Monday, May 31, 2010

Bloom Report

(New Blooms have photos attached.)

Campanula Persicifolia 

Allium Bulgaricum
Allium Moly


Oriental Poppy

Meadow Sage (White and May Night)




Campanula Glomerata

Centaurea Montana (Bachelor Buttons)



Irises (bearded and siberian)

Ox-eye Daisies



Sunday, May 30, 2010


Geez, another nice compliment.  While I was out spraying my lupine for aphids (again) this evening, a gentleman walking by stopped and said: "this is the most beautiful garden I've ever seen in my entire life."  

People, you need to get out more.

Today I ran out of water in my rain barrels, and had to use the tap.  Damn do we need rain!

I planted a few delphiniums in the spot where I pulled up my loosestrife (which still keeps popping up, though I've yanked out most of the roots).  There are a few sunflowers started in that same area, so there should be some tall stuff later this summer.

I also sowed more seeds here and there: more nicotiana, zinnias and cosmos, and some cleome. 

I've been pulling yellowed tulips and hyacinth lately.

Picked my first strawberry of the season.  Sage got to eat it, and said it was great.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Eye Candy

It's been very hot here the last two days, so my garden has taken off.  Here's some eye candy for you:

The lupine I sowed from collected seed (thus all purple).

Ox-eye daisies, now in a safe place in the parking strip.  (They self-sow at a pestiferous pace.)

Lupine with chives in the background.

My favorite this time of year, campanula glomerata.  I've got to get more!

My Siberian irises are beginning to open.  This is "Caesar's Brother."

May Night Sage.

Monday, May 24, 2010

New plants

This time of year is always the calm before the storm, when the majority of the Spring-blooming flowers have gone by, but before the full flush of Summer flowers.  The last of my tulips lost their petals overnight, my creeping phlox and iberis have faded, and while I still have lots in bloom, there are noticeable gaps in my garden.  

So this evening I planted a number of new things:  I put more chives into my parking strip bed.  There are three nice plants out there in full bloom now, which I don't harvest, and I decided to run them along the entire length of the strip.

I moved my one pulmonaria from the rear of the house to the front, in a shady area, and planted two new ones in a semi-circle around my summersweet.  I love its variegated foliage, and the blue flowers this time of year add a lot.  In the place of the first pulmonaria, I planted two little sweet woodruff plants, as a sort of a place-holder.  I'm still developing a shade planter in the back, and just wanted something (and something cheap) in that spot until I focus better on shade plants.

Then I put in two blackberry lilies (Belamcanda chinensis) in front of my irises.  As their leaves are
fan-shaped like German irises (they're in the same family), I thought they'd blend in well there, and be a surprise when they actually bloom in late summer.

Then, water water water.  My ground is bone dry, except where I've been watering daily (from my rain barrel).

Finally:  a number of my seeds have sprouted around the garden where I cast them, especially the zinnias.  I always love when new plants pop out of the ground.  

Friday, May 21, 2010

Weeding Clover

Tonight I spent the early evening on my hands and knees yanking clover from my yarrow "grove" in the parking strip.  While I was out there, an elderly couple stopped on their evening walk and one of them said mine was the best garden he'd ever seen in Portland.  Made my clover yanking much easier going!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Empty Nest

Anticipating no more frosts, today I emptied my cold frame of all its tender annuals, both flowers and fruits/veg. Into the vegetable patch in the front yard went: cukes, watermelon, cantaloupe, and Roma tomatoes. And into the raised bed went broccoli and more Roma tomatoes. My broccoli looks pitiful, so I may have to replace it with store-bought starts.  I also have some tomatoes and peppers in pots. 

Around the garden I planted impatiens, morning glory, snapdragons, and cosmos, and put petunias into pots.

I threw down some more extra seeds: cosmos I got from some catalog company trying to get me to buy a lawn mower (hah – no lawn!), and lupine that I collected last Fall.

I put the bougainvillea and lime tree back outside.

I'm still pulling up gooseneck loosestrife and oxeye daisies from all over the place. And I have yanked gobs of celandine, a pervasive weed that I didn't recognize as such until this year.

Allium aflatunense, which are rather large, and look well in front of the bearded ires.

Campanula glomerata
Centaurea Montana, perennial bachelor buttons.
Creeping phlox is nearing the end of its bloom cycle
Galium (sweet woodruff)

Iberis (candytuft), starting to fade
Lupine just opened up two days ago
Muscari (grape hyacinth) still doing well, especially the ones that get less sun.
Pulmonaria. One of my favorite shade plants
Sage, May Night
Tulips, a nice fuschia color circling the cherry tree, still hanging on.

Edible update:
My peach tree, strawberries and blueberries have bloomed, and tiny fruit has emerged.
My potatoes are up.
Sage and I nibbled on our first spinach and lettuce leaves today.

I've had to control aphids infesting the lupines, but it seems to have worked.
Black cherry aphids have also been chewing on my cherry tree leaves, and the youngest and tenderest leaves are now curled up. I sprayed it with pyrethrum, but don't know how effective it was. It's something I need to look into further.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Seeding, Weeding, Feeding

A busy day in the garden:

Sowed some new seeds of lupine, annual bachelor buttons (which I should have sown earlier), oriental poppies, and nicotiana.

Moved a few poorly-growing lupines (from a too-shady area) to the parking strip, where a number of them are doing quite well. (The aphid problem seems to have abated.)

Taking a gamble, I put out the nicotiana I started, along with some Skillins-bought impatiens and pepper plants. (I have too many of the latter. The main ones I'll grow are in pots, along with the Roma tomatoes I started, and are still under my cold frame.)

I've been pulling a lot of clover from my parking strip, which I've kind of neglected this Spring. The Water Dept. is putting in new water lines on our street, and I feared they'd trample the parking strip. Now that they're done, I can give it some attention.

I also realized that my garden is teaming with little Obedient Plant shoots springing up all over the place. I took a little garden rake to them and put my nicotiana in those spots. Let's hope I don't have a major infestation.

I love my rain barrels. I have yet to use the tap this Spring, and I water (guilt-free) almost every day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lilacs not blooming

As I've written recently, I got no blooms on my lilacs this year. I've gotten good blooms every other year (they are about 4 years old), so I was surprised at first by the lack of blooms. But then I realized: I had cut suckers off my two main shrubs and spread them around the garden. I'm guessing the main shrubs chose to re-establish their root systems rather than produce flowers. The leaves look fine, so I should get blooms next year.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I discovered that a number of my lupines are covered with aphids. Lupines are notorious for attracting them. I sprayed them with an organic pyrethrum-based spray, which hopefully do the trick. The plants still look healthy, so let's hope I got them on time.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

New plantings; some spare seeds

After yesterday's rain, it was nice to get back into the garden today, though I had to avoid treading on the wet soil so as not to compact it. Fortunately, though the day was cold, I was able to put in a number of perennials.

I had pulled out a whole bunch of creeping something in the right-hand corner of my garden. It looked like anemone, but it wasn't flowering and I didn't recognize it, and it was taking over the whole area, so two days ago I yanked it all out. It has rather deep and spreading roots, so I'm sure I'll see it again and have to keep it under control.

In its place, I put down some new garden soil, then planted a couple of tall rudbeckias, two flats of Rocket snapdragons (the tall ones), some candytuft seeds to fill in the corner (with which I've had only slow and marginal success in the past) and finally, some corn poppy seeds to fill in the bare spaces. We'll see what comes up and what it all looks like come mid-summer.

I also put down some new garden soil in a bare spot in front of my Summersweet (which finally started leafing out this week), then put in three 'Rozanne' geraniums, which promise summer-long blooms. (It was Perennial of the Year a few years back, for what that's worth.)

I yanked out the one hydrangea that didn't survive the winter (the other three look very healthy) and in its place put in a couple of Goodwin Creek Lavender plants. Let's hope they grow their promised 2-3 feet.

Finally, in terms of plantings, I gathered up some of the extra seeds I had laying around (from a year or two ago), found a spot for them, dumped some fresh garden soil there, and sowed them: aubrieta, saponaria, sweet william, and delphiniums, the latter of which I've never had good luck with.

New blooms: a few of my bearded irises have opened, as have some of my flowering onions. Each are against the house, and purple, and go very well together. I'll have pix soon.

I'll pulled back inside my bouganvillea and lime tree. They were shivering.

Today, while I was working in my garden, a lawn-care company van pulled up and the driver asked if I needed any lawn care. I laughed. I don't even have a lawn. Plus, I'm not letting any "professional" set foot in my lawn, unless it's my friend Kathleen.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Well, let's hope we don't get a frost until Fall, because I took the leap and put my bougainvillea and lime tree outside yesterday (I could take them in if need be), and today sowed a bunch of annual seeds, including sunflowers, scabiosa, California poppies, tithonia (Mexican sunflowers) and bachelor buttons. I also sowed some perennial & biennial seeds: columbine, hollyhocks, foxglove and echinacea. I haven't put in my warm-weather vegetables yet (like tomatoes). I still have those under my cold frame.

Gardening with children: my soon-to-be five-year-old daughter Sage identifies flowers for my wife, who is a passive by-stander in all this gardening.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Weeding and Feeding

Yesterday was my first day back at Skillins Greenhouse.  It was nice to see so many gardeners gearing up for the Spring and Summer, though my main job was telling people not to plant their annuals and warm-weather veggies yet.  I ended up buying a $10 confederate jasmine in a 1-gallon pot.  This particular jasmine is one of my all-time favorite flowers, and its blooms in San Diego in February got me through the hardest time of the school years there, so it's nice to now have one greeting me at the door every time I come home.  

Today, I got to spend a good portion of the evening in the garden, pulling out the weeds, especially the little ox-eye daisy shoots popping up everywhere, and the dis-obedient plants running taking over corners of the garden.  (Both are beautiful plants, the latter being one of my favorites, but they are quite unruly.)  Earlier I diluted some seaweed emulsion and applied it to my starts.

Flowers have opened on my strawberry plants, as well as on my late-blooming tulips (in early May?!?  That's creepy.).  The first flower buds have appeared on my reblooming daylilies.  And the first signs of life have appeared on my clethra (summersweet).  For some reason, I don't have any signs of flower buds on my lilacs, even though others in town have great blooms.

Finally, despite all the advice I gave to Skillins customers yesterday, I took a gamble and put my parsley and rosemary out in one of my window boxes.  I'll cover them if a frost threatens.