“In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.” – Aldo Leopold
May has come and gone, and with it my hopes and dreams have been mixed. The weather was abysmal and then hot, hot, hot and now it has turned cooler and drier. Just in time for my weeding to happen and now, the ground in many places is like cement. You just can’t win. My regular day job continues to consume 10 hours of my day not leaving me much time except weekends to do any gardening, blogging, reading of blogs or designing. I am so far behind I may catch up in the fall. I caution you…this is a long post since much has been happening recently and I am blogging only once a week.
The wonders of the plants blooming gives me great joy. I am constantly doing a happy dance seeing each plant bloom as if for the first time. I never take any of
my plants for granted for I never know if I will see them again. Those that are gone are sometimes replaced with another of the same plant, and still others are being replaced with more native, hardy plants for less upkeep. I have lots I am planting to fix areas that flooded. Many plants were lost, but it gives me a chance to make needed changes in the garden. For now let’s look at what I was hoping for in May. Of course this coincides nicely with Hanni and her Hope Grows Day meme at Sweet Bean Gardening where last month I said in May I was hoping for lots of fruits, flowers, songs and birth.
I thought I would first show a few flowers growing of which I have many varieties. Most of these finally flowered in late May and the first week in June. In the first picture above are a few of the alliums I have growing. Below are some of the many bearded irises flowering. Some are still not quite out yet. They were doing well until the heat hit, and them some faded and others finally flowered.
Lastly some of the columbines put on a less than stellar show.
I have many Barlow varieties and a few others. The Barlows (bottom left/right, top left and center) did not like the cold rainy weather followed by intense heat. They flowered and then were gone. Others like Cameo (top right), native (not pictured) and Pagoda varieties are still blooming.
Fruits and Veggies
The veggie garden looks pretty good, but with the very hot weather recently some things bolted, and some things sprouted. I had an early harvest now waiting for more to grow as I replenished my small patch with more seeds of radish, arugula, and carrots. Rest of tomatoes finally in. They are taking a long time to acclimate. I did not have room to grow them from seed so I bought organic, mostly heirloom plants from a grower. Half are in the new 4×4 raised bed with some eggplants, and some are in huge green plastic containers on the patio.
The bottom right picture is my newest raised bed/container garden. It is a small pond that we drilled holes into the bottom. We placed it at the back of the garden in the flooded area, and have the hot peppers (cayenne and Hatch green chiles) in it hoping they are far enough away from the sweet peppers on the patio. The hot peppers were grown from seed by me in early spring, and I have more seedlings in pots with flowers in the front of the house too. The pepper growing in the top center picture is a sweet one. I think it is Tangerine Sweet Pimento. I also bought the many different varieties of sweet peppers from the same grower as the tomatoes.
Moving clockwise from the lower right are the peas. Yes it is a mess. I threw a few peas in the ground in a few areas near the fence, and the weeds have kept them from growing much especially the grass which is growing nicely inside my fence. They are finally flowering so I am hopeful. They were planted mid April but with the cold, wet weather they did not grow very well.
Next are the strawberries also in a weed infested plot. Can you sense the theme here? Despite the weeds they are growing nicely and we have them netted. I will be moving some raspberries as well as perennials that seeded themselves there. I did have the patch cleared out in fall; at least I thought I did. One blueberry is finally flowering and I may get a bit of fruit.
Bottom left is some curly parsley I threw in with rosemary seeds to be transplanted for critters. I love Italian parsley which is pictured above top left with some kale growing in a container on the patio. Below that is the grapevine we planted in the fall. It was on sale and quite a bargain. In the spring it looked dead so when buds formed I was ecstatic. We will train it up the iron arbor and net part of it for us while we leave a bit for the birds.
The center picture is one of my grow bags (I have 2 going) with slightly sandy fertile soil for sweet potatoes. I like the yellow variety so I planted 12 O’Henry. Someone once told me that our growing season was too short to grow these, but I aim to prove them wrong. They look healthy and are putting out new leaves. I expect to harvest this fall. I have planted bush beans in the middle of them since I am limited on room and I like to push the envelope; yellow wax and a purple variety called Royal Burgundy. You can see them growing in the picture next to the pepper.
Below the bean sprout is a pumpkin putting out leaves. I desperately wanted to grow pumpkins so I left room around the new 4×4 raised bed to plant seeds. There is space to move around the bed after making small berms of fertile soil on top of the ugly, hard, slippery clay. I plunked in both a cooking and carving variety, and they have all sprouted. It will be interesting how the vines grow all over, and what I get. I do love to experiment with growing conditions and making room where there is precious little.
Did you know I absolutely love my meadow? Well I do. The background is the late March/early April meadow with early bulbs growing and the tangled mess left from last years meadow still needing to be cleared. Fast forward to May with the daisies and lupines in full flower, and looking incredible as they wave on the breeze. I could have planted more grass there. I chose instead to plant a meadow from seed…I think it was the right choice.
Now that’s a pond! The water lilies have caught up and finally bloomed at the end of May. There are about 20 pink flowers, and the yellow variety has just bloomed. We thinned the cattails much to the frogs chagrin. The plants surrounding the edge of the pond need a bit of weeding as does the whole area. The frog pictured is doing his thing calling females. We love the pond, and it has about 10 frogs and a few snakes we keep moving from the filter.
We have continued to have our share of wildlife visitors to the garden. The turtles showed up in the front yard as they moved to and from the green area pond behind our meadow to the woods across the street. Top left is our resident snapping turtle. This one is fairly young still, but I am guessing she was moving to her nesting spot. She drew quite a crowd. Our kind neighbor, who knew about snappers, picked her up and moved her to the woods. No small feat since they can take off a finger and do serious damage if you don’t know what you are doing. The turtle bottom left is an Eastern Painted Turtle.
The frogs are being very frisky in the pond so we should see eggs soon. Very cool to watch them become tadpoles. The ladybug is one of 900 I introduced to the garden this week. They should be laying eggs, and helping me rid the garden of pests. More on them in a later post. Now onto the birds. The swallow pictured above has a nest in the box behind the gazebo, and they should have little ones already. You can’t get to close or they will attack. One set of sparrows in the bluebird houses already nested, and the little ones have flown. There is still one family waiting to hatch in the other house. I have been too busy at work to have much time to observe the wrens in their house, and if they are still there. We hope to see others nest in the box all summer. Still no bluebirds in the houses.
Poor Red Robin
I was hoping to have good news to report. And by the pictures you must be saying; “What now?” It was good news up until Friday morning. The robins laid another full clutch of eggs 2 weeks to the day after she lost the first clutch. She was a dutiful mother never leaving the nest for more than a few minutes, and staying close by if she did. And 2 weeks later the eggs finally hatched although she threw one out of the nest that was non-fertile. You can see the eggs and little ones above. About 12 hours after they hatched, the little ones and the mother were gone. We do not know what happened, but there were no egg traces or feathers and the nest was in tact. Maybe another bird, maybe a snake, maybe she moved them? We will never know, and are greatly saddened again. Nature can seem so cruel and heart breaking. For now we are leaving the nest. I can’t bear to take it down. And the Chipping sparrows are interested in the other dwarf willow. Perhaps they will nest and raise a brood.
So what are my hopes for June? The garden should be showing off all her blooms. The pond should be brimming with tadpoles, and the meadow should be wearing her summer colors. My biggest hope is that my garden will be bursting with fruits and veggies. I do also hope more birds will nest successfully, and that we will continue to be visited by more critters. We did have an unusual visit, but I am keeping that for a later post. Oh I almost forgot….my roses will be in full bloom in June. Here’s a glimpse of my June hope.
A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world. ~ Leo Buscaglia
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