Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

Beautiful Bleeding Heart

Beautiful Bleeding Heart

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lovely L's - Lilac and Lily of the Valley

This is the time of year when the scents of flowers can truly intoxicate you and make you lose your head! A few years ago I had the opportunity to get rid of evergreen bushes I never liked and plant 2 lilacs in their place. Newer varieties of lilacs have lots of pluses over older varieties. For me, I was able to find lilacs that will stay about 8 feet tall and not grow to the

towering 20 feet I often see old lilacs growing to in Western NY. Also, the flowers on these lilacs are as long as my forearm! The scent is heavenly as well because what would a lilac be without its fragrance? Lily of the valley are my second L - love this time of year. For as tiny as the flower is, it gives off a scent that 100 times larger than its diminuative size. If I sit in a chair at the front corner of my porch, I can smell both the lilacs and lily of the valley. I wish science could find a way to truly bottle these scents. Some soaps and perfumes I've smelled come close, but they do not hold a torch to the real thing. Both of these plants are so easy to grow, everyone should add them to their yard and enjoy this intoxicating time of year.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

April showers and May flowers

All the rain we had in April really dampened my spirits and my garden. It seemed like it rained daily and temperatures were more like winter than spring. May arrived and it took a few days but now it finally feels like spring has arrived in Western New York. All the rain we received in April has helped the flowers, trees and bushes to explode into bloom these past 10 days.

The plants were just waiting for some sun and warmth to start growing! My garden is a riot of winter pansies and many varieties of tulips and daffodils. It definitely helps to plant varieties that are labeled early, mid and late spring because it seems like something is always on its way out and just about ready to bloom. I've mulched and trimmed and now really need to get serious about weeding and pulling back some plants who want to take over the entire garden. My lilacs are getting ready to bloom and just down the highway in Rochester, the Lilac Festival is getting ready to start. Just this past week my bleeding heart went from a few dead looking twigs to a riot of gorgeous heart shaped blooms. There is something so magical about a bleeding heart - I just love them! Enjoy this spring weather and some of the pictures I've posted.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What happens in a week!

I last wrote about all the warm weather we are having. A friend of mine said "April is the cruelest month" and after the last few days, I couldn't agree more! We have a trace of snow and it is not what a gardener wants to see this time of year. The warmer weather we were having did push many of my daffodils and tulips up, many with buds ready to open and others with buds just starting to form. The hyacinths, one of my absolute favorites, have opened and their scent even in the cold, is overwhelmingly wonderful. None of the vegetables I planted last weekend have started to emerge, but I'll keep reporting on their progress. My dad always

told me I needed to be more patient in the garden and he was right and today the weather is just one more reminder that Mother Nature is truly in charge!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Amazing what a little warm weather will do!

We had a spectacular spring weekend here in Western New York. Sun, the warmest temperatures yet for 2011 and the emergence of flowers and insects. I have daffodils, Grecian wind flowers, an early tulip and a star flower open as of lunch time today. These early bloomers really do give you hope that your garden will come back to life and that it is well on its way to gorgeousness. I also planted two typ

es of Swiss Chard, beets and spinach and I'll report on their progress once I start to see some shoots. Enjoy these photos of some early blooms.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Time for Early Spring Vegetables

Now that I think we are finally past the time of much measurable snow, it's time to start thinking about planting early spring vegetables. I have three - square foot gardening boxes in my garden. Each box is two foot square. I use these boxes to grow vegetables each summer. Because they are small, they are easy to maintain and because they are raised beds, the soil drains well and there is no breaking ground each spring. I built the square foot gardening boxes after reading the book "All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space" by Mel Bartholomew. It's a wonderful book that describes how easy it is to grow lots of vegetables in just a little space. After I built my boxes, I used the soil recipe in the book to make the soil mixture to fill my boxes. Now all I do is add some fresh mushroom compost and a little vermiculite each year and my vegetables grow wild! The book also lists how many of each type of vegetable that you can grow in 1 square foot of space. This weekend it looks like temperatures will be back in the 50s and the soil is workable, so it is time to plant my early spring vegetables. This year I'm planting beets, two types of Swiss Chard, Buttercrunch head lettuce and spinach. When we pass the frost date, I will add Early Girl and grape tomato plants and waxed beans. These spaces are small, so there is very little maintenance and the only fertilizer I use is organic compost. I have never had a pest problem and I think that is because there is so much variety in my garden. Pick your favorite spring vegetable and get planting!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's that time of year again!

Spring has officially arrived and it is time to start regularly blogging about my garden. The snow is melted, although it is predicted to snow tomorrow! I've been out in my garden cutting down dead plants from last fall and raking away leaves to give the spring bulbs a better chance to reach the sunlight. My first crocus opened around St. Patrick's Day and for a northern gardener, that first flower is like Spring's reward for a long cold dark winter.I have yellow and purple crocus in my yard and definitely not enough of them. Every fall I look at the bulb selections in my local stores and I always want more tulips and daffodils. This fall I am not going to overlook the smaller, earlier blooming bulbs and will add many more crocus as well as snow drops. I've also been thinking that I need to add some Lenten Rose and see if I get anything blooming in February. The spring show of bulbs will start in just a few weeks and I can't wait to see what it looks like! Every fall I plant more bulbs and try to plant them in places that had no spring flowers. Some bulbs die out, some bulbs get dug up and eaten by squirrels and some bulbs just do not re flower, so adding bulbs each fall is the key to having a gorgeous spring display. Happy Gardening Season!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mason Bees

A few weeks ago for my birthday, my sister Amy gave me a Mason Bee house. I've seen these bee houses in gardening magazines and on the Internet and thought they looked interesting. I'm fascinated with bees of all types and loved receiving this gift. Mason bees are not aggressive and are super pollinators - I've read that one Mason Bee can do the pollinating work of a thousand honey bees. With all of the flowers I have in my yard, I have lots of bees and other insects. Now that I've seen a picture of a Mason Bee (they are green blue in color and not striped yellow and black - what you typically think of when you think bees) I will keep my eyes open for them. From what I've read about them, they only appear in the spring, but this has been a strange weather and gardening year, so maybe they are still around. In the spring when the mason bees come out of hibernation, they mate and the female lays her eggs in woody crevices she finds. A Mason Bee house gives the Mason Bee a place to lay their eggs. The bees who hatch are likely to stay in the area, so hopefully I can increase my bee population even more.

An update on my last post - I have two delphiniums that have re bloomed! I was so excited and happy to see the new blooms. They are smaller blooms than the originals, but lovely none the less.