Garden Journal 2015-I

 Summer is dawning, and many different flowers are just coming into bloom. The garden is full of beauty, with showy peonies as the star of the show:



“Jethro Tull” coreopsis and salvia in the backgroundIMG_5025

The little boys helped me plant several allium bulbs last fall, and they were impressed with how big the flower was.


“Husker Red” penstemon really took off after just one year of growth

Gardening Year in Review

Now that everything in the garden is in hibernation, I’ve started going through the photos of the garden to see what really worked, and what didn’t. I planted quite a few new perennials, and all did very well the first summer. I loved the flowers, so I just hope everything makes it back up in the spring. I’ve lost quite a few plants to Old Man Winter, so I’ll be excited to see what survives this year.  Here are a few things that really performed well this summer:

Mom and I got this unique ‘strawberry and cream’ hydrangea in May, and I was really impressed with it. At first I thought I liked the pink and blue ball shaped hydrangeas better, but now I think these might be my favorite. They began the season a lovely and delicate white:


Then they blushed to pink over the course of several weeks, making them very long lasting.


My Grandma sent hollyhock seeds to me a year or so ago, and since they are biannual they waited to their second year to bloom. They were worth the wait, since once they took off they bloomed all summer. I wish I had planted some years ago since they were so pretty.


and the ruffled hollyhocks were really nice as well, and they came from a seed catalog.IMG_3255

The results of my vegetable garden were a little bit sad this year. The tomato plants were very sickly, and only a few tomatoes were produced. And the chickens ate them. They ate the beets and the eggplants as well. This prompted Landon to build a really nice run for them, but it was too late to save this year’s produce.

One plant that really excelled was a Sungold cherry tomato. It produced so many tomatoes that there was enough for the me and the chickens to share. It had bright yellow orange fruits, and they were the sweetest tomatoes I have ever eaten. Picked and eaten straight off the plant, they were closer to candy than a tomato. I’m definitely planting them again next year.


The end of the gardening season is probably the hardest thing about winter for me. I wanted to make sure to start spring off nicely next year, so the boys and I planted close to 50 daffodils right before the first snow. I really like tulips, but daffodils have been the best performer in my garden since they last longer and are poisonous so the pesky wild rabbits don’t eat them up. The yellow river should be a good way to begin next year’s growing season.

Garden Journal VI-More Flowers

The first rose I’ve ever planted liked its spot in my little corner garden enough to bloom. Mom and I got this ‘Climbing America’ rose in May before it was blooming, so I have been waiting all summer to see what it looks like. It didn’t disappoint. I really like the gorgeous color, and it compliments the deep blue/purple salvia next to it. I am very excited for it to get taller, and it has already grown more than a foot this year.


I planted this double hollyhock from seed last year and never knew if it had survived or not until now. It is the first perennial from a seed catalog that has grown to flower for me. Hurray! With such  frilly petals, this hollyhock reminds me of carnations growing up a pole.


This is one of the diseased tomatoes:


There are a few nice sized healthy ones though:

Garden Journal V

I have peppers planted in pots, and they are small but setting fruit:


and this cherry tomato really likes its spot in the garden, but the normal tomatoes are trying to recover from some early blight. They seem to be bouncing back, though.



Raspberries are ripening:IMG_3243

I’m very happy with the flower garden this year. We’ve added in some new plants to help fill in the bare spots, and everything is looking healthy.



Right now this daylily is one of the stars. I love the peachy color!


And I like these penstemon which I just planted. I’m a very big fan of purple leaves.


Something tells me that these hollyhocks like this spot on the side of the house. They are quite a bit taller than I am.



A new climbing rose is growing nicely, and has several blooms on it.IMG_3249

Curious chickens:




Garden Journal IV-4th of July in the Garden

The perennial garden decided to burst with patriotic color just in time for Independence Day! It looks gorgeous right now, with the most eye-catching blooms being the bright red lilies that just exploded like a firecrackers this week . They are one of the oldest plants I have, as they were transplanted from my grandma’s garden somewhere around eight years ago. They have done really well, and have bloomed prolifically every year, and grown thick enough I have had to divide them more than once.

The shasta daisies have also been very faithful bloomers, and there are short plants next to the lilies that are older, and the tall ones I just planted last year for some hight in the garden.

In the pot at the middle of the garden  is a red geranium which belongs to Daniel. I let him pick it out at the store by himself, and he calls it his ‘rose’ because he is not able to say geranium. (So cute!) He helps me water it, and likes to see it in bloom, though he does’t like to see the buds die when they are done flowering.

Harder to see is a blue salvia plant under the tall daisies, a new addition to the garden this year. It has been blooming for over a month straight!IMG_2989

Happy Fourth of July!


Camera Upgrade!

The lens is close to having the most impact on the finished product, and I almost bought a new one last year. I wanted an instant fix to make my pictures better. It was me, however, and not my camera that was holding me back. I needed to figure out how to work the technical stuff better. So instead I spent an entire year of frequent practice and became  really comfortable with the equipment I have. I decided I was ready for the next step. It is a prime lens (which means it doesn’t zoom in and out,) and has an really wide aperture (1.4 if you are familiar with camera terms) so it can take take pictures in really low light and blur backgrounds nicely to set off the subject. It can be a little tricky to use at times, so it will probably be a while before I consistently get results I like, but be prepared for a lot of pictures as I learn!


Flowers can sit still for hours, and are very patient with beginners, so they make great practice subjects. This is English Lavender from the garden.

Garden Journal III

Beets from the garden:



The roots were scrumptious! I baked them in the oven, and they were very sweet (for a beet). They didn’t have much bitterness at all. I did not like the greens, however. Those were too strong tasting. I ate a few because they were good for me, but I didn’t care for them at all.

Garden Journal-II

The snapdragons I planted from seed are doing very well, and are beginning to flower.




The cosmos I grew from seed have normal sized flowers now that they are big:


These lilies are some of my favorites, and they didn’t bloom last year because the weather was so odd. I’m excited for them to open.



Coneflowers and shasta daisies:


Pea vines cover the fence, and they have lot’s of pods on them.


Banana pepper just before picking:




The raspberries have a bumper crop, and Alexander has been my faithful raspberry picker.


He is very proud of himself for being able to tell which ones are ripe.IMG_6952


Garden Journal 2013-Volume I

It seems summer has finally decided to arrive at last. I just saw my first monarch butterfly four days ago, and three have flown by since then. There are not a whole lot of flowers to meet them though, because  all the plant life is a month behind schedule. What a zany spring we have had! Ice storms in April, snow on May 1st, and a hard frost on May thirteenth, just two days before the last frost date! But, the weather is coming along nicely now, and there’s been plenty of rain to get things growing.

I started a lot of plants from seed this year, including zinnia, peppers, eggplant, cosmos, snapdragons, foxglove, and hollyhock. This is a snapdragon:


and one of my cosmos:


I was so excited by these little cosmos flowers. This was my first year of success with starting seedlings inside, and I had always felt a little bit like a cheater buying ready-made plants from the store. I felt like someone who called themselves a baker, yet only knew how to make a cake from a boxed mix!

Then I went to the store and saw this cosmos flower. While the ones I started from seed have flowers the size of my thumbnail, this flower is the size of my palm! I wonder what kind of fertilizer they used?


I guess I’m still a cake mix gardener at heart, because the cosmos and these (already blooming) snapdragons came home with me. : )


More store-bought flowers:



This is a bindweed seedling. My mortal enemy. Do not let their dainty, white, morning glory-like flowers fool you. They spread like mad, have a taproot that resists pulling more than any other weed I know, and climb other plants and strangle them to death. Last year I waged a terrible war against them, turning my back on thistles and crabgrass in order to pull every single seedling and dig up every last taproot. I was successful, for there are no adult bindweeds in my garden this year. I have to remain vigilant, though, and pull at least twenty of these seedlings every day!


The columbine are in full bloom. I have a new one this year, also, as a volunteer made it all the way to blooming. I think it is a cross between my pink and blue plant, for it’s pink with tiny purple veins throughout. It also has a unique creamy yellow trumpet, while both of the other plants have a white trumpet:


The blue parent plant:



The pink parent plant:

More store-bought flowers:IMG_4015

This is one of the pepper plants I started from seed. I have jalapeno, bell, and banana, but I won’t know which is which until they start setting fruit because I mixed them all out of order when I potted them.

The raspberries promise a bumper crop this year. I lost all my 2012 summer raspberries to last year’s zany spring. It was so warm that they flowered in March, and then an April frost came and nipped them.

Beets are my experiment this year. We tried baking some from the store in the winter, and despite the strong, earthy flavor, everybody liked them, even Johnathan! I’m really looking forward to seeing how they turn out.

IMG_3968Sugar snap peas:


Tomatoes from the store:


The chickens would love to come gobble up my entire garden, so Landon built a pen for them:IMG_3983