Saturday, April 14, 2012

Garden Blogger Bloom Day April 2012

Dancing Dolls Salvia
I love Dancing Dolls...but I don't love trying to photograph really does dance with the slightest breeze.  The garden has come alive with blooms! Here are a few of the plants I'm enjoying most this month.

Pea blossom

Peruvian scilla
Aquilegia chrysantha

Scabiosa Butterfly Blue
One more wisteria photo as it leafs out and blossoms fall
Dutch iris
Pelargonium Splendide

Dutch iris
Huechera backed by freesias, dutch iris, and bluebells

Other blooms include Rosa Cecile Brunner, sweet alyssum, bearded iris, pansies, argyranthemum, several succulents, several other heucheras, Dwarf Carnation Evermore, iberis, blackberries, and salvia greggii. For more photos of beautiful blooms head over to May Dreams Gardens where Carol hosts this monthly gathering.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Silkworms Are Hatching!

The silkworms are hatching! That little bitty caterpillar in the photo (as you see, despite the name they are not worms)  is shown with the point of a toothpick. Silkworms are a spring time tradition with my child care kids. We observe one cycle of life each spring, culminating with the moths laying incredible numbers of eggs. The eggs are then saved in the fridge ( a long winter) to be brought out again on the following St. Patrick's Day.  The eggs are able to survive the cold due to a phenomenon called diapause, by which they enter a state of suspended development and diminished physiological activity. When the eggs come out of the refrigerator they think it is finally spring and, within about two weeks, they start hatching. Initially they are black but after a day or two this variety turns creamy white. They come out ready to eat; at first a mulberry leaf or two, their preferred food, can feed a multitude of these babies. Pretty soon the daily trip to a local mulberry tree requires large handfuls of leaves. The silkworm breeder who was softhearted last summer and kept every egg layed by the moths will soon find they need to sneak a few caterpillar extras out to the grateful scrub jays. Otherwise it gets kind of gross...large numbers of caterpillars produce large quantities of frass. And even if my friend Carol thinks frass is a great word, it is not great to have to clean it up every day. 
Today they are tiny and cute...check back for an update in a week or so. Things change quickly in the caterpillar world!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It May Be Better Not To Count

 How do you use containers in your garden? A group of gardening friends recently discussed the pros and cons of containers. Some felt they would have fewer this year in order to spend time on other garden efforts. Succulents as easy care container plants were mentioned, an idea with which I am totally in agreement.     

Drip systems on timers were discussed, as was leaving clusters of small, beautiful pots empty. All good ideas! It got me to wondering how many containers I have tucked in around I went out to count. Twice. Because I was pretty sure I must be wrong the first time. Seems like the number of containers is one more thing that has somehow slipped out of control. 122. If you count the succulent fountain and 3-tiered strawberry planter as one each. 

And don't count empty pots waiting for summer plants or simply being used as decor.

Or the pots with seedlings that were recently potted up to await in-ground placement in the garden. Or the 2 nursery pots being used to grow potatoes. Those were just not good enough looking to count.

Many are small pots with one succulent, the only thing that will survive here in the summer in a small pot. I like the look of some of the prettier succulents when they are shown off by themselves. I have a number of  succulent combination containers, too, but since they need to be moved under cover for the winter I appreciate there not being so many big heavy pots. Right now there are a few small pots with pansies as well as several larger containers with daffodils just finishing up.

I really like being able to pop a pot into a spot that needs some interest without committing to a permanent planting. Some of those large containers are used in the summer for peppers and eggplant, both of which do well being situated in sunny spots that don't lend themselves to permanent garden beds.

 The pots all serve a purpose and, if a little thought is given to where you place them, pots can be very easy to maintain. Morning sun, afternoon shade, only drought tolerant plants in small pots, grouping pots with similar water needs together, and maybe considering that drip system. I think the number is fairly reasonable after all. Oh...I hope I counted the ones on the table in back...