Category Archives: Gardening

Colourful but Cool

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I finally have some lilies, and roses, and a few other blooms to share. This summer… Ugh. Comparing to this time last year, everything is blooming two weeks later. It’s been a pretty poor summer. Good thing I didn’t even try to grow any veggies. I had a feeling this year was going to be shite for veg, and I was right.

  
Another clematis, slightly different in colour. It’s only the second year in the ground for this one, so it hasn’t gone crazy like the other one. That icky looking brown thing on the right is me using old knee-highs to tie it to the tree. I recycle everything I can!

  
Love the California poppies. Also in shot: the damned Duggar violas, irises, some of the new pink lilies, part of an astilbe I dug out of a friend’s back-garden-wasteland, and an ash tree that moved in a few years back.

  
‘Pixel’ lilies! Quite fond of these. They are very short compared to the next ones.

  
Forget what genus these lilies are, so I just call them my black lilies. Clearly they aren’t black, but they are lilies. This is the first one to open this year, now I have several out front and back. I’d guess they grow about a metre or yard tall – hard to say as again, they are in a pot.

  
Wonderful white rose. Smells sooooo good.

  
Orange lilies going bonkers as usual! Also lavender, columbine, sweet william…

  
Galliardia survived the winter. Still waiting on the rudbeckia to bloom.

  
More roses! iPhone really proved itself with this pic. 

  
Sweet william, by my raspberries.

  
Key for size reference – raspberry season has arrived! They never make it far from the bush to my mouth. I do try to share with hubby. Sometimes.

Yes, I know my countertop is hideous.

  
Ending with my favourite rose, a lovely lavender colour. Bloom is too heavy for the stem, poor thing. I’ve been struggling with this wee bush for years, it is isn’t happy where it is, I guess. At least the black spot that is taking down my massive white rose hasn’t hit it, despite them being less than two metres apart. Two more blooms on this one yet to open, and I’m excited – that is two more than last year!

June in Bloom

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Plants got the vote: thank you, Grannymar! What shall I start with, hmmm…

How about my two Duggar species. So named by me as they multiply like crazy – the violas: And the Sweet William: That’s a five-foot long shipping pallet, chock full of William. Only just starting to bloom, it will be lovely soon.

I forgot what these are (again). Not as many of them this year, wonder why?

  Clematis clematis clematis!

 
  Our robin in the grey willow that the clematis is climbing up. He kept me company for hours as I was moving dirt and finding him all types of tasty bug-snacks.  
 Planted this last year from seed, and over-wintered it indoors. Now what is it again… oh great, the tag I made has totally faded! Augh! Just spent about 10 minutes looking through last year’s posts, can’t find it. 

Mutant zinnia. The four flower buds are coming out of the previous bloom’s base, instead of on their own stems. Freaky. The lavender is happy this year.

 The tiny iris are happy, too!  My native yellow iris (dug out of a bog) opened the first bloom yesterday.  Also native – Irish common spotted orchid. I just love the spotty leaves! They moved in, I didn’t plant them – these are growing in my garlic planter. 

More common spotted orchid – this is the first to begin blooming and popped up in the raspberry patch. Simply gorgeous. They are more than welcome to live in my garden!

 

Awkward narrow strip next to the driveway – I pulled all the grass out and this ugly mess is what is left. Put in some nasturtium and nicotania. The ivy moved in on its own – bet my neighbour hates it – and the sweet pea is going gangbusters. Trying to get it to go over the front wall instead of falling into the driveway this year. Wish me luck! 

 

The new ALDI bulbs are coming up! 

  My front door – white-trash alert! Taken to give the size scale of the black lilies and stargazer lilies, which are well established compared to the new guys. Guess what is in the pot to the far right? TIGRIDIA!!!!

 Finally, a rose bud. Lots of buds but none open yet. 

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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