Category Archives: Gardening

May Showers…and Showers…

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‘April showers bring May flowers’, me arse. What April did was get all kindsa crazy hot for over a week, and make my plants go beserkers with the growing.

May, the aul’ bitch, came along with nothing but heavy wind, rain and hail. The wind has been the killer – all the formerly insanely happy but very tender new growth has been beaten to hell – against walls, other plants, or snapped off by the gusts. I’ve probably lost a hundred raspberry fruit buds, the roses look like shit, and my poor from-seed lilac is even shorter than it was in April.

Dammit.

I do have growth. I hope it will be stronger for weathering a May of bluster.

 The tigridia is coming up! Not just here, where 3-year old plants are coming back, but the ones from seed last year are looking about the same. Yay! Love these damn things.

Some of the new lilies are above ground, too!

 I already forget which ones I planted in this pot. Oops! The blue things are slug-pellets. Sadly a necessity here if you grow from seed. I don’t have squirrels, or deer, or manical plant-killing peacocks; I have slugs by the billion.
 Strawberries are looking great, even if they are useless weeds to me at this point. I keep looking for strawberry half-pots I can hang on the wall of my shed, but so far no luck.
 I rue the day I started these violas from seed. Little shits are everywhere now. On the plus side, I aparently can also grow hostas from seed. They are also kind of everywhere, but only within the area the hostas actually were planted. Except for this one, and another, which I stuck in a pot last year because I wasn’t sure they were actually hostas. They are. 

 We bought these right before Halloween, and left them out front in this tiny-ass seedling tray all winter. The purple ones were more black, and the Orange ones were more orange back in 2014. But hey, they are still alive so I might finally make them a home this year. Oh, they were infested with insects so that is why I didn’t plant them out. Think I’ve killed all the wee bugs now, though.

And yah, I cannot wait to get the pressure washer out and get rid of all the yuck on my house and pots! I love to pressure-wash. Best invention ever for someone who adores making old shit look new again! Therapy of a sort. 

 My only proper flowers right now – the columbine (aquilegia) from last year. The plant overwintered, and left me about a half-dozen babies in other plants nearby – which I dug out and repotted, of course. I don’t remember columbine overwintering when I lived in Ohio, but I’m assuming they do, now, and also require a cold season for the seeds to germinate.

One tiny sweet William blooming in the background, too. Also rather rue the day I planted them. Smell lovely but unless you deadhead the crap out of them they seed everywhere. Going to start calling them the Duggar plant!

A Galaxy of Growing

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I’m going to experiment. I know a lot of you have been having issues with WordPress. The only problem I’ve had, using the app on my iPad, is that when I save a post to finish later, the date is totally wonky. I’ve done a few updates since last I tried to save a post, so we will see if it behaves or misbehaves.

It is officially spring because I have my rainbow toes back!  Might be actually our first and only Irish summer – it’s been very sunny and dry, but annoyingly windy. 

I don’t have blooms on anything but dandelions at the moment, but the lilies out back have gotten a lot larger since I last shared a picture.

March 6…

Today! I tried to take the same pic from the same angle… As you can see, they have gotten away from me very fast!

Whoa, where did all that come from?

 Gorgeous from above! Eventually they will be nearly as tall as I am, which is 5ft8in or almost 173cm, so I won’t get many more chances to take pictures from above.

Of course, I have bought more plants. Because, you know, you can never have enough! (Dammit, the app just crashed. Now if it goes all weird I won’t know exactly why.)

 

“Toad lilies”. Aren’t they the coolest? Little Babylon 5 spaceships. I’ve planted these inbetween my hostas, and they are coming up the tiniest bit. I’m very excited about them.

Also bought some new lilies.

 

 And some more of the same ones I already have. The peace rose was €1.99. I couldn’t resist. As to the pixels mix – I have a bunch of the dark red ones but SFA of the other colours, so I’m hoping I have something new anyway.

 

 Another new plant – zantedeschia rehmanni – wish it luck! I have to stop going to Aldi, I go a bit crazy.

 

Seed-wise, I’m starting both of these again. I didn’t get any zinnia last year. I also never shared pictures of the godetia, even though it lasted all the winter in bloom before it croaked.

 

 I also uprooted my daisy-like weeds and am growing shasta daisies for iDJ instead. A new type of rudbeckia, too.

 

Three more new ones – iDJ wanted the nicotania and the odd-looking gazania. I am desperate for Gerbera daisies – they cost so much as an established plant that I was thrilled to get them as seeds.

 I think that is enough for now! 

Raising Robins

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So, last post I mentioned our robin. He does flit between a couple of houses in the estate, so this is his territory now and has been since last autumn.

I postulated on if he had a girlfriend, because there was another robin hanging about. I thought he might be gay because this other robin looked the same, just a bit more shy and hungrier. Google to the rescue!

The male and female look the same, which was a surprise to me. She will likely sing less, or not at all, or not as loudly.

I’m still having trouble deciding who is whom. In any case, they both are around all the time.

Thursday, I noticed that there were a lot of dead strawberry leaves in the grass right next to the patio. I picked them up, thinking that I must have not gathered them all up when I cleared out the strawberry patch the weekend before. Friday, there were more leaves. I was baffled as it hadn’t been windy, and why were they all piled up in one place? I picked them up again and into the compost bin they went.

Yesterday morning, early, there were yet more leaves. Then I remembered that there are starlings above the roll-up door at work, and they leave a huge mess of sticks and whatnot on the asphalt. So l looked up from where I was picking leaves and was literally face-to-face with our Hoselock hose reel.



Well, shit. 

Well, that’s unexpected!

Well, we have a problem.

I cannot roust them. Just can’t. We will continue our normal activities, and according to Google, we should get our hose back in about 6 weeks after eggs are laid. Then I’m turfing them out and taking apart the reel to clean it – we got a 40-meter reel for a reason!

Unless they got freaked out by me finding the nest and pick a new one, which can happen. But seriously, this faces our sliding doors so cats are staring that them all the time, and the dog is in and out quite a lot… they had a bad realtor or estate agent! 

Sunshine and Plantiness

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Does that title even work? Meant it to be a play on sunshine and happiness, because if I do one more post with spring in the title I will be annoyingly repetitive.

That said, Mental Mama has started a new posting challenge, and the first one is… Spring. Easy-Peasy!

First: the daffodils are finally opening. I have more of them than I expected, considering I’m not actually a huge fan of them in general. These were all given to us.





Four different plants at four different locations! The last pic is for ARQ, who recently got giddy over tiny tiny daffs (probably actually narcissus – I don’t know, like I said I don’t have a love for them so, meh). 



This is what happens when you forget what you planted where and accidentally sit a pot on top of a daffodil bulb. How did I not notice this sooner? Damn, I feel like an asshole now. Poor thing.





My rosemary is blooming! I didn’t expect that. The tiny flowers almost look like orchids.



The raspberries seem to love their home and have lots of new growth. I finally gave up on my elderly strawberries and dug them all out. But because I just can’t stand to kill a plant, I put them into the Stupid Girl raised bed. For now.



I put these three beauties into the vacant spaces the strawberries were (that hadn’t already been taken over by raspberries moving underground). We won’t talk about how much they were for one damn corm – ouch – because you and I know they will be awesome and well worth it a few years down the road!



This is Our Robin. He’s made our little estate his territory, and between us and our neighbours on the other side of this wall, we feed him and adore him. Think he has a lady-friend, but as they look nearly identical it is hard to tell. March is their breeding season after all, and he did fatten himself up on my blueberries last year, the little bollicks. 

More Signs of Spring

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Actually, updates of some of plant pics I previously posted.

The crocus were disappointing – at least for me as I only ever saw them when the sun was just up or nearly down. iDJ got a better pic during the daylight hours last week:

Some kind of critter is digging out the moss along the wall – I’m good with that. Might be starlings, might be a transient hedgehog (hoping for the latter – eat those slugs!!).

Saves me digging that crap or poisoning it, too.

The daffodils are so close to opening! Maybe this weekend. Note the cheeky viola that didn’t bother to die over the winter. I’m rather regretting growing violas – they self-seed everywhere and collect aphids and other nasty bugs.

The clematis are going crazy – well over 6ft high now, and the frost and snow we have had lately doesn’t seem to phase them one bit. I have them growing up a trash-tree that I also accidentally grew (in my strawberry patch) and relocated. My neighbor on the other side of the wall hates this tree! I want my one last surviving lilac from seed to fill this spot, but it is only a couple of feet tall still. I’ll feel bad about digging out the grey willow, as the birds (and the clematis) love it so.

Top pic – first year. Next pic – second year. This is what they looked like February 27:

And a week later:

I’m not sure about all those wee ones coming up. They are so tiny and fragile that the wind we’ve had lately did a number on them since I took this pic. I also picked a rake of little nodules off of their stems last year, and potted them up indoors to see what they might do. They got leggy and soft, so not a great idea!

Still wondering what is growing in that pot that has cotelydons – I’ll leave them until they prove they are weeds.

A Touch of Frost, of Spring

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I’m happy to announce that my drive home was, for the first time in what is probably months, not pitch black. Considering I don’t leave work until 6:30pm, that’s a very good thing. We are on the upswing to spring, folks, I promise!

I have some flowers to prove it, of course:

First, some idiot roses, now freeze-dried.

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One of the massive white ones out back. Clearly wasn’t ready for the cold.

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And one of the small pink/red ones out front. What were they thinking to bloom in mid-winter? Okay I do know that roses can’t think. Maybe. I did a science experiment back in the day that made me wonder about that, actually.

On to less-dead things. Of course, the very first flower we see in Ireland is the snowdrop. We haphazardly stuck a few in the ground 3 or 4 years ago, and they are reproducing like bunnies on Viagra.

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Love them! These are closed, sorry – I’m not home during the hours of the day when they open up and show their green, bee-orchid bellies.

Crocus are on the way up too. Not open yet, but the poor things are in a spot where we are likely to walk on them. Oh well.

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Is that snow? Not by my Northern Ohio standards. It will have to do.

The daffodils caught us by surprise . This time of year I rarely go into the corner where they grow unless I’m doing dog-poop-scoop duty.

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They are about 8in tall already – 20cm. Can’t believe I only spotted them on Monday! Guess that means my weed cover grass is too long.

Lastly, the clematis. I have little knowledge of how to care for this plant. I stuck it in the ground at the base of our weed-tree (a grey willow) and let it go to town. iDJ loves them, so these are ‘his’ plants despite me being the caretaker. Any green you see is clematis, or moss…

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This one is a couple of years old now – maybe three? I have a bad time sense. Want to say this is the second spring for it, anyway. These buds look so tender, it makes me worry for them. It’s below freezing now and has been most of the day. I have to trust they know what they are doing. Oh – this photo is taken at my eye-level, and I’m 5ft8in (rounded up to 173cm). So, I’m pretty sure the plant is happy and healthy.

Hope all of you are happy and healthy too, and have some signs of spring in your life.

Roses for Mama

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I bought myself a new rosebush recently – a peace rose. We had one in Florida, at the house where I did most of my growing up. Mom loved it. She wasn’t much of a gardener: the rose didn’t get a lot of attention and bloomed rarely. But when it did, she was ecstatic. I remember. I will never forget.

The 17th anniversary of my mother’s death is September 1. That year, 1997, it was also the Labor Day holiday – which meant exactly nothing to me at the time but makes it worse for me when they coincide again.

This post is for you, mom. I know you’d be thrilled with all of my beautiful flowers. But these roses are just for you, and I will think of you and smile with every new bloom.

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Tigridia Tuesday – Week 5

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Well, I was warned in the comments last week that if I looked away from my tiggies, I’d regret it. Of course I have still been taking daily photos over the last two weeks, I’ve just stopped flooding my followers with flowers of the same feathery form.

This week, something new grew!

We’ve all seen the pink ones:

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We’ve all seen light yellow ones:

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We’ve all seen bright yellow ones:

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We’ve all seen orangey-red ones:

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And we’ve all seen red-orangey ones.

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But: what happens if these two mix? Red-orangey and light yellow:

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It seems that these two got together last year, *cue 1970’s style porno music* and they made a new bloom!

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My first hybrid!

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I love the stripes, don’t you? Like they were painted with a dry fan-brush.

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All of these are coming up on just one stem. I am pretty sure it is one of the new baby ones from seed I stuck in that pot.

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Pretty cool, eh? I wonder if it will grow true next year from seed, and I wonder if I am the only one to have it? I’m not going to Google it just yet and possibly ruin my fun.

I wonder what I should name it…

Tigridia Tuesday – Week 3. With a Contest!

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Sorry I’ve not been on here much at all the last week – ’twas my birthday in there, and I had the week off so I was doing stuffs. Didn’t do the Cartoon Challenge, didn’t post any of the other fabulous flowers I have to share with you, or the one fun place I went over the weekend. Soonish, I’m sure.

But I committed to doing a once a week all-tigridia post, so I must do so!

Wednesday:

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Thursday: it was windy! But my size-large hand is in one of these, so you get an idea of how big these blooms are. Sorry they are a bit battered by the wind.

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Friday: I didn’t get out front to take any pictures. I suck.

Saturday: it was wet.

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Sunday:

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Whoops, a bug in the shot. Whoops, my toes in the shot.

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That’s okay – I took it again using Hipstamatic. Looks pretty good in B&W!

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Getting there – Monday there were NONE. I guess they needed a break.

Tuesday, yesterday as I’m all messed up and didn’t know what day it is until just now: there were six, but I knew I’d be tired of posting pics by now (and I am) so I did four in one shot – is that cheating?

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I have a wee quiz this week! One of the days in this week’s line up wasn’t taken with my iPhone 4, it was taken with our fancy-pants camera – a Nikon D3100 – instead. If you get the correct answer, I will post (mail) a packet of mixed tigridia seeds to you from 2013 (if you want them, of course). I know they are viable as I have oodles of seedlings, some now a good foot tall. They may not bloom until next year or the year after, but isn’t that half the fun of gardening from seed? Of course I will help with any germination questions. Good luck!

Contest closes next Tuesday, August 12.

Hope you enjoyed the photos – it’s a good feeling for me to save them here since they only last a few hours.