Garden Gab Feed

Spring Garden Plots & Plans ...

Happy Tuesday, my friends! :)

It's been such a nice day here - for one thing, Bill is on vacation all week, so our days have been fairly slow and easy (what a treat!), but also, the weather is just so deliciously "Spring!" Today started cloudy and a bit damp, but by afternoon the sky had brightened and the air dried out - and now this evening is just lovely! We've been out and about in the yard a lot lately, so I thought I'd share a few pictures. Are you doing any gardening this spring? Do you have any new projects planned? We have a few things going on ... :)

Spring yard 9

First off, this is my new garden journal and matching mug - aren't they pretty? I bought them at Joann's Fabrics last month, and could hardly wait for the first nice day to sit in the garden, sip tea, and "plan." 

Spring yard 3

And here we have the beginnings of our ... chicken coop! Bill is building it himself (coop + pen) so it will take a little while before we actually have chicks of our own. (The play set will be moved to the other side of the yard ...)

 Spring yard 7

This doesn't look like much but it's a nice little sloping garden bed beside the patio - I have some things growing here (coneflowers, coral bells, snapdragons, sedum, yarrow, thyme, lavender) but would like to make it a little more formal and add a few more bee- and bird-friendly things.

Spring yard 2

Along the back of the house is a bed that, though shaded in this picture, gets a lot of full, southern sun. Our rhubarb plant thrives here and last summer we had good luck with tomatoes and peppers. I'd like to try growing things upright against the house, too - something climbing perhaps. (Currently, Little Bear considers this his personal digging spot.)

Just beyond the edge of the house is a hedgerow in front of which last summer I parked my herb pots. I'm moving those to the patio this year for easier access (and a better view).

Spring yard 4

I love these stone steps that lead from the driveway to the backyard ... I'd like to do something more creative in the beds on either side. They get good sun in the summer.

Spring yard 5

This here is an untamed "bed" beneath a large maple tree. It doesn't look so shady at the moment, but once the leaves are formed, this is a really nice, cool "alcove." I forget the name of the ground cover here, but that's about all that grows in this spot. The chiminea has been parked here since we moved - it was just where it landed! (We don't burn in it anymore.) In the summertime I love to step into this "bed" - it feels a bit secluded, all shady and enclosed. I was thinking of making it into a little shade garden of sorts. I might use the chiminea as a planter and weed out the ground cover and establish this as a true bed ... with shade-loving herbs and flowers, stepping stones, a wind chime, a thistle sock for goldfinches, and a comfy chair for nestling in ...

Well, these are all just thoughts for now, but this is such a fun stage of the process! The "planning part" when so many things seem possible ...

So these are a few of the gardening "areas" I'm concentrating on this year. I hope to grow lots of herbs and flowers plus a few kinds of vegetables. I hope to grow things we can use and that are attractive and beneficial to bees, butterflies and birds. I am also hoping to have garden areas that are fun for the younger boys to work/play in! I'd like to be better about harvesting and preserving what we grow. I have organized a binder (green of course!) with alphabetical tabs - her is where I will record information I glean from research, friends and first-hand experience!

Garden journals

This month we are concentrating on preparing the beds - next month we will get our plants. The average last frost is in mid- to late-May for my area. We don't really grow much from seed - I keep things simple and buy plants! Next month I will visit the local village plant sale as well as a local farm that specializes in herbs of all kinds. Hopefully this year I will have better luck with finding the best spots to grow what I buy!

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Well my friends, I'd best be off now, but I thank you very much for stopping by! I would love to hear about your gardening plans for the growing season ahead! Drop me a note if you have time! :)

Wishing you a pleasant evening and a lovely day tomorrow ... 

See you here again very soon!


Garden Gab: Growing Food

Lets grow a garden

Happy Thursday, my friends! It's been a while since I did a Garden Gab post ... but yesterday, as I read to Little Bear, this topic came to mind. The above illustration is a page from a beloved book called Let's Grow a Garden by Gyo Fujikawa. Have I mentioned Gyo Fujikawa books before? Oh, how I love them. The sweetest little children's books, filled with 1970s goodness. I will have to do a post about them soon ...

Anyhoo! Before I get too far off-topic, I thought I'd ask this question of you all:

>> Do you grow any of your family's food? <<

In light of rising food costs (not to mention growing food safety concerns), and of course, Summer itself, I think this is a timely topic. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

My wish list for food I'd like to grow for my family:

rhubarb

asparagus

herbs

garlic

onions

squash (zukes, winter)

tomatoes

strawberries

raspberries

apples

carrots

beets

beans

(The green items are things we are currently growing.)

I'd also like to commit to making more of my own food and not relying on so many pre-packaged and processed foods - but that's another topic for another time!

:)

I hope you all enjoy your day and look forward to hearing from you!


Garden Gab: What's in YOUR Garden?

Garden gab 1

Good Friday Morning, my friends! And welcome to our very first "Garden Gab!"

It's a great time of year to talk about gardens, and today's question is this:

What is blooming in your yard right now?

Or maybe your neighbor's yard or the park down the street. What does this time of year look like in your landscape? One of the things I have loved about blogging is getting to "chat" with people from all over the world. I love hearing how different - or similar! - things can be from one place to another.

Here in New England we are in the heady midst of full-blown Spring. Everything is SO green and all the flowering bushes and trees are popping out in pink or white or purple, etc. But it's all so brief - the daffodils are already drooping and the purples azaleas are pooped!

 

So, here's my list:

yellow and cream daffodils

lavender-blue forget-me-nots

Gg blooming 12

pink & white bleeding hearts

phlox

Gg blooming 14

white & purple wild violets

dandelions!

white azaleas

  Gg blooming 15

 grape hyacinth

lily-of-the-valley 

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And now for some lovely garden views and thoughts from dear friends ...

:)

From Mary:

Gg blooming 1

Gg blooming 2

Gg blooming 3

Gg blooming 4

Gg blooming 5

Gg blooming 6

"As you will be able to tell from the pictures, I enjoy placing a lot of "art" around the garden. I especially love religious statues. The Blessed Mother watches over my kitchen garden of basil, while St. Francis welcomes you to the backyard garden. Then a Celtic Cross is placed in the middle of the backyard garden. And of course it wouldn't be a Texas garden without a Texas stepping stone! ;-)

On either side of the Celtic Cross is "Texas Tarragon" (Mexican Marigold) which is called such because it tastes just like tarragon. In the fall it will produce a beautiful yellow flower. And the stepping stone with my son's hand and the dog's paw is such a treasure. My son made it for me last Mother's Day.

Overall, the backyard garden is a bit thin this year. Just a few tomato plants and the rest are well established plants - Italian oregano, assorted thyme, mints and some chives. But there are two reasons my garden is limited this year...we are in a drought and can only water once a week...and...back in February, which would have been prime planting season here in the Texas Hill Country, I was having a major operation followed by 8 weeks recovery (but all is good now!). So instead of a lot of gardening - we Texans pray for rain. :-)

Oh! And the cracked stepping stone that says "Welcome to Our Garden" holds a special place in our heart. It survived when a small tornado touched down in the area years ago - luckily, we were all spared and the stepping stone wasn't that much worse for the wear!"

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From Shirley:

Gg blooming 7

Gg blooming 8

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"I have attached a few pictures of our garden. One was taken just after the lawn was cut, it always looks it's best then. ;) I think the thing I love best about my garden are the views across the countryside - no matter what the weather or what is happening in the garden, the views just steal the show! Flourishing right now would have to be my patio pots - they are full of lovely bright colours that make me smile when I see them. My foxgloves and peony's are looking like they are going to be blooming in the next week or so - I'm looking forward to seeing them in all their glory!"

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From Tammie:

Gg blooming 10

"Here is a photo of my granddaughter, Mollie, taken on Mother's Day,with the bleeding heart that just bloomed a few days ago. I love how her dress matches the color of the flowers so perfectly!"
 
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From Elizabeth:

Gg blooming 11

"I love making Fairy Gardens. They are fun. Hobby Lobby and Joannes has many Fairy Gardens things in stock. I love looking for little things to make my Fairy Gardens with."

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From Kellie:

"I have no pictures yet, as the flowering season here in Wisconsin is at its very beginning - and that includes our trees! But I'd love to share what I've got growing and what my dreams are for this year's garden!

My focus for my main non-food garden is birds and butterflies. Most of what I have planted has been carefully researched to attract a variety of birds and butterflies native to our area, including hummingbirds and the Monarch butterfly. Here are some of my highlights!

Hummingbirds:
Trumpet honeysuckle vine
several varieties of salvia and sage
Cardinal flower
flowering tobacco

Birds in general:
Black-eyed Susan
Goldenrod
Cupplant
Compass plant
Prairie blazing star

Butterflies:
Red milkweed (Monarchs - I have heard their population is critically low, so I have planted several of these!)
Butterfly weed
Lantana

And a couple of plants I have just because I love them - Shasta daisies and peonies (from my grandma)." 

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Well my friends, I hope you'll jump in and join our first Garden Gab! I'd love to hear what is "in season" where you live. With summer upon us, I hope to host another Gab sometime soon ... future topics include:

From Garden to Kitchen

Gardening with Children

Creating a Sacred/Serenity Garden

And perhaps we'll throw "A Garden Party," too!

But as of right now, I'm shying away from naming a "set day" for Garden Gab since I can't seem to keep to my own - or any! - schedules these days. Lol. For instance, this post is going up later than I'd hoped ... but it's been a rather "slow" week for me ... not getting much done around here ... for several reasons but chief among them, a certain little guy who is cutting new teeth! He's wakeful at night and extra needy of his mama ... and this makes for slow (but sweet) days.

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ... thank you so much for stopping by and to those lovely ladies who sent me submissions, I thank you truly for your support and encouragement!

See you all again sometime soon!


Next week, new plan ...

Azaleas front window

Good Friday morning, everyone! 

A quick note this morning ... next week I'll be switching things up a bit here, and instead of meeting in my kitchen on Monday to chat, we'll gather in the garden on Wednesday to gab!

So, I wanted to announce our first topic of discussion - something light and easy to start - and that would be: What's growing in your yard right now? I'm hoping to hear about the wild and cultured things that inhabit your yard ... and you are welcome to send me a picture of your yard, garden, or a favorite plant or tree to be included in my post!

Please send any pictures with descriptions to:

bysunandcandlelight AT comcast DOT net

I'll be snapping around my yard, too ... it's our first spring here so in a way we are starting from scratch, although there are lots of pretty surprises popping up here and there. For instance, I didn't realize there were SO many purple azaleas!

Well, I hope you'll think about joining me, and I also hope you all have a nice weekend ... as well as a very Happy Mother's Day, too!

See you here again very soon ...