Posts Tagged ‘Perennial Vegetables’

Garden Update: Perennials in Containers and Mid-May Blooms and Growth

Tomorrow marks the supposed last frost for Kalamazoo, MI. I’ll need to find a new motivation to do squats now that I (hopefully) won’t need to haul these lilies and ranunculus into the garage a couple nights per week! The almost blooming chives in front love the cool spring nights, but I bought the more tender flowers on the first warm day we had. Six frost warnings later, I admit, I got a bit ahead of the weather. 🙂

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Our backyard redbud knows the right time to blossom. I love this tree, and the photos never do it justice:

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Hostas, rhubarb, vinca, and strawberries know it’s time to go green: Continue reading

Garden Update: Wild Edibles and Spring Flowers

It felt so good to get out in the yard for an hour of work yesterday, before and after visiting with yet another friend harvesting our massive supply of miner’s lettuce. I cannot believe I’ve been futzing and fretting over my extremely poor luck at growing lettuce when we have such wild abundance. I might even call some farmers market vendors to see if they’d like to bring a few bags to market. This beautiful patch was hidden under a row cover, while silly me has been buying organic mixed greens on our trips to various co-ops and natural food stores:

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Miner’s lettuce, also called “claytonia,” “winter purslane,” or “Indian lettuce,” loves, cool, moist weather. A “foodie” green and wild edible, this patch has reseeded itself each year after a few scattered seeds in 2014. Usually a spring crop, Continue reading

How to Eat Sea Kale

I’ve got lots of photos for a Garden Update, but I’ve been too busy working in the garden to blog about it! Our friend Jerry was helping install some things for us today, and looking at the backyard and sweeping his arm out, he commented, “This is the terrestrial equivalent of beach front property.” Minutes later the train went by and deafened us with its supposedly no longer allowed horn. “And that would be our fog horn,” I laughed. 😉 Until that quiet zone takes effect, it always reminds me of Admiral Boom in Mary Poppins.

Anyway, while I get caught up on cardboard boxes, wood mulch, and the still arriving bulbs and perennials, David and I have been loving our sea kale. We very much enjoy the leaves sauteed in a cast iron skillet with Egyptian walking onions and then served over quinoa — so much so that we’ve not even tried the broccoli like flowers. This plant is almost too pretty to eat, except if I don’t harvest it, then it shades out my lilies, squash and Veronica. So eat it we do! For those unfamiliar with sea kale, here’s a great article detailing all the many ways you can eat it from raw to cooked, any and all parts. If you grow nothing else, this perennial veggie will reward you with lots of food before late spring and summer greens really get rolling. Enjoy the article!

Chives, sea kale, elecampane, grape vine and the beginnings of good bug mix flowers.

Chives, sea kale, elecampane, grape vine and the beginnings of good bug mix flowers.

Spring Garden Update

I’ve been busy with sessions and super busy in the garden due to a “mistake” by the Arbor Day Foundation. Actually, I suspect it was faery magick, since I’ve been wracking my brain for a non-invasive partial shade friendly garden hedge. Instead of shipping me my mock sweet orange, groundcover juniper and hazelnut shrubs, Arbor Day sent me 30 North Privet hedge shrubs, 2 forsythias and a maple sapling. At first, I felt a little upset, but once I researched North Privet, I began to suspect my faery garden landscaper — seriously, a faery who works out the designs of this place whenever I feel stuck. 😉  I had just asked for some assistance again and whammo! All my prior plant and tree orders suddenly morphed. Anyway, I contacted Arbor Day Foundation, and they said to keep the hedge and that they’d send my correct order soon.

Thank you, but it also meant digging a 24 foot and then another 6 foot trench in which to plant these babies:

North Privet is a non-invasive hybrid species of privet, which can grow 12-15 feet tall, perfect for shielding out the next door apartments.

North Privet is a non-invasive hybrid species of privet, which can grow 12-15 feet tall, perfect for shielding out the next door apartments.

I also planted some on either side of our trellised grape vine in my neverending vertical garden quest to remove the view of the next-nextdoor neighbors’ garage roof. Our immediately nextdoor neighbors asked me to plant the maple in front of the garage for the same reason. We’re all hoping this tree will take off and provide coverage over that eyesore. The nextdoor neighbors also got one transplanted paw paw tree from our yard, and will soon receive the companion pollinator, once I have time to dig and replant. They’re excited for trees!

Given that the hedge and tree transplants occurred in the same week as a rose hedge arrived for the front yard, plus sedum ground cover for near the driveway, last week became a crazed planting frenzy in which phone sessions felt like a heavenly rest from digging. If I had known to prepare the soil in each spot, the digging would have gone faster, but this was hard, weedy ground. I’m still tired! For the first year, we’ll need to keep the hedge low, so it gets bushy, but come next year, I’ll be grateful for all that hard work when the magical cocoon of our yard shields out yet more of the non-magical surroundings.

At least we had some good food from the yard, though. In addition to loads of dandelion roots harvested, cleaned, chopped and frozen in preparation for a big roasting project on a cold day, we’ve got lots of fresh greens and various onions and chives, plus leftover dried tomatoes from last year. Greek salad to the rescue!

Garden fresh (and dried) produce for a Greek salad

Garden fresh (and dried) produce for a Greek salad

On Saturday, we had a brilliantly sunny, warm day as I worked in the garden, visited with our landlord and neighbors and prepped food for our evening Beltane celebration — all at the same time, thanks to the Sun Oven:

sun oven on Beltane

You can see the Sun Oven warming up above, near the newly created brick bed by a trellis that will show off the sweet potatoes, which look like morning glories. (The stone bed has row cover on it, so squirrels don’t dig up my flower transplants.) That Sun Oven rocks! On Saturday, I made moist, delicious falafel patties, as well as quinoa for a wheat free tabouli:

one of three simultaneously cooked trays of Sun Oven falafel

one of three simultaneously cooked trays of Sun Oven falafel

Sun Oven quinoa tastes amazing!

Sun Oven quinoa tastes amazing!

Thankfully, it’s flower season again in our yard, so we had some nice daffodils for the Beltane altar, as well as some bouquets for David’s mom and our friend who just had her baby:

daffodils

We’ve also got some dandy violets in our back”yard” :

dandy violets

Out front, you can see the dwarf Korean lilac getting ready to bloom among friends, along with some newly cut ash logs near the garage, which will eventually house shitake mushroom dowels if they ever arrive. Yes, another plant/tree/shroom shipping mixup. You need to inoculate logs within two weeks of cutting, so I’ll just have to hope the shrooms arrive sometime within that period. Otherwise, I guess it will be hugelkulture time!

lilac, grape hyacinths, daffodils and tulips

lilac, grape hyacinths, daffodils and tulips

Our Garden Tower got an early start this year. Instead of plucking out and eating excess seedlings, I put the tiniest ones into the Garden Tower to see if they’d grow. It took awhile for them to establish sizable roots, but they’ve all started growing. I keep them covered at night and during high winds:

zinnias, flamingo and red rhubarb chard, lacinato kale, fava beans, peas, and tiny lettuce sprouts up top

zinnias, flamingo and red rhubarb chard, lacinato kale, fava beans, peas, and tiny lettuce sprouts up top

Mr. Meyer Lemon finally got to go outside, as our frosty nights waned. He likes the sun, but calling him recovered would be quite the optimistic spin. I think he’ll live, though. He just got some amendments of green sand, which supposedly saves everything, as well as comfrey leaves and worm castings.

Meyer lemon recovering in sun

Out back, I planted seed potatoes in various grow bags. The green ones I ordered last year. The burlap came courtesy of my garden coffee supplier, who owns the Electric Brew in Goshen. He brings me bags and bags of coffee grounds, which provide NPK in a ratio most plants can use right away. You need to mix it in with the soil, though, and acidic plants seem to enjoy the grounds more. They’re pH neutral, but some plants like them better than others. Blueberries and roses especially love them. I’m hoping the burlap bag works well, because I have several more in the garage. I needed to donate a bunch of seed potatoes to Redtail Farm Community Garden, because I over-ordered for the number of bags I had. Oops! Now that I have more bags, I might see if I can find anymore potatoes to plant from around here.

potatoes in bags

Although I tend to have excellent luck growing from seeds, I’m getting more and more interested in perennial vegetables that just pop up without any additional effort after the initial planting. I had ordered a rhubarb, which arrived looking terribly sad and sickly. I planted it in what I now suspect was formerly a black walnut area, and as if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, a bird pooped on it! I tried to flush off the poop, but not before it burned the leaves with its nitrogen. I transplanted that rhubarb elsewhere, gave it all sorts of love and amendments, and it appears to be recovering. As synchronicity would have it, though, my across the alley neighbors offered me a free rhubarb plant on Saturday. I put this beauty under the grape vine trellis, where it will hopefully block out some of the thousands of dandelions trying to get in my garden beds:

rhubarb

I love having perennial vegetables green up in spring! Here’s sea kale leafing out next to Egyptian walking onions, garlic, and some annual cold season cover crop of peas and fava beans for nitrogen fixing:

cover crop and perennials

I just love perennials in general. One time planting, years of enjoyment. After all the hours yanking dandelions the past couple weeks, plus all the dozens of hours and layers of cardboard and wood mulch that proved no match for dandelions, I’m beginning to realize it’s all about out-planting them if I want any kind of diversity in this yard. Some are great, but do we really need ten thousand that each created ten thousand more? Um, no. Here we have rescued trillium with Jack in the Pulpit and fiddlehead ferns just peeking out in the rain:

trillium and ferns

Much, much more to come if my ordered plants ever arrive. An April 20th “ship date” was quite awhile ago, folks. Just sayin’. At least it gave me time to plant that hedge, though! Bonus with the North Privet? It attracts butterflies and birds, and you can form it into a topiary. I saved one for a front yard specimen (OK, saved isn’t the right word. Those things kept multiplying!) just in case David wants to get creative. 😉 Meanwhile, the garden has become its own community with neighbors, landlords, friends and dog walkers all stopping by to chat, admire and inquire. I’ve given free plant starts to people, received free seeds, have been asked to be on two garden tours, and have made new friends and deepened earlier connections.

Plus, it’s great therapy. Whenever I read about another assault on the Earth, I plant more flowers. Today’s Grand Canyon news story resulted in hardy gladiolus. Yesterday’s news brought ground cover day lilies to a backyard stump. The general ugliness of our street has brought an entire ecosystem to our yard and now spilling over into neighbors’ lots. As L.A.’s Ron Finley, the Gangster Gardener says, “Plant some shit!” And so I have … so I will.

Trillium and Other Garden Updates

It’s snowing in Goshen, so what better day for a Spring Garden Update?! I’m most excited to report that the trillium some friends and I rescued from a woodland turned GMO corn/soy farm are doing well in their new home. They returned, along with the beginnings of some rescued trout lily, Jack in the pulpit and what looks to be Dutchmen’s breeches. The trillium came up first:

Rescued trillium

Rescued trillium

I need to apologize for the blurriness of some of these photos. It has been insanely windy here for days! My poor peach tree needs to find a more sheltered home, because these Indiana winds are just crazy. They seriously seem to be coming from any and all directions, and like me, my little peach sapling does not like wind!

In other news, preparation for an intentional “Battle of the Invasives” has begun in the easement area, front street-side. With all the trucks that drive by and a brown field not too far away catty corner from us, across the street, I don’t really want to eat anything from this front area, nor do I want to continue weed whacking it once or twice per week. The faeries hate that weedwhacker, and I’d much rather create beauty than become Laura the Destroyer. Actually, I suspect all the deep wood mulch with its mycelium layers will remediate any toxins, but I’m still dedicating this area to beauty, butterflies, birds, bees and a “Battle of the Invasives.”

In addition to a tough as nails and gorgeous Robinhood Rose hedge set to arrive soon, I’ve got groundcover juniper on order, serviceberry trees from the city, and three Rose of Sharon bushes from my friend Patricia’s yard. The vast expanse of mulch will (hopefully) fill quickly with various floral groundcovers, including an Asian day lily promisingly named, “Little Invader.” I’ve got perennial (and spreading) daisies, yarrow from unwanted locations around the yard and other beds, creeping Elfin thyme, poppy seeds scattered, a hummingbird and butterfly seed mixture for naturalization, hyacinths, and some non-invasive perennials like Gerber daisies, dianthus, and soon to be planted hardy gladiolas.

daianthis

daisies

The serviceberry trees are in bloom but difficult to capture with my camera, so I’ll show you this little guy, an experiment literally just stuck in the ground six feet from a dwarf apple tree. I bought two serviceberry bushes that never took last year, so we’ll see if this “impossible” (according to the city arborist) attempt will do better. I cut off a hard wood sucker from one of the front trees and stuck it in a strawberry hole. We’ll see what it does. If you can imagine this on a much larger scale, you’ll get a sense for how pretty the two trees look out front. You can see it here with hyssop, the ever present dandelions, strawberries and numerous other parts of a large backyard polyculture:

mini-serviceberry

mini-serviceberry

Also out back, we’ve got Quince and Elder with a bright floral crop of milk jug planted medicinal herbs holding down cardboard that desperately needs more wood mulch:

Quince and Elder

The front yard looks more presentable, with both the cherry and 3-way Asian pear tree in bloom, along with a few remaining daffodils and some chives that should take off this year:

April 2015 cherry tree

Tulips are just starting to bulge — a little crossover bloom with the later daffodils:

Tulips and Daffodils

Out back, a crate full of stinging nettles finally found a new home in an enormous tree-sized pot filled with compost, potting soil, rotting leaves and –on the bottom for drainage– broken chards of the terra cotta pots I lazily left outside for the winter. Yep, they really do crack as they freeze and thaw! At least they’re serving a new purpose. I love nettles, but I felt bad planting them into a yard we don’t own. I also didn’t want them to escape to neighbors who might treat them with toxic RoundUp. Meanwhile, they were busting out of the landscape cloth lined crate from two years ago. If I didn’t act soon, we’d have nettles regardless of whether or not I planted them. Enter: the tree pot, a generous, deep, sturdy container to let them grow lush and tall. I’ll just need to make sure they don’t go to seed.

stinging nettles

stinging nettles

Inside, I’ve started lots of annual seeds, which needed to go back to the warmer basement under fluorescent lights today since the porch is now too cold again for peppers, tomatoes, and other tender seedlings. Outside, though, the perennial veggies and cover crops are starting to show:

sea kale, Egyptian walking onions, garlic and an edible legume cool weather cover crop to fix nitrogen into the soil.

sea kale, Egyptian walking onions, garlic and an edible legume cool weather cover crop to fix nitrogen into the soil.

happy chives leading the beneficial bugs bed

happy chives leading the beneficial bugs bed

So there you have it! Potato seeds arrived yesterday, which means tomorrow will involve learning another new task. I’ve never grown taters before. In fact, I almost missed the deadline to order the little seed potatoes. On Saturday, something reminded me that a Master Gardener in this area always plants his on Good Friday, and I thought, “Doh! I guess I better order the seeds.” I have potato grow bags and various amendments. We’ll see how it goes. Clearly, the Mad Scientist Gardening continues, and the crazed plant lady here just ordered even more fruit trees, fruit bushes and mushrooms on a Spring Sale from Raintree Nursery. If all goes well, I should finally have the medlar tree that has obsessively haunted me for years. LOL, sometimes you just need to plant a weird tree to stop it from whispering in your ear all year!

And now I need to put on another layer. Despite all that garden talk, it’s still windy and cold in Goshen.

Garden Update and Native Plant Rescue

Lots to update, as things have finally begun to turn green and bloom! Our daffodils in the same shady area, less than a mile from David’s parents’ house, took over three weeks longer to bloom. His mom observed, “Well, you are north of us!” Worth the wait, though:

Daffodils

We’ve got random patches of red tulips and white daffodils sprouting all over the yard, courtesy of squirrels or previous owners — maybe both. Out front, we’ve got red tulips from before, as well as some I planted last Fall. The squirrels have certainly done some rearranging and nibbling, but we did get some lovely blooms a few days ago. Some are still getting ready to pop. Below you can see the old tulips, along with new plant starts waiting for an all clear of frost planting date:

Plant starts and tulips

The brown area that has sat under Mount Mulchmore all Fall and Winter will eventually be getting some snowdrops courtesy of my friend Kimber’s excess. That area never did too well with grass, so I hope it will fill in and not go crazy with the snowdrops. I’ve tried transplanting clover, too, in order to replace the bucket of dandelions I recently dug up. No worries, there’s more where that came from! This is our yard out back:

Our yard

It’s quite pretty with the violets and dandelions, and the occasional puff of crabgrass sometimes looks like we did it on purpose. I’ve tried putting lime on the yard to increase calcium and decrease dandelion blooms. I’m not sure if that’s worked. The areas I did it the most appear to have ever so slightly fewer yellow tops to harvest or weedwhack. I’ve already got dandelion vinegar steeping, along with a gallon of dandelion flowers in the freezer for other projects like dandelion salve and dandelion wine. They’ve gotten so smart that they don’t grow very high, so hand harvesting has become necessary if I don’t want a field of white puffy seeds. I figure if I’m hand harvesting, I might as well have something to show for it!

Meanwhile, I slightly regret throwing away a five gallon bucket of dandelion roots a couple weeks ago, but I just didn’t feel like cleaning, chopping and roasting them then. We served home grown dandelion root tea to some guests this weekend, though, and I remembered how good it is. Again, there’s plenty more where that came from. I’m sure I can dig up a lifetime supply without even making a dent in the “wild” part of our yard. The areas encroaching on the gardens will certainly suffice for all the dandelion roots, flowers and leaves I could desire. Yes, I’m making the best of it, and yes, it’s still overwhelming.

At least all the work I’ve done since last year has begun to pay off. About a third of the formerly garlic mustard, dandelion, thistle and wild violet yard is now under mulch — much of that over 10-year landscape cloth. The dandelions have already penetrated parts over double layers of cardboard. One intended trellis bed just laughs at me, as the dandelions appear to thank me for the extra moisture. Ah, well, there’s now enough order and intentional planting that when people see the dandelions, violets and newly invasive wild mint, they comment on how pretty it all looks instead of how insane I am to work this yard. 🙂 Almost everybody loves the concrete edging. I still believe my garden faery landscaper has cast a Glamour on that reclaimed concrete, because people seem even more excited about the winding paths and raised beds than about the flowering plants in them!

front path

Dwarf lilac with a lily pushing through the mulch

Dwarf lilac with a lily pushing through the mulch

The cold frame plants have taken off, even though I’ve not bothered to close the cold frame in several weeks. We’ve got happy garlic, spinach, kale, carrots, thyme, garlic chives, parsnips, and rutabaga that overwintered, plus young peas, spinach, mixed greens, radishes and beets I planted earlier this Spring:

cold frame in May

In the “Bed Bed,” perennial sea kale and Egyptian walking onions came back, while my attempt at fava beans continues to grow. Fava’s don’t like heat, so I don’t know if the weather will cooperate for a crop. Even without a crop, this vetch will fix nitrogen in preparation for Summer’s Fairy Tale Pumpkins. You can see the little fava plants poking through near the Slug Saloon that I finally broke down and bought. I lost way too many plants to slugs last year, and I’m not in the mood for that particular battle again this year. Until I know I have a garden toad, those slugs and earwigs are getting drunk and not leaving the bar:

Fava, sea kale and Egyptian Walking Onions

Garden prep continues. as I long ago ran out of compost and potting soil, despite running through our entire compost bin last year and carefully composting scraps all winter. Things haven’t really heated up yet, and my desire for many more beds, plus the Garden Tower, has required buying various potting soil and compost mixes. One of my friends took me by truck to get more concrete blocks for our rain barrel as well as to house marigolds while holding down “red mulch” near our trellised tomatoes and squash. You can see that already diminishing stash right here, along with the pelletized lime and a messy array of garden supplies in the garage:

More compost and concrete

Out back, some of the fruit trees have finally recovered from their initial planting. The quince has tiny buds on it, and this elderberry made a comeback:

Elderberry bush

The companion pollinator/ornamental elderberry bush continues to grow, too. It’s still difficult to pick out the smoky purple colored leaves pretty much lying on the leaf mulch, but Raintree Nursery assures me that this tree will eventually look like a Japanese maple:

Ornamental Elderberry

Yesterday marked a fun gardening adventure, too. Three friends, two dogs, and I journeyed to a recently sold woods to gather native shade plants before the new owner clear cut and RoundUp’ed the entire site. The designer of the famous Calendar Garden had invited a friend to help save native Indiana shade plants. We don’t have much shade at our place, but hey, free plants, I’m in! I helped “call” trillium and “Jack in the Pulpit” for all of us. As a result, I found the Mother Lode of Trillium, and received “word” from Jack in the Pulpit, “That’s Parson Jack to you!” Well, then. When I tried to summon Parson Jack, we did discover enough for each of us to take some home. I let all the plants and faeries know, “We are not the destroyers. We are the rescuers. Face certain destruction, or come live with four women who will love you and celebrate your presence.” They came.

Despite the sadness of losing another (formerly) beautiful woodland area to yet another (presumably GMO) corn field, we had a magical day in the mangled woods. We met the new farmer and an Amishman in charge of clearing the woods for farmland, and they happily took our photos. How often does one get one’s photo taken by an Amishman?! You can see part of our stash in the truck, along with a metal roof for our friend Heather’s chicken coop. I love this series, because it captures the shiny, happy energy of our time together. Watch the dogs:

Tango love

Smiling Tango

happy friends and plants

Trillium and Parson Jack

Above you can see my proportionately small stash of trillium (tri-leaves with the maroon flowers), “Parson Jack” to the left, and some kind of wild iris to the right, all apparently happy enough near our returning ferns on the north side of the house. Below, you can see some transplanted trout lily:

Trout Lily

I trust they’ll enjoy themselves in this safe haven, among the foxgloves I’ll be planting soon from Bealtaine Cottage. Our yard has some new faery immigrants, now, too. This wild place once lost hundreds of trees, too, but the land is gradually recovering with daily attention, communion and love. I offered our yard as sanctuary and hope for the beautiful beings that BigAg and redevelopment continue to displace. May they thrive amidst the herbs, perennials, flowers and edible ornamentals here at humble Faery-Hof. (My dad, of all people, came up with that name after touring the nearby Menno-Hof on my parents’ visit here last Summer.)

Blessings and blissings ….

Sprouting, Growing, Blooming, Fruiting: My Garden in Photos

My garden claims that I did not give an accurate representation of it last time, because I focused too much on the work and not enough on the abundant growth. I’m making up for that insult today, in part by admitting that I not only talk to my plants and listen to them, but also … on demand … even sing to them. Oh, yes, they like that, and they like sharing their beauty with strangers. 🙂

Yesterday, we had some new friends over to our home and yard — some gardening and permaculture folks who helped us identify some of the volunteer plants we didn’t know whether to pull or celebrate. It turns out that my magical calling of plants continues! We now have a grape vine located in precisely the spot I asked it to appear, and a couple days ago, I noticed volunteer German chamomile had appeared the day after my request for more than my two starts from Whole Foods. We also have some kind of invasive rose species, so I need to tweak my asking and make it more specific. Oops! Not just any roses! I would please like “Wine and Roses” as well as “Faery Roses.” We’ll see how that goes.

I also had a funny indoor gardening experience the other night. I had been chanting to Krishna Das’ “Pilgrim Heart” when my ivy on a cherub pedestal suddenly requested that I sing to it. Well, request is a polite term. Ivy’s kind of assertive. It kept reaching out its tendrils and catching my flowy shirt until I finally sang a horridly off-key rendition of “The Holly and the Ivy,’ in honor of the fact that some holly trees apparently want to join the fun outside. Well! The ivy cutting in our downstairs bathroom, a cutting that has refused to grow roots for months, materialized some two inch long roots the very next day! Holly and ivy like to hang out together — masculine and feminine, the yin and the yang. I have my magick wand (“Freya’s Dawn,” who is made from a holly branch wrapped in silver cord with a prehnite tip) hidden in plain view on top of the bookcase/altar.

June 1 Ivy

Yesterday marked a day of immense gratitude for our yard in all its wild, unruly fertility. Not only did I serve our guests the Dandelion Goji Red Lentil Curry (dandelions and cilantro courtesy of our yard and garden), but I also spontaneously gathered ingredients for a wild and herb salad — lambsquarters, wild violets, watercress, oregano, chives, green onion, arugula, and sorrel — as well as a delicious after dinner mint tea made from lemon balm, peppermint and chocolate mint. Our friends totally “got” what I’ve been doing with the yard and were intrigued by all the wood mulch and various mad scientist gardener experiments. I swear the yard beamed with pride to hear all the admiration heaped upon it by new visitors. After this morning’s early rain, the yard and garden asked me to take photos. They’ve been so good about providing me with food and pretty delights that I’ve obliged. Here are today’s images:

June 1 Rhododendrons

Above you can see the rhododendron that bloomed on my birthday, just like all our rhododendrons did when I was a child growing up on Forrest Avenue! Indeed, this was the first plant I called to our home. I had wished for a rhododendron, and our landlord planted it in October right before we brought our first load here.

June 1 Sage

The photo doesn’t do this garden sage justice. This was the first plant I planted here, also in October, because it had outgrown its pot. We didn’t think it would survive the Winter, but this week it erupted in glorious purple blooms. Truth be told, the sage requested the photo presentation and all the rest of the plants just followed suit. 😉

First bloom of yarrow

First bloom of yarrow

Intentionally planted German chamomile in the herb garden

Intentionally planted German chamomile in the herb garden

Volunteer chamomile that answered my call the next morning

Volunteer chamomile that answered my call the next morning

Hyssop just starting to grow stronger

Hyssop just starting to grow stronger

Dwarf Jewel Nasturtium that fought its way through the mulch after I had given up on it

Dwarf Jewel Nasturtium that fought its way through the mulch after I had given up on it

Lemon Queen Sunflowers sprouted last night in the flower bed out front.

Lemon Queen Sunflowers sprouted last night in the flower bed out front.

Volunteer ferns (also requested) on the North side of the house

Volunteer ferns (also requested) on the North side of the house

Kale, parsley, Turkish rocket (a perennial), oregano, and Ruby Red Chard, zinnia and calendula sprouts in one of the InstaBeds.

Kale, parsley, Turkish rocket (a perennial), oregano, and Ruby Red Chard, zinnia and calendula sprouts in one of the InstaBeds.

Tree collards (another perennial), tomato, two kinds of basil, arugula and peppermint in another InstaBed (with compost bin in back)

Tree collards (another perennial), tomato, two kinds of basil, arugula and peppermint in another InstaBed (with compost bin in back)

Sea kale (another perennial) finally adapting to the raised bed setting

Sea kale (another perennial) finally adapting to the raised bed setting

Watercress and chives going gangbusters!

Watercress and chives going gangbusters!

Volunteer grape vine right behind the garden, perfect for trellising

Volunteer grape vine right behind the garden, perfect for trellising

Early Girl tomatoes already on the vine

Early Girl tomatoes already on the vine

The plants are much happier with this post, but if you want to see all the nearly backbreaking labor of love involved in taming this completely wild yard into something beautiful, productive and harmonious, you can click on “Mad Scientist Gardening” and “Yes, We Have a Cash Crop! And Other Blessings in Disguise.” Oh, those plants! They really do have character, preferences and not a little vanity. Blessings for your weekend … I’m off to procure some nettle plants from “Farmer Jon.” 😉