Grey Kitty’s message

peonies

The forecast for today calls for wind, rain, thunderstorms, and hail this afternoon. Such warnings are usually exaggerated but still, this is what really brings the peonies down. Even staked, the heavy blooms fill with rainwater and the stems break over the restraints–in my case, simple twine. I picked a sumptuous bouquet of peonies this morning, and resisted the urge to take them proudly to the Blackbird for public display–they’re staying home, just for us. It was hard to pull myself away from them–I kept finding reasons to walk past the table where they were placed, to bury my nose in them, or admire their amazing colors and architecture. Speaking of architecture, the leaves of Dicentra burning hearts are as beautiful as their flowers:

dicentra burning hearts

Other garden news: Peonies are in full glory and dominate the garden, but other less showy plants are coming along: the tall, pale blue peach-leaved  campanula are blooming, as are the glomerata campanula–I promise to take pictures tomorrow.

Beverly Sills iris

Soapwort and sweet woodruff are blooming, the later iris, the last of the bleeding hearts are dangling from stems all over the yard, and spirea is blooming.

spider wort

Comfrey and Spiderwort are blooming like mad and the sunny evening primroses are budded. Oh, yes–the rose is in full bloom now. Also the catmint, geranium, weigela, yellow foxglove, burning hearts dicentra, centaura and baptisia. Delphinium have started to bloom, and some daylilies have scapes up.

Rose in the meditation garden

I could spend all day every day in the garden in June and not run out of things to do. Alas, there are other demands on my time. I have a huge list of garden chores to do, and I’m trying not to get impatient or overwhelmed. Yesterday afternoon I worked a bit on the backyard project–I must take pictures–the “before” of “before and after” is rapidly disappearing.

Jeanne on the swing

As I was busting sod, our elderly and ailing cat Grey Kitty came over and flopped himself right where I was working. OK, I thought, let’s just sit and enjoy the half-finished yard together. So I went to the nearby chair under the apple tree and patted my lap and called him “tsst tsst tsst”. He loves laps, and he knows that sound. Over he bounded, and leaped up to settle, purring blissfully, while I petted his now bony body. I stopped thinking about what still needed to be done, and just enjoyed the sunshine, the nearby musical house wren, and various insects buzzing by.

under the apple tree

Every time I go into town, I stop at the horse stables at the edge of town to load up the bug tubs I carry in my Subaru hatchback. That’s going on the gardens, and, this year, it will also cover the paths. We’ve decided to try this instead of the usual bark mulch we buy.

mulched path

I think it looks very nice, and the plants are protected from dry spells. This stuff breaks down quickly, and improves the tilth of the soil. My soil is already on the acidic side, so that’s not great, but using hay mulch has its own problems–it doesn’t look as nice and it tends to add LOTS of weed seeds to the garden.

combined hay mulch and wood shavings

Still, I love to add old moldy hay to the garden–it’s perfect for improving soil and I have lots of it piled up in the hay mow. We recently bought a trumpet vine and planted it next to the wooden play set– I mulched it heavily with hay mostly to discourage the grass.

Campsis radicans trumpet vine

In the meditation garden I am using the “lasagna” method: old tired dirt on the bottom layer, a layer of old hay, a layer of the wood shavings, another layer of hay, a layer of good compost, then a layer of wood shavings on the top. I’ll let it sit this year, and next year the worms et. al. will have made it into high quality garden soil.

lasagna patch in the meditation garden
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