Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden

I love having butterflies and hummingbirds in my garden .  So when I buy plants for my garden I try to keep them in mind.  Many of my transplants are Daisies, Coneflower, Delphiniums, Sea Holly, Butterfly Bush and Yarrow.  I've also added Hollyhocks, Ironweed, Russian sage, Helenium "Mardi Gras" also known as Helen's flower.  I've also added some annuals this year, Zinnias, Cosmos, Morning Glories, Love in the Mist and Convolvulus tricolor which is a dwarf morning glory, but has brilliant blue color.   So I believe the butterflies, birds and hummingbird have a nice selection of flowers to chose from.  These flowers and the creatures they feed will also make great photographic subjects.  Which photos will follow.  Here is where we are right now.......

In this photo the bed closest has the Ironweed, my floribunda rose "Angel Face" and the annuals that I started from seed which you'll see below
This bed consists of the Delphiniums, Coneflowers, Daisies, Butterfly Bush, Black-eyed Susan "Irish Spring", Sea Holly, Daylily and another floribunda rose "Julia Child".
In the above photo I've mulch the bed, but not the annuals as of yet.  Until they get a little taller, I'll wait on the mulch.  The bed in the foreground is the Iris bed.

Here I have Morning Glory seedlings.  There are two varieties here.  One is the traditional blue and the other is the white with a purple center.  I think they will look fantastic trailing up the bamboo tee pees I've made for them.
Above here are Zinnia seedlings.  These are the Giant Zinnias that grow I think 3 feet tall and an assortment of colors.

Over here I have one of 3 Hollyhocks I bought this year.  They are all double blooms and are yellow, red and pink.  Hollyhocks tend to reseed.  After a year or two they fade.  Can't wait to see how these turn out!
And here I have the Convolvulus tricolor.  This little gem looks like a Morning Glory, but is brilliant blue and is a dwarf.  I first saw these many years ago when I worked at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. 
See ya next week!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Let's Step Back A Bit.............

The next several posts we'll be a stepping back into May and early June on my garden progression.
This week I will be talking with you about my Iris bed.  This bed was the first to be completed and I was transplanting Siberian Irises and wanted to get them into the ground first. 
In my Iris bed I have Bearded Irises, Siberian Irises, 2 Tree Peonies, a Peony and a intersectional Peony as well as 3 Balloon flowers, 2 Lamb's ear and 2 Euphorbia "First Blush", also known as the cushion spurge.

 In this photo I've just transplanted. From the foreground to the background Balloon flowers, Lamb's ear (on the corners), Euphorbia (middle), and the Siberian Irises, and behind them are the Bearded Irises, which were originally there.  The Lamb's ear looks a little weak here, but has improved greatly.  When I transplant I make sure to add some composted manure to help feed the plants and the soil.

This is the back side of the Iris bed which here you see the Bearded Irises and one of the Tree Peonies.  This Tree Peony was just planted and is yellow and probably won't see any blooms til next year.

In this photo You can see the other Tree Peony (the dark pink flower) which has been there a few years too.  I've also started mulching at this point, which will help keep down the weeds and retain moisture.
My goal was to get all the transplanting done first then work on mulching.

In the above photo you can see the finished Iris bed.
This photo shows my Bearded Irises blooming as well as the Tree Peony.
To tell you a little bit about the Peonies I have in this bed.  Tree Peonies are grown on wood, like a tree, but only get between 3 to 5 feet tall and the woody stems don't die back in the winter.  But the blooms are as large as your hand.  About 5-6" in diameter.  Gorgeous, gorgeous blooms!  The shrub Peony is just that a shrub and does not have any wooden branches and are also known as herbaceous Peonies which do die back to the ground in the winter.  Which are also the most common Peony.  The intersectional Peony (also know as Itoh Hybrids) is a cross between the Tree Peony and the Herbaceous Peony.  The Itoh Hybrids produce a Tree Peony flower and leaves while having many of the same characteristics of a Herbaceous Peony.  This is my first Itoh Hybrid Peony.  It's suppose to have a yellow blossoms.  When it blooms I will show and tell......
  Everyday for the first couple of weeks I watered to make sure that these plants get a good head start.  This should be done will all transplants. 
As of today all the transplants are doing well.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Almost There............

I know it has been just over a month since my last entry, but I've been bound and determined to get this garden looking good and ready for blooming this year.  And now I'm within days to finishing up at least for the first half of the year.  I will still have plenty to do in the fall for preparation of next year.
So if you refer back to my first post, you will see what I started with this year and in that month and a half since then I've gotten to this point. 
June 14, 2014
Granted most of the garden is under black plastic, but this is part of the garden that is being prepped for next spring.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with those sections so instead of watching the weeds grow and creating extra work for me, I just decided to cover them in plastic which will in turn burn any weed seeds that are there.  In the fall I will be tilling all of those sections.
My 2 dogwood trees, eastern redbud and my 3 brandywine viburnum all did not make it.  I had really hoped they would, but I think the winter was too harsh for them.   I did replace the eastern redbud with 2 more.  These are much taller about 6-7 feet and did have buds on them as seen below.
I think these 2 trees will have a much better chance of survival than the last one.  As of today they are doing just great!
After a lot of research I don't think I will be replacing the Brandywines, because they may not do will in my neck of the woods here in Maine.  Although I did notice we got a shipment of them at work.  So maybe in the fall if they are still there I may give them another try.
As far a my 2 dogwoods, will still thinking about that too.  I did plant one in the front yard last fall and doing great, but not sure what happened with the other 2. 
So for the next couple of weeks I will be posting what I've done with the garden and what's been planted.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Garden Update

May 2nd - May 9th
I only had a few hours in the garden Friday due to appointments in the morning.  I did finish cleaning and covering the veggie garden area.  I also had an area where the roses and peonies will create a border that needed covering.
Working this weekend.  So I hope to be back in the garden Monday or Tuesday.  I have a little more that half a garden left to clean up.
Saw some peonies, sedum, daisies and Siberian irises starting to pop through.  Blueberries are starting to bud as well.  The lilacs look like they will have many blooms this year.  When they are finished blooming there will be some serious pruning to be done.
 Monday morning I was at it again.  Cleared some more space and even found an iris.  I also noticed in the back field my lupine are starting to spread out.  Can't wait to see what colors come up.  Blackflies are coming out too so I need to order some Skin So Soft from Avon.  This stuff works like a dream!   I spray myself all good and I'm good all day!  Great stuff it is!

Tuesday I didn't get much done because my hands were quite sore.  I have some arthritis in my hands and when I over do it they get sore.

I did notice my coneflowers, blue flax, delphiniums, sea holly,  black eyed susan Irish spring, lady's mantle and yarrow are all working their way back.
Rudbeckia hirta "Irish Spring" 
Black Eyed Susan Irish Spring
May 10th - 14th
Things are moving a little slower than I anticipated.  But I did order some mulch which I'm expecting on Wednesday.

As I had mentioned earlier that I think this year it will be mostly prep work and next year will be the year for some real planting.

Well I didn't get any forsythia blooms which was a little disappointing.  I'm also very close to losing my Redbud and 2 Dogwoods.  I will be mulching them as soon as I get my mulch and provide them with a boost of composted manure to help out along with a good drink of water.  I may not have any peaches this year either.  We had a really harsh winter as did most of us and I think that took quite a toll on some of my newer plants. 

There is some good news though.  I thought for sure I would lose my roses, but they are coming back nicely!!  They are Floribunda roses which are a bit hardier than Hybrid Teas.  One is Julia Child Floribunda and the other is Angel Face Floribunda
Today I managed to plant 3 Brandywine Viburnums.  They didn't get into the ground last year, because I bought them late in the season and when I finally had time I thought it was too risky, although it was risky leaving them in the pots over the winter.  I did keep them outside very close to the house on the west side.  They haven't had any kind of budding action yet, but I did check to see if there was still green in the stems and there is.  So I'm hopeful.  I gave them a healthy dose of composted manure and water.  Tomorrow when the mulch arrives they will be covered with that.
I also cleaned up my peony garden and added some supports.  Mostly in case of rain so they won't flatten out.  I love my peonies and I will be the first to tell you I'm terrible at deadheading.  So in the spring I have many new peonies although I have learned they don't resemble there parents at all.  I've got to learn to deadhead!  I will be adding mulch to them tomorrow too.
Some other interesting garden friends I've been seeing the past couple of weeks are just today in fact I saw a gardener snake...not poisonous, but just the same I'll stay away.  In fact an interesting little story about our snake and a mourning dove (male).  The snake was creeping near the bird feeder and the dove spotted it and started flaring up his wings as a way to make himself look bigger to the snake.  Although I don't think the dove has anything to worry about as he as far too big for the small snake (12").  It was just interesting to see.
Also visiting were many Red Winged Blackbirds, Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, Sparrows, Goldfinches, House Finches, Hairy Woodpeckers, Grackles and of course our regular Red Squirrels.  The Tree Swallows are taking up residency at the birdhouses I have in the garden.  And on the front porch our Eastern Phoebe has returned to her nest and has 5 eggs.
Garden Quote.........
In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.  
                                  ~Abram L. Urban
I'll be back in a few weeks with another update and hopefully some photos to show my progress. 
Until then Happy Gardening.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Welcome to My Garden Journal! 
A little bit about me.  I'm a avid photographer who particularly enjoys photographing flowers, but I also photograph whatever catches my eye.  I've always had great fun being in the garden, but I have failed many times in the design aspect of it.  After 10 years of trying different designs and planting many, many plants.  I think I've finally found a design plan that will make me happy. 
Why you say did it take me so long.  Well my photography took a lot of my time and after several years of trying to make it a full time job, it didn't work out and I needed to get a so called real job to help with the bills.  Well that real job has really taken me to the next level of my gardening.  I'm working at the wonderful garden center at Home Depot.  It's so much fun to educate my customers and help them with their gardening needs.  After being there a year now and learning so much, I've also come to realize that since folks are looking to me for advice that I had better be prepared to give them the right advice.  I've always been one to educate myself and do projects on my own so I can educate my customers at what ever job I'm at.  So with the help of my job, some magazines and Pinterest.  I was able to create a design that I really hope will work out.
In my new garden design there will be a vegetable garden, blueberries, butterfly and hummingbird, sunflower, peony and rose garden.  Living in Maine the rose garden will be the most challenging, but if I do it right I should be able to have roses for many years to come.  Sounds like a lot and quite frankly it is, but I'm determined to have the garden I want with as little maintenance as possible. 
The design of the entire garden reminds me of a church window. 

I know it's kinda hard to tell with this photo and there still is a lot of cleaning to be done.  Unfortunately Spring isn't getting here quite so quickly this year.  Still in the 50's when is should be in the 60's.  But while waiting and in between rain drops I can clean and prep the garden.
This year for the most part is prepping.  Being I'm maintaining this garden alone and can't get the equipment I need to help along, I'm using some methods that have worked for me in the past.  And that is the black plastic that you see in the photo.  It will slowly kill off the grass and weeds.  And as time allows I will be digging up each section.  Mostly the sections towards the top of the photo.
Other interesting items I will be adding to this garden will be several arbors made of old wooden doors, garden features using old chairs, wash tubs and milk cans.  I currently have 3 birdhouses which have been in use for about 3 years now.  I will be adding a bird bath, a water puddle for the butterflies and hummingbird and bird feeders.
Every week I will keep you up to date on my progress.  It will be a slow and steady progression, but in the end it will look marvelous!
Quote for the week.............
My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view.                       ~H. Fred Dale