Saturday, April 23, 2011

A JARminalous Birthday!

Helping build the wall around the future fairy house
The Sweet Granddaughter turns four years old today! In the last few years she has become a wonderful gardening buddy...she loves to pull on her gardening gloves and say "Come on Nonna! Let's garden!"
Potting up pansies
 She is learning to 'settle the plants in the hole',  'tuck them in gently' and then water them with her little watering can. She has become adept at holding a handful of seeds and dropping them into the soil one at a ability I still struggle with on occasion.
Inspecting the iberis
Last night when her mom was making the birthday cake for The Fairy Birthday Party today the Sweet-G proclaimed "I bet it will taste JARminalous!...that means SOOO great!"
Watering carnations
She also likes to pick flowers, sometimes by almost pulling the plant out, and pick them apart to see what is inside.  She loves to feel the different textures of the various leaves and make designs with the petals.

I am looking forward to our next gardening adventure...I'm sure it will be JARminalous!
Learning about shasta daisies

Thursday, April 14, 2011

GBBD April 2011

 The wisteria, in its 30th year, blooms on the west fence.

Rosa banksiae blooms on the central arbor. Right now is when it looks its best; soon it will be so covered in blooms it is really too much. But when it looks like this I do love it.
Lady Banks divides the back garden into two sections and provides some late afternoon shade.

Daffodils continue to bloom although their days are numbered as we head towards May.

Cranesbill Biokova blooms in various spots. It likes it here and has spread in a very polite way to cover parts of the lawnless front garden and provide some green areas on which to rest your eyes.

Solanum jasminoides is blooming, as it does much of the year, but with a bit more enthusiasm than it does when it is especially cold or hot. It makes a great fence cover. Each bloom is only about an inch and a half across but there are so many that it makes a nice display.

Pink hyacinthoides hispanica bloom along the edge of the herb garden.

Osteospermum make a nice addition to several pots and blooms a good part of the year.

Dutch iris Symphony have been added to give a little contrast to all the blue dutch iris that I've had for years.

Climbing Cecile Brunner has begun to bloom  on the far fence. Most of my roses are miniatures or climbers...I've never been good at growing or liked the look of traditional shrub roses. Maybe if I were better at growing them I'd like them more.

Several succulents have begun to bloom in pots. Succulents are great for pots here...they can take the heat without needing the daily watering that other plants require in the middle of summer.

Butterfly Blue scabiosa has spread a bit and is currently very happily lighting up a section of the back garden.

That's it for an overview of blooms...I have decided to forgo the list of other bloomers this month...I hope your garden is smiling now too!

Today is Garden Blogger Bloom Day, that day when Carol at May Dreams Gardens asks each of us to share what is blooming in our garden!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Saving the Favas

Fava beans have lovely flowers. They make a pretty addition to the spring garden and then when they are done you get really yummy, although prep intensive,  beans for great pasta dishes.  Today when I tried to take a couple photos of the blooms I found a surprise...war was being waged right in my garden without my even being aware.
The first sign were the soldier!
 Then I noticed that they were snacking on aphids...and then I saw the ants madly trying to protect their investment. All in all quite the battle on my garden's behalf without any work on my part. Indeed, partly due to the fact that no work, ie. pesticide spraying, had been done on my part.
 I know ants are strong beyond belief for their body size but surely they don't think they can budge this beetle enjoying a snack.
I love the fact that these heroes just showed up when needed, are doing their job, and will depart when their work here is done.'ve got to love it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

It Must Bee Spring!

The garden is simply buzzing with bees, flitting from one bloom to another, practically pushing each other out of the way to get to the nectar. If I were my friend Gail at Clay and Limestone I would know which bee was which but as it is I know only the carpenter bees by name. The rest will have to be a learning opportunity for me.
Borage is hugely favored today. 
Geranium citrosa serving as a bee magnet.

Carpenter bees as well as several other types are just covering the wisteria, more so than I recall in the past. At times there were close to 100 bees raising a ruckus in the side yard.

Another pollinator finding the wisteria irresistible.

All of the bees here are quite docile. They go about their work (or is it partying?) in the midst of the child care children running and playing and they tolerate me and my camera always. The only time I've been stung was when I put my hand right down on top of one poor doomed honey bee as I pulled the gate closed. I will admit it hurt so badly I could barely say the word 'ice' to my husband when I ran in to get some to slow the swelling. Getting the stinger out within seconds of the sting and using the ice meant little pain after an hour or so but it was sensitive for several days. Even so, it seems a small price to pay for the show they put on each summer!