Monday, July 27, 2009

Joy in July

After a strange start in the spring (cool, rainy and, oh yeah, the Flood) this last month has really been pretty ideal for everything to get revved up and blooming. My good old standards never seem to disappoint, and a few new experiments are proving well worth it too.

This Scabiosa is definitely one of my top favorites. It starts blooming in June and just keeps right on rolling well into the beginning of August. I deadhead these guys quite a bit which keeps them looking perky. The above picture is from my front flowerbed, which has considerably less compost in it than the below pic. I like the variety of having the 2 shades for cutting, but it's crazy how much deeper blue the flowers get in more fertile soil.

This Daisy plant (ok bush) is in its 6th year in the same spot. This spring the new growth was so late coming up that I was sure it had finally died over the winter and almost took it out. Sooo glad I had a little extra patience that day! Even though I love the Scabiosa, Daisies are still my all-time favorite. When they're in their prime it's just magical to watch them flutter in the breeze.
A couple of weeks behind their cousins in the garden, the sidewalk Zinnias are finally going strong. I planted these from the same pack of seeds that lined the entire perimeter of our garden. Unbelievable output...and they were all a gift! Thanks again, about great cut flowers all the time!

Finally, I had to include this cool picture that Johnnny took of one of our experimental flowers this year. My mom told me that Sweet Peas were my Grandpa's favorite but he could never seem to get them to grow in his yard. I decided to give them a try when I found a little plant on sale at a West Fargo greenhouse. I now understand why he liked them so much...they really are beautiful and so delicate, with hot pink, purple, and white flowers. I will say that at first they seemed a little "challenged", having an inordinately difficult time finding the fence 2 inches behind them, but a little nudging did the trick and now they're full of blooms. Grandpa Chub, these are for you!

Thanks for visiting! I hope everyone's summer is going great!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vegging Out

During the spring, I looked into joining a vegetable co-op so that we could have fresh, organic veggies throughout the summer. Unfortunately, the cost was a little prohibitive and I really questioned whether or not we could eat a crate of mixed vegetables every week. As a result, Johnnny and I decided to plant our own veggies in our own garden. The only problem was that we didn't actually have a garden to put them in. Well, thanks to Johnnny's unwavering dedication to digging out chunks of sod (we coined our own "strip and jab" technique) and the ultimate free compost from the city...voila! Our newest addition!

The whole process was actually really fun, albeit a lot of work. We ended up settling on a size of about 10 feet by 11 feet to sort of nestle the whole thing under our deck. The huge rock in the front is called "Big Boy". We think it kind of looks like a pendant on a necklace. Johnnny did a great job erecting the fence to keep out not only our very hungry rabbits, but also the neighborhood dogs and curious toddlers next door who for some reason believe that I am growing pizzas in and amongst everything else.

This shot was taken from above on our deck. I put two rows of zinnias (thank you Kris Boland for the seeds!) around the perimeter. Inside are beets (top), green beans (middle), and carrots (bottom). Interspersed are also some different kinds of onions. We've already had one meal of beets with their greens...not only super delicious but sooooo rewarding!

Here's a shot of the zinnias as they are just starting to get going. They make a nice support system for the other plants and I love the way they bring so much color to the garden. Also, I figured if the veggies were a total flop at least we'd have something pretty to look at! Luckily we have full sun and that wonderful compost so we're getting a really nice crop. Can't wait to taste everything else when it's ready!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Blooms That Were

Because I've been Madame Lazy Bones about updating my blog, I thought I'd dedicate at least one post to the flowers that came up so beautifully this spring. Although it's July, I couldn't resist highlighting a few of the ones that really brought wonderful color to our back yard early on.

This Iris was given to me by Johnnny's aunt Grace from Fort Collins, CO. Actually, she gave me 3 different bulbs, all of which have spread like crazy, but this pink and purple combo has to be my favorite. I've never really been an Iris grower, but I have to say I now understand why people get so gaga for them. This guy was just incredible, and came up in a clump of about 20 flowers. Soooooooo welcome after our cold & wet spring.

Hello again, my insane chives. After growing for a good 20 years in sandy soil at the lake, this plant never really reached adulthood...always weighing in at about 12 inches tall by 6 inches wide and kind of scraggly. Transplanted into the rich compost of my back bed, it seems to be what my husband would call post-cocious...thriving like a weed now with these giant lavender blooms in the spring.

Finally, I have to pay homage to these columbine. They were so vibrant this spring and just bloomed and bloomed forever it seemed. Although they are gone now, they were the stars of the show a month ago...take a bow, columbine! Also, a BIG thank you to Beth for telling me to center-justify these pictures...made everything so much easier!