Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Holy Hyacinths!!! (And Other Blooms from the Garden)

 The Bulb Bloom is underway, and it is always at this time of year that I am happy I tossed in more bulbs last Fall. I'm not sure why, but the hyacinths are blooming better than ever. Almost all of them in the (soon to be old) Cutting Garden have passed their prime, and will most likely be relocated soon. The ones I planted in a rush last fall along the perimeter of the Vegetable Garden are about to begin blooming, and I am so glad I put them in. I believe bulbs will begin to find homes in the Vegetable Garden for cutting, since peas and beans can easily be planted between them before they completely disappear. Who says a Vegetable Garden has to be all about harvesting veggies?

Here is the bounty from one foray into the Garden.

I've hit the moment in the year when I will have no need to buy flowers at the market!

Really, the hyacinths have been awesome this year. I had two large arrangements in the apartment already, as well as a sizable amount to give as a birthday surprise. This is round three!

The muscari (one of my absolute favorite flowers) are just beginning to stretch tall enough for me to pick. 
Some of the oldest narcissus in the garden. These were planted years ago by my Mom in front of the rose bed out front. They've been divided many times, and actually need to be divided again!

An interesting double and one from the border of various pink-cupped daffodils. 

More doubles and more pink/peach cups. They actually start out quite orange and fade quickly to pink.

My friend Abby gifted me this wonderful flower frog, and it has come in handy ever since.
Arranging is a snap! I decided to use an old, Mid-century pottery bowl.
Pink, white, and a yellow that has faded to cream were the most plentiful, so I used them first.
Then added the more rare colors. This dark purple 'Woodstock' hyacinth didn't get very large blooms this year, but they are still quite lovely.

The living room smells wonderful. Now what to do with the daffodils...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Shopping Along Belmont

Last Sunday was, perhaps, one of the longest days of my life. But in a good way! We had run up to Chicago for a few days to celebrate some birthdays, go day drinking with costumes, and enjoy the absolute perfection of Sydney's welcoming views on house guests. She made us feel oh so at home. Maybe a little too at home.

At any rate, Monday found us all rather recovered and ready for a quiet night of dinner out and a few drinks. That didn't exactly happen, but I'm not going to bore you with photos of the tomfoolery we involved ourselves in Monday night. Before any of that, however, we did some shopping.

A quick shot out the fourth floor of a designer/shoe/army surplus/thrift store. Each level  had it's own specialty.

Lunch with the ladies (as Mr Miller was unable to leave the sofa). Alex is making a face. Nobody wanted to do a shot with me. Oh well.

Back to shopping. I wanted to buy this American Apparel hoodie for Izzy, but decided to buy some scarves for myself instead.

After Alex headed back to the apartment, Syd, Keli, and I strolled way down Belmont to where it becomes much more residential and full of antique shops. We went in a few, but I loved Good Old Days Antiques. The gentleman working was so friendly and asked if we had been in before and told us there was more in the basement and up on the second floor. At another shop we barely had a "hello".
The basement was fabulous! I instantly regretted the fact that I was taking three people home with me. Alright, that's a lie. I love the people I was taking home...but MAN I wanted to buy some furniture!

Some great typewriters. And there were so many large old crocks that I NEED for my kitchen. There was a lot of stuff, but everything was pretty organized. I found a Guy Wolff pottery vase, but set it back down. I instantly regretted that move.


There were several cool hall trees. 

Lots of memorabilia (sorry about the picture)

I die for this chair (and die of embarrassment at my finger in the shot).

I don't have any floor lamps, which reminded me that I have one much like this at my parents' house somewhere. Perhaps it needs to come home with me.

And then the news just began to come in about Boston. I watched for a minute the horrors occurring in my first "City Love" while standing in a wonderful shop in my perhaps more realistically achievable current "City Love".

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Third Year for Asparagus!

After three patient years of waiting, the little asparagus patch looks like it will give us a harvest this year! The spears are coming up plumper than ever, and in more multiples than ever. I always hear people with established asparagus plants begin to bemoan the fact that there is so much they don't know what to do with it. I can't wait until that happens to us!
Hey there,  asparagus!

Pushing up and out. I need to clean up the beds still, but the constant rain has made that nearly impossible!

I need to weed everything, as well, but all of the spears of asparagus have me rather happy! Each crown has sent up at least three so far! Hopefully Sunday I can really tackle some chores...and maybe harvest a few spears!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Bulb Bloom Begins!

I'm in Chicago for the next few days, and the only regret I have is missing the beginning of the Bulb Bloom. It always goes by so fast! I stopped by tonight and couldn't believe how much things had changed since Tuesday, when I took these pictures. I could have either one enormous daffodil arrangement, or several small ones right now! Thankfully the temperatures are staying relatively cool, so the blooms should all hold off until I get home.

The Siberian Squill are in full bloom. Such a vibrant blue!

Some daffodils that were touched by the frost, but doing well.

And another clump ready to burst.

A bleeding heart (Dicentra) planted last fall. Unfortunately the big, old bleeding heart has yet to show any signs of life.

A new, deep red hellebore called 'Red Racer'.

Long lasting crocus in the Hydrangea Border.

Signs of life in the Peony Border!

The white 'Miss Ellen Willmott' lilac is swollen with buds! Hope we have some flowers!

The old hellebore with the unknown name. 

All the tulips Junior and I planted under the magnolia are pushing up. The magnolia, however, has very few buds. A result of last Summer's drought perhaps?

I love the tiny 'Tete-a-Tete' daffodils. They have really multiplied.

The mix of split corona daffodils are really short this year.

Out in the Cutting Garden / Berry Patch the hyacinths are beginning to bloom.

These will all be dug and relocated once the flowers fade.

The 'Red Lake' currants have a lot of new growth at the base.

And the goose berries are looking pretty good, as well!

I'm still surprised at how many allium are coming up all over the garden. This row in the Cutting Garden will be added, as well, once they are lifted after the bloom. I may plant them all in the Peony Border for a nice Spring show.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Final Overwinter Update (I Hope)

Last week I was noticing how out of hand the "greenhouse" had become. There were dirty pots of failed plants laying about, as well as some flower stalks and dead leaves that needed my attention. There were even a few plants that had been languishing in their (gasp) plastic pots! 

So I took a few hours one night to check everyone out and water everyone well, with just a low dose of fertilizer. I really do hope moving day for the overwintered plants arrives as soon as I think it will!

This is the Chicago Hardy fig that had been tossed in a corner of the garage at the end of the Fall. I brought him home and he is doing great. I believe figs may be a new focus for me. They are much more forgiving than citrus, and seem to like a cycle of dormancy. There are many kinds I've yet to get, so watch out! This one also looks like a good candidate for a braided trunk...
I had some clearance philodendrons to pot up. On the left is 'Autumn', and on the right, I'm guessing, is 'Moonlight'. Both are "self-heading" which means they will not climb or sprawl like a vine. These will remain houseplants and not take the trip to the Garden for the summer.

Spent flower stalks on the amaryllis and aloe, as well as some old leaves that needed to come off the banana.

While cleaning up I found two enormous elephant ear tubers I had forgotten all about. They were already getting new little pups, so I hurried and tossed them into some containers, covered them with dirt, and watered them well. They are destined to return to the two big planters at the entrances to the Garden.

Suddenly the "greenhouse" is much more tolerable. I still have a ZZ plant to pot up, and some staghorn ferns I hope to mount and hang on the wall, but for now I'm happy. Some potted up tree peonies, and the two elephant ears have crammed their way in, and the geraniums have taken the place of the figs. The poor agaves really need some heavy sun, as they are leaning dreadfully towards the grow lights (You can see one in the top right corner).
And where have the figs gone? Only to bask in the longer days in the South facing living room windows. In no time at all they will be outside. I hope. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Little Spring Color for the Window Boxes

 Plans for changes in the Garden are really beginning to add up. The Cutting Garden / Berry Patch is going to become much more dedicated to berry production, which means all of the allium, Dutch iris, hyacinths, and tulips will need to be dug and relocated. An actual fence is also in the works as I am at my wits end with critters chewing down the raspberry canes. Honestly, have you ever heard of such a thing! 

This, then, means we will need a new Cutting Garden somewhere. I think there is some room outside the Vegetable Garden, or, if my dreams of a new tiller come true, perhaps a nice long, narrow bed at the edge of the yard. I also still have the South Border to deal with (I know, I've been attempting to deal with this for three Seasons), so maybe it could become a combo perennial and cutting bed. My real goal this year is to deal with what we already have. Many things need divided, every bed needs some sort of edge (angled brick pavers, preferably), and the Long Border needs to be reworked and perhaps join two of the smaller beds. I was very inclined to symmetry when we began designing the garden, and now I've changed my mind. Naturally.

All of this, however, will need to wait. It is too early to really do much in the beds, and I want to wait until after the bulb bloom to begin relocating anything. So today I was quite happy to get my hands a little dirty. My mom and I made a quick trip to Lowes and I bought some pansies. The view out the Penthouse windows is suddenly less drab. 

The leftover petunias really weren't an eyesore when they were covered with snow. Yesterday, however, they were getting on my nerves.
A pretty little pansy.

Now the view is much nicer.
A welcome change for less than $8.