Monday, May 19, 2008

Springtime ! !

So far this has been a long and cool Spring. There are still a few daffodils blooming and the migrating birds have decided to stay in our gardens for weeks. Here are some of the most colorful.

The petite Indigo Buntings and graceful Catbirds.

A couple of pairs of Scarlet Tanagers - what a fantastic color combination.

And the Baltimore Orioles - all kinds of them. I wish I had a camera with better zoom because these pictures don't do justice to these lovely creatures. And what they all love to eat is cheap grape jelly! We've gone through jars of it, filling the empty orange halves.

Apple Blossoms on an old tree that has only a few limbs left. Each year another part of it dies and I had my doubts that it would bloom again. But, the little bit that is left is gorgeous!

The harbingers of Spring! I didn't plant any of these and they have been here for ages. Most of the lilacs are the size of small trees and are mixed in with all sorts of other trees and shrubs. They also smell great but are nearly overpowered by:

The half acre of Lily-of-the-Valley. The scent is so strong that sometimes I get a sick headache if the wind is just right and I'm working in the Vegetable garden nearby.
These flowers are some that you wouldn't normally notice. They are tiny Barberry flowers and smell wonderful. The color contrast is very pleasing.
Remember last Fall I'd purchased grapes and berry plants only to find out via the Internet that they weren't hardy in my Zone 5? I planted them anyway and am so pleased that all of them survived the winter. There are 3 types of grapes and a thornless blackberry.

The grapes are growing very slowly and I can't imagine that they will become mature enough to bare fruit by the end of the season. But I know absolutely nothing about growing grapes, so I'm going to let nature takes it's course.
The Thornless Blackberry is coming a long really well and I have a feeling it will have to be "managed" closely.
This weird collage was my way of laying out a planting scheme for some daylilies and lilies
that I'd ordered on a whim in late winter. As usual, I'd no idea where they would go but decided on the lower tier of the vegetable garden. They are all mostly pink or close to it because they were in a special Siloam collection. Siloam is the name of a lily breeding company which has bred many of it flowers to sport darker "eyes".
I got the idea to cut the pictures out of the Gilbert Wilde catalogue, separated them according to height - the four pictures go into the top box of the garden - and made a pleasing design. I don't think the yellow colors would go well with the pinks so they, and the very dark purple daylily were put up near the rock wall.
The green onions look great!
These showed up on an old compost heap. I planted these parrot tulips in the Main Garden ten or twelve years ago and thought they died out! I have no idea how they got way over to the other side of the yard. But aren't they pretty!
All three of these plants are in the mint family. The first is Catmint, the second is Lamium "Yellow Archangel" and the last is the dreaded "Creeping Jenny". That's what I call it but I'm sure it goes by lots of other names - some that are unprintable!
My Spring Viola show. They are so cheerful after this long winter.
Here's Thea licking Garm's face and Garm saying "Get this goofball away from me, Mom! She's driving me crazy!" Thea had her checkup today and was a pretty good girl and tomorrow is Garm's turn. Thea is on a diet now and has to lose 5 pounds and in a few weeks has to go in to have her teeth cleaned and a loose one pulled. A yearly checkup with lab work, etc. can sure add up. And the dental visit will cost quite a bit so we are going to use our "stimulus" checks on the pugs. I can't think of a better use for them!
A few more plants I got at the garden center:
A blue (annual around here) Salvia, and some pretty petunias,
white Impatiens for Steve's planting area and Pony Tail Grass.
It is still very cool here in the evenings and I don't want to plant the Impatiens or Coleus just yet, but this upcoming four-day holiday weekend I'll get most of my containers done and maybe go on a Family Outing. I'm surely looking forward to the time off!
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work,
But when they seldom come, they wished for come.
William Shakespeare - Henry IV, Part 1
Bye for now,


Lizzie A said...

Those birds are so cute! I love birds- as long as they don't attack me, I've had too many experiences for my own teenage good!- and I think that those birds are some of the prettiest I've seen yet this year!
I also love your lilacs! I love lilacs in general. (There was this poem that I read when I was little, I'll get you the author if you really want it, late, and in this little book of poems (flower fairy book of poetry or something like that) there was one about the lilac. I don't remember exactly how it went but I'll aways remember one line "I love her (lilac) so much I never can tell, if she's sweeter to look at or sweeter to smell" and I so totally agree!)
Finally, to end this long comment, I just want to say that if there ever was a time for you to read my blog, this would be it.

Annie in Austin said...

Great birds and fragrant flowers - what a pretty spring you're having Alyssa!
I've also heard that weed called "Creeping Charlie" and seen
Creeping Jenny" used for the golden groundcover Lysimachia nummula aurea.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

beckie said...

Alyssa, the birds are beautiful. What joy they must bring. Your spring flowers look so fresh as ours are all past. I have the lamium and am letting it spread where it will because I love the foliage. Your grapes may take a couple of years, but the blackberry should produce some this year. I love all your daylilies and have planted several new ones this year too. Hope you have a good weekend of planting!

Alyssa said...

Lizzie - I don't know of anyone who doesn't love lilacs - they are great. I'd like to read that book of poems and I'll visit your blog as soon as I can.

Annie - This does seem like the endless Spring. Everything is lasting so much longer but I wish it would warm up a little bit! I'm glad you enjoyed this week's blog.

Beckie - Thank you for the info about the grapes and blackberries. I'll let you know if we get any fruit. Isn't it amazing how many different looking daylilies there are! I will never tire of them.

kate smudges said...

Your field of lilies-of-the-valley is impressive (even if over-powering at times!) There is much blooming in your garden- I love when plants defy the odds and survive. I hope you get to enjoy grapes and blackberries one of these days!

It was good to see Garm and Thea again. Your collage of lily and daylily pictures was quite something. I like the choices you made and will look forward to seeing them in the summer months.

Happy planting!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

You have some lovely flowers. Our season is running behind yours. I am waiting for the lilac to bloom. There will be lots this year.

I haven't seem a Baltimore Oriole in years. I understood the DDT reduced their numbers. I am happy you have lots. When I was a child a remember one of their hanging nests in a tree that overhung the road at our house. Perhaps, someday I will see another. Sadly, song birds are in decline. Pesticides long banned in North America are being widely used in South American. The warblers are such a cheery bunch flitting in the forest. It would be a sad place without them.

DeeMom said...

Your photos are WONDERFUl

One day I will have Lily of the Valley

I have been away from the PC for several days because our new puppies developed PARVO.
I did not want to post sad news, NOW there is POSITIVE NEWS on our Pups.

Now you know why I have not been to your blogs…
We will take a few more days to recoup and then be back with hopefully fabulous pictures of the puppies looking soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much better.

Happy Memorial Day to all have a extraordinary weekend with family and friends

Lizzie A said...

Just wondering...what is ponytail grass??
It brings up a bizarre mental image of grass either being a young horse, being attached to a young horse, or having been styled like hair.
I know, overactive imagination, but I can't really help it!

Alyssa said...

Last night I replied to Kate, Tossing, Dee and Lizzie and it seems like I pushed the wrong button and never realized that my comments didn't take. So, one more time .....

Alyssa said...

Kate - I'm glad you liked the collage. If you look closely, you'll see I had taped the pictures onto a clipboard. It was a spur of the moment idea because I was in a quandry as to how to arrange them. I can't wait to see the results and there will surely be pictures.

Tossing - Nothing like lilacs to brighten your yard! Yes, it is sad that so many birds have disappeared - we also see fewer butterflies, amphibians and some insects. I hope that you get to see an Oriole this year, it's such a treat.

Dee - How awful for the pups and you! But I'm glad that all is well now. I'm going to be checking for pup pics tonight - hope I see some. I'll bet that lily-of-the-valley would do really well in your yard. We lucked out with ours - they were here when we moved in and have been spreading ever since!

Lizzie - It's great to have an active imagination! Ponytail grass is a wispy grass that grows from a tight group of stems and flares out like a child's ponytail.
And it moves with the slightest breeze. I'll post some pictures later this summer.

To Everyone - Have a wonderful and introspective Memorial Day !!

alicesg said...

Oh you have a wonderful garden. Love the colourful birds and the lovely flowers too.

Lizzie A said...

Another question coming at you: Have you read Markus Zusak's "The Book Theif" or "I am the Messenger"? They are two of my favorite books I've read recently. If you haven't, I much recommend it!!
Also, I will continue writing, and I will try to post my latest poetry whenever I have a new poem to share that's good enough!

Alyssa said...

Alice - Thank you and I'm glad that you enjoyed the pictures.

Lizzie - No, I've never read them but will check them out. It will nice to keep hearing from you and reading a poem or two!