Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wow, it's coming up on a month since I posted! And it's been a busy one.

The sewing room has been abandoned in favor of outdoor rooms. The weather has been beautiful and I have had more ideas than time to carry them out.

First the back deck, which sees more duty as the seed starter station than anything else:

Last year's mint plants had died back and the new shoots were scrawny and straggly. I pulled a few strands, roots intact, and stuck them in these pots before dumping the old pots out. They really took off, didn't they?

Parsley and basil

Oregano and chives. The chives plant on the bottom was another dump into the compost pile last year. This year, I noticed it was coming up again, so I added some new potting soil and put it back into a pot. It's doing better than the one on top, which I let flower out because I love the purple pom-poms it produces.

I planted gifted zinnia, sunflower and chrysanthemum seeds, coleus, chinese lanterns, leftover sunflower seeds from 2 years ago, and zinnia seeds that I had already purchased before receiving some from a friend. In addition,  for last year's birthday, my daughter sent me seeds from the gardens at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home in Virginia. I'm anxious to see if they'll grow here. I don't think the climate is much different.

Remember how my front flower bed looked about 4 years ago?

Well, I guess there's something to be said for neat and orderly and straight lines, but I'm more of a cottage gardener--the more, the better. This is what it's looking like today:

There would be more here, but I pulled up the large, woody, failing lavender plant. According to a site I found from a lavender farm, after 3 years, you need to start over. So I pulled up the one, but when I went to pull up the other, I noticed it had new shoots, so I just trimmed back the old, straggly parts, and voila! That's all it needed. See how lush it's getting? (It's right where the sidewalk angles.)

 See that tall grouping of green there? It was a plant I got from a lady at a yard sale about 2 years ago. This is how it looked then:

 See it on the right just in front of the Japanese maple?

It grew.

I still don't know what it is, but last year it put out magnificent stalks of flame-red flowers. I believe it's going to need to be thinned out and/or moved!

 I took the weedeater and cut the grass and (mostly) weeds to shape and enlarge the flowerbeds here and around the crape myrtle tree. I don't know when I'll actually get them done, but at least the shapes are outlined.

Since losing 5 Bradford pears around the yard, we ended up with some bare stretches. From the local nursery, I bought 6 Fire Mountain Andromeda bushes to help fill in, and they've really taken off. They were planted just before the bear incident;  you can see two of them in the background:

They've already grown a bunch. 

The nursery owner said they'd grow to be about 3-4 feet wide and 3-4 feet tall, so they'll fill in just like I want. Not only will it look better, it should help deter Tandi from dashing out across the wireless fence barrier to chase down the Dreaded Brown Truck. I'm hoping it will also keep the kids from cutting across the little ditch at Halloween. Last year, instead of coming up the driveway and entering under the cemetery arch, they'd come dashing across from the street and one little girl fell in the ditch

The new growth is red, and in the spring they have tiny, white, fragrant little bell-shaped flowers.

In between the bushes I planted 2 little Katsura saplings:

I love that when it drops its leaves in the fall, it has the scent of caramel and cotton candy. Oh, and it's nicknamed "The Halloween Tree", so you know I had to get me some!

There's more, but I'll save that for the next post!