Chronicaling the lunacy of taming three acres in Tidewater Virginia, one square foot at a time!

"Gardens... should be like lovely, well-shaped girls: all curves, secret corners, unexpected deviations, seductive surprises and then still more curves. ~H.E. Bates, A Love of Flowers

Monday, April 26, 2010

The State of the Garden April 2010

 So, a long post to share the state of the veggie garden as April comes to a close. All in all things are going pretty well. It seems like many plants are ahead of themselves abit this year- whether all the wet or early warm or both, who knows. The Clematis is happily reaching up the trellis despite the wookie Welsh Terrier making her appointed rounds. The flowers are easily six inches across and just the most beautiful color.
 In this bed two, Mr Stripey tomatoes, a little basil, a little lavender that overwintered well, a tomatillo... the arugula in between will be long gone once the warm weather things are booming.
 The romaine seems happy and is pest free at the moment....although there must be some lettuce eater lurking nearby. A variety of peppers are situated in their summer spots.
 The broccoli is making nice heads....hopefully it will reach ideal before the heat really settles in. I think the partial shade in that area is helping keep the temperatures down. The cabbage worms are having a field day with the green cabbage, but seem less interested in the red. Perhaps because they are screaming green and would be easy prey for some bird against the red. At any rate they are soft and kind of squishy and I am totally grossed out every morning picking them off the cabbage...ew!
 The onions are thriving...
 Peas are flowering, so I expect to see pods soon. Interesting that all these were planted at the same time, but the box on the left had plants that I transplanted...I have a hard time "thinning" killing babies. I need a tougher affect!
 Okra for pickling and maybe some gumbo if the crop is good.
 Lot's of radishes and bright lights swiss chard coming along...

 Ever bearing strawberries, dill that seeded itself from last years plants, fennel, pineapple sage and some oregano....
 This weeks  "TBP" to be planted. I love the millet in the garden and the birds do too.
 Cukes doing well.
 Enjoying the pansies and viola's before they are cooked!
 The fig seems happy in it's location, though we have yet to eat all the fig preserves we put up last year....
 And, the planned expansion...GoddessSupport built me more boxes and this weekend, hopefully, we will move the fence to make the garden twice as large as it is now... with a plan for a boat load of Roma tomatoes for gravy, watermelon, cantaloupe, and maybe pumpkins. We have 4 blueberry bushes that will be enclosed and will add several more blackberries to the one we already have.
I am pretty satisfied with how it all looks for the end of April! And I am grateful for a wonderful husband who supports my gardening insanity.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Arizona Snow-April 23

From the mid-atlantic, we travel clear across the country to the garden of "ArizonaGardenGoddess" (my mil) who lives essentially on the Mexican border in Santa Cruz County....
In this southern, desert mountain, location, with spring blooming everything, snow fell overnight. I am sure the hummers have to eat more to keep warm!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday I was walking around the garden, watering- which is inconceivable after all the rain we had in the earlier part of the year. is actually dry, and I have to add to my daily mental list-"hey dummy go out and water or your stuff is gonna die!"
Rain is predicted, the skies are gloomy today...a good thing!

Yesterday, I noticed that my feared dead Clematis had a bloom that was swelling....

Today, it has popped!
The patio tomato is doing it's thing...
I know that whole pansy thing is getting tired at this point, but I can't help but love this plant...what color could I call it...
The Hollyhock leaves are HUGE!! Maybe I shoud store my paperclips there!
A hint of a radish growing radish shoulders the correct terminology?

I coax the peas along every day, encouraging them to make fruit before the blast of southern heat is upon of them is listening....
The azaleas are in full bloom...
Can there be any mistake about what is going on behind our backs in the garden???? I think not.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Take the Good With the Bad

It always strikes me that the garden is full of dichotomy. The proverbial thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, the good the bad and the ugly all simultaneously happening right outside the door. And so it is here today.

Good...I love these Bleeding Hearts. A reliable plant that faithfully returns each year, without pruning, or feeding, or really much of anything at all. Dicentra spectabilis is also known as Venus's car, Dutchman's trousers, or lyre flower and it does best in a well drained shady spot. It may die back after flowering, but it will be back the next year.
Good? Kind of cute I thing...this Jumping Spider was sitting on the hummingbird feeder. It has EIGHT eyes!!!  "All the better to see you with my dear!"  The species name, Phidippus mystaceus,  is derived from the Ancient Greek mystax, meaning "moustache", which is especially visible on the females  The literal translation of Phidippus Mystaceus, however, is "Jumping Mustache." (Photo by GoddessSupport)
BAD BAD BAD BAD!!!!! Cabbage worms (YUCK!!!!)  are the larval form of the Cabbage White butterfly. Currently decimating my cabbage in a small velvety green army of chompers. Is this REALLY necessary.
Good!!! Broccoli is doing it's thing...hopefully the worms will steer clear although the cabbage worm will eat any of the brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, and kale.)
Good! The Iris are just gorgeous...
Good!!! The robins have a nest near the driveway. They generally lay one egg a day until they have a clutch of four. We have two nests that I have found so far...they are a happy thing to me.
Other good things in the garden today... I saw my first male Ruby Throated Hummingbird at the feeder. I planted Jalapeno, Serrano and Yellow peppers,  burgundy okra,  tomatillo, bronze fennel, some of the Lupines that I started from seed....transplanted some day a frog from the clutches of the Welsh Terrier and last but not least GoddessSupport built me a whole bunch of raised boxes for expanding the fenced garden...which means I will be hauling horse compost all week to fill them up. All in all a satisfying day in the garden!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bloom Day April Edition!

Happy Garden Blogger's Bloom Day!

To participate, just snap a few pics of what's blooming on the 15th day of the month. To see what is blooming in other garden bloggers gardens visit the director of Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - Carol at May Dreams Garden - April Bloom Day

So a wall in my garden.... The Iris are crazy tall this year and at the peak right now...I just love their reeaaaacchhhh to the sun.
All the azaleas are on the brink of popping. I think the warm temps predicted in the next few days, will push them along. This is one of the earliest, and one of my favorites tucked in a canopy of pines. I thing the color is just awesome.
The Bleeding Heart is a star in it's spot....
The Clematis has several buds and grows steadily can almost see it climbing up the archway.
If you look between the leaves, you will see the first teeny tiny fig forming.
Ok..this is not a bloom, well maybe a blooming pain in the butt- With GoddessSupport away on business travel, I was a little delinquent in keeping his feeders filled. The woodpecker was having none of it, and pecked our roof for 45 minutes before I clued into the lack of seed in the feeder he frequents.
I filled it after I snapped this pic...and he seemed much happier.
This is the Homestead Verbena that was the outlier last this ONE plant is a monster of purple joy not far from my front door.
Hope your day is full of blooms and not tax headaches!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Luna Moth (Actias luna)

Three Luna Moths were found hanging around the outside of our house on Thursday!
Luna Moths are members of the Saturniidae family, also known Giant Silkworm Moths. The family name Saturniidae is based on the eye spots of some members of the family that contain concentric rings reminiscent of the planet Saturn. The Luna Moth gets its name from its moon-like spots.

After reading about them, I am left wondering what purpose Luna Moths serve in the natural world. The adult form lives for about a week, with a sole purpose of reproducing. I suppose whatever is relying on them for a meal, either has a varied palette, or an equivalently short lifespan. The Luna Moth can mimic living and dead leaves on the ground by remaining motionless

They don't eat....they have no mouths... Well I guess if you can't have the pleasure of eating, that leaves mating as a big form of entertainment! The males are identified by their larger and "bushier" antennae. Female Luna Moths release a chemical at night which attracts males. The adults die shortly after mating and laying eggs.

Accessed 041110 at Species Detail Butterflies and Moths of North America

Usually, two generations are born each year. The moths that spent the winter in a cocoon will hatch, mate, lay eggs...and RIP; then their children will hatch, mate, and lay eggs which will hatch and make cocoons for the next winter.