Monday, May 14, 2012

European vacation Larry

Stephanie and I leave on the 17th for a Northen European vacation; 2 days in Amsterdam, Netherlands, then 12 days on Celebrity Constellation, with port calls in Warnemunde, Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland, 2 days in St Petersburg, Russia; Tallin, Estonia; Copenhagen, Denmark and then back to Amsterdam for our flight home.  Larry is so excited he bought the flag of each country we'll be visiting; the only thing is I haven't had the heart to tell him him he's not going.  He will be staying behind to make sure my son and daughter-in-law take good care of the gardens in my absence.  He'll be even sadder to find out that they've bought their first home and will be moving out a few weeks after we return, taking our gardening buddy Kaleb with them.

Another gladiolus has bloomed today, this one is 'Plumtart'  The remaining varieties will probably bloom and fade while we're away, but Jasmine has promised to take pictures.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gladioli are busting out all over

After what seemed like an eternity, the glads and the iris have finally start blooming and for good measure, I've added a few other bloomers for you to enjoy.  The sunflower is from seed I gathered on the side of the road last August that didn't sprout until this Spring.  The orchid was knocked off the window sill by the cat and the bloom stalk broke, but there was enough left that I decided to see what would happen and now 3 months later, it's blooming.

gladiolus 'Fiorentina'

gladiolus 'Lavender'

gladiolus 'Super Star'

unknown iris

wild sunflower

Vincas purchased last Spring still going strong

Reblooming orchid

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Surprise storm and it's aftermath

Tuesday night the weather forecast on the local TV station I watch called for a slight chance of scattered thunderstorms in the late afternoon or evening, mainly to the east of me, so when I looked out around 3:00 PM to see gathering darkness approaching, I was a little surprised.  When I checked the weather on my computer, radar showed a line of storms bearing in my direction and the National Weather Service had posted alerts for blowing dust, strong winds and the possibility of nickel sized hail along with heavy rain that could produce localized flooding.  About 3:30 the winds started blowing with gusts strong enough to almost blow me over, so I retreated to the back porch which was protected from the wind and used the time to gather Stock seeds from pods I'd been drying for about a month.  Around 4:00 it started raining, it wasn't constant but ranged from a drizzle to a downpour. I really wish I already had the digital weather station I'll be getting next month so I'd know how strong the wind was and how much rain we got.  This morning I went out to check on the damage, if any, the storm had caused.  The bowling ball gazing ball was knocked over, Larry lost his beer bottle and the corn was blown over, but otherwise everything else was fine.  Considering the winds were coming directly at the side yard, I was expecting more damage and was especially concerned about whether the bamboo tomato cage would hold up and it came through with flying colors.  I used leftover pieces of bamboo to prop up the corn that was damaged, but 2 stalks were broken and beyond repair; I'm hoping they might regrow since the roots are still intact.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Garden update 5-8-12

On the floral front, the geraniums in the window box are settling in nicely, the roses continue to bloom, the 'Heatwave' dahlia is blooming better than I could have hoped for and the vincas have come back.  I'm still waiting for the 'Peaches and Cream' dahlia to bloom and the gladioli and iris are both almost ready to bloom; the iris looks like it will be deep purple.

The veggies in the raised beds are doing well and the red corn is already getting tassels.

The tomatoes and onions in the first bed that got planted are doing very well and the Sweet 100 is getting to big for its' cage already; picked the first 3 tomatoes and ate them on the spot and man were they good!

The cucumbers are coming up and some are getting their first true leaves, so hopefully we'll be eating lots of cukes this year.

Most of the peppers failed to germinate and I have more volunteers than ones that were planted on purpose.  I will probably place another order with NMSU's Chile Institute and direct sow the seeds in a raised bed when I get back from our cruise.  I'll have to leave watering instructions with my daughter-in-law for the plants that aren't on a timed system, as she's more likely to follow through, otherwise I'll come home to a lot of dead or dying plants.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bathing gnomes!

I watered the trees and beds that aren't on a timer today and when I went out to move the hose from the nectarine tree, I had quite a shock, as the gnomes had moved from the front porch and were wading in the waist high water, either cooling off or taking a bath, I'm not sure which.  The one with the ukelele must not know how to swim, because he was only getting his feet wet.

I found this rusty milk can at a yard sale Saturday for $5 and filled it with mulch, then placed a Yucca recurvifolia 'margarita' in it and I think it looks right at home.  I'll probably place it next to the wheelbarrow succulent garden.

The grapes are getting to the point that they actually look like grapes and so far I've only seen one Western Grape Skeletonizer Moth (killed it) and one leaf with WGS caterpillars on it, but I've got to stay vigilant or they could get out of control really quickly.  Just hope they don't show up while I'm on vacation the last two weeks of this month.

The Heatwave dahlia is really blooming now; it takes forever for the blooms to fully open, anywhere from 4-7 days.  I'm still waiting on the Peaches & Cream dahlia to bloom.

The cucumbers and pole beans I planted in the raised beds are coming up, the red corn is starting to get tassels and about 1/2 the tomato seedlings survived transplanting, which I expected and that's why I planted 10 of each variety.  Peppers, eggplant and tomatillos will be transplanted into raised beds this weekend, as will basil and tarragon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Larry

Larry says, "Let the party begin!" and is already celebrating Cinco deMayo, even if it is a few days early, because as everybody knows, Larry loves a party.  Even though Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory by the Mexican army over the French in the Battle of Puebla, it has become more of a celebration of Mexican heritage here in the States and is hardly celebrated at all in most of Mexico.  Just like a lot of people are Irish for a day on St. Patrick's Day, lots of people are Mexican for a day on Cinco de Mayo and much eating and drinking is to be had.