Things are really taking off in the garden, now that the sun is actually SHINING occasionally here! We're even having a bit of a heat wave...hold on to your hats, it's in the 80s!
This was the wildflower strip in early spring:
And, here it is now!
This particular guy with the round leaves is unfamiliar to me. Look familiar to anyone?
Ones I can identify are allysum, calendula, bachelor's button and california poppies.
Here are the broccoli and lettuce a few weeks ago:
And, here they are now...
Here are the tomatoes and onions a few weeks ago:
I don't have a lot of experience growing onions and I'm a little curious about the way the base of each of these looks like a cluster of lots of small onion bulbs instead of one big one. What's up?
Here are the peas a few weeks ago:
I harvested some for the first time this morning and got a little surprise. I don't REMEMBER buying snow pea seeds. I'm pretty sure I bought sugar snap peas like I do EVERY year. Yeah, no. These are not sugar snap peas and are in fact snow peas. Oh well! I also harvested broccoli for the first time today. Looks like it'll be stir fry for dinner tonight.
The honeysuckle looks wonderful, but as it does every year, it's beginning to go all funny already. The leaves start to turn dark and fall off and by late summer, it's completely bare. Why? What is going on? Here is a pic of the diseased-looking leaves:
Gah, that's an awful picture, but it's the best closeup I got.
Here's the entire plant. It sure is awesome when it's in bloom. I just wish it wouldn't drop all its leaves each summer.
And, finally, take a look at my wild lilac. I have 2 huge specimens on either side of my hummer feeders and they attract so many bees that you can hear the collective buzzing and wing-whirring from around the house. It's astonishing.
You can just see of a few of them in this pic (little brown blurs).
Oh! And here's the stewartia illness:
What is going on here? I'm so worried about my little tree here.
We got back from a trip to Yellowstone last night. The weather there was perfect, and other than grizzlies, we saw just about every species of wildlife we'd ever hoped to see.
The camas and balsam root were in bloom all over the place as well as many other wildflowers I couldn't id.
Here is a close up of camas:
I just love camas. The Lewis and Clark crew would say that they made such unbroken swaths of blue that from afar they looked like a body of water. Apparently they were an important food source for native americans.
Then, what I think might be a balsam root, but the species I was familiar with was yellow. These are white. Either way I saw TONS of yellow-flowering balsam root, too. I just really fell in love with this field of sunflower-like white blooms:
First time I was introduced to balsam root, I was told they smell like reeses peanut butter cups. Sure enough, they do! If you use your imagination a bit!
At the end of our trip, since we were flying out of Bozeman, Montana, we took a day to explore the city. We went to the Museum of the Rockies and boy was that amazing! They had an incredible exhibit on dinosaurs that D and I totally geeked out on. They also had the coolest living history farm there. It was a recreation of a home/farm from the early 19th century. Women dressed appropriately were working in the kitchen to prepare a historically accurate meal and the house was decorated and appointed correctly for the period, too. The best part, though, was the gardens/farm. Only heirloom seeds/plants were used and the techniques used to plant the veggie garden were taken from a book written buy a guy who interviewed a native american woman on her tribe's techniques. The book was for sale, and I'm going to see if I can find it online. Can't remember the name of the woman or the author right now.
Here are some of the highlights of that garden:
These bleeding hearts actually made me gasp. They were so lovely. The picture doesn't do them any justice.
I can't remember what was inside these little protective covers, but I liked how cheap and easy these are. I wonder if it'd keep the deer away, or if they'd just pop their heads right in there and munch away? Oh, please. Of course they would.
Here were some tomatoes. Again, how simple and easy is this enclosure?
I don't have pictures of the Native American garden techniques, but basically, it was corn grown with squash so the squash would climb up the corn, interspersed with sunflowers, beans, and maybe one or two other plants. I wondered how much luck anyone would have trying to grow corn in Montana's short growing season? I don't know, maybe their summers are hot enough. I just know that we don't have the best luck in Wa.
Well, as far as the trip goes, even though it's not garden-related, I have to list the wildlife we saw.
Bison EVERYWHERE. One walked right past the car within 5 feet or so.
Elk, including a baby right by the road.
Coyotes close up and very far away. One walked in front of our car for a good while.
Wolves. Four of them in Lamar Valley. One gray and the rest black. Two coyotes were nearby yipping at the wolves.
A moose. D saw her, not me b/c I was driving. Pout.
A black bear right off the road.
Birds galore, including sandhill cranes (my first sighting)
Ground squirrel/pocket gophers
Bighorn sheep. Twin babies w/ mommy.
We plan to go back to the park so D can do a guided fishing trip and we can both take a horseback trail ride plus a guided wildlife safari.
Also, I loved loved loved Bozeman and want to go back ASAP.
Ennis was also a cute little town, but West Yellowstone? Ugh.
More pics later. The gardens have progressed so much. Bad news, though. Two barberry plants look like they might not have survived a transplant and the stewartia tree I treasure appears to be sickly. Pictures later.
I don't have a lot of gardening news right now. Mainly, I'm just waiting for things to grow! Friday was the last day of school (today's Monday) and I'm LOVING the fact that I'm not at work right now!
Instead of posting pics of what I'm doing in the garden lately, I'm finally going to post some pics of plants I haven't yet identified that have been growing on my property.
These grow like crazy. I usually pull them out (because they grow where I don't want them and take over) before they could bloom, so I don't know what kind of flowers they might have. They get quite tall if I do let them grow at all.
This plant is in the woods. I don't know a thing about it. I just thought it was pretty and don't know what it's called.:
This one is in the woods too. They grow in large clusters and the white flowers smell like honey.
Here it is in large clumps:
This one's in the woods, too.
Alright, Garden Guides community, help me out if you know what any of these are.
When the cold, miserable weather we're having broke for an hour or so today (I'm bitter), I took a walk through the woods and my gardens to check things out. It was a regular wildlife smorgasbord! First, I found an alligator lizard basking in the sun:
Then, I found this little sparrow fledgling hopping around the rhodies:
I TRIED not to interfere with nature, but she was so tiny and vulnerable and I was pretty sure she couldn't fly well enough to escape a cat or other predator, so I gave in and found her nest. After I placed her back in it, and went off to do something else, she must've hopped back out of the nest because the next time I walked by, she was gone.
She must've been determined to leave that nest!
The birds were so active today. The chickadees were flying right over my shoulder and landing in the birdbath with me not a foot away. The hummers zipped right past me, fighting and/or courting. I took a pic of the handsome male at the feeder:
The black headed grosbeak was at the feeder today, taking turns with some finches. How does one say "grosbeak" anyway? I've been pronouncing it like "gross-beak" and a coworker pronounces it "grahs-beak". Which is right? Both, probably. If I've been saying it wrong this whole time, I'm gonna feel REALLY silly. Anyway, here's the feeder:
Now, some updates...
The clematis I planted at the end of the deck has died back for some reason, but both plants grew a new stem so I think all is not lost yet. Didn't get a pic of it, though, unfortunately.
The lettuce/spinach and broccoli look fine. In fact, I've had two salads from this bed already. I planted a few more lettuce and spinach seeds in the greenhouse to transplant later. Maybe lettuce doesn't transplant well...we'll see.
The tomatoes look good. The early girl already has a little green tomato in the works:
The apple trees are COVERED in tiny apples. I'm going to have to thin them in the next few weeks:
The peas are nice and tall but I've lost a few plants already to some burrowing animal. The sweet peas didn't survive this. I have maybe one left and I originally planted at least 6 of 'em. Grrrrrr. We set up the wildlife camera to see if we could catch the varmint responsible for this, but we didn't get anything on film. You can just see one of his/her holes in front of the pea plants. There are similar burrows throughout my herb bed and the lupine bed, too. Moles? There aren't any mole hills, though!
That's about it, I believe. Tomorrow is my last Monday of the school year. In 2 weeks, we'll be in Yellowstone National Park and my inlaws will have to take care of my garden while we're gone.
Maybe soon, it'll feel like June instead of January. Please?
I was checking out the rhodies today and I noticed this lil' guy in the vinca. I caught him while D got the camera, but he was ready to jump right out of my hand the entire time we tried to shoot him. The lighting was terrible, so this is the best I got. He's a Pacific treefrog. I was reading that the vocalizations of these guys are recorded and used in movies whenever a movie needs "nighttime" sounds.
I think he's just gorgeous, don't you?
I showed the pic to my students today (4th grade) and one little girl grimaced in disgust. Gah! How can a student of MINE be grossed out by wildlife? Ah well. I tried.