Tag Archive | flower garden

Garden Delights

Each year for the past 3 or so, I’ve started dabbling in the garden. I have many wonderful childhood memories of eating wonderful things from my parent’s garden. My mom has a green thumb like no other and it’s amazing how, even to this day, her zest and energy to work in the yard puts me to shame!

My childhood gardens were filled with cauliflower, 10-lb. cabbage heads, broccoli, sweet corn, green beans, peas and so much more. I remember mom used to chase me out of the garden for standing there and eating the peas! There is nothing as good as fresh peas straight from the garden!

I’m not as much a green thumb as my mother, but I sure try! My garden is much, much smaller than hers ever was, but the bounty from it is plenty enough for me and my husband. Last summer I came across this wonderful book at my local library and just had to take it home with me. The book is by Brett Markham, Mini-Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 acre.  It is a wonderful book for refreshing your knowledge or for explaining gardening and giving wonderful tips on how best to use up the space in a small yard. The book is through Skyhorse Publishing and you can click here to see their website: Mini-Farming.

My garden is just 3 raised beds that are 4-ft. x 8-ft. x 6-in. high.  We bought a composite board kit that we found at Sam’s Club. I wanted to use the composite boards for a couple of reasons…I didn’t want any treated wood around my garden, thereby decreasing the chance of having any arsenic leech into the ground and I didn’t want to have to replace the boards any time soon.  And since I am no longer allowed to lift anything over 10 pounds, using concrete blocks was out of the question.

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We started out by putting a scoop of mushroom compost in these boxes followed with some top soil and I added a big bag of Miracle Grow garden soil to each block. I strongly believe that this combination has resulted in a much healthier and bigger plant.  Last summer my tomato plants had stalks about 1.5-2 inches in diameter! My green pepper plants had stalks that were nearly 1-inch in diameter!

The plants you see to the left are all my volunteer tomatoes that have popped up from last year’s crop! Turns out we have 8 volunteers this year! Essentially doubling my crop this year. Because about 3 weeks before they pushed through, Jeff came home from the farmer’s market with 4-Brandywine and 4-Big Boy plants. I’ve never had Brandywine, so thought it would be a wonderful addition to the mix. I believe we have Beefsteak, Roma and Big Boy volunteers based on the location where they popped up.

To help control the hornworms and other pests, I have planted marigolds (also from the seeds I’ve gathered from seasons past) and cosmos in and around the tomatoes. Doing this for the past few years has allowed me to not use any pesticides of any kind on my garden.  This year, I’m afraid of some contamination because with the mild winter, the county has taken to spraying our neighborhoods with pesticides for bug control. We’ve already noticed how bad the pests are this year and worried about how it will affect the garden.

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I’ve also begun to plan my potted garden for this season. Since I’ve been including more fresh herbs in my cooking as well as drying and making my own herb seasonings, it seemed like having a garden near the kitchen would be a grand idea. We recently added a grill to our “outdoor kitchen” and I’ve started cooking outside during the hot summer months leaving the kitchen and house inside much cooler.  As these herbs grow, the pictures will follow!

At the end of the season last year, we purchased two peach trees. The dollar value was 2-for-1 at that time, so we were able to plant more by waiting until the end of the season when the prices get slashed.  The trees appeared to be about 2-3 years old, so I figured in about 1-2 seasons, we would start seeing fruit. Well, this year we have fruit! I wasn’t sure if I should cut them off and let the tree grow another year, but in the end, we decided to see what happens.

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For now, enjoy some photos of my garden as it stands now!

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It’s official…..summer has officially started! Here’s to happy gardening and warm, lazy days filled with family, friends and lots of good food!

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April Showers Bring May Flowers?

Not this year! May flowers are in full bloom in April! What in the world will May bring? Since Spring started in January this year, our gardening timeline is all confused! However, it allows me more chances for beautiful photos. Especially since the rainy days have gone away and it’s nearly 70-degrees today! The fir tree has become a loft for the choral group that’s been singing away since before dawn and lots of little visitors have stopped by for a snack or a little dip.

This week the peonies bloomed and are going to become a bouquet with some of the lilacs! So a few minutes ago I grabbed the camera and went outside to catch a few shots. I hope you enjoy these!

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My “Baby Girl” Kacey loves to soak up the sun and watch the birds that we encourage to visit us. She is such a thoughtful soul. Sometimes while watching her, it just makes me wonder what goes through her little mind. It’s almost like she’s in deep thought. She gives me some beautiful poses without ever trying. But they are difficult to catch because once she hears the snap and click of the camera, the moment is lost. I was quite lucky with this one….

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One of our little friends who likes to stop by and take a snack with us! He’s such a singer, too. He even brought his lady friend one time and they both took a few moments on our deck. It was so fun to watch them and try to catch as many shots as I could!

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These two little lovebirds were fun to watch while they picked through the seeds, scarfing down a tasty meal while I tried to stay as still as possible to capture this beautiful scene!

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A wonderful bud beginning to open is just as beautiful as the full bloom! These are so fragrant and fill the air with their scent! And there are many buds! The reds are now coming in and will probably bloom in the next day or so. For now, it’s just the light pinks/white ones. I enjoy making bouquets to bring inside the house every year!

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I just love peonies, don’t you? They are such beautiful flowers!

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I love lilacs, don’t you? We have a large bush in the front and an even larger one in the back. Between the two, the competing scent of lilacs permeates the air and I cannot decide which scent I love most…peonies or lilacs!

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Standing in the middle of the lilacs, bees were buzzing around me and then, this little surprise stopped by…

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Little pockets of color are peeking through all over the place!

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This must be the week for the pinks and purples!

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I am a big fan of Georgia O’Keefe. Can you tell?

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These little beauties are a groundcover that I just love.

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Last season our rosebushes developed the black mold disease and I had to cut every one of them down to the ground. Thinking I had lost all 17, it was a pleasant surprise to see young sprouts peeking through the ground and this is what we have:

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Last, but not least…my favorite aviary couple, Mama & Papa Cardinal!

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Stayed tuned!

Color My World Beautiful

Over seasons past, our little corner of the world has bloomed into something quite colorful each Spring and Summer. This year, things are a little off due to the super mild winter (can we say summer?) and lack of cold for the bulbs to rest for their normal time period. It is not yet officially Spring, but everything around us says it is! From my previous post, Spring Has Sprung Talbott Style, you saw a glimpse of those beautiful flowers that have already popped up!

Now, they are nearly gone, and there is not much left to share. One of the peach trees has some buds popping out and I’ve noticed that the lilacs have buds as well as many other plants. Just this week, I have repotted my aloe and planted some of my marigold seeds from last season in a pot on the deck. Dare I say it? My gardening season has begun!

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You know the two little munchkins are excited when we can open the doors and windows again! The fresh spring air is filled with pear blossom scent (choke, sputter, achoo on my part!) and the songs of birds fill the air. This is the time of year I keep the camera close by to catch everything I can!

I moved their normal “chair” to another window, but as you can see, that doesn’t stop them from taking a look at the action outside!

These two run from window to window and door to door to drink it all in. I sometimes take them out to enjoy the sunshine on the deck with me. However, because we have a coyote and fox that hangs around they are indoor pets. I don’t want to hand those two over as a “scrumptious kitty” dinner on a platter! Kacey and Ivan are hilarious to watch sometimes and if you keep looking, you’ll see what they get to watch!

Know that I am bound and determined to catch the ever elusive creature whom I have named Papa Cardinal. I’ve tried and tried to get a good shot of him on more than one occasion. He stands there and sings his little heart out and eats from the plate, but when I reach for my camera, he darts away. With a stroke of luck this morning, I caught the little bugger and boy is he GORGEOUS! Must be that stroke of Irish luck that’s working for me today?

Have a little peak at my handsome friend, Papa Cardinal! Isn’t he just beautiful? He’s got his mouthful of seeds, too! That’s something I like to see!031

I just love the beautiful reds and black of the Cardinal. Once Mama Cardinal starts to come around, I hope to capture her beautiful self as well! And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to get the little ones this year, too! At this moment, Papa Cardinal is perched on top of my crepe myrtle and is singing his little heart out! What a lovely sight he is from here.

But not to be out done, the other bird friends have started hanging around too. Could it be that it’s because I remembered to fill up their plates yesterday? Ha! I did! And I cleaned out their water bowl, filling it with fresh water. But I think the rain storm last night filled it up to overflowing!

Shortly after Papa Cardinal went on his way, another one of his friends stopped by to sing a good morning song to me. I couldn’t believe my luck! So I grabbed the camera and just waited to catch a great pose. And you know what? I got it! See for yourself!

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This one looks like a young Mockingbird. He still has some baby tufts but his song was beautiful! Unlike some of our other feathered friends, Mr. MB didn’t dance around. He preferred to stay front and center and perform for me. I had the best seat in the house!

He just sang and sang for a full 5 minutes before stuffing his mouth full of seed and flying off to join his friends in our fir tree.

Lucky for me, the cats were pre-occupied with some goings on at another window and didn’t scare him off!

This morning started off quite foggy, but the sun has peeked through and burned most of it off. I hope you enjoy some of the other friends who stopped by to sing for me!

 

A Black-Capped Chickadee also stopped by to have some breakfast. I haven’t seen one in such a long time!

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And now for some color from the past! These are photos of our garden from Spring/Summer 2010 and 2011. I can’t wait for these to bloom again this year!

Azaela Spring 2011   Iris Spring 2011

Yellow Iris Spring 2011

Lilac Spring 2011Rose Spring 2011

Hydrangea Summer 2010

Yellow Lily Spring 2011

Peony Spring 2011

Needless to say, the flowers in my garden are absolutely beautiful and I cannot take credit for planting them, because they were here long before I was. I just try to feebly maintain them and hope they last for many years to come!

I am in the process of mapping out my vegetable garden for this season and look forward to charting its progress in the future!

Until next time….keep a song in your heart and take the time to stop and smell the flowers!