4/17/13

Wednesday Walk in the Garden

The morning light was so beautiful earlier today that I was motivated to get off the couch and take some pictures.  I thought I might find my little buddy cat out there, but after calling and calling for him, I finally gave up.  It always worries me when he doesn't come, and I still haven't seen him as I'm writing this.  Still, he's probably fine and just off roaming somewhere.  He may have found a mouse, and a cat is hard pressed to leave a mouse no matter what's happening elsewhere.

Although it was lonely without my kitty, I still made my way around the garden and saw lots of stuff in bloom.  The flowers are surprisingly plentiful given how cold and rainy it's been for the past week.  Here's what I saw:

Wonder of wonders!  The tulips actually managed to bloom without being mowed down by the deer.  There are a few others blooming in the yard as well.  They are all white.  I planted a mix the fall we moved in, and the only ones left are white.  I can only assume that the deer prefer their tulips in flavors other than vanilla, however, I've seen them eat vanilla as well.


Below is a clematis getting ready to bloom.  It's very difficult to photograph because there is usually a breeze, and I can never get it in focus.  This morning, there was not a breath of wind.  I'm expecting these flowers will open next week when the weather is supposed to warm up, and then it will be spectacular.  I'll be hoping for a day without wind so that I can try yet again to photograph it while it's blooming.


The daffodils are still blooming.  These doubles are the last ones to open each year, and they are looking very pretty right now.


We planted the flowering plums below along our driveway many years ago.  They have never done well.  We planted larger trees, which we bought in a quantity to keep the price down.  Each year, the cold winter kills off one or two.  For a while, we replaced them, but at nearly $100 per tree, it finally became too expensive for us to continue replacing trees that continued to die.  That, and Mike running over them with the tractor on occasion didn't help.  

This year, they finally have some size, and they are starting to look the way we always hoped they would.  Of the 14 we planted originally, I'm thinking we have about 8 left.  They are relatively evenly spaced, but not perfectly.  Oh well.  I'm happy to have any at all, and they are so pretty right now. 



Remember our plumbing disaster from last fall?  The pipe that feeds water from our well to the dwelling was broken near where it enters the house on the outside.  We had to dig up two of our favorite shrubs to repair it, including this beautiful azalea.  It's so pretty when it blooms, and while I wasn't as attached to the other shrub, I hated losing this azalea.  Here's what it looks like in all its glory:


The flowers look almost like a miniature carnation and their edges look as though they've been trimmed with pinking sheers.  After we dug it up, it sat with roots exposed overnight.  Then Mike stuck it in the ground after the pipe work was finished, hoping it would survive.  This morning, I noticed that it has flowers, and so I think it's going to be all right.


All of the azaleas have buds on them.  I expect they too will open next week.  This one still looks a little scraggly after its ordeal, but it definitely looks like it will survive.  This makes me very happy.

Also, ready to bloom, but not yet open is the Bleeding Heart we planted a couple of years ago.  It's always hit or miss with things we plant to see if they can survive our cold winters.  This one has done surprisingly well.  It has lots of flowers on it, so I'm excited to see it open.


And then there's this gorgeous thing below.  Another one that I can never remember the name of it.  It has a Japanese sounding name, as I recall, but don't quote me.  It first gets these cascades of tiny white blossoms, and then the red leaves open into a star shape.  It is truly magnificent.  That was the other shrub we lost in our plumbing disaster, but we had this one on the other side of the house.


The cherry trees are in bloom now.  I haven't seen any bees, however.  For one thing it's been raining and windy.  Without bees, I don't know how many cherries we'll get.  I suppose the birds will do their part as well.  It's always a challenge to have them bloom at the right time, when bees are around.  This is our Bing.



The one below is the smaller of the two trees, a Black Tartarian.  The first Black Tartarian we planted died, and so we replace it.  This one is doing much better.  You can see that it isn't yet in full bloom.


Although I've read conflicting information on the internet, the Bible of gardening as far as I'm concerned is Sunset's Western Garden Book.


According to the Western Garden Book, cherry trees are self-pollinating, but they require in their grouping one of two trees.  I forget what the other one is, but the Black Tartarian is one of them.  This is where I've read conflicting information on the internet, but our trees have always produced cherries, and so I figure we must be doing something right.  Now, producing cherries and actually harvesting them are two different things.  Thanks to our friends the raccoons, we rarely get to eat many of our cherries since the raccoons will clean the tree in a single night.  Oh well.  I'm satisfied that we get flowers.  Maybe this will be the year that the raccoons will leave some for us.

And speaking of harvesting red fruits, look what Quilting Babcia gave me after our last guild meeting:  Raspberries!  Wasn't that so sweet of her?  She dug these from her own raspberry vines.  We have a few plants, but they don't produce enough fruit to do anything other than pick them and eat them straight from the vine (which is nothing to sneeze at).  Still, it would be fun to get enough for some sorbet or for a bumbleberry pie or something like that.  We'll plant these next week, I'm guessing.


I filled the bird feeders and was just about to come back in the house when I remembered that I wanted to check the woods for trilliums.  So I walked down to the woods to see what's up down there.  These red flowering currants are still blooming away at the entrance to the path.


They're also difficult to photograph because of the incessant breeze, but this morning they were still.  Yay!

And just look who I found on the path.  It's Uno!


I thought Smitty might be close by, but he wasn't.  I asked Uno if he'd seen Smitty, but he wouldn't say.  There is a code of silence among cats, I guess.  Anyway...the trilliums are blooming!  I just love these.



Uno couldn't decide whether to purr or hiss at me.  He does have his reputation as an evil nemesis to uphold, I guess, but he's really just a teddy cat under all that floof.


We planted this heather because it blooms all winter.  Here we are several weeks into spring, and it's still blooming away.  It certainly has lived up to its end of the bargain.


Finally, I hung this seed cake feeder filled of bits of thread, fabric scraps, dryer lint, and bits of batting a few weeks ago.  It's nesting material for the birds.  Now it's half empty.  I'm thinking there are some warm and comfy birds' nests around if one knew where to look.


So in the middle of writing this post, I paused to let the window washer guy in.  He was supposed to come Monday, but had to reschedule.  He's here today.  While he and I were chatting, Mr. Smitty showed up.  I can stop worrying about him now.

Next on my agenda is to do a little more work on the binding for the Plain and Simple quilt, and then make the blocks for the Hello Moon QAL.  I hope your Wednesday is getting off to a peaceful start.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

Quilting Babcia said...

The shrub you couldn't name is a Pieris, though I don't know the name of the particular variety. We have one just like it at the end of our front deck. One of my favorite plants on our hillside. We also have some smaller pink ones in the back yard but they don't have those glorious red leaves.

Sher S. said...

I am so jealous of all your beautiful flowering plants. I have my roses blooming and a hibiscus that is more of a tree than a bush but love it anyway. My hydrangea is coming back from being cut WAY back this past fall. I'm so glad Mr. Smitty showed up, he is just a riot and I love him from afar. Have a fabulous afternoon.

Sher S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynne said...

Spring in the garden is so pretty! Glad you got some tulips this year!

Betty said...

All of your plants look so beautiful! You do a great job capturing the images!
Good to know Smitty returned safely from his hunting trip!

Leisa B said...

What a wonderful idea--putting out scraps for the birds to use in nest-making... I love that! We have a family of birds that keep dive-bombing our Smitty-clone-kitty (Oliver), so maybe we should put out some similar material as a peace offering to make up for our annoying feline presence :-)

Brown Family said...

Beautiful garden and yard. I am glad Smitty shower up!

Nan

quiltzyx said...

Oh the blooms are all so wonderful! I'm glad your azalea is coming back from its' trauma, they are one of my many favorites. Yay! That the deer opted for no vanilla tulips this year. :D And what a great idea to put nesting materials out in the seed cake holder!
My roses & irises are blooming away now. We had a bit of drizzle last week & that made them all very happy.

Lyndsey said...

Lovely photos Barbara. Thanks for sharing. I'm jealous of the size of your garden. Living in London ours is lace handkerchief sized but we still manage to squeeze in lots of plants.

Kate said...

Thanks for sharing the walk, you have a gorgeous garden.

Dana Gaffney said...

Beautiful, I love seeing the flowers you have since most of that won't grow here, I do have bleeding hearts all around my bird bath, but it hasn't started to bloom yet.

KatieQ said...

The shrub with the cascades of tiny white blossoms, and then the red leaves is a Pieris Japonica, but I don't know which cultivated variety it is. We have several types. Ours are hit or miss. This year all of that family of shrubs is blooming beautifully in our area. Some years, the blooms are sparse. I like that the deer don't eat them.

Stray Stitches (Linda G) said...

You have so much beauty in your yard! Sure glad that Mr. Smitty made his return.