Saturday, May 31, 2014

Patty's Plum

The first bloom of "Patty's Plum", the beautiful oriental poppy, opened today. This poppy is such an amazing color and I always am so glad to have it blooming once again.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Open Rose of the Year

When I was down in the big garden tonight, I noticed that the first bloom was open on Dorothy's rose. It is such a pretty shade of hot pink that absolutely glows against all of the greens of June. I also took notice that there is a lot of  hairy vetch climbing in the rose this year. I am hopeful that the vetch will once again bloom while the rose does. The purple of the vetch pairs perfectly with the pink of the rose.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thinning the Morning Glory

I had a little time to spend in the garden tonight after work. I decided it was time - past time really - to thin out my morning glory plants. As always, lots and lots of volunteer plants came back this year. I try to be ruthless with my thinning because it only takes 6-7 plants to completely cover this trellis. But I always worry that I will pull all of the pink-blooming volunteer plants and leave only the purple-blooming ones, which seem to be a bit more reliable. So I have left around 15 plants, hoping this will give me a nice mix of the two colors.

After I was done I checked on my potted dahlias. I counted 48 dahlias that had come up, so I have about 1/5 of them up now. That's a nice strong start. I should really see the numbers increase over the next week. Pictured above, a "Harvey Koop" and below, a "Pam Howden".

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The First Dahlias Up

Today I attempted to finish potting up my dahlias. I came close but I ran out of steam. I did get an addition 35 dahlias planted, so I am up to total. I was rewarded for all of my hard work with the first two dahlias pushing through the soil. Pictured above is a "FV Dainty" and below a "Stillwater Plum." These two dahlias are both mignon singles and were among the first two varieties that I potted up last Saturday. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Planting and Germination

After a rainy start to the day, the sun broke out by mid-afternoon. After I got home from a very long day at work and had dinner, I jumped right back into my dahlia potting project. I was able to work for a little more than an hour and got an additional 29 dahlias planted. So that gets me up to 126 total at this point.

I also checked on all of my seedlings as I put them back into the greenhouse for the night. After 8 days, I now have 14 of the 20 "Ring of Fire" sunflowers sprouted. 

The squash aren't doing as well. At this point, the only squash to have germinated is one "Waltham Butternut". Surprisingly, the watermelon are doing much better. 3 of the 5 "Early Moonbeam" that I planted have germinated. Maybe it all comes down to seed freshness. All of my squash seed is at least 2 years old but the watermelon seed is from 2014. It is too late in the calendar to start any more squash from seed so I will have to resort to purchasing some plants if I don't get any more to germinate in the next few days.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Rainy Sunday

As promised, our long streak of sunny days came to an end late last night. All day today, the rain has come crashing down in torrential downpours, with 1/2 hours sun-breaks in between. With the weather so lousy outside, I turned to work that I could accomplish inside. I ended up planting the seeds that I purchased last weekend. I planted 12 cells of "Minnesota Migit" cantaloupe and 24 cells of "Kneehigh Sonata Mix" cosmos.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Potting Up the Dahlias

Today was suppose to be an "iffy" weather day as we transition from our warm weather to a few rainy days. But instead of the expected clouds we enjoyed a lovely, sunny, 72 degree day. The first clouds and sprinkles didn't arrive until after 5:00 PM so it was another great day to work outside. After I returned home from setting up the Key Bank Dahlia sale and a trip to the Farmer's Market, I finally began the process of potting up my dahlia tubers. I worked from 1-2:30 and then again from 3:30 to 5ish. I managed to pot up 91 dahlias today. I started with all of my new purchases and then moved on to the tubers that I had saved from last year. I think two or three more sessions should finish the task. I haven't had the nerve to add up all of my tubers but I am guessing they total in the range of 230-250. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Corydalis Flexuosa

Much of our garden is in a state of "holding" right now, as the house gets painted. We have tried to protect the most coveted plants in the flowerbeds as the painters work around them. All new planting and weeding must wait until their job is finished.

One plant that is currently putting on a show, even with all of the chaos that surrounds it, is our Corydalis Flexuosa. Its beautiful red stems are just covered with striking blue blooms. Every time you pass it, it makes you stop and admire it.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The First Tilling

Tonight, we were able to give the garden its first tilling of the year. Each year it is different experience. The last two years, it was actually dry enough that some dust flew in the air behind the tiller's blades. There was not any dust this year! It was dry enough to till, but the turned up soil was still damp. The air was filled with the unmistakable smell of wet soil. Per normal, the far end from the gate was the driest, and the opposite end was quite wet, but with no standing water. It's always interesting to compare over the years on what date we are able to do the first tilling. Last year it was May 6th. In 2012 it was May 14th, in 2011 June 15th and in 2010 May 14th. So, this year's date of May 15th seems to be right around the average. Thank goodness it isn't in mid-June again!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Garden Preparation

Tonight we continued our work down in the garden. After last night's epic mowing session, we were able to put our focus on the actual garden tonight. Dad brought down his tractor and began using the blade to level the soil. As he worked on that, I hand weeded the pile of Nature's Best soil that was left over from last year. It was growing an impressive collection of Canadian thistle. I wanted all of the thistle pulled before the soil was spread out on the garden onto low spots. When I finished with the weeded, I directed him where to place the extra soil. He leveled some more and then we were done for the night. Now the garden is finally ready to the first tilling of the year.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Warm Spell & a Second Mowing

Tonight after I got home from work, Dad and I went down to the big garden and mowed. We hadn't mowed since early April, due to the weather and commitments during the sunny spells. Needless to say, the grass was very, very tall! In some areas, I had to go over it three times to get it cut cleanly. It took us over two hours of hard work, but we finally have it looking like a garden once again.

In the hedgerow that surrounds much of the garden, the oso berries are starting to ripen. It won't be too long before the birds strip them all from the bushes. I also caught the False Solomon Seal just as its pretty white blooms begin to fade.

Monday, May 12, 2014

And More Seed Starting

Tonight after work, I continued on my seed starting blitz. I switched my focus from vegetables to flowers and planted the following:
  • 24 cells with "Red Metamorph" Marigolds from Seeds of Change
  • 24 cells with "Fancis' Choice" Marigolds from Seeds of Change
  • 12 cells with "Raspberry Sorbet" Zinnia from Renee's Garden
  • 24 cells with "Mixed Seashell" Cosmos from Renee's Garden

Sunday, May 11, 2014

More Seed Starting

After the almost - except for one "Corazon de Chirique" Winter Squash - complete failure of my first seed starting venture, I geared up for round #2 today. Today I planted:
  • 20 cells with "Ring of Fire" Sunflowers from Seed Savers Exchange
  • 5 cells with "Early Moonbeam" Watermelon from Adaptive Seeds
  • 5 cells with "Delicata" Winter Squash from Baker Creek Seeds
  • 5 cells with "Waltham Butternut" Winter Squash from Seeds of Change
  • 5 cells with "Queensland Blue" Winter Squash from Seeds of Change

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Avid Gardeners Plant Sale

Today was the annual Oregon Plant Fair at Alton Baker Park. This year, for the first time in many years, I didn't have to work the LCDS booth, so I could shop the Fair with Mom and Beth. While rain was predicted, the weather behaved for the most part. Partly sunny skies only gave way to only one, fairly short rainstorm the whole day. After we made our many purchases at the Plant Fair, we headed over to the Fairgrounds for the Hardy Plant Sale. At the end of the day, I came home with the following purchases:
  • Tomato "Indigo" Amethyst Jewel - from Log House Plants. Indeterminate. Slicer, Gorgeous pink w/purple amethyst splashes. Large trusses load up with great tasting exotic looking 1-3 oz fruit. Large production, hang on the vine ability with real tomato flavor. wild Boar Farm Hybrid. Mid-Season
  • Tomato "Bumblebee" Sunrise Cherry - from Log House Plants. Indeterminate. Yellow, round cherry tomato with red stripes and a pink interior marbling. Excellent, sweet and tangy flavor. Great in mixes with other colorful artisan varieties.
  • Tomato "Moonglow" Heirloom (OP) Grafter from Log House Plants. Intermediate. Gorgeous, brilliant orange globe shaped 6-8 oz fruits have a fantastic sweet-tart flavor and smooth texture, perfect for fresh eating or making a beautiful, unusual sauce. Heavy yields, good keeper. 80 days from transplant.
  • Kale "Red Russian" from Log House Plants.(OP) Silvery, blue-green leaves with rose colored ribs & veins. Thick, chewy leaves are great in winter soups and stews or with grilled meat. 50 days from Transplant.
  • Pepper "Lunchbox Yellow"  Sweet Pepper from Log House Plants. New mini "snack peppers" have a delicious sweet flavor for fresh eating but are also good for cooking. Tons of the 2-3" fruits mature to golden yellow on tall, strong plants. 55 days to green, 75 to yellow.
  • Berben's Thunbergi "Golden Pillar" from the Secret Garden Growers, Canby OR. Golden Pillar Barberry 3-4' multi-stemmed deciduous shrub, upright form, with dramatic bright yellow/gold foliage. Full sun to part shade, won't burn. most soils, deer resistant, average water, easy, USDA Zone 24
  • Coreopsis "Red Satin" 15-18" H X 18-22 " W. Full sun, zone 5-9 Blooms summer thru late summer. This hardy coreopsis produces deep wine red to ruby red flowers all summer long. If cut back, it can rebloom until frost. The deep green, threadleaf foliage forms a tight mound.

I also picked up these three metal birds are the Plant Fair. A couple was selling dozens of different designs so it was very hard to choose. I finally selected a Nuthatch, a Chickadee, and a Cedar Waxwing. Now I only need to decide where to place them.

After visiting both plant sales, we made a stop at Down to Earth. I picked up 2 bags of potting soil and the following seed packets:
  • Cosmo "Kneehigh Sonata Mix" from Renee's Garden.Sonata Cosmos compact feathery two foot plants are soon covered with spays of buds that open and bloom non-stop all summer long. The blossoms satiny 2" petals in shades of magenta, clear white, soft pastel pink and pure rose, surround cheerful yellow centers. Reliable and long-lasting, with stems long enough for cutting lots of bouquets, free blooming sonatas are perfect for containers, beds or borders and fill the garden with dainty gaiety all summer long. 2' tall.
  • Melon "Minnesota Miget" (OP) 65-70 days. This exquisite heirloom produces a bounty of early and true to its name, mini cantaloupes. Fruit measure 4-6" across and have deep orange flesh that is succulent, sweet, and delicious down to the rind. The ultimate melon for short season areas, and the compact plants are ideal for mall spaces or container gardens.
  • Cucumber "Marketmore 97"(OP) 55 days. Developed at Cornel University, Marketmore 97 is a great slicing cucumber, and is one of the most disease resistant varieties that we offer. Bitter free and burpless to boot. with vines up to 6 feet long, this northern cultivar bears loads of 9-11", strait, white spined cukes. A first rate addition to anyone's garden. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Wild Iris

The wild iris "iris tenax" are at peak bloom right now and they are just amazing. We might have more plants blooming than we have ever had before. Ironically, last year was one of our worst bloom years ever. Right as the blooms were forming, we had a pretty hard frost. It destroyed most of the young buds. 

This year is the complete opposite for whatever reason. Perhaps the plants know that they didn't form seed last year and are trying extra hard to make up for that. Whatever the reason, our banks and meadows are a sea of purple right now. This picture was taken up on the bank by the shop.

Our meadows are equally as pretty.

There is an interesting color variation found among the plants. Some of the clumps are a deep purple.

Others are more of a violet-purple.

 And still others are a soft lavender.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day and Warm Weather

Another beautiful day today. We hit a high of 86 degrees! Our pink oriental poppy "Princess Louise" is always the first poppy to bloom for us each year. It has been blooming now for a few days and is loaded with buds. So often in the Spring, the rain ruins the petals and knocks down the blooms. But with all of the nice weather we have experienced in the last week, the blooms are just perfect.