Monday, June 17, 2013

Around The Garden

I absolutely love to garden! I can't do much with plants indoors, though between cats and destructive forces (kids) it's not really my fault. But I do find that Nature is a far better mother when it comes to little green things than me. I don't use fertilizer or pesticides/fungicides/herbicides, I just yank the weeds and keep them watered. Most of my gardening success, however, can be attributed to planting things where they like to be and leaving them alone.

This plant is a one year old American Hazelnut. I got it for free last arbor day from a local wild-life center. It needs a mate, however, as hazelnuts need to be in pairs in order to produce nuts. You can see that empty spot behind it, just waiting. Hazelnut trees aren't hard to come by, but it hasn't been the highest order of priorities as of late. When I do get a partner for it, in a few years I'm going to have gobs of hazelnuts!
This is my watergarden. I built my first one nine years ago. It was very little, so later that year I got a larger pond liner and built it bigger. And then a friend I met on a pond forum mailed me a very large liner (twice as big as it is now) in trade for a very large painting of her pond.

Most of the plants in this little pond I have had since I first built it, eight years ago. It's been moved a couple of times. There are no fishes, save for minnows that I buy ever year to eat the mosquito larva, and no filtration or pump. It's a great little tadpole haven!
For Earth Day four years ago, my kid brought home a little twig with some dried up "hairs" stuck on the bottom and told me it was a dogwood tree. He had heard his dad say he liked dogwoods.

It's not the dogwood our son was expecting, but a quick google search told us it's a Red Osier Dogwood. I planted it, tended it lovingly and now it is getting quite large. It put out it's first set of flowers this year, even!
I am beginning to plant more native plants in my yard, and slowly getting rid of the non-native varieties. For years I have wanted a yard that was all native plants.

My daughter had other ideas, however, and insisted on planting some gladiolas. I also have some rudbekia from a trade that I botched. I feel guilty every time I look at them, but I love that they're getting ready to bloom already!
I found this and another growing along my back fence. I knew it was a native flower of some type, and a rather nice one. I put one on either side of the porch steps.

Part of the fun of finding plants like this is identifying them. I searched all over Google, but came up with nothing. I finally had to visit the Name That Plant forum at GardenWeb. They always help me out when I'm stuck!
This is in fact, Wild Petunia and I find that gleefully ironic, if you read my post about planting native!
Please excuse the plastic showing and the debris. We're going to be getting in some all natural wood chip mulch very soon!

This is a lilac, it's five years old. They are not the fastest growing plant. It is not a native plant species in my area, however they are quite commonly distributed and well established. This was a sucker (a shoot sprouted from a root of a parent) that I dug up and moved to another part of the yard. This is it's second home and I hope that we may get some flowers on her next season!
This is the mother lilac. It had been cut down to the roots when we first got the house five years ago. It is now extremely large, spanning eight feet at it's widest.
We've tried getting rid of it a couple of times, because it's just not in a very good place. It needs to be kept trimmed to be tidy, but doing so removes the flowers for the next year or two. Not trimming it, it becomes quite unruly and for the rather manicured front yard, it's not what we prefer.
It's here to stay, however, we haven't been successful trying to move it.
I am really torn about my rose bushes. I love roses! They look and smell so wonderful! As an artist, I love painting them. The reason I planted these here in the first place was so I could include them in my art.
But I'm really not into spraying and they always look so awful. Black spot sets in just a couple of weeks into spring and the roses never live up to their potential.
I do think that this fall I will give them to a neighbor and plant something native instead.
Except for this rose. I wish I had a better picture, it's so lovely!
This rose was given to me by a very dear friend for Mothers Day, just after my daughter was born. It's an heirloom rose, called Abbaye De Cluny.
This picture does not begin to do it justice, it is one of the most beautiful roses I've ever seen! I positively cherish it and I couldn't bear to lose it.
This photo is of our colossal white ash tree. It's hard to say how tall it is, though it's clearly twice as tall as our two story house. At it's base, it is easily six feet in diameter.
Last spring we had a dying juniper in our front yard that needed removing, and the tree cutter who came out remembered our house because of this tree. It's one of the largest of its kind in the city, he said, and has most certainly been around since before the house was built.

In the autumn, it puts on a beautiful display of yellow leaves, that sometimes turn a bit orange or purple at the tips. It's breathtaking!

I am very fond of this tree, though my husband talks about cutting it down. He likes his little joke. There's no way he's serious - or that I'd ever allow it!
This is a chain link fence. Every spring (except this year) I spend days cutting all of the poison ivy, wild grape vine, invasive ornamental vine, trumpet flower and honey suckle out of it.
This year I said, "screw it!" We'll work on maintaining it at fence level and hitting it with the weed whacker once a month. The honey suckle really is fragrant though. Sitting in bed in the mornings with the windows open and honey suckle air sweeping through the room is heavenly. It also makes the line dried laundry smell delicious!
This year I planted an herb garden. Sadly, most of the herbs didn't sprout. I am mostly disappointed about the lavender and the rosemary. I was looking forward to infusing oil with those herbs!
I did get a nice little crop of cilantro and parsley, however! This will do wonderfully in my home made salsa.
Ah, this little guy. This is my Mimosa Tree. I have always loved these trees, though they are not native to the united states. Unfortunately, they are also considered invasive. I planted this one on purpose and I refuse to get rid of it.

After trying to grow one from seed for two years, I was having no luck. One day, I was passing by my mothers old house. She lived only three blocks away from where I live now, but lost her home when her cancer took over and she died shortly after. Discovering upon passing that her house was on the market (ten years after she'd lived in it), I decided to investigate the property. It was very bitter sweet.  I saw her bedroom, her living room, the kitchen. So many memories, even though I myself did not live there with her. It was the first house she had ever owned and she was extremely proud of it. As I was leaving, I saw this tiny tree growing up in the most unlikely place. A small dime sized hole in the concrete driveway had this sad and desperate seedling poking out of it. I rushed to the car to find our stash of emergency napkins, doused two of them in water and oh so carefully teased this tiny tree up out of its home. I kept it in a pot on the porch at first, and now it's given a place of honor in the middle of the backyard.

My lettuce crop is thriving! I've planted eight varieties here, though one I found too unpalatable to eat and another went to seed. We've been chomping on this for a few weeks now, and will have a few weeks longer.
This is an unintended pumpkin plant. I found it growing in the compost pit, no doubt sprouted from last falls jack-o-lanterns.

I popped it in it's own little  bed so that I could tend to it, and it's very happy. I'm not sure if we'll get a good sized pumpkin out of it, but we'll see!
This is an unintended tomato plant. I didn't get a chance to buy tomato seedlings this year, however I've had over 20 volunteers crop up in random places.
I've culled many of them, but I have about 15 of them growing. I've read that fruit from volunteer plants are often tastier than ones that have been planted, as the plants themselves are hardier and easier to care for.

This looks like the pumpkin plant, but it's a cucumber. They are both from the squash family. I have probably 10 of these plants that have really shot up in size the past week.

Tomato and cucumber salad is one of my favorite summer dishes!

No comments:

Post a Comment