Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Settling In at Maison de Fleurs

We're getting settled in at the new place, which I have dubbed 'Maison de Fleurs' as I am doing more flower gardening than vegetables so far.  Found a flea market a few miles from the house and there are several nurseries present each weekend, with my favorite being from Holland, MI.  This weekend I bought two Hydrangeas, one blue and one pink, both 5 gallon sized; the pink has flower clusters 8"-10" across!  I also purchased two rose bushes and three more hostas, as I'm embracing those plants that I always wanted but couldn't grow in Arizona.
 
The blue hydrangea nestled in between the hostas and the Inca lilies.

The pink hydrangea.

The rest of my booty from Saturday's trip to the flea market.

Saturday was also the day the plumbers came to repair a break in the sewer line, creating a bit of a mess in the backyard, but also giving me the opportunity to have a large stump removed from the lawn.

The plumbers hard at work; the line was 7' down.

The lawn took a beating.

The stump is out of the ground, but what to do with all 4' of it?

Surveying the aftermath.

As anyone who reads my blog knows, wherever I go gnomes will surely follow, and Maison de Fleurs is no exception.  The wee folk have discovered the gardens and are making themselves at home.

Looks like he's ready to do some weeding.

This guy's on permanent vacation.

Guardian of the hostas.

Mistress of the lilies.

Of course, Maison de Fleurs must have plants in bloom or it wouldn't live up to its name, so here are some pictures of what's in bloom.

Turns out the 'Stella de Oro' was in fact a "ditch lily" but it's still a welcome addition.

This hosta has been blooming nonstop for several weeks.

This lily was here when I moved in and is still making me wait for blooms.

I was fortunate enough to discover that there were already fruit-bearing plants in the backyard when we moved in and the mulberry has been very productive, while the grapevine that was hidden in several trees is developing lots of clusters.  I'm working to extract the vines from the tress, since the power company will be trimming trees soon and I don't want to risk having them cut down my grapes.  While I don't know what variety they are, I'm confident that they are table grapes and not wild ones.

Grapes growing in the sun.

Mulberries.

The evening's mulberry harvest ready for the freezer.  Jam is in their future.

I'll end with a couple of photos of some of the daily visitors to the feeders.

A beautiful male cardinal.

House sparrows come by the dozens.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Back at Last!

Feeder/planter filled with mint from the front flower bed.

Wow, hard to believe I haven't posted in almost a year, but a lot has been happening that kept me out of the garden.  I recently moved out of the apartment and into a house on a 1/4 acre, so I'm starting to play in the dirt again. The landscaping here is basically nonexistent, so I have a blank canvas to work with.  The first thing I had to do was take care of some unwanted trees; a couple of fruited mulberries, Morus albas, which were in the way of my planned vegetable garden.

One of the Mulberries that have to go.

I wound up with nine bundles like these.

Stumps waiting for the chainsaw.

Thankfully, the company that collects the trash picks up yard waste weekly, so I wasn't stuck having to deal with bundles of branches for more than a few days.

I've started to rehab the flower beds at the front of the house, digging out a tree and a couple of stumps, digging out the mint that was trying to take over one bed and trimming two rose bushes that were slated for removal, until I found new growth emerging for inside all of last years dead wood. In the bed to the left I wound up digging everything except the daylilies (I think they're Stella d'Oro) up, turning over the soil and replanting the roses, one of which is yellow, the other, unknown, then adding a Queen Elizabeth rose, a flat of Salvia 'Victoria Blue' and two flats of mixed Asters, plus more daylilies 'Stella d' Oro' and finished it off with a solar powered address sign.

Daylily 'Stella d'Oro'

More 'Stella d'Oro', Asters, Salvia 'Victoria Blue' in the back and the roses.

The solar powered sign, with an unknown rose behind it and asters on the sides.

In the bed to the right I planted a trio of hostas, all of unknown varieties, two yellow and one red Inca Vito Princess Lilies, Alstroemerica sp. and also laid out 20 feet of preseeded flower strips that contain a mix of different flowers to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. I've never tried this type of planting before, but for $6 each, I figured it was worth a try.

Hostas; the one in the upper right hand corner of the picture is the one I bought last spring at a yard sale.

Inca Lilies, with the seed strips in the background.

For my birthday I received three hanging baskets to add to the back porch that were purchased from Lisle High School's Horticulture Department.  They hold a sale each Spring and I will be putting in my order next year.  One is full of petunias, one of my favorite flowers, without which my garden is incomplete, one with Million Bells, Calibrochoa sp. and the last is a wonderful Boston Fern, Nephrolepis exaltata.  I also got the flat of salvia from them.  I bought a three-tiered planter at Aldi and put violas in the top and moss rose in the bottom two.

Petunias thriving on the back porch.

Million Bells also thriving; this is my first time having them.

Boston Fern sitting in a vintage concrete planter.

Plastic three-tiered planter.

Of course, Mr B's wouldn't be complete without critters and we've had our fair share here.  Plenty of skunks, squirrels, cottontails, birds and even an opossum.

Trying to raid the bird feeder.

Even bunnies like bird seed.

Grackles come to the feeders all the time, unlike their cousins in AZ.

Even Northern Flickers join the crowd.

Bailey, Lord and  Protector of the Backyard.

That's all for now, and I promise not to wait so long before my next post.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Balcony Garden Update

The balcony garden is starting to look like a real garden and it may even begin to produce edibles next month.  It was such a cold, wet Spring that everything got a late start; pair that up with an eastern exposure that limits direct sunlight to the mornings, and things have been slow to develop.  Despite that, the green onions, Takanotsume peppers, lettuce, thyme,  marigolds, Forget-me-nots and radishes have all sprouted, as have some volunteer sunflowers.  The stapeliads are enjoying being outside and are showing new growth and one may even bloom.  I recently found a vintage wrought iron plant stand with vestiges of blue paint at a local resale shop and it looks great filled with stapeliads.  I've run out of floor space and now am looking for baskets I can hang along the railing and fill with flowers and strawberries.  The one Euphorbia obesa seed that sprouted is doing well, but looks nothing like the mature plants, so if I didn't know what it was, I don't think I could guess correctly.

The vintage plant stand

My 1st Better Bush tomato

Japanese eggplant blossom

Forget-me-nots

Green bunching onion sprouts

Korean Hot Pepper blossom, but no fruit yet.

The orange seedlings are looking good

Radish sprouts

First strawberries

Takanotsume peppers getting their 1st true leaves

More radishes

Sage sprouts

Grass onions, aka Walking onion

Russian Tarragon

Thyme seedlings; the seeds are from Monticello.

Euphorbia obesa seedling

Echidnopsis cereiformis flower buds

On the fourteenth, I heard a commotion outside and thought someone was having a party.  Went on the balcony to check it out and there were fireworks going off in celebration of Flag Day.  After the fireworks ended, the full moon came peeking out from a cloud bank, presenting a great photo op I couldn't resist.







I love the interplay of light and darkness