Friday, May 28, 2021

Garden Friday

Welcome to Garden Friday,
where we share what's happening in our Piedmont garden.
 It's dry, folks.
It's been a while since we've seen any rain,
and the ground is cracking beneath our feet.
We are hopeful that by the end of next week
we'll get a few toad stranglers.
Fingers crossed.

This liriope, which usually does just fine without supplemental water,
is feeling the pinch.
I'll make sure to get some hydration to this little guy today.

Fortunately, with the drip irrigation in place,
the raised beds are doing fine.
This is the weekend we usually harvest garlic,
so that we can get our sweet potato slips in.
I have to say, that the garlic this year is not looking too good
and I don't have time to let it sit for another month to grow.
 We'll take what we get and be glad in it.

This parsley is going to seed
and I believe I'll just let it stay right where it is.
One reason is to encourage the black swallowtail butterfly
to call it home.
This is one of their host plants,
along with carrots, dill, fennel and rue. 
We have Walla Walla onions in this bed that will
start to be harvested in the next week or so.
We'll just pull them up as needed
and it does my heart good to know 
that I won't need to buy onions for a good, long while.

The potatoes are rockin'
underneath the shade of the snap peas.
I did lose one plant, not sure why,
but with flowers spied on these taters just yesterday,
we should be harvesting in a few weeks.

Speaking of snap peas,
we've been snacking on these sweet morsels all week.
I like them straight off the vines.
No dressing needed.

Our lettuce is coming along in a couple of the raised beds,
but I have to say that germination of some other crops was not great.
I'll just keep reseeding as needed and move onto other crops
as the summer season comes upon us.

 It looks like something is finding our green beans tasty.

So far, only one of our turmeric plants has come back.
It looks like the lemongrass didn't make it,
although we overwintered it in the garage.
The front porch flower bed is alive with color!
I am still hoping to pick up a few more perennials for this bed,
as we move toward irrigating it soon.

The pollinator bed near the vegetable garden is doing well
and I attribute that to the drip system.
I noticed a few of the mammoth sunflowers starting to pop up.
Last year, they were over 12 feet tall!

Shasta daisies

There are a few areas in the back of the house I've been working on.
This will be a new spot to add some hosta and maybe hydrangea plants.
This area is wooded, so I'll need to choose what I plant carefully.

A few hosta plants and Solomon's seal have been added
underneath our back deck.
I can see this area filled with hostas.

This area has a trail on the left of the photo,
that leads to our dear neighbor's back door.
I'd like to add to this collection of plants
to line the trail for both of us to enjoy.

These canna lilies were recently added to a bed
next to the front door.
They look a little worse for wear,
but I'm hoping with continued watering,
they'll settle in nicely and add some dramatic color here.

The lavender is coming into bloom and the scent is terrific!
I'd like to bring it into the house as much as possible,
so that we can enjoy the fragrance.

The hyacinth bean seeds have germinated around our teepees
out near the veggie beds.
 This climber displays a mass of gorgeous purple flowers
that last all summer long.

Today I hope to get all of the cardboard down where the grass has come up.
This is my method of dealing with unwanted grass and weeds.
A bit of wood chips or mulch on top, and you'd never know it's there.

Would you look at this amazing toad house a friend made for us?
I had the cracked terra cotta pots another friend had given me,
and I asked this crafty lady to paint them for us.
I think the toads will absolutely love it!
Speaking of critters,
Big K spied this guy crossing the road between our house 
and our neighbors'.
Although I know some folks are squeamish about snakes,
they provide a valuable service by ridding our property of rodents.
He was actually only about four feet long.

Here's hoping conditions are just right where you are.
Oh, and if you happen to have any extra rain you could send our way,
we'd appreciate it!
Be Blissed!

Friday, May 21, 2021

Garden Friday

Happy Garden Friday!
It's been  a gorgeous week here in the Piedmont,
although we are creeping closer to summertime weather patterns.

 The front porch bed is about to explode with 
Black-Eyed Susans!
They surround the bird bath and we look forward
to all the color in the space.
This will be one of the perennials that gets divided
after blooming is complete.
There are plenty of spots on the property 
that could use this cheery pop of vibrance.

The salvia are happier than I've seen them in a long time.
This brilliant blue butterfly magnet has been blooming for months
and shows no signs of slowing down.
The plants I use in all of my flower beds not only attract pollinators,
but are drought tolerant once established as well.

blue salvia

It was so thrilling to see the Shasta daisies come to life.
I don't remember this plant being as prolific
as it has been so far this spring.
These make great cutting flowers for the house.

The white yarrow is another perennial that is doing better in its second year.
There are constantly bees covering the petals,
and I know the butterflies also find it enticing.

white yarrow

The butterfly bed is filling out with things that are coming back,
as well as with a few seeds that were sown directly.
I'm thinking if I find myself a good plant sale somewhere,
I might need to bring a few home to fill in the bare spots.
After all, if we don't cover Mother Nature,
she will find a way to do it for us,
and that means W-E-E-D-S.

The dwarf Joe Pye Weed is growing each week,
despite our lack of rain.
Some of these plants are absolutely amazing
in how much neglect they can take.
Once this starts blooming, the butterflies will be all over it.

The lavender is getting ready to bloom,
and with that comes the lovely fragrance like nothing else.
I've taken to rubbing it on my mattress when I change my sheets
to create the sweetest of dreams.

A friend had given me some spider wort,
which I tucked in under a grouping of trees.
(Click on picture to increase the size.)
This is one of those plants that keeps making new starts,
so you will always have some to share.
(The flags help Big K know that these are not weeds when he is mowing!)

The apple tree is once again putting out fruit,
although we don't partake of it.
It is left for the birds, deer, rabbits and squirrels to enjoy.
I'm considering using it for homemade apple cider vinegar,
should we get enough fruit.

Can I just tell you how much I love this Dutch clover?
It is the best ground cover.
It's easy to grow, low maintenance, and the pollinators love it.
So do the rabbits and chooks,
so it's a win-win-win!
Here's an article extolling the benefits of using it in your lawn,
(or in place of your lawn, should you be so moved.)

 I find these sweet little saplings all over the property.
They offer hope for the future,
and it is so delightful to watch them mature.

I hope your weekend is filled with wonder
and an appreciation for all that you have in your life.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Master Gardener Workdays

It's been a busy few weeks for the Master Gardeners in town,
and we've been taking advantage of the glorious weather.
The first of many projects took place at the Jonas Library in downtown Lincolnton.
This used to be a rose garden, 
but because of the many mature trees on this site,
it is being converted to a shade garden.
Over a series of several weeks,
we hope to create a relaxing place of respite.

The beautiful brick pathway is lined with liriope on the left,
and will soon be planted with ferns and a butterfly house on the right.

Shade loving plants were added along the walkway,
and will soon fill out this bed.

With many hands sharing the work,
we made good progress in just a few hours.
Several azaleas were added to the site
and other shade lovers were planted beneath trees.

This gorgeous rose bush will remain
as a focal point in the garden.

This quiet seating area gives library patrons a place to read or simply sit and reflect.

 We also worked on getting some additional color
in a few of the downtown boxes that are on the shadier side of Main Street.

It's so rewarding to have time to give back,
and sharing it with others who have the same intention
is the best part of all.

What volunteer opportunities does your town offer?

Friday, May 14, 2021

Garden Friday

Houdini and Henrietta "chook chat"
Welcome back to Garden Friday!
We're sharing what's "growing on" in our spring garden.

The good news is that the asparagus came up this week.
The bad news is that since it's first year asparagus,
we have to wait until at least next year to harvest.
But after that, we'll be pickin' fools!

 More good news!
As predicted last week, the snap peas are making progress.
Hopefully, by this time next week,
we'll be snacking on these morsels on a daily basis.

These are Walla Walla onions, a new to me crop this year.
I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed in their size,
as I was expecting a large bulbous onion.
Probably due to gardener error, so I will try them again in the fall.
There will still be plenty to harvest,
so I will let you know how the flavor is.

The blueberries are getting closer every day.
With a dozen bushes out there,
we are sure to have our fill.
Most likely we will be freezing any we can wrestle away from the birds.

A few days ago, I noticed some beans coming up.
These are most likely a bush variety,
as they are planted in the raised bed.

A few strawberries have already been sampled.
Out of the handful that I tried, one was super sweet,
and the others were a bit on the tart side.
Maybe I'm just too impatient to wait for full ripening?
I guess I will have to force myself to keep tasting...

A tray of green beans and various melons
finally decided to germinate.
They will all be transplanted into raised beds.
I will be so excited if we actually get melons this year!
It's one of the few crops that all of us eat,
and I would love to share that with my boys.

This red lettuce and spinach have been in this bed since September,
and are just now starting to bolt.
The flavor has been great, right up to this point.

More lettuces have been sown in another bed,
so we should have greens all summer long.
(Sorry for the blurry shot.)

Our magnolia tree is bursting with buds.
It won't be long until the tree is 
covered in enormous white flowers.

This yarrow has already been blooming for months.
It's one of the easiest flowers to grow,
and attracts many pollinators to our mailbox bed.

The lantana is coming back all of a sudden.
This plant always throws me for a loop,
as it looks like it's not doing a thing.
Then, just like magic, it starts leafing out like crazy!

We will soon be inundated with colorful coneflowers.
This is one of my absolute favorites,
and another pollinator-friendly plant.

Here's a future project.
A friend was going to get rid of this cute lil' cart,
so I took it home and plan to repurpose it.
It needs a bit of work,
but it'll be a labor of love.

The sunflowers are starting to pop up all around the chicken yard,
thanks to a sunflower seed-stealing squirrel who leaves a mess around the fencing.
These are the sunflowers we use to give to the chooks as treats,
so I have no idea how big they'll get.
Looks like we'll have plenty of seeds to harvest for next year.

The loofah seeds planted underneath our gazebo structure germinated.
We are well on our way to providing ample shade for the chooks this summer.


 I noticed some mushrooms coming up underneath our yard waste compost pile.
That can only be a good sign.

With several days of rain this past week,
I remembered to leave out the bucket that has turkey poop remnants in it.
This allows me to use rain water for compost tea making,
and I just continue to add it to another pourable container for giving crops a boost. 

These volunteer milkweed line the driveway.
Well, that's not a bad thing.
Where there's milkweed,
monarchs are close behind!
I hope you enjoy some time outside this weekend!