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May. 1st, 2005

treepentacle

(no subject)

Celebrated Beltane by planting things -- big surprise, that . . .

I planted some "Red King Humbert" cannas in the plugged planters on the front terrace -- those hold water when their plugs are in, becoming mini-water gardens. In past years I've planted lotuses there, but the nice ones are expensive -- about $50/root -- and I have trouble getting them to survive the winter in the pots. I tried planting some lotus roots from the Asian grocery store near me, but they never grew -- just turned into compost . . . Maybe I'll have better luck with the cannas, which are MUCH cheaper -- I might add some black taro to the pots too, when I see them available in the local garden centers . . .

I also started to put annuals in the (regular) planters I have placed between the plugged planters, which prevent the regular planters from falling off the terrace when it's windy, due to the weight of the water in them. This year's front terrace color scheme is red and white -- I might throw in some pink or yellow later on, but so far it's just red, red and MORE red.

I planted some red geraniums with red and red-and-white petunias planted in between, so they can trail over the sides of the planters and contrast nicely with the white terrace wall. The varieties of petunias planted were "Red Dreams", "Fire Frost" and "Ultra Red Star" -- the last is my favorite though. No white ones since there's more than enough white with the terrace wall, thank you very much!

I didn't finish doing all the planters today -- only about a third of them -- so the rest will be done some other NON-RAINY day. (Yes, it did indeed rain again today -- 0.16 inches, by my rain gauge.)

I also put out a new solar toy -- a spotlight, with a nice bright white LED light. I have the spot trained on the Green Man plaque I have hanging from the chimney bricks. It's not a very bright spotlight, since I have it on a small table by the terrace wall opposite the plaque, but the distance spreads out the spot a bit and gives the Green Man a subtle glow. If I find some translucent green plastic I might put that over the light, so the spot will turn green, unless I find some OTHER solar spotlight that happens to come with a green light already. I have seen amber LED solar lights for the garden, but so far no green ones. Hopefully the translucent green plastic won't dim the spotlight too much -- if it does, then the Green Man will have to have a white glow to him, not a green one.

Apr. 30th, 2005

treepentacle

(no subject)

Drip, drip, drip -- another rainy day . . .

We've had 4.8 inches of rain since the first of April, according to my rain gauge.

I can't WAIT to see those May flowers . . .

Apr. 29th, 2005

frenchtreespring

(no subject)

Put some salmon-pink gerbera into some nice ceramic pots I'd bought a while ago and then tied those pots to the front mini-porch posts, between the half-pots of pansies already tied there, so that now those posts look as though they are completely surrounded by flowers.

Then I put some dark purplish "Black Dragon" coleus into some small galvanized metal pots I'd bought yesterday and put those pots (plus the trays) onto the windowsills flanking the front door. I'd tried putting impatiens there in prior years, but they didn't do well. With coleus, there will still be color there even if the light level there is only so-so for blooming plants. The metal pots will be an improvement over the ceramic ones I'd used in the past, since they won't break if they fall, nor will they be damaged by winter freezes.

The apricots, plums, nectarines and peaches have finished blooming, as have the hyacinths. The grape hyacinths have started to bloom, as have the tulips and the pink dogwood. The forsythia, cup magnolia, cherries and pears are all still in bloom, although the Bosc pear just started yesterday -- I'm guessing the cold, damp spring we've had so far is the reason everything is blooming so late this year -- more rain is expected for tomorrow also. Sigh.

Apr. 25th, 2005

frenchtreespring

(no subject)

Today was another dank day, with on and off rain, so I couldn't do a lot in the garden in terms of planting, so I did a few other things instead.

I took some old slates that had been around the backyard since half-way to forever and used them to create a partially-paved area underneath the dogwood, peach and Bosc pear trees, where I have the metal glider. I plan to put plants between the stones -- most likely something from the "Stepables" line of foot-traffic-friendly small plants, or perhaps something like sweet alyssum . . .

After lugging and arranging the slates, I rested for a bit on the glider then put the matching metal table I'd bought yesterday on the newly-paved area. It's the perfect height for me to use if I'm sitting in the glider -- excellent for eating al fresco meals!

Then I lugged more stuff -- this time some edging bricks a neighbor had given me a while ago when he was re-doing his garden. It turned out that what I had was just exactly enough to edge all along where this section of garden meets the driveway, so that where I just paved, as well as the to-be-planted section of the northwest garden, now has a nice brick edging. How lucky!!!

I was also lucky in that I seem to have exactly the right amount of new planters for the front mini-porch railings, which is a good thing, since I bought them at a discount/closeout store where they no longer seem to be available. They match the half-pot and other planters I already have on the mini-porch. I had to figure out what would be the most harmonious arrangement of the two different sizes, but I finally got them all to fit together perfectly, with no wasted space and every planter being used.

Now I just have to hope it gets warm enough -- and STAYS warm enough -- for me to fill my new planters with all the posies I've bought . . .

Apr. 23rd, 2005

frenchtreespring

(no subject)

Planted a few more seeds during a break in the weekend sogginess -- lettuce and spinach, both in the same area where I'd planted yesterday's vegetables. I used part of a seed tape of "Black-seeded Simpson" loose-leaf lettuce and planted a few seeds of "Bloomsdale Long-standing" spinach.

This spring has been very cold so far, with the exception of a few very warm days, so much so that the peaches and nectarines and the winter pear are just now starting to bloom and neither the Bosc pear nor the quinces nor the dogwood have bloomed yet -- they are all just now starting to put out a few leaves. The garden should be full of flowers by now, but it isn't -- it's really rather dreary, except for the forsythia. Even the two cup magnolias in the front yard are barely beginning to bud . . .

Given the dankness, I'm hesitant to plant more than a small sampling of seeds in my garden so far, since the weather might be too chilly for them. I did want to at least start a few plants though, which is why I did some planting yesterday -- especially of the vegetables which generally prefer to grow in cooler temperatures, such as lettuce, peas and spinach. I just hope the seeds sprout and grow, not rot in the ground or keel over from the cold. We'll be having quite a few nights in the low 40s for the next few days, so I can't even make planters of flowers yet without worrying that the petunias and impatiens will catch cold and croak. Some plants I've even brought inside until it warms up a bit more, since I don't want to go to the bother and expense of replacing them once they've been put into planters with other flowers.

Apr. 22nd, 2005

childofgaia

(no subject)

Celebrated Earth Day by planting lots of seeds.

I planted some vegetables in the strip of land north of the driveway -- sugar snap peas along the chainlink fence and a staggered double row of corn, bush string beans and bush butternut squash, all three types of seeds planted together in the same hole. For both the peas and beans I added soil inoculant to the holes/furrow. (Varieties were "Sugar Snap" snap pea, "Early and Often" sweet corn, "Burpee's Stringless Green Pod" bush bean and "Burpee's Butterbush" butternut squash.)

After planting the veggies, I planted flowers -- looooots of flowers . . .

I planted a few cardinal climber vine and red "Scarlett O'Hara" morning glory seeds along part of the same section of chainlink fence where I planted the snap peas, to add some color to the area. Then I planted some lunaria (AKA "money plant") in two places -- some underneath the winter pear tree and some near the seedless grape by the garage. While I was by the garage, I also planted a few seeds of "Tea-time Rose" four o'clocks, "Daydream" cosmos, "Ruby Flax" viscaria and several varieties of sunflower. The varieties were "Mammoth", "Lemon Chiffon", "Chianti Hybrid" (which is a burgundy-red) and "Sunshine" -- which I also planted at the front of the house, at the west end of the front garden, amidst the sprouting peonies and daylilies. (I didn't plant "Sunshine" there though, as it was getting dark by then. Another day perhaps . . . )

I also got a chance to use my new purchases -- these really nifty seed packet holders I bought at Target. Some are undecorated while others have small painted metal flowers or vegetables on them with the word "flowers" or "vegetables" written below. I thought they were a great idea and bought quite a few, since they are galvanized metal and will last for many growing seasons. This way I know EXACTLY which variety I planted somewhere, instead of having to remember (or refer here) -- at least as long as I finished off the packet of seeds, that is . . .

Apr. 18th, 2005

frenchtreespring

(no subject)

The apricot trees are in full bloom and my plums have started to flower. The forsythia and hyacinths are also still blossoming.

The air around the house smells WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apr. 11th, 2005

frenchtreespring

(no subject)

Made several planters today using the "Beacon Blue" purple-and-white pansies I'd bought at the Equinox. I made 4 half-pot planters to go around the 2 posts of the front entrance mini-porch and a larger planter for the top of the post at the foot of the front entrance steps. The half-pot planters were pansy only, but the other rectangular planter was a combination of the pansies and several salmon-pink geraniums I'd bought today. I like salmon-pink and I thought it'd go well with the purple and white pansies. After I made that planter, I really liked how it looked -- when impatiens are available I'll most likely continue the color scheme with salmon-pink impatiens for the planters I plan to put on the railings.

In other garden-y news, my apricot trees have started to bloom as well as the forsythia and I've noticed snowdrops, crocus and hyacinths in bloom in the front yard.

Spring has sprung!!

Apr. 1st, 2005

treepentacle

(no subject)

The rainfall gauge I put out in January has recorded 9.06" of rain since January 12th. Quite a bit of that came just a few days ago -- we had 3.39" four days ago, 0.59" eight days ago amd 0.24" nine days ago -- 4.22" in just over a week!

I've decided to re-set it so I can keep periodic track of how much rain has fallen. I haven't decided if I'll do it monthly, quarterly or by the Sabbats -- for now, I'll try quarterly. I might change that though if we have a very rainy spring or summer, as we've had in the past.

More rain is expected later tonight and throughout the weekend. I was hoping to plant some pansies and heather I'd bought at the equinox -- it's been too rainy and cold to do any real gardening before now -- but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do, since the weekend will be rather soggy it seems . . .

Jan. 23rd, 2005

frenchtreewinter

(no subject)

We got 15.5" of snow from the storm. My car is buried up to the windows from the snowplows.

More snow is supposed to arrive on Wednesday.

60 more days until the start of Spring . . .

Jan. 22nd, 2005

frenchtreewinter

(no subject)

We're having a blizzard. Officially.

Snow started around noonish today & expected to end at around noonish tomorrow. Snowfall so far seems to be around 9" so far. Totals are expected to be in the 12-18" range. Temperatures tomorrow will be only in the teens to low twenties for highs. With strong winds and blowing snow.

I am sooooooooooo going to hate shoveling the sidewalk and stairs and walkway tomorrow . . .

Jan. 20th, 2005

frenchtreewinter

(no subject)

The forsythia branches I cut in December for forcing have started to bloom.

Given how cold it has been lately (lows in the single digits, below-freezing highs), the bright yellow blooms certainly make me feel cheerier . . .

Jan. 14th, 2005

treepentacle

(no subject)

I bought a rainfall gauge and put it out a few days ago. There hadn't been much to record -- just 0.04" -- until today. Today's rainfall total was 1.14".

The gauge has a self-emptying cup, which I like, and is also wireless, which I also like -- no going outside to empty it or to see how much rain has fallen. It measures in either inches or mm -- being old-fashioned, I generally prefer inches. It also has an indoor monitor that keeps a 9-day day-by-day rainfall history as well as a total rainfall since a specified date.

It's sooooooooooooooo cooooooooooooooooool.

Aug. 18th, 2004

frenchtreesummer

(no subject)

The little tree that grew in the front yard just in back of the Japanese red maple is definitely a peach and not an apricot -- it's loaded with small peaches with lovely red cheeks. They aren't ripe enough to pick just yet though . . .

I plan on transplanting it to a better location after I harvest the fruit -- it's too close to the Japanese red maple right now. I'll most likely plant it a few feet to the west of its current location (right where I had put a Hall's Hardy almond that died), although I might put it on the strip of earth between the driveway and the walkway, next to the Star Stella cherry -- it will be easy to harvest there.

Mar. 1st, 2004

frenchtreespring

(no subject)

It got into the mid-60s today -- it'll get a bit cooler again in a few days (back to the 40s) but until then we'll be in the 50s and 60s -- downright tropical compared to recent temperatures!

Bought a pot of pansies for the post at the bottom of the front stairs -- actually they're violas (smaller than pansies but related) but they were pretty -- purple and white -- & I need to see some green & growing things outdoors after the winter we've had. It's the first time I've seen the local nurseries putting out plants for the garden this year, so I guess the start of the growing season is upon us . . .

Jan. 21st, 2004

frenchtreewinter

(no subject)

The forsythia branches I cut at the end of December have begun to bloom and the pussy willow branches are starting to have catkins.

I feel cheerier already . . .

Jan. 15th, 2004

frenchtreewinter

(no subject)

We're in the middle of a record-breaking cold spell right now. It's supposed to go down to two degrees below zero (Fahrenheit) tonight. It hasn't been this cold in more than 110 years!

I have a feeling I'll be replacing quite a few plants this spring -- even those that are zone 6 or less, since they may not be well-established enough to survive this bitter cold weather. I'm pretty sure I'll lose most of my roses.

At least my lilacs should be happy . . .

Dec. 30th, 2003

frenchtreewinter

(no subject)

Pruned both the pussy willow & the forsythia today. I put the cut-off branches in water so they can bud & bloom during the winter & make my rooms a bit cheerier with fresh flowers.

Winter can be so bleak . . .

Just 3 more months until spring . . .

Nov. 8th, 2003

frenchtreefall

(no subject)

The temperature is supposed to go below freezing tonight so I brought in all the plants I'd left outside since the weather had been relatively warm (50s-60s). It supposedly will get warm again after this weekend so I'll probably put out the decorative cabbages & pansies again. With any luck, we won't have another freeze after this one for a while . . .

Nov. 3rd, 2003

frenchtreefall

(no subject)

Celebrated today's unseasonably warm weather (78 degrees F -- yay!) by going shopping at a local nursery & getting a bunch of potted pansies & decorative cabbages (all in white & shades of purple, btw) to put on the front stairs, replacing the geraniums I had there over the summer. I'll be trying to keep those alive & in good shape over the winter & hopefully be able to enjoy them next year too -- they're my favorite type, red flowers with white & green leaves -- very pretty!

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