Sunday, May 29, 2011

Long Weekend

Rainy and cold yesterday, but the orange iris have started to open. I like these the best. They're such an interesting color.

We did *not* feel like doing things outside. Today started out sunny, but it's clouding over and getting windy. So another spring-stormy day. Supposedly it will be warmer and sunny tomorrow. We'll see. I have a lot to do outside, if it's not raining! I'd like to finally get the swiss chard planted out, and pot-on my seedling tomatoes. At least all the plants already out there are enjoying the rain. The pots on our deck are doing well. I've got some photos to put up but I'll have to add them to this post later.

I also have tomato seeds I should plant, late as it is. I got "Orange Paruche" from Park Seeds. They sounded yummy, so I'm hoping I can get some to grow this year.

It's nice to have three days off at last. I have to do some typing for work, but I can spend a couple hours on that and still have plenty of free time. I've made some good progress on my crochet projects, finally got around to stewing most of the rhubarb in the the fridge, and hard-boiled some eggs. I'm going to make a fruit crumble either this evening or tomorrow morning, using those black currants from Sue. I also hope to make some lemon curd.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Yikes. I was just out in the veg garden area, pulling rhubarb. It rained all last weekend, which pretty much stopped my plans of digging over the veg patch, pulling weeds and putting in the seedlings. And now it's a complete jungle back there! I'm too embarrassed to put up a picture of it. I hope one of the guys will mow this weekend. The supposed "orchard" grass is really two-foot high cheat-grass and other weeds. At least my pots on the deck are doing well. I really like the monkey flower. The patterning is fascinating, and each one is different. The newest pot has a yellow marguerite daisy and cherry-red million bells. It hasn't really taken off yet, but it's on the verge.

At least the rhubarb is doing well. Whatever variety this is, it's heroic. The stalks are huge. The raspberries are coming along nicely, getting tall and bushy. I'm looking forward to lots of berries this summer.

We have egg build-up again. With six hens it can be challenging to use all the eggs. There's more than five dozen in the fridge. I've been taking a couple dozen to dance classes on Mondays, to give away. The Bru is rehearsing at our house tonight, so that's another two dozen gone, along with some rhubarb. We get things in return, so it all works out. Last week one of the other dancers brought me two quart bags of frozen black currants from her bushes. Yummy! I haven't decided what to do with them yet. I might try another oatmeal crumble.

The tall yellow and blue iris came into bloom this week. The orange ones are a bit later. These iris came from one of the yet-to-be-renovated beds in back of the house, so I'm guessing they're from the 1960's or 70's, when that part of the house was built. The yellow ones don't last well in rain.

Otherwise, there's plenty to do out there! There's so much I wanted to do earlier in the season but the weather didn't let me. Sure hope it doesn't rain this weekend as well. I really have to get the seedlings planted out or I might as well give up on them and buy plants at the farm supply.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rainety Rain

This is our lilac. It's really bloomed well this year. I managed to prune it at the right time last season, and that appears to have made a difference.

Well, I was wrong about that storm not bringing much rain. It's been raining since yesterday afternoon. So we're getting a good soaking after all. And rather than planting out seedlings, hubby and I went to see a movie, "Source Code". I thought it was good! You get very engaged in trying to figure out the problem along with the main character. I read a review beforehand that said you really need to pay attention to every detail - and at the end I realized I had *still* missed things. So if you see it, pay attention to everything, even the stuff that looks like visual nonsense. I won't say more than that.

The seedlings really need to be put out soon, but the weather is delaying things. I could pot on the tomatoes without putting them outside. I've found it doesn't make a lot of difference here if I put them out mid-May or early June. The important thing is building up a good root system. The small ones soon catch up to the bigger ones when they're out in the sun. So I move them into slightly larger pots after they've reached six inches tall, and plant them deeply. Then they develop more roots along the buried stem. This year I'll probably put them outside by the 31st. I just need a good weekend to work on the veg plot beforehand!

We've decided to call the cat Sofia Underfoot. She's named after a Scottish tune, but this "surname" is incredibly apt, and it has a nice Tolkein-ish sound to it. I'm trying to get a picture as an example.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Garden Pictures

A few more shots of the cottage garden bed, with the tall bearded iris coming into bloom. So far the new plants are surviving well. The blue-eyed grass and poppy seem pretty happy. I just need to keep them watered well. The rudbeckia is very sensitive to being dry, so I check it every day. I remember the other one being like that its first year.

I managed to clip and wash the dog today. We found a tick on his ear flap. It must have just fastened on because it was near normal size. So we have to keep an eye out for ticks now. Sigh. I was pretty happy to not worry about ticks here. I guess if it's going to be wetter, we'll have to deal with it.

I have GIANT pole bean plants taking over the window. I'm hoping I'll be able to plant them out tomorrow, if it's not storming. Along with the tomato start I bought and the baby swiss chard. I have seedling tomatoes as well, but they aren't big enough to put out.

There's a thunder storm blowing in. It's been threatening all day but it may finally be going to do something. Hard to tell, since it's just windy and cloudy. We decided to water anyway, since you can't count on a good amount of water from these Spring storms.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dwarf Iris in Bloom!

My dwarf iris exploded on Friday. Yesterday, after a few days of rain and sun, they were really going strong.

I gave myself a Mother's Day present on Saturday. Went to the nursery and got a few things I've been wishing for. Two sisyrincum idahoense (blue-eyed grass), papaver orientale 'Beauty of Livermere', a Rustic Dwarves rudbeckia, and a clematis integrifolia (bush clematis).

I've been wishing for that oriental poppy for a while now. The other one has survived out there, so I hope this one will be happy too. Had to cut back the grey groundcover to make room for it. Not much danger of losing that plant.

I'm excited about the bush clematis. It's hiding in between the yarrow and the yellow euphorbia. I don't know if it will flower this year, but hopefully it'll survive and do well next year. I planted the new Itoh peony out there last weekend, between the yellow and blue plant markers. No sign of life yet, which is a bit worrying.

I've had some trouble keeping things going in the front of this bed, but I'm pretty happy with the catnip. It seems to be liking it there. And the evening primrose keeps going, even though it tends to get overshadowed by the sedum next door. The new poppy will come up in spring and die back by mid-summer, so the real challenge will be keeping the groundcover from overwhelming it. That's one of the reasons I took this picture, so I can remember where it is. I should probably take a better shot, since this one doesn't show everything as well as I'd like.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy May

It's my month. I like May. Sometime this month we'll pass the last day of frost danger and I'll be able to plant out the tomatoes. The apple tree is in bloom, the lilac is going to burst into flower any day now, and my dwarf iris just exploded into flower today. I was out there yesterday and only two or three were open. Today it's a major deal.

Most of the tulips are open as well. This is one of the new ones.

It was about 75F today, the warmest day so far. I think we're due for more rain, but that's ok. I've got a ton of rhubarb to chop up and cook, but I'm not really interested in standing for that long today. I may go outside and putter.