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.

Splashes of Color

It's not all doom and gloom on this side of the pond, and despite Mother Nature's wrath, we still get to see some flowers in bloom. My Daffodils were planted in groups with a mix of early, medium and late bloomers so even if the first got damaged the remaining are starting to get into full force. Slowly but surely other flowers are kicking in as well - more hyacints, grape hyacint, anemone, chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow), creeping phlox - all slowly waking up and giving that little pop of color.
And I see more and more tulips waking up and getting ready to bloom - there is a bed in the front garden where the spring flowers are coming up in waves, and they're right behind the hyacints. I can't wait to see more of these beauties.
Of course it will take several years for all these bulbs to spread out and really fill in the space, but for now I get to enjoy them as they come in one at the time.

Deer meet apple seedlings.. and like it.

This is what happens when local herd of deer find my apple seedlings that were planted last year around new patio... and before anyone asks, yes there is a netting that "supposed to" protect these trees.
So now my hubby is researching a way to keep the deer out. Since these are multi-draft trees they have each at least 4 varieties on the same tree and self-pollinate each variety, I really want to keep them safe. Mother Nature is definitely not cooperating this year. But it's ok, she's been good to me in past, so just have to work around this headache.


Just in case Mother Nature thought she didn't do enough damage this spring, she decided to wallop us with some more nastiness. Like ice-storm and hard freeze to top it off.  That's my cherry tree covered in icicles.  Too early to see how much damage it will do.
And woke up to go to work shivering, my car dashboard showed that it was below 20 degree as I was driving. Brrr.
Looks like my orchard doesn't have a chance of producing this year. With peach and nectarine full in bloom this is a write-off, but I hope that later-blooming trees like persimmon will make it. Not sure if apples will make it this year. And hope blueberries won't get too much damage.

Bye-Bye Gazebo

One  night, a freakishly strong windstorm and all my plans are down the drain. Yes, that's how fast things can change on you and in a blink of an eye you wonder why you even bothered and spend all that money and energy and what's the point of doing it all...

Ok I confess, I'm very depressed right now.  Two days ago I was crawling around planting some flowers while watching my hubby finishing up some stone work and enjoying warm 72 degree weather. Then Mother Nature showed her fury and overnight we dipped into 20s as the polar vortex manage to reach  us with the speed of a racing car. And no I'm not exaggerating. Honestly I'm surprised there wasn't more damage in the area - just few powerlines and broken branches, garbage cans flew away, destroyed fencing etc. And in my back yard I lost my Gazebo. The same one that took us nearly a year to find and i loved it so much as it was so pretty with intricate leaf-work :(
This is what we woke up to this weekend during that storm and it took a while to recognize damage. It's hard to see as I took a shot from upstairs balcony (and yes it was snowing too) - you can see the gazebo flew a good distance and crash landed on the fallen oak.
So there we have it - total loss. Or as my hubby said he'll try to salvage pieces and maybe build something out of them like an entry way to the patio or something.. but for now we have to find a new one to buy. Just like that over $1100 down the drain. So my plans to have a first BBQ is also gone. Maybe it's for the better but I'm yet to see that silver lining. For now I see damage. And snow. Did I mention that my peach, nectarine and cherry in bloom? The extend of storm damage and effect on fruit trees is yet to be assessed and will see it later. Now I'll crawl back to bed and pretend world doesn't exist for few more hours.