Friday, April 30, 2010

Morning Light

Red Valerian. The blooming stalks have grown a lot in the past week. I really like this plant. I hope it spreads into chaos.

It has a home with other pink and red blooms. I didn't plan it that way. I like the outcome. The transition into summer should be interesting in this bed. Self-sown datura seedlings are up. Great Blue Lobelia has been planted in hunks. Perilla is present. White Four O'clocks have reseeded heavily. Echinacea and Black and Blue salvia will turn this bed into a cool oasis from the hotter reds and yellows near the street.

At the other end of that space, the foxgloves are beginning to bloom. They are shaded until about 6pm when the hot afternoon sun hits them.

These are a creamy yellow. I was hoping the purple one survived the move late in the winter. I think it was too wet.

Yvonne's salvia seedlings, I hope. If not, they are S. subrotunda. I'm okay with that. It's a nice plant. The goldfinches love the seeds. The hummingbirds love the nectar.

A stray larkspur seed has grown into a 2' tall specimen. I avoid it every time I mow.

This poppy found a home in between the stones I use for edging.

Pulling back a bit, the garden glows in the early morning light. It's my favorite time of day to take photos.

I did find time yesterday to mow the paths and the front lawn. It's 45 degrees. The high today will be 84.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The last of the cold.

I hope I'm right. It's 37 degrees this morning. No frost, thankfully. By 9am, it will be 50. By noon, 70. The rest of the week looks great.

This afternoon, I will mow the yard after work. It's become a jungle out there. Small dogs are getting lost in the grass and weeds that are the paths between the beds.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm not supposed to own an Oakleaf Hydrangea.

I chopped it to the ground when I moved in. I didn't know what it was. It was ugly and scraggly. It regrew a little and then a tree fell on it. I moved it and it was growing along the ground. So I cut it back. Finally, this year, it was starting to look so good. It had two nice branches with lots of tiny branches. There were two huge buds forming at the tips. Twelve days ago, was the last time I paid much attention to it. Ignoring plants tends to help them in my yard.

This morning.

Maybe it was the wind. Maybe it was critters. I don't know. I'll be turning the whole thing into cuttings this evening after work. I've got it standing in water right now. I'm so ticked.


Main Entry: vi·gnette
Pronunciation: \vin-ˈyet, vēn-\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Middle French vignete, from diminutive of vigne vine
Date: 1611

1 : a running ornament (as of vine leaves, tendrils, and grapes) put on or just before a title page or at the beginning or end of a chapter; also : a small decorative design or picture so placed
2 a : a picture (as an engraving or photograph) that shades off gradually into the surrounding paper b : the pictorial part of a postage stamp design as distinguished from the frame and lettering
3 a : a short descriptive literary sketch b : a brief incident or scene

It's 45 degrees and clear. The rain of last night has moved out. The high today should reach 70.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More blooms and learning.

Over the weekend and through the afternoon Monday, we had a lot of wind. The Dame's Rocket didn't fare too well given its height. Next year, I'll cut it back before it blooms to make it bush out more and keep it from growing so tall.

I haven't had a chance yet to mow the yard either. I had hoped to do it last night, but it was sprinkling rain when I got home from work. The clouds looked as though it would storm at any moment. By the time it was dark, the clouds were gone and the nearly full moon was shining through the window. The white clover has received a reprieve. With rain coming today around 2pm and all afternoon, the mowing will have to wait until another day.

Clearance purchased Veronica is starting to bloom. The white has buds, but no color yet. Those plants are larger than the dark purple.

Wine & Roses weigela. The foliage isn't as dark as it should be. There isn't a place I can move it to with enough sun to turn it nearly black. The blooms are more pink than red too. Same as with the ones we have in the store.

Pyracantha is blooming. The bees are loving these plants. I have 6 or 7 of them scattered around the gully and one behind the upper meadow. They'll grow to about 12' tall. Mojave is the variety.

The sweet Williams I planted out last spring from wintersown seed are starting to bloom. They've got a nice fragrance. Other blooms are dark pink. I like the red.

Blue girl. Hybrid Tea Rose. Very fragrant. Silver to pale lavender in color.

It's 52 degrees. The high today will reach the upper 60s. Rain will be moving in this afternoon. There could be thunderstorms. I know the tomatoes will enjoy the rain.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Hammock

While I'm waiting on the next round of blooms, I've taken to spending a fair amount of time laying in the hammock. It's located between two white oaks in the backyard at the edge of The Wild.

Until 2pm, it receives dappled sun through the dense canopy of oaks, maples, magnolias, and what I think are Black gum trees. Probably planted too close, there's a Leyland Cypress that will some day provide afternoon shade.

In the hammock, the sky is barely visible to the East.

From the driveway, it's hidden from view. As the roses and potager fill in, it will disappear completely.

In summer, a cool breeze flows through the Wild. It's dark and cool back here. English Ivy and periwinkle cover the ground. A few redbud seedlings have been spotted this year. They'll be moved next spring to the edges of the thicket where they can get a little more sunlight.

Laying in the hammock is where I get some of my ideas. One came to me a few days ago. Why not plant one of the Foster Hollies in the shrub island. Something would have to be moved. Maybe that dwarf loropetalum that's going to be swallowed up soon. It now resides at the base of the Muskogee crape myrtle which blooms lavender for 100+ days. The fall coloring is bright orange to red and is spectacular.

It's 63 degrees. The high today should reach into the upper 70s. I've already watered the tomatoes I set out yesterday. I also watered the upper potager where beans and cucumbers are up. Squash will arrive next. The nasturtiums have already started to sprout in between.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The tomatoes are in.

48 plants went into the lower potager beds this afternoon. Here's Granny Cantrell.

The peonies are about to pop. These will be red. I also have pink.

The orange rose is ready to bloom. Yes, I have aphids. No, I don't spray. The ladybugs are here. I might hose them off with a jet of water at some point.

The 6th Street fig is doing well.

All that's left besides a container of hosta, 4 6-packs of impatiens, and some tree/shrub varieties still in the shade. I even planted out some Cornus florida today. 54 of these containers hold sunflowers for the upper meadow and butterfly slope between the potager beds. Others have 6-packs of pineapple sage, petunias, and celosia. I'm hoping to get them all planted by the end of the week. The long boxes in the front are my window box planters. I put them inside the wood boxes I built last year. I'm waiting to make sure I have plenty of growth before moving them to their permanent location.

The rain tonight will probably stay north of us. It's 72 degrees and clear. Great day.

Oh yeah, it rained.

I wasn't here to enjoy it, but the storms over Charlotte were loud enough to wake me up last night. I was visiting. When I arrived back home this morning, the 3/4" of rain we received had sent everything into overdrive. There's a lot of new things popping up now that the ground is wet again. The gully has a lot of surprises.

Tomatoes and castor beans.

Squash? Or cucumber?

Of course there's datura.

And pokeweed.

Mimosa tree seedlings are all over the place. I'll let a few grow. They can get out of hand with the reseeding.

In the garden, Pride of Barbados survived being planted out weeks ago and receiving very little water. It should take off now.

Petunia seedlings. That must have been one virile specimen.

Cucumbers and beans are up in the potager.

I'm finally going to plant out some tomatoes. More showers in the forecast this coming week.

Near the basement door, the fragrant bed is germinating great. Four O'clocks, datura, and what I hope are nicotiana seedlings have grown since yesterday. They like the rain and the horse poo.

I'm starting to be very happy with this corner of the perennial bed. Last year it was a mess of struggling plants. It's a dry semi-shady corner with very acidic soil from years of oak leaves. I spread wood ashes all winter and transplanted a few shade tolerant perennials this spring. It's filling in nicely.

It's 72 degrees and windy. More rain possible this afternoon and evening. I'm going to plant out a few things today, at a very leisurely pace. No reason to rush.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dame's Rocket, clematis, roses, and a big pile of blue.

Dame's Rocket is suddenly one of my favorite early blooming spring plants. I wintersowed seeds in 2008. I planted out a few clumps and really just forgot about them as they grew larger and larger. They started blooming a couple weeks ago.

I have a lavender and a white. From what I've read, the white is less common. Both are fragrant.

Next to the perennial bed arbor, there's two large clumps. There's a weigela in there too. Golden Showers is the yellow rose. The clematis is blue, and came home with no tag.

Mountain Bluet was also sown in the winter of 2008. It bloomed nicely for its first year last spring. The show this year is much more stunning. I plan to divide and move some of these plants in the fall. I'll also scatter seeds into the meadow.

Salvia subrotunda seedlings are up near the street. I'll transplant some of these once we've gotten some rain. The finches love the seeds. The hummingbirds love the red dainty flowers that rise 5' or taller into the air. It bloomed all summer last year.

It's 63 degrees and cloudy. It's been sprinkling on and off this morning for an hour. No real rain, yet. This evening it should come.

2:35pm - It's 77 degrees. The sun was out for a few hours. I laid in the hammock, planted out a few more seedlings, and walked around the yard a few times drinking my second cup of coffee. I need a table and chairs. Need, not want.

The rose by the swing is blooming on last year's wood. That tells me something about when to prune. I'm going to be snipping off wayward canes after this flush of blooms. I'm hoping it sends out another. It may be a one time bloomer.

Charlotte got rain this morning. We got a sprinkle. It's headed right for us.