Change is in the air

Well actually it's a heat-wave that's in the air, making it very difficult to do anything outside. Some of the things still growing, like tomatoes and peppers, and berries are being picked. Not much of anything else. Not posting pictures either this time around. For now just going to focus on the clean up at home, and planting carrots and greens for winter. 

On the other side of my life, more changes have occurred. I've decided to leave my current workplace and will take some time off to rest and take care of the house and at some point in the next few weeks will look for something else to do with my free time. This was a long time coming, and finally decision was made and this is my last week at work.  I will miss my coworkers and my customers, but it's better for me in a  long run. Will try to find something in the gardening world, or at least telecommute from home. Time will tell if this was a good choice.

Harvest mid-June

Happy Fathers day to all "dads" - with two legged children and furbabies. We spent out weekend with my FIL on Saturday instead of Sunday. It's been very very hot in garden and I haven't done much outside. Got a new trimmer to tackle weeds, but it's a long process. In the large garden my hubby took a weed-whacker and cleared most of the beds and I'm starting to replant everything from scratch. Weeds just took over and killed off much of my plantings, and then groudnhog finished it off. So we wiped it all out and started again with new batch of tomatoes and peppers, some melons and cucumbers and squash. Potatoes and onions from spring planting remain. Then I had a chance to get into the small garden and pick some berries - red currants and gooseberry. And sadly found two baby groundhogs. "sadly" refers to the fact that one was already dead and another barely alive. As much as I hate having them in my garden it hurts my heart to see animal die and I don't wish to harm them. Unfortunately not all my neighbors think the same way and these babies clearly ate something laced with poison.
Anyway, life goes on. On a side note, I picked fresh garlic to see how the head is coming along, and it will need at least 3 more weeks. One thing that I stumbled on while we were out this weekend was this pillow - I thought it was a perfect slogan for me, so had my hubby pose for a picture to show it :)
And of course current "blooms" around the house and back yard are plentiful,  with variety of lilies, aslstibe, begonia, and introduced this week were two pots of phlox. I try to stick to perrenials but once in a while will mix annuals for a kick of color.
One thing that I do want to show is my little african violets that I keep at home - I sniped a leaf from a plant of my coworker two years ago and put it in water to root, and it's been growing beautifully. This past winter I had a whimsy of taking a seed of a pomelo that I was eating, and stuck it into the same pot and today I have a tiny seedling growing. Will see how well it will take.
So come and share how your gardens are doing this time of the year.

First harvest in June

Not much being picked in the garden, since a lot of stuff was lost to weeds. Groundhog paid a visit to my front garden again and had a nice lunch so the only thing that I'll have out of those beds are potatoes and onions. But I still have side garden that's producing so we have enough to eat. Been picking few strawberries for snack, some greens like spinach and arugula, mustard greens, and early scapes - it was really hot for two weeks and scapes came out much earlier than usual.

My fava beans are filling out nicely and I look forward to having some soon. And first color started to show up on my red currants so I will be picking them soon and making jam out of them. My hubby doesn't like to eat them as they are tart, but in jam they're pretty good.  Also picked a bunch of thyme and hang it down in the boiler room to dry out for winter so I can have herbs for cooking.
Another thing I'm looking forward to is picking fresh gooseberries. They make a wonderful snack. And anticipation for much later in a year - persimmon! It's in bloom right now and I really hope the tree will not drop fruit.
Of course no day goes without visit from our deer - you can always count on seeing them in the back yard morning and evening.

Hope your gardens are growing nicely and enjoying the sunshine.

Back home and drowning in weeds

Can I just say "holly cow blasted weeds!" now? How in the world did so many weeds grew and so tall in such short time? I didn't think i was away that long. Anyhow, here's the preview of what the outside of my garden looks like..
The inside part I'm too embarrassed to show. It will take me couple of weeks to clean it all up.

On another note, that NZ was awesome! So gorgeous, I can't even describe it. Highly recommend everyone to go there at least once in their lifetime.

Hello from Nice and off to NZ!

I've been silent again, meaning I'm on the road once more. Yes at the busiest time of the year. Not kidding. And came home for whole 2 days before going out again. So what's on the agenda for this month? Well it started with work trip for Nice and 8 days later with mostly gray and rainy weather we wrapped up with a gorgeous view.
 This was at the rooftop, but sadly I never made it to the actual beach. Just had to see the nice blue waters from above for few hours.
It really is that gorgeous there, even for short time it was worth the trip.  But alas, couldn't stay extra time and enjoy scenery and had to come home. Why? Because there is another trip has been booked for past 6 month.
 Can you guess where I'm going? Brownie points for first person who gets it right..
I'll give you a hint - it requires a VERY long flight.  See ya on the flip side! :)

Bye Bye Rose..

One short visit with nice hoof-prints and my roses went "bye bye". Deer had a nice snack and now I'm tempted to have venison for dinner. Ok so not really going to shoot an animal but I am upset. Was really hoping they'd leave my patio alone already.
I guess I'll keep experimenting with other pants to see if there is anything they don't eat. Of course my hubby loved the look of roses, so he want to get few more. Will see if they survive.

Another long weekend

Another busy weekend at home, mostly working on the back year, but did some planting in the garden as well. Sowed salad seeds, some radishes, more carrots, lima and fava beans, mizuna, dill, parsley, planted fingerling potatoes for my hubby as he loves them in salad, and some German Butterballs for me for young potatoes. And of course more flowers - some new lilies and dahlias were planted to make it a bit prettier in summer. And then of course more planting in the back yard around patio and ponds - a large bag of holyhocks, additional peonies and astibe, purple alissium, phlox, petunias and snapdragons, new guinea impatiens, freesias, and some succulants. Then we took over a dozen bags of mulch to spread all over the borders and it looks so much better! Here are some before and after to show how mulch really creates a nice contrast to plants, but the real reason is to avoid soil erosion and to give additional food for plants, as well as help retain moisture.

In the big garden more varieties of the flowers opened up so here is a small collage of colors to enjoy.
And lastly, a parting shot of my blooming apple tree - bees love visiting it, and I've been enjoying sitting next to it and just relaxing after a hard day.

Yo-Yo week

Another blow and another expensive damage. Mother Nature's mood swings is giving me royal whiplash. Bright and sunny day and all was perfect, until I got home and found one of my patio tables toppled over and the top laying tempered glass all shattered. Of course we had to order replacement to keep in the same set, but still stinks. Will I ever get to see people enjoying my backyard without damage?
And after that nice little "surprise" I got to watch a horde of deer once again prancing all over our area - and getting some nice treats from my neighbors. You have to look behind the cherry tree to see how many were snacking, but that gives you idea why they keep coming back day after day and on their way to the treats, demolish pretty much anything in their path which sadly includes my fruit trees and plants.
And as picture is worth the 1000 words, in the mimic of my baby girl and what she thinks of the deer.
On the happier note, more spring flowers are opening up and I'm enjoying some very nice pretties.
Bright colors of spring is really a treat, and even better part is that I know they'll keep spreading all over the area, so in couple of years I should have carpet of flowers.

When life gives you lemons... build a new Arbor.

Sometimes you have to take whatever life and Mother Nature dumps on you and make best of it, or as much as it works out. Case in point my lovely gazebo that was blown out in freak wind storm and severely damaged - I didn't want to just toss it out. There had to be a way we could reuse some parts of it, and I really hope to salvage the intricate leaf-pattern sides. So my hubby once again stepped up and turned the broken pieces into an Arbor for the back side of the patio.
 He still has to add footing and support it somehow so it's stable, but overall it's pretty much ready.
Another item, that was a surprise this week, I woke up to see that not all blooms on my cherries have died off from the deep freeze and ice storm.
It's very ironic really, two cherry trees were planted the same day, were the same size 6 yrs ago, and one is much larger and healthier than another. The larger one kept much of the blooms in tact, whereas the smaller one damage is more visible - almost all blooms are gone and only few remaining opened up. But I'm still happy to see any blooms so will take whatever is left and hope to have actual cherries (pending no birds stripping them of course like last year). So when Mother Nature gives you lemons, do try to enjoy them in a nice lemonade :)

Back Patio update

Sun was shining, with gorgeous blue sky and 74 degrees all weekend long, so my hubby and I tried to take advantage of the good weather and do some work outside. For my part I finally got to plant potatoes (a full month later than normal), peas, radishes, salad, mizuna and mustard greens. Found some "volunteer" garlic that was not picked out last summer and separated bunches and transplanted into rows. Wasn't counting on it really, so if it grows then it's great, and if not no big loss as I have plenty planted last fall that's growing beautifully.  Of course the weekend couldn't have gone without weekly pilgrimage to local Lowes for more supplies and for a weeping Japanese maple for the waterfall mound, and I spotted some beautiful roses so grabbed them as well.
They were transplanted into half-barrel containers with some white alissium on the bottom and they are happily placed by the entrance of the patio. When Alissium grows out and spread it will create a nice contrast to the planter and greenery of the rose, but even now it's not a bad view.  Speaking of views, my hubby has been experimenting with lights options for the patio.
The idea behind it, is to have some visibility and definition of the place during the evening hours so when we have people over they won't be stumbling in the dark. That's on top of having candles of course as well. I think it's a bit too bright  but I'll let him play with it to see how it will turn out.  It really is getting together, with waterfall finally running, and stream is working, and even few lilies that were planted in the pond. Just a little bit more, some clean up and we're almost at the finish line.
So overall it was a very busy weekend, but really productive and rewarding.

First Tulips

Couple of warmer days and tulips started to show a bit of color. The main group is just budding up, but first early variety is always welcome and a joy to see.

And as you can see in last picture, few more white daffodils are also in bloom and making me happy. One thing that I wish I had less is weeds - they are everywhere and apparently no amount of ice can kill them and they take over everything. But now that it's nice and warm, I'm planning to spend my entire weekend in the garden clearing out beds of weeds and plant, plant and plant some more.