Tuesday, April 29, 2014

You Call That “Scarlet Red?!”

I planted red tulips last fall. Or so I thought. I decided I needed more red in the garden and had settled on Tulip Ad Rem because it was described as “scarlet red.” To me, scarlet red is bright red...not this orange that I have growing in my garden right now.

Actually, the photo looks even more red than it really is. Seriously, I would call it orange more than red. In all honesty, the photo on the website looked similar to this, but I really thought the photo maybe wasn’t accurate and it would be more “scarlet” as described. Or maybe I just have a misconception of what scarlet really looks like.

This wouldn’t be the first time I was fooled by a garden catalog photo or description. You may remember my Pass the Wine Iris post where I expected to get a deep reddish-wine colored iris and ended up with something more lavender than anything else. That one DEFINITELY did NOT end up like the photo at all. Still pretty, though. And really, this tulip is pretty, too. It does have nice color variations in each petal. If you look at it from above, it looks more red. But then how often would one look at them like that, really? If I was a bird maybe this is the perspective I would have all the time.

So it is a disappointment not to have that vibrant red that I wanted in my otherwise drab spring garden. Sigh... I’ll give it a chance. Maybe it will turn more red as it matures. I know, I know, wishful thinking. I will just have to appreciate it for what it is. Orange. And orange or not, it’s still pretty.

Budding April

The garden has really been coming alive the past few weeks. It’s as if it, too, was tired of winter and couldn’t wait to bring spring to us. These photos were taken two weeks ago and even since then, so much more has budded and started to bloom.

I’ll start with the daffodils since they were among the first to bloom and have already past their peak now. I missed capturing most of them on “film,” but here are a few...

The forsythia has been in desperate need of some drastic pruning, however I never seem to get around to it. I know it would bloom so much better if pruned properly. I have another one that didn’t bloom at all this year.

This dwarf spirea is near the screened-in back porch and I have watched it evolve over the past few weeks. It started with tiny red buds, then the leaves burst forth. The colors in the leaves are gorgeous.

In the fall I had planted Checkered Lilies (Fritillaria meleagris). I absolutely love their nodding, spotted heads. Not the greatest picture here, but it gives the general idea. I think I need to plant more of these bulbs this fall.

Another new one is Rose Queen Bishop’s Hat (Epimedium grandiflorum) that I planted last year. I planted three of them and all three are doing well. I didn’t really want my thumb in the picture, but it does kind of give a sense of the size of the flowers. They are nodding flowers, too, and tiny, so you need to get up close to really appreciate them. They look kind of like magenta spiders. I have two other more-established Epimediums that I think I actually like better, however, they aren’t doing as well this year. They were in a spot that was covered in several feet of snow most of the winter, so maybe that’s why.

If you’ve ever wondered what wisteria buds look like, then here you are. Not very attractive considering how amazingly beautiful the flowers become. These buds are on the wisteria tree I have and not the vine one.

My younger sister gave me a dogwood for my birthday three and a half years ago and it is really coming along nicely. Lots of buds this year. I’m excited to see it in full bloom so I can take some pictures to send to my sister. (She doesn’t read my blog. None of my family does!)

Bleeding Heart is one of those old-fashioned favorites that I would find hard to live without. They die back in the summer, which isn’t pretty, however, when in bloom they are a delight. I captured them just as they were starting to fill out.

My Bridal Queen Hellebore is usually the star of my spring show each year. This year not so much. Lots of foliage right now, but not a lot of flowers. I wonder if it has to do with it being snow-covered all winter. Or maybe it needs dividing. I have never divided it.

That’s some serious Sorrel this early in the spring! It’s taking off like gangbusters in the Kitchen Garden. I can’t wait to add some to my salad...but not TOO much. Read my post about Sorrel if you want to know why I limit it. Maybe I’m being overly cautious. The garlic chives are popping up in the background.

When seen from afar, the flower garden isn’t much to look at this time of the year. I took this before I pruned my roses and hydrangeas.

This is the other side of the yard that had been cleared out of an overgrown mess a couple of years ago.

This is that same side of the yard, but seen from the very back looking towards the house. You can see the hostas starting to pop up.

And one last shot of the flower garden, also seen from the very back of the back yard, but looking towards the shed.

I always find it fascinating watching the garden come to life in the spring, especially knowing what it looks like later in the growing season. To think, those tiny plants sprouting out of the ground will be several feet high in a few months. Isn’t it exciting?! Well, to a garden-geek like me it is.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Construction Update, Birds Mating, and What I Found in the Garden

As previously mentioned, we have been living in a construction zone for months. This photo was taken from the upstairs bedroom window about two weeks ago.

I was trying to show the huge hole in the ground, but you really can’t tell here. The construction guys have to use a ladder to get in and out of the hole. They have now paved over the hole the whole length of the street, but still need to put in the new sidewalks and repair driveways. It has been quiet lately, though, which is a welcome relief from all of the constant noise of construction.

As you can see from that photo, they have not taken out our beloved tree yet. The longer it gets to live the happier I am. However, you can tell that since they dug several feet down on both sides of it, it definitely won’t live. I keep expecting to come home to a missing tree, however, it hasn’t happened yet. We know it’s coming, though.

On another note, I have been clearing out my flower beds this weekend. I am incredibly behind with everything this year due to my web design classes (my final project for the semester is due tomorrow – yikes!). I took Friday off from work to get working in the garden and to work on my final project. As I was clearing out the main flower bed, I kept finding these little treasures...

Wahhh??? How did toy cars get in my garden? I don’t have any kids. Well, I actually know who these belong to. Last fall our little neighbor next door told me his brother threw his toy cars over the fence and he was very upset. Looking for tiny toy cars in a fully grown (and overgrown) garden in early fall is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I had found three and gave those to him, but obviously there was a lot more in there. I think he will be happy to see these again.  

It was like Wild Kingdom in the flower garden after I raked it out. I counted four squirrels, two male robins, two male bluejays, one female bluejay, a male and female grackle trying to get it on, two black-capped chickadees, and a whole bunch of what I call sparrows, but who knows if that’s correct. This is one of the squirrels who was trying really hard not to be afraid of me.

I drink my coffee on the back porch on nice mornings and had been watching the birds gather materials to build their nests and now there is a lot of mating going on. It’s like an x-rated movie in the garden lately. The black-capped chickadees have a very identifiable mating song. To hear the difference between the usual call and the mating song, check out the Bird Note website (I am loving this site lately). All of those birds finding love in my garden, isn’t that sweet? Or am I running a bird whorehouse? Guess it all depends on how you look at it. I prefer to think that they are finding love.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Scratch and Sniff This Blog Post

I seriously wish you could scratch and sniff this photo of my Meyer Lemon blooming in the greenhouse.

The entire greenhouse smells like this Meyer Lemon plant. It is this sweet, slightly spicy smell that is almost vanilla-like, I guess. That doesn’t do it justice, it smells incredible. I have never seen this many flowers on it before. Does this mean I will get more than one lemon this year? Oh boy, I really hope so.

The interesting thing is, I have kind of neglected this plant the last few years. I repotted it a few years ago and every now and then I add more potting soil, but other than that, that’s it. Although, I have used a diluted fertilizer on it recently, now that I think about it. I have done that with most of the plants in my greenhouse the last two or three weeks.

Worth noting is my pitcher plants are starting to bloom. You can see some of the buds in the photo above. Here is one that is starting to open...

My carnivorous pitcher plants have become one of my favorite plants in recent years. They really are fascinating.

This tropical is looking particularly lovely in the morning sunlight this morning. I really wish I could remember the name of it right now. I am sure it will come to me later.

Next to it is this small sedum which I repotted last year and it has done really well.

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of these succulents, too, since they are looking nice and healthy.

It is supposed to be a nice weekend and I have a laundry-list of things I want to get done, from clearing out flower beds, to pruning roses and butterfly bushes, to planting up seed flats, and more. However, I have homework to do for my evening web design class first. Better get to it so I can go outside and enjoy the sunshine. Yes, sunshine, at last!!!!