Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

Beautiful Bleeding Heart

Beautiful Bleeding Heart

Friday, May 21, 2010

Something about purple

It's funny, but I was standing and looking at my garden this morning and every thing that is currently blooming is purple (if we can stretch the blue of bachelor buttons to purple!). My lilac, my bearded iris, my pin cushion flowers, my sage, my allium, my columbine, my candy tuft (ok, deep pink), my bachelor button and my cat mint! The colors just really struck me and I realized that even though I planted all of these flowers without really thinking that much about color, my subconscious love of purple certainly had an influence. In all the shades of purple, set against the greens of foliage and plants not yet in bloom and the yellow of my house, the flowers really paint a happy, lively picture. I guess I never thought there were that many purple flowers, but I have proved myself wrong just by the happy accidents that are currently in bloom at 21 Washington.

Monday, May 17, 2010

When blah goes to WOW!

The first two weeks of May brought quite a change in the weather. Western New Yorkers were getting spoiled by the incredibly nice and unseasonable April we experienced. My tulips and daffodils were glorious, but their blooms were fading or completely gone by May 1st. I looked at my garden, about void of flowers except for my lilac and thought, my garden went from WOW to blah in just one week. The change in the weather brought in much cooler temperatures and lots of rain (rain we did not see in April) and a green garden. Luckily, by the end of last week, flowers were again starting to bloom and there is color and life back in my garden. Allium, batchelor button, poppies, columbine, bearded iris, sage and lungwort are now taking center stage. So many shades of purple and green, it really is becoming a feast for the eyes once again. The iris are so happy this year that there are 4 and 5 blooms on each single stalk which is something I have not seen before! I guess the morale to this story is be patience. There is always something exciting right around the corner in a perennial garden.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My love of lilacs

Living in Western NY certainly has its gardening advantages. Lilacs love to grow here and they certainly do flourish. Not far from here, in Rochester, the city hosts a lilac festival each May when all the different varieties of lilacs in Highland Park bloom and put on an awesome show. I have always wanted a lilac in my yard, but because I have such a small, tight garden, I figured that lilacs were one plant I was going to have to live without. As luck would have it, a tree fell on my house and smashed two cedar bushes that were in front of my house. I never liked these bushes much so it was a perfect excuse to get rid of them and plant what I really wanted - lilacs! You may think of lilacs as huge, bushy tree type plants but in recent years varieties have changed. I bought two lilacs and they grow to reach about 6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide, just perfect for in front of my porch. The blooms I have this year are amazing and one of the flowers is over two feet long! Sitting on my front porch, the intoxicating scent of lilac drifts to where I am sitting and I truly think I'm in heaven. Lilacs don't do well as cut flowers so to enjoy their scent and beauty, you really need to take advantage of them in their natural habitat. If you are lucky enough to see a lilac in bloom, take a minute to inhale their scent and it will be something you look forward to each spring!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Birds in my garden

Earlier this spring I wrote a bit about birds in the garden. I love birds. I have loved birds my whole life. My grandma Reardon and my dad loved birds too and I'm sure their love of birds rubbed off on me. I am forever trying to make my garden more friendly for birds. I know, living in a very small city setting, that I will never attract a blue bird or water loving birds. But, my goal is to see how many different birds I can spy in my garden. Over the years, I've done a lot of reading about attracting birds and I've just started looking at a few new books on the subject. As my pictures show, I have a number of bird feeders, at different heights and in different locations. I have a bird bath that I clean just about every day and lately the Robins have been taking a daily bath in it. I do not use insecticides or herbicides in my garden because I do not want to harm the birds or the insects the birds may be looking for. This spring I've noticed a pair of Cardinals, which is terrific and they spend a lot of time feeding. I've also seen house finches, who are now starting to change color to the brilliant red they get and I've seen Chickadees and House Sparrows. I know these are not the most exotic birds you could hope to see, but I know that my feeding and gardening efforts are drawing them to my yard. Every time I see a new bird, I smile and am happy that the love of birds was handed down to me from my dad and grandma.