homes and cottages built during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  There were maps available, but we didn’t have one so we just drove through the general vicinity until we saw the first colorful cottages and groups of people strolling along the street.  We parked on the street and made our way down the block, visiting the cottage gardens that were marked by a tour sign in the front yard.  I was overwhelmed not only by the gorgeous gardens we visited but the number of participating gardens.  There were so many gardens on the walk, I know we didn’t get to see them all.  What can be said about the Cottage District in Buffalo is that it is beyond charming; it is enchanting.  Take a look for yourself; I made a meager attempt to capture some of the spectacular gardens we visited:

Garden Walk Buffalo



With long winters, there is little wonder why most people think only of snow and ice when they think of Buffalo.  However, it is exactly because of the long winters that I think the people of Buffalo really know how to celebrate summer.  From my view over the garden gate, I can see Buffalonians take full advantage of milder summer temperatures and embrace all that the warmer months have to offer, and do so with such creativity and heart.  Who knew a hockey town like Buffalo is also a warm, friendly, colorful garden town as well?  I can’t wait to go back…

Let’s go Buffalo!

August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday, August 3, 2011

July 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – July

Well, here I am again for July’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  Thanks to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this fabulous monthly theme.  Wander over and check out many gardens that will impress and inspire you!

It has been hot.  Oppressively hot, and I have been concerned I wouldn’t have much for this post, but as I am learning, there is always something going on in the garden.  All the real action is happening in the front garden right now.  The Echinacea purpurea and Rudbeckia fulgida are loving this heat, and I am grateful to come home to this colorful carnival everyday.

I planted these coneflower and black-eyed Susan plants last year after returning home from a trip to Ontario where I saw them growing in abundance in many front gardens. Before then, I don’t think I even liked coneflower very much!  I can tell you though, it was love at first sight when I saw them in combination with black-eyed Susan.  For them too, I mean, can’t you just feel the love…

BFFs...truly

…and the butterflies share in the love too…

I have a small bed where I planted two Coreopsis ‘Full Moon’ plants, originally thinking they would be on the smallish-side like the ‘Creme Brulee’ I have growing beneath the mailbox.  Well, these two have grown to diva proportions. They are spilling out over the wall and crowding some marigolds that have come back from last year. An azalea and a couple of boxwood shrubs are in the back, but have been blotted out from view.  I hope they are okay!  This fall, I will be relocating the ‘Full Moon’ prima donnas to the other side of the house to give them the room they demand…ahem…I mean, deserve.

Coreopsis 'Full Moon' & French Marigold Dwarf

Garden phlox is so old-fashioned and comfy-cozy in the garden.  I love it so much, I must have more.  I only have two plants, and I am already making plans to expand for more.  I love the delicate blossoms on the long stems that sway in the breeze…when there is a breeze, that is.

'Robert Poore'

Last, but not least, these little flowers have popped up all over the place in the weedy, rocky no-man’s land underneath the back deck.  I have no idea what they are or where they’ve come from, but they are very pretty and sweet in varying shades of pink.  They remind me of some kind of petunia.  Except for one hanging basket I had on the deck years ago, I have never grown any petunias.   So, where did these come from?  Like I said before, there is always something going on in the garden, isn’t there?!

Another mystery!

Sitting pretty in no-man's land

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