Sunday, July 24, 2022

Summertime Flowers


Greetings! It's been a floriferous time here in my gardens. My Paradise Garden (pictured above) has been particularly flower-filled this last month. 

The Paradise Garden has been one of the most successful garden areas I've made since I started gardening more than a dozen years ago. I think that's because it's located so close to my house, which makes it easy to take care of. (I can pad out in my bare feet while I'm on the phone and pull a few weeds.) Also, it has two seating areas, and my husband and I enjoy sitting in it nearly every evening on warm nights.

The Paradise Garden was bursting with color a few evenings ago.

Here's a closer picture.

And from the back corner. Lots of daylilies and self-seeded flowering tobacco.

Another area that has turned out well is the east patio area, which I planted in a tropical garden theme a few years ago. I continue to do this each May and also bring out my houseplants to enjoy the dappled shade under the pergola, where they really seem happy. Along with our cats:

Those petunias, snapdragons and flowering tobacco at forefront re-seed themselves every year -- free flowers! And the view from the patio is lovely across the fields. (Both our cats like to snooze under the table.)

Here's what the border behind the patio table looks like, with houseplants, a coleus, more self-seeded snapdragons and a couple of hydrangea shrubs that over-winter.

The secret of these successful areas is their proximity to my house, so that it's easy for me to take care of them (and enjoy them). 

So I'm planning some changes to my garden areas to eliminate larger borders that are farther away from my house, and move the plants to closer areas. I'll post more about the changes in a future post, but I'm excited to be making these plans.

I hope you're enjoying warm -- but not too hot -- days in your own gardens, and find them easy and enjoyable to maintain. Thanks for reading! -Beth

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Spring is Here!


Greetings everyone! After a long hiatus of nearly a year, I thought I'd come back to post a few updates about what's been going on in our gardens. 

It's been an unusually cool, wet spring this year. While it seemed it might warm up in March, most of April was rainy and cold. Farmers will plant their fields very late this season because the soil has remained very cold until this week.

Here are a few pictures of what's blooming in our gardens:

Our forsythia is blooming exceptionally well this year. We let a nearby farmer put a few sheep in our pasture for a few months every year -- which is nice, because we don't need to take care of them and we still get to enjoy the pastoral look of them for a while each year.

I planted more tulips in this bed last fall and they look pretty cheerful this spring.

These flowering cherry and magnolia trees were looking very pretty the other day.

As were the crabapples near the pond garden.

The Evergreen Border behind my house is looking very colorful.

And here's a closeup of it, in its weedy glory.

The Herb Garden boxwoods are beginning to grow in, after cutting down every other one last spring. I think I may cut the rest down short to let them fill in, as many of them have leaves only on the ends of the branches.

And here's a big change we're making: removing the back part of the white picket fence that surrounds our front and side yard. We removed the fence sections to see how it might look, and will remove the posts and gate once we decide with certainty. I think I like the openness.

And it will allow us to make an opening directly into the Herb Garden from closer to our house (I'll remove a couple of the boxwoods to the right of the short white post at center). We'll leave the fence around the patio and the rest of the yard, which you can see the start of at the far right.

We're happy that spring has finally arrived here -- for a few days anyway, as it's supposed to be almost 90°F for three hot windy days this week, and many of these flowers will burn off and blow away. 

But that's Iowa: we get to enjoy all the spring flowers compressed into one week-long "springtime." Then it's "Hello Summer!" But it will warm up the soil finally, and the farmers can get going.

Hope you are enjoying a slightly longer springtime in your own gardens. Thanks for reading! -Beth