Garden “siblings” and soulmates

apple trees blooming!

apple trees blooming!

I enjoy all kinds of gardens, and I’m glad that there is so much variety out there in the gardening world. City-dwellers planting in balcony pots, people who have meticulous edges and pruned bushes, wildflower gardeners, rock gardeners, formal and wildly informal, topiary and ponds, shrubs and annuals. The gardens reflect the tastes, abilities, and interests of the gardener, as well as the soil, light and space conditions, and the gardeners’ time and financial resources. I personally favor the wild overgrown gardening style, as you can see from the photos below of the southside path taken yesterday!??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Visitors to the gardens are also quite various in their reactions. One friend can hardly resist pulling weeds for me–she’s like me: in my garden tours I zero in on the weeds and problems to be solved and have to remind myself to enjoy the flowers, too. And she is my garden’s grandma, since more than half of my plants came from her garden in the first place. One visitor ignored the plants and enjoyed the garden art.

may 22 102One child who visited especially loved the smells and tastes of various herbs and edible plants. Most visitors like to ask questions and hear stories about the various plants. Some take me up on my standing offer to dig up extras or divisions. Recently I had a rather magical garden visitor, whom I’ll call Faith, by her middle name. I had the feeling that she saw the garden in a different way from most visitors. Like other gardeners, she said “this is a lot of work”, and like others she was happy to accept some plants to take home. But unusually she was able to experience the garden as a whole, even though it was her first visit. And she said that being in the garden made her heart happy. That, of course, made me feel happy. She made me remember how important it is to me to have friends come to visit the garden.garden May 27 077

Some of my fellow gardeners, what I think of as my gardening family, are very important to me. They include my garden’s grandma, Eleanor, my sister and fellow gardener Jeanne, my beloved niece Rachel, and my gardening friend Kathleen. These folks were here from the very beginning of the garden–I have a photograph of Rachel sitting in the original sandy garden cross-legged reading a book. I made many trips to Eleanor’s garden returning with all the seats of the car packed with buckets of plants. I still remember visiting Kathleen’s new garden–I was part of a work team that helped remove old buried garbage from her newly-purchased home site, helping also to dig a drainage ditch. She helped me think big, and be unafraid to try anything. I remember calling her up on the morning my very first lily opened, a dark red asiatic “negros”. Other garden family members are my parents-in-law, whose woodland-like garden/yard also contributed important plants to the garden: orange poppies, blue ajuga, forget-me-nots, forsythia, turtlehead, sweet peas. And my other sister, M., with whom I have spent many happy hours sauntering through nurseries, planting, planning, and sharing divisions. And Michele, fellow gardener, faithful blog follower, and friend. When I work on widening a path or creating a new bench, I think of visitors and my gardening family and it is part of why gardening makes me so happy. ???????????????????????????????

Quick garden update

The semester officially ended for me when I sent in the students’ grades on the 18th. There’s plenty more to do in the office, of course: planning next semesters’ courses and doing some summer research, etc. But the schedule is relaxed, and there’s plenty of time for gardening–which is where I’m heading next. I’ll write a longer post in a few days but for now just a few updates:

Lilacs are blooming, taking over the main stage from the narcissus and tulips, which are still blooming but past peak.

Charles Joly lilac

Charles Joly lilac

white lilac

white lilac

???????????????????????????????Narcissus poeticus recurvus–wonderful spicy scent

may 22 079???????????????????????????????In the tulip department, I have been charmed by the Angelique doubles. They bloomed late for me, and look like small peonies. may 22 053may 22 057???????????????????????????????Everything is bursting and green, and weeds have not really started to grow yet. I’ve been hauling loads of old wood shavings from the University stables, for mulch and also for paths.

a widened path down to the potting shed

a widened path down to the potting shed

Here is the refurbished apple tree garden. I removed the day lilies, transplanting them to the hillside, as you can see. The next day I added old horse manure compost and on top of that lots of mulch. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????In the front yard I was thrilled to see that the wood betony I got from a huge patch in a nearby woods has made it through the winter, and is spreading, and blooming!???????????????????????????????For my birthday my Dad bought me a gold-leaved ninebark shrub.

It is to the left in this picture--the ninebark shrub will get quite a bit taller before long.

It is to the left in this picture–the ninebark shrub will get quite a bit taller before long.

I planted it in the front yard, the sunnier top part; perfect timing! we had a soaking rain this morning, so no need to water it today. I also bought a small bayberry shrub with gorgeous dark purple leaves–and stickers! may 22 086Here is the cat photo for the day–Tater walking toward me and complaining the whole way “Did you know there’s no cat food in the dishes on the front porch??!!” he is saying. may 22 083More later…

Full on Springtime

 

The Mother’s Day party was a wonderful success–sunny, a little cool and fairly breezy. It was made more festive because someone (bless her) brought a small grill and made hot dogs. Others brought yummy food, including a quiche made with wild leeks! I was busy in the garden of course up to the very last moment pulling weeds and tidying up. The first thing we did with some early guests is plant the azalea that my barn buddies bought for me in memory of my Mom. Here it is:may 12 garden 045I’m not sure how hardy it will be–we will see. The bumblebees love it. The daffodils and tulips did come out for the party, just barely in time. Here are some pictures of the daffs and tulips:may 12 garden 054??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????And I am always amazed at the variety and number of little critters in the garden–in the soil, grubs and centipedes, worms and ants; on the flowers spiders, flies and bees, and in the air the songbirds are extremely busy building nests and carousing. Here are some little spiders:?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Also blooming are the pulmonaria:may 12 garden 084And a gorgeous purple primrose I planted last summer:may 12 garden 079The yellow and red primroses are almost blooming:may 12 garden 092I’ll end with some nice random garden shots. Here is a new bit of garden art, courtesy of my artistic niece:may 12 garden 077And here is the obligatory cat picture:may 12 garden 095And a few pictures of ferns, Solomon’s Seal, False Solomon’s Seal, and a few other things:may 12 garden 090

Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal

false solomon's seal

false solomon’s seal

my little pagoda dogwood "golden shadows" made it through the winter!

my little pagoda dogwood “golden shadows” made it through the winter!

may 12 garden 040

a virtual garden tour, May 1st

Yesterday afternoon under a dark sky I wandered around the yard taking pictures. Here is a tour of the main gardens, and then I’ll put some of the individual plants.

We will start in the back yard:

back yard, May 1

back yard, May 1

As you can see I still have some “clean up” to do in terms of removing last year’s stalks. Here is under the apple tree, which is part of the back yard but I think of it as a separate garden:???????????????????????????????Going counter-clockwise around the house, the next stop is the two northside gardens. Here is the middle section of the lower one, also known as the sandy garden:may 1 013And here is the upper northside garden, also known as the square garden:???????????????????????????????Then we cross the driveway again to get to the front yard. There are a lot of stalks here from last year’s phlox and other plants. The two giant maple trees at the bottom of the front yard shed branches and twigs onto this garden over the winter, and left a heavy blanket of maple leaves. Should these dropped branches all be neatly picked up and all the leaves raked away? This year, I’m only removing the biggest branches–I’m going to let the rest lie. ???????????????????????????????may 1 020At the bottom of the front yard is our lovely potting shed (needs new siding but it is sound and spacious). Against the potting shed wall we added dump-truck loads of heavy, clayey soil from the ditch that was dug out in one of our hay fields.¬† (I only found out how clayey and heavy AFTER it was in place!) I have “leavened” this dirt with dead leaves and stalks and other “brown” composting materials, and top dressed it heavily with moldy hay. I planted it with tough¬† shade lovers like hostas (bless them, they grow in just about anything), goose-neck loosestrife, solomon’s seal, lily-of-the-valley, and such. It doesn’t look like much now but this photo can be a good “before” shot.???????????????????????????????Next we come to the southside garden that runs all along the side of the house and ends in the meditation garden. Here’s the southside walkway:???????????????????????????????The southside walkway overlooks the vegetable garden:???????????????????????????????Here is the bedraggled meditation garden:???????????????????????????????And that brings us full circle back to the back yard garden. I took this picture standing in the threshold between the meditation garden and the back yard:???????????????????????????????So here are some of the individual plants yesterday– small red early tulips, blue scilla, pink hyacinth, and pulmonaria:may 1 010???????????????????????????????may 1 033???????????????????????????????Other plants are not near blooming time but are assertively growing, almost visibly taller each day, and looking very healthy. Here are some of them:

delphinium

delphinium

peony

peony

bleeding heart

bleeding heart

I think this is a dwarf goatsbeard, but it could be an astilbe

I think this is a dwarf goatsbeard

Out in the pasture, calves cavort, Canada geese compete honkily for good nesting spots, killdeer keen and Spring peepers peep. I only have a photo of the calves:may 1 005Spring is here, and this is also the last day of classes at the university, so I’ll be spending more hours outside getting everything spiffy for the Mother’s Day garden party. This morning I looked at the John Scheeper’s Beauty from Bulbs catalog picking out what I want to order for next Spring already!