The Garden and the Chicken Coop

DSCN5061

Let’s start with some pansies! I got so tired of Noah (and now Chloe) eating all the pansies that I decided to haul this big pot outside the fenced yard. Better to feed the deer than be irritated at my dogs. I found a little piece of portable fencing to try to protect it from the deer. Within a few days, there were a million blooms!

DSCN5060

I am so happy that the lilac is blooming so well this year. Last summer MLG, with my direction, did quite a bit of pruning. They say that lilacs don’t particularly like pruning. I guess we did a good job!

DSCN5057

Most of the blooms are too high for me to touch, but this is the best its bloomed in years. I am happy.

DSCN5056

And now inside the yard and to the right. Those tall plants are the money plants. They are way taller than I thought they would be. Their blooms aren’t anything spectacular, but its nice to see blooms early in the season. I like the shape of the plants and the leaves are very pretty.

DSCN5041

Here’s a close-up of the fringed tulips in that bed.

DSCN5042

The flowering cherry is blooming.

DSCN5040

And the Japanese maples look so pretty when the leaves first come out.

DSCN5043

I can hardly wait for these foxgloves to bloom!

DSCN5045

Another view of more Japanese maples. You can see my car there, and a truck behind it.

DSCN5046

The truck belongs to J. the Contractor. Yes! The time finally arrived for the construction of the chicken coop. He and his helper were here for an entire week working on the house and yards! Here is the coop with the first yard that was built between the wood shed and the coop.

DSCN5051

Nest boxes can be accessed from the outside, and are built at just the right height for me–no need to bend over 🙂

DSCN5054

DSCN5055

Nest boxes from inside the coop. The rail in front can be removed for easy cleaning.

DSCN5050

And a little ramp for the chickens to get outside each morning. There is a sliding door (that I can close from outside) to keep them safe each night.

DSCN5049

I started worrying that the yard we planned would not be big enough for the chickens, so I asked J. to build a second yard behind the coop. Both yards are connected by a simple gate. You can see my house behind the coop, so you know where its located. I like that I will be able to look out my kitchen window and my studio windows and see the chickens.

DSCN5053

And I thought I’d end with a lovely neighborly story. My neighbor is a wonderful gardener. Over the years she has shared many vegetables with me. This year she planted a lot of tulips. And twice, before a big storm hit, she has gathered some tulips and brought me a beautiful bouquet.

DSCN5058

I wanted to show you the white interior of these dark tulips–so dramatic! Tulips last a long time in the house–who knew?!

DSCN5059

 

Spring Flower Show

I always think of summer as the time for flowers in the garden. But putting in a little extra work last fall has really paid off. All the nice rain and mild winter we had didn’t hurt either. Either which way, I am really enjoying the flower show in my garden this spring.

Let’s start with these John Scheeper Faith daffodils. Now, these are pretty. But doggone it. Don’t exaggerate the color in the catalog. They were shown as pink as the camellia that follows. And they just aren’t. Also, it might be polite to include that these tulips face downwards, so you don’t really get to see them without bending over… Anyway, they did bloom well, and they are still pretty 🙂

DSCN4998

The camellia has never been as full of blooms as this! I’m surprised the bush is still upright. Its a shame they couldn’t spread out their blooms over a longer period of time.

DSCN4999

I’m not kidding. Every time I aim my camera at this bush, Sophie wanders over to check it out.

DSCN5000

Here’s the Camperdown Elm with its little lime green “blossoms.”

DSCN5001

Close-up. I think they’re very pretty. I suppose they’re seed pods. But I think this is a grafted tree, so the seeds probably aren’t useful.

DSCN5002

The last cluster of the Angelique tulips. I planted these a few years ago, and it seems to me that tulips don’t usually last too long, so I was very happy to see these make an appearance.

DSCN5007

From John Scheepers–Sunset Miami–fringe  tulips.

DSCN5011

Close-up–aren’t they pretty?

DSCN5012

The tall plant in the foreground is a money plant. They are biennials. So I grew them from seed last year, but this year is when I get to see the blooms. And actually the seed pods are the “money” part of them–purportedly looking like silver dollars. I will have to wait until the end of summer to see that. The flowers seem a little insignificant. But hey! I just looked them up, and it says that the pilgrims brought them with them on the Mayflower! Thomas Jefferson grew them in Monticello!

DSCN5010

I love these violets. Over there on the right is some fescue grass. I got it for the patchwork path, but had some extra.

DSCN5009

My pot is looking good. The purply flowers in the front are a cross between violets and pansies and are a perennial. And evidently are not as tasty as pansies. Yay!

DSCN5016

My favorite flowering almond is just starting to bloom.

DSCN5013

MLG built a trellis out of bamboo stakes for the bridal veil bush which was falling all over everything.

DSCN5014

These just started blooming–some lily-flowering tulips from costco. Oh, and you can see the black tubing in there–MLG has been working on the drip/irrigation system. I ordered a 4-way timer from Amazon, and so he’s figured out how we can put the entire garden on a watering system. Whee!! More time for me this summer 🙂

DSCN5017

Whew! And that’s the end of the garden show for this week. Have a wonderful weekend, and I will think good thoughts for my East Coast friends that they will see some sunshine and flowers!

More Spring!

Every day new things are blooming! We are having a nice warm week, and the plants just can’t seem to grow fast enough. It is supposed to cool down next week, and I am looking forward to that. Maybe the color will last a little bit longer.

The view from the front door:

DSCN4957

The bridal veil bush. According to the inter webs, its not meant to be a neat and tidy bush. Performing according to plan!

DSCN4958

These daffodils were just buds last week. I think Noah is still beheading the pansies in this bed…

DSCN4964

Some hyacinths and frilly daffodils.

DSCN4965

Close-up:

DSCN4966

The forsythia in full bloom. Remember, this bush languished in deep shade for many years. Finally had to move it when we were doing some construction on the house, so I am very happy that it has survived, and seems to be thriving in its new spot.

DSCN4961

New daffodils, that I got from the John Scheepers company.

DSCN4959

Each of them has two blooms per stem!

DSCN4960

The new violet path is coming along nicely.

DSCN4963

And that’s it for the garden report this week. Every day I do a little weeding. I have a box full of one million tiny little pieces for the irrigation system. MLG will be here tomorrow to start that project. And I finally found the fencing I was looking for for my chicken pen and have ordered that. And in the meantime, I work in my studio every day, quilting and stitching. You can check out what I’m doing on my other blog, if you’re interested. 

Signs of Spring

Well, one week ago we had a snow storm. Today it feels like spring, and everywhere there are signs of spring emerging. The violets are the first to show up in the spring. I planted some of them between the stones on the path by the hydrangeas and camellia. Violets can be somewhat invasive. I think I started with just one little violet plant many years ago. They are everywhere. Sometimes I dig them up and move them, and sometimes, I have to admit, I treat them like weeds and just dig them up and toss them in the bucket.

DSCN4941

A primrose is starting to bloom.

DSCN4933

The Camperdown Elm has big fat buds waiting to pop. There are some funny little lime green “flowers” on this tree before the big green leaves emerge.

DSCN4934

The bed of pansies and daffodils that I planted last fall.

DSCN4943

DSCN4944

I was surprised that the camellia was already blooming.

DSCN4939

And look who’s waiting for the blooms. Every year…

DSCN4940

Daffodils in the front bed. Most of them are turned facing the road, which is nice for the few neighbors that drive by.

DSCN4937

The forsythia is just starting to bloom. A different strain of violets are blooming in the rear.

DSCN4936

And right next to the forsythia, I was so happy to see the new honeysuckle putting out lots of new shoots.

DSCN4935

A new daffodil and an old hyacinth.

DSCN4945

On my way home a week ago, it was a sunny day, so I stopped at one of my favorite nurseries to get a little color for the yard. Brought them home, and they got snowed on the next day. But they seem to have weathered the storm well. You can see in the background that MLG and I are trying out some of that shredded cedar.

DSCN4942

 

And that’s how its going in the garden so far. I’m so glad that MLG and I worked last fall, pruning and cleaning up the yard. I think it will look very nice in another month or so. Today I did what could only be called “micro gardening.” Laying on the ground and carefully picking out weeds from between the elfin thyme ground cover that I have so carefully cultivated. Somewhat frustrating, but also something that I have to admit I enjoy. I like tiny things, and I like detail work.

In other garden news, MLG has figured out how to put in an irrigation drip system. I am VERY excited about this. I like watering. But I don’t like watering for hours and hours. And I don’t like it when I forget one plant and it suffers in the heat. AND……drumroll please…. J. the contractor came over last week and poured the cement for the start of my new chicken house. I can hardly wait.

From the Garden

While checking out the garden before another predicted rainstorm, I found three incredible rose blooms. I decided to cut them down and bring them in to enjoy for a bit.

Look how well they match my bathroom! I love that color of pink 🙂

dscn4771

And even 4 days later I was still enjoying their beauty.

dscn4782

And one more note about the garden. I was so looking forward to a good year of fall color from the Japanese maples. Unfortunately, the warmer fall that we had (that gave me wonderful roses the last week of November) was not so good for the maples. They just didn’t get that cold shock that they need to turn colors. So I am enjoying bits and pieces of fall color, but so far, none spectacular enough to share on the blog.

In The Garden

Before I start on the garden news, I want to say thank you to those of you who left such encouraging comments on my last post about my knee. It really means a lot to me. I also reached out to a fellow nurse who had knee replacement surgery earlier this year, and in the conversation–where she was very enthusiastic about her experience with surgery–we realized that we had the same doctor! I already knew that I liked my doctor a great deal, but hearing that he was also good at the actual surgery was fantastic news.

I’ve now had two of the three gel shots, and they don’t seem to be doing a thing. But maybe the third shot will be the magic charm.

Well, yesterday I needed to stop at the nursery and ask a question about a pesky weed. Did you all know there’s something called pre-emergent treatment that you can put on plants to keep the weeds from ever appearing? The regular stuff is very toxic to dogs, so she is checking out some corn gluten stuff for me to try. Of course, while I was there, I had to check out the plants. I got a few more pansies and one more six-pack of elfin thyme to fill in the stone pathway spaces.

This is a “wave” pansy! Great for pots, and the pansies actually hang over the side.

dscn4736

And this big pretty blue pansy. I think I told you–my plan was to plant so many pansies in the garden that Noah would tire of eating them 🙂

dscn4739

This is the most this camellia has ever bloomed! I guess it is liking our bit of rain, and our longer than usual warm weather.

dscn4735

And yes! One more rose.

dscn4740

I took this picture–doesn’t it look out of place blooming with the fall foliage in the background?

dscn4741

The red abutilon is still blooming away.

dscn4737

I was standing next to this plant, and noticed a lovely pineapple smell wafting by. This is my pineapple sage–it goes crazy and has these bright red blooms in the fall. I have never used it for cooking. But the smell was so good, I’m thinking of using it on my turkey this year!

dscn4738

So after I planted my little six-packs, I went over to help MLG who was here splitting more pine for me. Did I tell you about the bark beetles that have invaded our county (because of the drought) and are killing many of our pine trees? My neighbor took down a few pine trees, and had so much wood herself that she didn’t want them. So while MLG was splitting the logs, I threw the pieces into the back of his truck, and then he backed that up to the wood shed, where I started stacking it up. You can see we didn’t finish today. But there is a method to our madness. I have to be able to get to the dry wood. As soon as I make a dent in that, I’ll finish stacking the new wood in the shed.

dscn4744

We are due for more rain and some colder weather this weekend, and I am ever hopeful that gardening will really be done for this winter!

Fall in the Garden

Sunday I took a stroll around the garden. It was a lovely day, sunny and bright. And I noticed that there were still a few flowers worth sharing. The bees were extra busy, really working the blooms, and didn’t seem to be distracted by my standing close and trying to get some good shots. Sometimes the close-up lens on my camera gets fussy, so I sat down on the wood railing to try to get the pictures. And then I stayed there for quite a while, enjoying the sun and the dogs’ company.

This is where the bee started. I just couldn’t get my camera to focus before he flew off. dscn4631

Then I noticed this huge bumblebee on the marigold!

dscn4628

And another bee here. This plant has not done well this summer. I am hoping it will winter over and be pretty in the spring.I have two of these blue ones, and a white one as well.

dscn4636

A few plants seem to really be enjoying the cooler weather. This is a begonia.

dscn4626

And the double impatiens, although leggy, are really putting out some pretty blooms.

dscn4614

 

The abutilons seem especially happy with the cooler temperatures:

dscn4619

dscn4621

dscn4623

Earlier in the week I did some work on my ground covers! I replaced some of the plants in my “patchwork path” with this fetus grass.

dscn4678

And more elfin thyme to spread in the spaces between the stones.

dscn4622

Most of the petunias are pretty ragged, but the red ones are going strong.

dscn4618

 

And the camellia is blooming early. It usually doesn’t bloom until November!

dscn4624

And that’s the garden report for now. I am still learning about gardening. Putting plants in the ground at the right time is a good thing. I have planted snapdragons, salvia, and of course pansies. And the ground covers, and then I got some delphiniums–very excited to see if fall planting will be more successful with those! I ordered some bulbs and a peony (squee!!!!) from John Scheepers (thanks, Lori!) and am so excited to see those in the spring. Tomorrow I’ll share my doggie time in the garden with you.