Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Garden Update of 2011

I decided over this past Winter to not do a vegetable garden this year. Instead, I wanted to focus on my flowers. I've purchased & planted a few pretty perennials and on occasion a house plant that's caught my fancy. Somehow those few sporadic flowers I've planted outside have not only survived but thrived, and my yard is... pretty!

Of course I still have no idea what I'm doing. There's no master plan, no great schematic for the whole yard that I'm devoting all my creative energy into creating. It's more an eclectic hodgepodge of things that I haven't been able to walk past at the store. I get them home, and sit the pots here and there in the yard trying to envision how the plant will look when it's mature then I change my mind and move them around again then it gets dark and I leave them until the next day or week until I finally decide on a spot that'll "work". Who knows what it'll develop into. Maybe something beautiful, or maybe something that looks like a clown's makeup box got drunk and exploded in my front yard.

Above is my "Red Headed Irishman" cactus that I got from Lowes. It had a gaudy strawflower stuck to its top with an epic gob of hot glue. I brought it home & used tweezers and foul language to rip all traces of the hot glue & fake flower (and numerous patches of thorns) off it. I set it in a dish on my back patio table to let it recover outside. It started blooming immediately and hasn't stopped in over a month! Each of those pretty fuchsia flowers will last about 48 hours before it dries up & another opens up near it. I've never known a cactus to bloom so long or so profusely before. I can only assume it's grateful for the removal of the strawflower.

Above is that $2 Knockout Rose I got from Home Depot. It had fallen off the raised display, the pot had cracked, and it was wilted and nearly completely dead. I brought it home and managed to get it immediately into the ground. It started blooming right away and bloomed until Winter froze off every one of its buds & leaves.

This Spring it was the very first of my plants to leaf-out and I swear it had buds & blossoms on it before it was even fully leafed! It has some savage thorns on it. This is not the plant you want to stumble into barefoot. It's also so covered in blooms right now that you can barely see the leaves at all. It's competing with my azaleas for wow-factor. Actually, the azaleas are already done blooming and from all appearances the Knockout is just getting geared-up. This is a picture from earlier this Spring.

This is the first yellow rose of the year. I didn't think this girl would make it. She was so small last year when I got her into the ground and I didn't think she'd had a chance to get her roots really dug in and happy before the frost hit. It's my Julia Child rose, and not only is it stunningly beautiful but it smells like a dream. I hope this one gets big & bushy, because it's so small now and I'm really having trouble getting down in the yard low enough to whuffle it on a regular basis.

All the Daffodils I transplanted last year over onto the sunnier side of the walkway & out from under the bushes. This was early Spring and they got a LOT larger and there were a bunch of blooms. Again, I was surprised because they really didn't get an optimum planting there. The soil was terrible. I dug down as far as I could, put a little new soil in there around the bulbs and covered with a little more soil & a thick layer of mulch. I didn't think they got planted deep enough, but apparently they were just fine & liked their new sunny spot a lot. I should have gotten a good picture when they were in full bloom but missed my opportunity. I'm sure next year will be even more spectacular.

Does anyone remember my mystery-flower? My Mom gave it to me last Spring, it had pretty strawberry-shaped leaves (we originally thought the little plant might be some kind of strawberry, that's how similar they were). My Mom planted hers in a bright sunny location and hers bloomed that first year but mine didn't get enough light and while they grew just fine they didn't bloom.

I transplanted them in early Fall into a new planter in the front yard where they will get a lot more direct sunlight and even more bright indirect light through the gentle shade of the little Dogwood tree behind it. It worked. Not only did they survive the transplant, they are now in bloom. Plus, I was going into a grocery store the other day & walked right past a plant with similar flowers / leaves. Turns out this plant above with the pretty coral pink flowers is a type of Geum!

I called my Mum right away. We've been searching for the particular exact type this is but no luck and really I think it's enough that we figured out just what it is.

There's much more waiting to bloom. I can't wait to show you everything as it emerges! And boy, am I glad to have my computer back too.

Hope everyone has come thru the storms ok. Chris, did your garden make it thru the near-frost we had last night? I got up early but didn't see any actual frost & none of my more sensitive flowers seem impacted. There's a LOT more to show of my yard soon. And this will be the third time I've had to mow already this year.
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