enduringplum: (Annoyed)
( May. 14th, 2009 09:43 am)
Travel Prep, Baby Stuff, Whining, Etc. )

Well, enough of that.

My garden greens are still delicious, although my Swiss chard has fed a large family of some sort of striped inch worm, and I'm looking forward to eating another big harvest of spicy mustard greens again tonight and knowing that I'll have another healthy harvest to enjoy with I return from Denmark! As long as Carl keeps the plants watered, that is.

The first Lilliput zinnias have popped in to colorful bloom, brightening the front flower bed with their cheerful red, pink, or salmon-colored pompoms. One of my sunflowers has begun to open and I'm interested to see just which type it is- the mammoth, seedy Russian or the unusual chartreuse.

I've got a few nasturtiums popping up where my catnip was and I'm looking forward to adding their slightly spicy, colorful blooms to my salads, a few of which should be ready by the time I get back.

I had a seed tray disaster in the backyard, so all my tiny sprouts are gone, but I have more of most of those seeds, so I'll just start them again when I get back. I don't have any more Love-Lies-Bleeding, but I already have a different amaranth in the front flower bed that I'm going to relocate before I fly out Tuesday morning, so I can enjoy it in place of the Love-Lies-Bleeding. Besides, there's always next spring!
enduringplum: (Brown Sugar)
( May. 4th, 2009 12:16 pm)
The first buds have formed on the biggest of my zinnias and sunflowers. Right now they're just tight, little packages that have yet to burst in to color and I can't wait to see them when they do; I know it will happen suddenly somehow: I'll be so caught up in everyday life that I'll stop noticing all the little, daily changes and then one day I'll raise the blinds to find a flower garden singing with color just outside of my everyday life.

Yet I'm very happy with my little flower and vegetable garden, which I am very gradually expanding, one square foot at a time. The big bed in the front, which we paid Rick to dig out and line with large cement blocks to create a raised bed, hosts a variety of flowers, vegetables, and herbs, including the red giant mustard and Swiss chard I've been enjoying sauteed, in salads, and on the bison burgers Carl cooks for us every other week. The mustard is so easy and quick to grow that I plan to grow it year round if it doesn't bolt when our really hot weather arrives; it even sprouted in the grass from a handful of seeds I spilled and ignored utterly.

The flower bed in front of our window is full of a variety hardy, fast-growing zinnias, two types of sunflower, and a lone black-eyed susan my mom gave me, which I planted there simply because I had no more suitable place for it. Even the sunflowers are not yet tall enough to be seen well from the wide, front window, but I can see just the tops of their leafy heads and I like to see them waving in the wind or dancing in the rain. I'm looking forward to watching them track the sun's movement through the sky once they bloom and I know my zinnias will faithfully grace us with their color all summer long, and I've no choice but to be patient.

In a narrow strip of soil between the border of that flower bed and the path to our front door I planted an ancient pack of sweet basil seeds, which surprised me by sprouting almost immediately. The Red Rubin basil seeds I planted just across the way haven't fared so well, because I repeatedly disturbed the soil where they grew to plant a lovely, pale pink miniature rose and a typically robust lemon grass beside my already large and still spreading rosemary (is it any surprise? After all, rosemary is said to thrive near homes run by the women therein).

I have some seeds sprouting (or not) on our round table on the back patio. I'm disappointed that none of my blue shrimp plant seeds have sprouted, but I may need to scarify them with sandpaper or soak them to encourage them to germinate. I have gotten one, deep red sprout Love-Lies-Bleeding, which I'm hoping I can transplant to the front vegetable bed and nourish to its full, stately height. My calendula sprouts are doing well, as are the bush beans, the absolutely miniscule Phoenician mullein sprouts, and the little lamb's ears. Most of the seeds that have not germinated are very old, some of them were packaged for sale for 1995, but I thought I might as well give them a chance.

As Six_Bells_Chime suggested I'm going to plant some catnip in a hanging basket for the back patio, to keep the little fiends away from it! Then I can dole it out to them whenever I want a little entertainment. I've got a lot of other seeds to plant, as well, plenty that I ordered from Seeds of Change and a few common herbs my mom picked up at the most recent garden sale/show we attended at the Botanical Garden.

I think I may add a few sweet potatoes to my bulb garden if I can get some to sprout or find some cheap sweet potato slips at one of the local garden centers; I'll probably try Laughing Buddha, because the owner often has harder-to-find plants and supplies, although her overall selection is fairly limited. She also often has adorable baby animals, like the piglets and ducklings I saw during my last visit.

I'm already thinking of my fall and winter garden, which I want to fill with black flowers and plenty of poppies; Poppies do beautifully in New Orleans through autumn and winter, and I love their scent, which reminds me of the love story of Krishna and Radha, but they start looking rather strained after April. If I get ambitious I may even start some foxglove this fall; I've had luck getting them to bloom the first year and getting them through our hot summer before, so I know it can be done. I'm going to plant more vegetables, too, and I'd especially like to grow radishes, raddichio, and parsnips, and I would like to eventually grow asparagus.
I didn't think my catnip sprouts would make it as long as they did- the biggest one was actually a three inch tall plant!- and today they all met their end upon Sterling's discovery of the psychedelic kitty corner of my garden (yes, I know catnip is not actually a psychedelic, but it certainly has a powerful effect on my beasties). When I went out to water this morning I discovered nothing but a crater, no doubt carved by Sterling's frenzied writhing in the dirt, where my catnip had briefly grown. The lamb's ears, marigolds, and onions around the crater were completely undamaged, not even a leaf out of place, but my catnip was no more. So I planted some nasturtium seeds there.
enduringplum: (Cinderella)
( Apr. 9th, 2009 11:25 am)

Along the north wall of our house the flower bed there has become a bulb garden. First my mother dug up all the amaryllis bulbs from around her house and the tiny 1950s ranch next door that would have been destroyed during demolition and renovations to each property, respectively. A few months later some spider lilies popped up in the yard with their bright red-orange, exotic blossoms-- an old fashioned flower that is one of my favorites, but which is no longer popular-- so she dug those up and dropped them off over here in a plastic bag that I found on the side of the house a few days after, so I planted those as soon as I realized it wasn't just a bag of yard debris Carl had left lying around. At the garden sale my mom purchased a few different varieties of day lily-- Hurricane Party (described as "39 inch light, ruffled full red violet, slightly darker around large yellow gold signal"), Clyde Redmond ("30 inch cornflower blue sect with yellow signal"), Web of Intrigue, and Forty Thieves-- and I planted those today in the same raised bed, afraid that they would dry out too much if I waited to plant them while I dug out a new flower bed. I planted Web of Intrigue in the only spot in that bed that can really be considered full sun, because I'm understandably most intrigued by its name and hope to see it bloom next spring; I was able to divide all of the others, most notably Forty Thieves, so I spread those out amongst all the amaryllis and spider lilies (many of the latter are rather sad, straggly and brown because the cats seem to believe they're there to poop on!). If all the bulbs were ever to miraculously bloom at once it would be quite a show, but as it is I should have color there nearly year round and I've been quite impressed by the amaryllis that have bloomed this year, despite the fact that they were only transplanted this winter.


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