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Monday, May 30, 2011

May Garden Update

And, it is time for our May garden update! Though it is nearly June and I have even more to share since these photos are actually a few weeks old. Today I spent cleaning up the Spring bulbs and doing the second official garden weeding of the season. I must say I am amazed at how much easier each year is for weeding as the garden matures.

Our grape arbor is looking gorgeous! Perhaps this year we will get a good crop of grapes. On the ground you can see our strawberry patch trying to bloom up and produce. Normally the ground is solid green leaves by now since most of the berry plants are Mt Hood strawberries which are an early production strawberry. With all the rain though this year is not promising a good strawberry crop thus far.

The view from the clematis vine along the maple. All the hyacinth bulbs were still going strong and blooming when this was taken.

And the clematis which really is a stunning vision in purple from the porch. This currently has over twice the flora on it as shown here. It really is quite the show stopper this year.

One of my oldest and dearest friends, Jen, gave me this honeysuckle for my birthday a few years ago and the thing is just taking over which rules - I get so excited for it to bloom each year.

I found this garden statue at Fred Meyer on massive clearance and I just love it in my shade garden under the maple tree. Here you can see the hyacinths finishing their late bloom. I have several fleur de lis in my yard representing my French side. I am trying to find some good celtic stuff to represent Patrick as well.

Newbies - Brian and David gave us some plants from their stunning garden which were perfect additions by our new sitting area (thanks to the gorgeous park bench given to us by Sean) combined with some black petunia's and a white pansy I managed to save from the front yard.

Here is the other transplant from Brian and David's yard with more saved plants. My new evergreen clematis seen here is already impressing me and it has yet to even bloom!

This bed is almost a catch all since I swear I put stuff in it when I just do not know where else to put it. It is strange converting all the built in beds though to flora instead of veggies. I still have some elephant garlic, fennel, clumping onions and a few other things growing throughout though.

A view of the yard from the sun garden and you can see the last of the pink and black tulips before they lost their last petals.

Our columnar sentinal apple trees which are technically Patrick's - I plant fruit trees for him and am quite good at taking care of them. This year we will add a few more - he REALLY likes his fruit trees. A few years ago some children who were in our backyard tore all the baby apples off causing severe damage to both trees - last year they produced new nodes and this year those trees are fully loaded with baby apples already - looks like I will definitely be making more of that amazing apple pie filling again!

Revamping the front hanging baskets. I try to keep annuals in them which do not get as cranky with me when I forget to water them because I do forget....a lot. They are under the house eves so they rely on me.

Patrick and I were just discussing today how in love with this we were. He said it reminds him of Macha and we love how the corsican mint grew like this all on its own. No kidding - I did not even have a patch of the stuff growing near it!

I got this at a flea market benefiting animals last summer thanks to Jen. I did not have enough cash on me and Jen wanted me to have it so she bought it for me. She buys me stuff for my yard all the time saying that really she is buying herself stuff since she spends so much time in my yard she might as well decorate it as I like that logic and I also love being surrounded by beautiful plants and garden art which reminds me of those closest to me.

And the cleanup begins... This is post hyacinths and the second weeding of the season. I will say that each year weeding becomes less and less of a chore at all as the yard matures. Here you are looking at a hydrangea, a climbing lace cap hydrangea (which after three years has yet to bloom so fingers crossed that this is its year), a hosta and my woodland ferns. Notice the wonderful sphagnum moss. I looooove that it and corsican mint now grow wild and everywhere thanks to some small intervention on my part.

Two newbies since my grape arbor needed a touch of color along its border to go with the little English Ivy start which grew wild. I am letting it get good and strong and have a container project in mind for it later. But the two new plants are seen at the right side of this photo. Closest in is Gaura Ballerina Rose and furthest is Bellis Galaxy Mix of which I grabbed two and planted the other to offset the insane amount of feverfew growing near my pond which will give us quite a yellow show this summer. I needed to add some pinks!

And here is the bed itself with my spearmint, golden oregano (gorgeous isn't it??!!) and my Spanish lavender that I was so impressed made it through me hacking away entirely too late in the season at it. I love it when I roughhouse my plants and they chose to live through it!

Project 365: May 23rd through May 29th

May 23rd: I started reading through a stack of letters my cousin sent to me. They were written to her mother Annie by my mother, her sister, and they were very close. This one was sent in 1967 when my mother was 30 years old. She sent Annie this clipping when her and her husband Michael (my mom's first husband) were selling their house...for $15900.

May 24th: Sooo, we found this little stuffed animal which Macha was playing with. She has a lot of stuffed animals because that is how she rolls but we have never seen this one before and have no idea where it came from.

May 25th: My desk ninja nesting set.

May 26th: A visit to Ikea and I discovered there is safety in the bathroom..

May 27th: Me and Patrick shopping at Fred Meyer. We almost got him the wheeled worm...

May 27th: I find it amusing as hell that out of all the books Macha chose to chew on it was Samurai Warriors...

May 28th: Beaverton Farmer's Market. Patrick bought a plant!

May 28th: I bought some Trillium at the farmers market as well

May 29th: Our grapes are growing beautifully.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

DIY Gardening Project - Creating Hose Guards and Protect Your Plants

I hate to throw things away and try to reuse and recycle whatever I can to save myself money and also contribute less to the nation's ever growing landfill problems.
I had a copper and slate fountain for five years in my living room but when it died and I tried to replace several parts and redo the fountain itself I gave up. The slate tiles are now part of my shade garden as stepping stones and the river rock was tossed into my other partial shade garden. To cut up the copper pipes we bought a $10 metal pipe cutter which I imagine will come in handy for future projects as well.

I found these finials designed for the ends of curtain rods at Home Depot on clearance. They were regularly $14.97 for the package of two but on clearance there was a stack of them for $1.50 for a package of two. So, total purchase for 7 packages to create 14 hose guards = $10.50 when hose guards sell in the store

Each of the finials has a little screw at the bottom of them so to set them up for spray paint we used our iron table and slipped the screws through the mesh and newpaper to hold them still for the spray paint.

We used "battered metal" Kylon spraypaint to give the finials a neutral color so they would stand out in the garden but now look like an eyesore either. We then attached them to the copper pipes with wet dry epoxy designed for ponds and such so that they will hold up in the rain and wetness that is Oregon.

Tools of the trade...

I decided to use my small bulber to get into the ground easier.

Putting the guards into the ground.

Closeup of a newly planted hose guard.

And here is one planted rigt by the pond area.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A day of tasting...

And now for something fun. On Sunday we wandered to wine country with four of our closest friends beginning at Eola Hills Vineyards for their signature brunch (which I highly recommend though you need to make reservations). We moved on to wine tasting at Cubanisimo Vineyards and dropped by Brian and David's gorgeous home in Salem for a bit. We separated from the boys and headed to Willamette Valley Vineyards to pick up our normal shipment with them, do a spot of tasting, take in the amazing view before hitting up Los Baez back in Salem for some tasty Mexican food. It was a lovely day...and here is the evidence...

Memorial Day specials early and I walked away with a case and a half plus a bottle of Pinot Gris for $ joke. You can see their brunch set up in the background which is what we started the day with. Eola Hills Vineyards.

This Pinot Noir was pretty amazing. Eola Hills Vineyards.

This was in the parking lot of Eola Hills Vineyards on our way out, along with an amazing array of old and new corvettes. Patrick and I fought over who got to steal it.

Gorgeous grounds. Cubanisimo Vineyards.

Loved these fans everywhere. Cubanisimo Vineyards.

Their Pinot Noirs were to die for at Cubanisimo Vineyards.

Notice the bowl of dried plantanes.

Bees and lupines. Taken at Brian and David's gorgeous home in Salem.

Their beautiful new Japanese Maple.

Winston Churchhill the wonder dog.

I am so in love with this bird feeder.

Winston looooooves gardening...

Spotted dick - or proof that Winston is truly British!

Willamette Valley Vineyards signature shirts.

Willamette Valley Vineyards tasting flight. As a guild member I get the "reserve" tasting which is the uber good one for free every time for whomever I bring with me too but honestly they just let me taste about anything I want so we usually jump back and forth between the reserve and the standard and stumble away.

Willamette Valley Vineyards went all fancy and got new stemware.

Los Baez fajitas after a long day of vineyard and house hopping FTW.

The coolest quarter machine evah!

Hello, My name is Heidi and my hair is WAY bigger than yours.... This is what happens when Heidi's hair is twisted and wrapped for 24 hours and then let free!