Garden Potluck Party in June!

We got kind of rained out for the May garden party, so we decided to plan another one for June. We’ll send out invitations in mid-June, and we have the party scheduled for June 22. Unfortunately, by then I think the peonies will be done blooming, and the daylilies will be not quite open yet–we will just have to have another party in July to celebrate the daylilies.

Right now the main project is getting the seedlings and other plants in the ground.

plants waiting to get in the ground

plants waiting to get in the ground

Yesterday I got the dahlias planted, in the back yard.

backyard with a row of dahlias

backyard with a row of dahlias

This is the beginning of the end of this patch of lawn. Today I will put wet newspaper in thick layers on the sod, topped with wet, half-composted hay, to mulch heavily around these dahlias. The rest of the grass here will get the same treatment–I will dig holes, put the sod in a low spot where we’re trying to fill in, and plant various things, not sure what yet, and then give it the newspaper/hay mulch treatment. By next summer the grass will be killed, the worms will have made worm-poop of the newspaper, and the hay will have started sprouting new grass if I don’t keep an eye on it! But it will also have started to turn to dirt. I’ll add manure to the spot and soon enough it will be a terrific garden. Here are my super duper garden soil providers:

May 29 001We pile the manure up and let it compost in the barnyard:

garden soil in the making

garden soil in the making

The iris are lovely right now. Here are a few portraits of them.May 29 009May 29 007???????????????????????????????

Memorial Day

The showy flowers right now are iris, poppies, dame’s rocket and bleeding hearts.

one of the intermediate iris

one of the intermediate iris

nothing is quite like these bright orange poppies

nothing is quite like these bright orange poppies

All of these come from a few spindly stalks I brought back from my sister's back yard. They're pretty, fragrant, and spread generously--what's not to like?

All of these come from a few spindly stalks I brought back from my sister’s back yard. They’re pretty, fragrant, and spread generously–what’s not to like?

glorious white spirea

glorious white spirea

In the front yard, the perennial bachelor’s button centaura montana is starting up and will not quit until fall. ???????????????????????????????Lots of lavender flowers–also blooming is the wood hyacinth, or English bluebells? hyacinthoides: ???????????????????????????????In wildflower news, I was thrilled to see the wood betony I brought from Downerville woods made it through the winter. I hope it’s happy here and spreads.

wood betony

wood betony

And, 100 yards from our driveway on the side of the road I spied a long patch of false Solomon’s Seal. I checked that the patch was sizeable, and seeing that it was, I carefully dug up four small tubers. I planted them in the front yard and then it rained straight for three days–so, not surprisingly they’ve done fine.

false Solomon's Seal

false Solomon’s Seal

We thought our trumpet vine was dead, but it’s looking very vigorous. Also, the hibiscus is sprouting.

hibiscus

hibiscus

We have a lovely cool morning, with a clear sky after many days of drizzle and grey skies, so I went around taking pictures. Here’s a few from this morning. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

turning 52! a gardening birthday

I headed down to my sister’s new place for a few days and brought her some perennials for her new gardens.

dividing heuchera

dividing heuchera

all potted up and waiting for a ride

all potted up and waiting for a ride

in the back of the car!

in the back of the car!

In return I brought back some of her nice variegated vinca, and a few white comfrey from her back hayfield.

Back at home in my garden the iris have just started blooming.

iris bud

iris bud

opened!

opened!

 

northside intermediate iris patch

northside intermediate iris patch

plum colored iris

plum colored iris

 

southside purple and white iris and the first few orange poppies, plus dame's rocket.

southside purple and white iris and the first few orange poppies, plus dame’s rocket.

The lilacs were beautiful this year. They’re just about done now. The biggest news as far as my work in the garden goes is in the backyard garden, which has been a difficult spot for years, in particular the back of the bed on a slope. Keeping the edge and the tall plants from flopping and keeping it weeded–somehow it’s always the last place to get weeded and it’s always a mess. The iris planted there don’t bloom but they don’t die, the false sunflower had grown into a monster patch that shot up every year to six feet and then flopped over extravagantly, crushing everything underneath it. So I’ve been tackling that. I’m putting in a rock wall, pulling back the edge somewhat, and yanked out a lot of the sunflower.

taming the back yard flower garden

taming the back yard flower garden

In other gardening news, I planted hostas in the “below-the-kitchen-window” garden. (I know, it really needs a better name!)

Before--just soil and a thick hay mulch

Before–just soil and a thick hay mulch

after--instant hosta garden.

after–instant hosta garden.

I roamed the gardens and chose a variety of hostas, dug them up and divided them, and planted them here on May 19. A few days later on the 21st we had a ferocious wind/thunder/rain storm, and the hostas handled it effortlessly–none got washed out.

I’ve been busy in the garden. The northside garden under the black walnut tree–yes, you heard me right–got a complete overhaul. I pulled out all the small rocks that lined the paths, widened those paths, weeded more, took out those ugly chimney tiles and the giant wheel rim and abandoned one lower section, replacing it with a nice curved wall, and re-placed the back wall. David added some wood chips to the paths. It looks great!

refurbished northside garden

refurbished northside garden

northside

northside

So, in critter photography, we have the usual cats, and a barn swallow, and some fun garden art.

Mr. Fluff on the Aldo Leopold bench--a perfect fit.

Mr. Fluff on the Aldo Leopold bench–a perfect fit.

a ceramic frog with the new Patriot Hostas I planted

a ceramic frog with the new Patriot Hostas I planted

I moved this viburnum from where it was not thriving down by the road. It has Prairie's bird sculpture for company--adorable!

I moved this viburnum from where it was not thriving down by the road. It has Prairie’s bird sculpture for company–adorable!

Fly enjoys the warm sunshine on May 17

Fly enjoys the warm sunshine on May 17

My brother gave me this koko peli statue years ago--it works well in the northside garden

My brother gave me this koko peli statue years ago–it works well in the northside garden

barn swallow

barn swallow

Max Coots' "froad"

Max Coots’ “froad”

Tater listening for a varmint in the weeds

Tater listening for a varmint in the weeds

 

Paths, wider and wider

I explained recently in an email to my gardening buddy, sister and best friend Jeanne about how my attitude toward paths has continued to settle on the principle of ease and access. I used to make the paths narrow and discreet, leaving as much space as possible for the plants. I’d get my clothes wet with rain and dew, step on things, nearly fall over, get stuck in bushy dead ends. I tried stepping stones, and would be dancing my way carefully through the gardens, tipping and toeing. No more. I now have nice wide relaxed paths, and have continued to widen them. Here’s a recent photo of the southside path:???????????????????????????????

and another:???????????????????????????????

In the future, I’d like to add short lengths of low wooden handrails where the garden paths slope, especially in the front yard, so people visiting have something to steady them. And I’d like lots more benches scattered around the garden for stopping to, well, to smell the roses.

I used to think that wide paths were wasted space. But not only are they easier to get around the garden on–they also add something to the whole garden feel and look. They set the plants off, for one thing. The eyes can rest there. Also, they give, at least to me, a feeling like the rest between the notes or phrases in a musical piece, or pauses in a conversation, or moments of quietness in a busy day. ???????????????????????????????

At the moment I’m resting from gardening. The weather is chilly and wet, and I have other work to do. The lilacs I bought yesterday are doing fine sitting in the living room bay window. I gave them a drink of water and will plant them out in a few days. Here are a few other plants out there:ajuga

white bleeding heart

white bleeding heart

buying lilacs!

Just back from a lilac-buying visit to the wonderful Moore’s Hill Farm between Canton and Potsdam. It’s right down the road from Mom’s Diner in West Potsdam. We headed there for lunch right after loading up the four lilacs I purchased. ???????????????????????????????

The owners of the farm are very enthusiastic, friendly, welcoming and helpful. Here’s a picture of their lovely old barn and lawn, and a glimpse of the rows of Lilacs out back:getting lilacs I bought a deep purple (Monge), a white (Madame Lemoine) and two pinks, (Miss Canada and Lilac Sunday). They’re still in my car but when I get home and plant them I’ll take some more photos.

Chilly garden party

It’s been an interesting week for gardening. We had some very warm, dry, sunny days when it was fun to be outside but the ground got drier each day, with the soil feeling like dust and flowers drying at the edges and expiring earlier than usual. The photos for this post are from May 8, one of those very sunny days. Here’s one of the front porch with a flat of annuals I got at a nearby nursery:

sunny front porch

sunny front porch

Then mid-week it began to cool down and to rain, which made all of us farmers and gardeners very happy–the plants were even happier, I’m sure. But for my garden party it got quite chilly and windy, so we mostly stayed inside eating and chatting. Only a few brave souls ventured outside for quick tours around the garden. Still, it was a nice party, and I spent the last few days madly working on weeding and path-clearing, so the garden is in great shape!

Here are some pictures from the hot dry sunny days:gorgeous narcissus

inside the tulip

pink bleeding heart

red and yellow

interesting speckled violet

interesting speckled violet

my new garden cart!

my new garden cart!

a bench and tulips under the row of pine trees

a bench and tulips under the row of pine trees

nice weed-free path

nice weed-free path

foam flower close-up

foam flower close-up

Now I will leave gardening for a few days to finish up the grading. Grades are due on the 14th for seniors and the 15th for all other students. So, at the end of the day on Wednesday my semester is really over.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to Mother Earth!

Time to get busy

Today is the last day of classes, and tomorrow is one week away from my garden party, so it’s time to get busy. I have done a little weeding and gardening in the last few weeks, but mostly the garden has been on its own. I still have paths to widen, dead stalks to clear away, and weeds to pull. Here’s the front yard this morning:

front yard

front yard

front yard

front yard

In the back yard it is even more wild and woolly:

needs some housecleaning!

needs some housecleaning!

However, the plants themselves are doing just fine. Tulips made a big entrance in the last two days:???????????????????????????????

meditation garden tulips

meditation garden tulips

"square garden" tulips

“square garden” tulips

Those pink and yellow ones above (and below) are tulips I planted last fall with hot pepper–they all made it through the winter. Hurray!home may 1 034Also blooming: pulmonaria, primroses, forget-me-nots, muscari, and hyacinth. The crocuses are gone. Here is a nice lavender hyacinth:

I would like a few hundred more of these in the gardens!

I would like a few hundred more of these in the gardens!

But the main show around the yard is still the narcissus. Here is just a sample:

Mount Hood white narcissus

Mount Hood white narcissus

These might be "Delibes" or "Sound" narcissus.

These might be “Delibes” or “Sound” narcissus.

one of my favorites

one of my favorites

home may 1 092

As is customary, I’ll include some of the “critter” shots:

Mr Fluff enjoys the vista

Mr Fluff enjoys the vista

crowded narcissus

crowded narcissus

little spider trying to hide--you can just see the legs poking up over the top edge of the flower!

little spider trying to hide–you can just see the legs poking up over the top edge of the pink part of the flower!