Seeds for the future

It was alarming to read about the big decline of native birds here in the northeast. All the colors and songs fading due to our spread and culling of the land.

It was heartening to see many birds out back today, flocking to the bird feeders. Ever since switching to the premium seed, we have had so many varieties, even Indigo Buntings over the past 2 years which I only saw as pretty colors on the birdseed packaging as a kid.

The blue birds have returned and I hope that the male house sparrow that was disposed of will help make it easier for them to stick around.

But hatch in the (so far) squirrel proof feeder, now closer to the house.

Pileated Woodpecker peeking out. The bird seed we switched to has nuts and dried fruit which has expanded the varieties we see.

My favorite, the bluebirds with their haunting song and wonderful color.

Enjoying the Moment

A strange January weekend in the 60’s, but climate change is just a myth. Sure. I saw buds on shrubs that bloom in late spring. So much for a good hydrangea year…

I do wonder if the warm spell will make the spotted lantern fly hatch and then die by cold. I doubt it

I cut up a small maple tree for fire wood and made a stacked log fence in the shade garden. The electric chain saw is fun.

Now it is dinner time with rice simmering for a stir fry and an apple whiskey in my glass.

The garden grown garlic and store bough bok choy are chopped. (Asian tempest garlic seemed appropriate.)

And I wait for Jamie to join me to cook; a lovely weekend.

A Time to Rest

Among many garden blogs and posts that I read, many have mentioned that though gardening is never truly done even in winter, we all need a time to rest.

Lately I have been worried about not doing enough; both in planning for the garden, house projects, and caring for loved ones, but I also need to sit down from time to time so I do not wear out.

My lists of chores are long but the year is long, also. I need to slow down a bit, prioritize and enjoy the things and surroundings.

It isn’t the amount of work, it’s the rush to get it all done as quickly as possible.

So with the newly fallen snow, it is time for me to sit and relax for a spell; to enjoy what I have now in front of me.

With out Fail

The first flower of the year is my witch hazel. The leaves block some of the delicate flowers but it is still lovely to see. After a other year, this is taller than me, well out of reach of the rabbits.

I see some hellebores with flower buds, too…

I potted up my amaryllis again this year and will keep these displays indoors for a while. I may have to stake them better as they are growing quite tall now. Still, a few have been around for 6 years. So far, so good!

The Start of Something

Adding planting beds became easier this year after reading about where the garden is viewed most often; from windows. I do take walks through the garden but, especially in the cold months, I view it through windows in passing.

The large kitchen window is my main point of view as it looks out at multiple areas and the raised beds. I added a small planting area between raised beds in the hopes to get 4 seasons of interest. So far, it is working.

Spring has bulbs of crocus, hyacinths, tulips and daffodils. Some allium pop up as well. An azalea that was becoming browsed by deer was moved here as well, to be protected. The white flowers of a fothergilla will also herald in late spring.

Summer brings the cool blue of the Fothergillas leaves against the backdrop of the red twig dogwood. A golden false cypress adds some warmth.

Chrysanthemums and the red leaves of the cornus sericea pop along with the red-orange of the Fothergilla.

Lastly, the blustery winter months will see the red twigs and golden false cypress stand out in the white blanketed land.

Things are still small but are growing well. This is the first winter for the bed fully planted. I am excited to see it in the spring.

Morning in the garden

I opted to sleep in this morning. Well, sleeping as in not use an alarm. I was up at 6:30 anyway. No golfing today, though, Even with the 70 degree weather. I felt the need to relax and sit for a while.

Ground the beans.

Frothed the milk.

Off I to the garden I go.

This is my view as I sit in my blue, metal chair, watching the sun peak through the cherry trees out back. The rays are catching the sun gold tomatoes nicely.

The other tomatoes are holding their own.

I need a better game plan for the Brussels sprouts

And for the squash.

The squash is climbing the asparagus. What a mess 🙂

The peppers are still small.

The ground cherries are a bit ahead of the peppers.

And it is time to harvest more carrots

This one looks quite large

The garlic was battered by the rain but is still growing. I think I will harvest a few bulbs of the Asian tempest and silver white just to check

The garden is growing (literally and in size). Maybe a few new beds next year?

What will be harvested today?

Standing Still

I am finding it hard to have down time to enjoy the garden. So much has happened and is still on my to do list, but excuses only get you so far.

I recently mulched most of the flower beds over 2 weekends. Wheeling carts full of mulch up hill has made me aware of my back. I am 36; not old by any means but not getting younger. Carrying around 20 loads while bending over to weed 2000+ sqft of garden is exhausting, but things look good.

The fruits (vegetables?) of my labors have come in the form of pollinators and plenty of edibles. I just dig up the Mettechi garlic; about 12 bulbs, which are now drying on the porch.

Earlier in the year I cut the scapes and have been using them in soups and stir fried.

Also, my goal to grow more salad greens was a success with the spotted trout lettuce which is now bolting. I planted more seeds to get a second crop in a month or so.

Darkness filled the garden a few months back, but the good kind. Many of the darker flowers bloomed enmasse.

Purple was the color of late spring.

Now, pinks, yellows and oranges sing.

As always, Jamie ventures out now and then to enjoy the garden. I think if it were just me, the garden would never “be seen”. Jamie has a good eye and speaks up when necessary.

The heat is here but the insane amounts of rain have kept things lush. After 8 yards of mulch, I order 3 more to finish the beds near the shed and behind the pool.

The Raised Garden Beds

I am trying some new things in the garden this year, including spotted lettuce (bolts less quickly), and garlic.

The garlic is growing well and should produce plenty for us this summer and autumn.

The 3 varieties are :

Metechi, Silver White, and Asian Tempest.

The arugula and spinach is filling in. Plenty of salads ahead of us:

I have some weeding to do…

And the spotted trout lettuce looks good. I hope to keep sowing more through the year:

So far, so good.

It is still too cool at night for the tomatoes to go in. Maybe by the end of May. I could plant a few to see how they do. I have plenty of plants. Experiment time?

Iris

The last of the spring bulbs are here; daffodils all but gone, tulips fading and allium starting to open their eyes. The iris is what is blooming happily now.

The always first purple and salmon are open against the gray siding.

Among the garage, the blue are awake with the white soon to join them

Others are producing a lot of buds

I am most excited for the pure black iris which has grown steadily for 3 years but with out a bloom. This year there is a single bloom.

Other flowers to join the iris are columbine. We now have 5 varieties including a double purple.

Other garden shots:

Agastache blue

Allium:

May apples:

Hardy geraniums against the shed:

Things are filling in fast. No more polka dots in the new beds.

Spring

I love the emergence of life in the spring. The newly planted spring bulbs are putting on a wonderful display this year. I added a lot of daffodils last autumn and have a theme of white+ daffodils out back and yellow ones out front.

The hellebores are truly a favorite and have provided a lot of joy when I looked out the window in March. They are still blooming. The doubles have really stood out.

Now the tulips are blooming, many have died off sadly but we still have a lot of variety. I am not sure if I will plant a lot each year since they seem to last a few years tops. Maybe a select few that catch my eye.

Lastly, foliage has begun to stand out. My original ferns are looking great and the 3 astilboides came back and look to be larger.

The candy corn Spirea is changing color from its bright red to light green. It is very sharp.

I am not 100% happy with the whole garden but things are maturing well and are beginning to make nice moments. In a few years I hope to have a more structured garden and things seem to be leaning that way.