Backyard plans, daffodils stealing the show

The back yard looks like a construction zone:

rock pile, back yard

rock pile, back yard

Here’s a closer view:

back yard with holes!

back yard with holes!

You can see my ugly but effective way of holding the shovel and rake, and the giant holes David dug for the kiwi vines. We have one male and two female hardy kiwi vines that have to be planted next to a pole and trellis to train them up on.

kiwi vine holes

kiwi vine holes

The whole character of the back yard will be changing. No more flower garden with a few flowering bushes. We’re integrating the gardens to include edibles. For instance, where I had dahlias planted in a raised bed last year I just planted two strawberry plants, and we plan to let the runners go, to fill the whole bed with strawberries. The dahlias will go in the cutting garden, next to the vegetable garden. We did a lot of gardening work this weekend. The cats were happy to have us out and about, and stayed nearby. Here is Mr Fluff in the back yard looking as blissed out as only he can:

Mr Fluff and daffodils

Mr Fluff and daffodils

Tater enjoyed the nice weather this weekend also. Here he is on his “throne” looking regal:

Tater in the front yard

Tater in the front yard

The main interest right now is the daffodils. Here are some close-ups to show off the variety of colors and shapes:???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

april 29 009

a nice white daffodil with a spider

a nice white daffodil with a spider

a delicate white and pale peach daffodil, also with a spider!

a delicate white and pale peach daffodil, also with a spider–or two!

april 29 017Casey checked us out from the pasture:

any apples ripe yet?

any apples ripe yet?

Here’s the vegetable garden at the moment:

the walled herb "wheel"  with vigorous chives is in the foreground, but we've  decided to remove the rocks. You can see a cold frame and the spinach patch.

the walled herb “wheel” with vigorous chives is in the foreground, but we’ve decided to remove the rocks around it. You can see a cold frame and the spinach patch.

That’s all for now–I have one more week of classes, and then things will heat up a lot in the garden for me. I’ll be planting out seedlings, starting more seeds inside and out, planting the dahlias (which means digging a cutting garden out of the side near the vegetable garden) and doing lots of other garden jobs. Maybe next post will be a to-do list!

lounging around will definitely be on the to-do list!

lounging around will definitely be on the to-do list!

Golden Legacy narcissus collection

frilly white and yellow

frilly white and yellow

I have written about this before, but it is worth repeating. White Flower Farm offers a collection of 100 narcissus bulbs from the Dutch Van Der Veek family. It’s called “The Golden Legacy”. I got one of these collections three or four years ago, and it’s been one of the glories of my garden ever since. I always start the season with masses of the large yellow “plain” daffodils. Here is a patch of them in a picture I took this morning:

the first to bloom

the first to bloom

These are sturdy, early, and multiply rapidly. I hope eventually to have them all over the garden and yard. The Van Der Veek collection includes every size and type and color. The collection comes unlabeled, so I don’t know the names of most of my narcissus. I have probably another hundred types that I bought myself here and there. The well-known Ice Follies start to bloom very soon after the plain yellow. Those are white outside petals and pale yellow cones:

Ice Follies, after awhile they become mostly white

Ice Follies, after awhile they become mostly white

The other part of my narcissus collection come from the hillside, and were planted here long ago. These are the poeticus ones, small, fragrant narcissus. Those tend to bloom at the very end of the narcissus season.

old style poeticus narcissus

old style poeticus narcissus

This morning I came across those frilly white/yellow ones I started the post with. Here’s the whole patch:

narcissus patch front yard

narcissus patch front yard

My plan is to do a large-scale narcissus transplanting project this year, after they have finished blooming. I’ll dig up clumps like this and separate them, and re-plant all over.

I managed to get a little gardening done over the weekend. In the back yard I weeded, tromped the paths down a little, cleared out stalks and old leaves.

Spring cleaning

Spring cleaning

This is the back yard slope that I plan to make into two or three tiers with short rock walls. More on that later. Meanwhile the garden under the apple tree is looking pretty tidy:

under the apple tree

under the apple tree

And so far the tulips in the “square bed” have not been eaten or dug up! Here is one of the patches:

tulips

tulips

It was a gorgeous morning around sunrise when I went out to feed the horses. While the two horses nickered and grumbled for me to hurry up, I paused to take a picture of the sky:

beautiful dawn

beautiful dawn

 

daffodils arrive

I have had daffodils in vases for a week now, but I cheated–I brought some inside still just budded, and they quickly opened. But this morning the first ones bloomed outside. We braved the wind to walk around the yard admiring them. Didn’t have my camera with me, but I’ll get some pictures soon. Here’s a photo from last year!

April 19 last year, back yard

April 19 last year, back yard

April 19 2012 front yard narcissus

April 19 2012 front yard narcissus

Thalia blooming a year ago today.

Thalia blooming a year ago today.

So clearly we are later than last year–but last year we had that freak hot spell in late March. I’m glad things are blooming a bit later this year. When I have my Mother’s Day garden party on May 11 there will be lots of daffodils to enjoy!

 

Sunny day in April

It rained the day before and it is raining again today, but yesterday we had sunshine. I went outside with my camera. The gardens are mostly still brown and drab, which is fine, no reason to hurry when frost can still catch us.

back yard

back yard

front yard

front yard

under the apple tree--back yard

under the apple tree–back yard

But of course the crocuses are blooming. I have been very restrained planting them, because the garden is still not established and I’m always uprooting them as I redo things. I’m waiting until a few more years pass and then I’ll buy thousands and carpet the gardens with them.

white crocus and friends

white crocus and friends

purple crocus small???????????????????????????????I also found a few blue squill or scilla. One of them had a little red pal nearby–the first red lily bug I’ve seen. I let it live–I’m planning on wiping them out but I wasn’t equipped with my bug-killing soapy water, and I’m a wimp about mashing bugs with my bare hands. See it peeking out from under the leaf?april 17 014The red shoots of peonies are poking up. ???????????????????????????????Lots of other perennials are coming up; here is a young delphinium along with David’s bare toes:???????????????????????????????

 

And everywhere are the young fuzzy poppy seedlings:

baby orange poppies

baby orange poppies

 

Last fall I planted lots of tulip bulbs in the “square” garden, along with hot pepper to discourage rodent feasting. So far they all are emerging.

tulip patch

tulip patch

Meanwhile, I had to transplant my sunflowers inside into larger pots because they were growing so fast. I also transplanted some nasturtium. I started some zinnia seeds, too.

transplanted sunflowers

transplanted sunflowers

I got an email notice that the dahlias are in the mail from Oregon. They’ll be potted up to join last year’s in the sun porch until I dare to put them out.

last year's dahlias, made it through the winter and have sprouted already.

last year’s dahlias, made it through the winter and have sprouted already.

I’m looking forward to the Day-Before-Mother’s-Day garden party here, scheduled for May 11, Saturday. It’s the official “opening” of the garden. It will be the third annual party. My flute/strings quartet might even play on the front porch!

Planting fruit trees and shrubs

This will have to be a quick post because I’m working on grading some student papers, but I wanted to record and share our new venture in the garden world. This weekend we planted our first batch of fruit trees and shrubs. We’ve started our orchard! I’ll write more about this soon, but for now I’ll just record the basics. The plants: 8 elderberries, 12 raspberries, two pears, two juneberries, one siberian apricot, two highbush cranberries (the cranberries are for the birds to eat and as a windbreak, not for us to eat). We picked the plants up on Saturday morning from St Lawrence Nurseries, and they were all in the ground by 6 pm on Sunday. Not bad! The weather helped a lot.  Here are the photos!

raspberries

raspberries

raspberries

raspberries

digging

digging

and digging--they had to be two feet diameter and two feet deep

and digging–they had to be two feet diameter and two feet deep

we were instructed to keep the sod, topsoil, and subsoil separate. In this photo you can see these three--the sad, the deep brown topsoil, and the reddish subsoil

we were instructed to keep the sod, topsoil, and subsoil separate. In this photo you can see these three–the sod, the deep brown topsoil, and the reddish subsoil

we dug all the holes first

we dug all the holes first

digging

digging

planting

planting

then in the bottom of the hole goes the sod, then the topsoil, then the roots go in, and last the subsoil. tramp it down, water like crazy, and it’s done–except the mouse protectors and the deer protectors. more on that later.

meanwhile Tater is relaxing nearby

meanwhile Tater is relaxing nearby

and Mr Fluff too

and Mr Fluff too

brown outside, planting seeds inside

So far I have started seeds of: hollyhock, a fancy kind of annual rudbeckia, delphinium, nasturtium, and ornamental sunflower. The hollyhocks are already sprouted, but I had too much water in the tray and most of them have a little white fuzz–mold? on the stems. I took the lid off, sponged up the extra water, and put them in a sunny window. I hope they will be OK. In side, the south-facing bay window is crowded with a few house plants, some dramatic amaryllis, and seedling trays, most of them of veggies that David planted. ???????????????????????????????

vegetable seedlings

vegetable seedlings

The broccoli seeds grew like mad:

broccoli

broccoli

Outside, David took off the plastic covering over the mini greenhouses he had maintained all winter. We admired the greenery that had made it through the winter. And had some for dinner!

covered up

covered up

???????????????????????????????

mostly spinach

mostly spinach

Yesterday I took a stroll around the gardens in the late afternoon sunshine. It is mostly brown, but a few narcissus and tulips and other early bulbs are pushing up.

snowdrops

snowdrops

narcissus acting like spears, or bulldozers--moving the dirt out of the way!

narcissus acting like spears, or bulldozers–moving the dirt out of the way!

narcissus and tulips

narcissus and tulips

In general, it is a quiet, brown landscape.

dressed in early Spring drab

dressed in early Spring drab

???????????????????????????????