Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bleeding Hearts

I love this spring time plant.
It may self seed but that means I just have more to spread around the garden.  And as an early spring bloomer it is a nice sight to see where ever it is.



Volunteer by the deck I just haven't had the heart to pull out.








Volunteers (top & bottom) waiting to be transplanted.







Look what else is showing.





Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mulched

It happened yesterday and I didn't lift any of it.  8 Cubic yards were delivered on Thursday afternoon from a local supplier and Bill, a handyman extraordinare, came Friday morning and spent less than 6 hours spreading it all.  It would have taken me weeks and weeks.  It was well worth the money spent. And plus it looks fabulous.

You know its spring when you step outside and smell the mulch!

Here's the west end and A's Garden is on the right.  Perennial Garden is in the foreground.  I have been busy expanding A's Garden and expanding the Glen Garden on the left by the fence.


I bought and planted three new foxglove and this time I will not clip the spent blooms so they reseed.


I planted three new ferns there with a lovely bright green type of grass whose name escapes me in the center.  I've also been transplanting lots of volunteer bleeding heart to the fence line in the Glen Garden.  The dark spots are from my watering.  It made a funny pattern in the mulch.


Another view of A's Garden the green on the left is a new white butterfly bush.  It will grow big and block some of the view in.  Part of the D.P.P. as is the arbor with gate.  There is fishing line now between the stone wall and the arbor.


Here's a look at the fence line in the Glen Garden with the mulched bed.


I was taking these photos in early evening so these blooms have already closed up.


It's hard to mulch around daffodils but these survived.


One of the transplanted bleeding heart with blooms setting.


Farther down the Glen Garden the hosta poking through the mulch.  Liquid Fence spraying weekly will be required as the grow.



The Pond Garden, half in light and half in shade, ringed with iris and full of tadpoles.


The D.P.P. called for me to dig up these hosta.  Well, I tried unsuccessfully so I planted the red hot poker plants to the left (not in this photo).  I'm just going to have to keep these sprayed as I have in the past successfully.


There wasn't enough mulch to do the Perennial Garden which is just as well since as things come up I need to thin and transplant.  The herb bed, front right, needs a total overhaul, too.  I saw something on Pinterest where each herb is kept in a pot then buried to the brim in the soil.  I do that already with mint.


Inside, here are the tomato seedlings, doing well. Peppers still need to be transplanted to small pots.


Don't you just love Spring?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

What's Up Today!

In the vegetable garden that is.

 One of my many garden tasks today was to hoe the veggies and plant two new blueberry bushes.

This bed has lettuces and garlic.

This bed has spinach.  Yeah!  I didn't get any last year.


This bed has lettuce started inside.


Here are two of the three beds of snow peas.



Here's the garlic - more than I need.  I'm still using from last year's harvest.


Here are the two new blueberry bushes replacing two that died.


Here are the other 4.


Last bed with bok choy, not all of it shown.


And isn't this a lovely color of yellow?
That forsythia was a gift that we planted 10 years ago now.  I think this is its best year so far.  The deer didn't eat it because they focused on the English laurel over the winter.  This is on the east side of the Pond Garden.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

D.P.P. Update

I wrote here in detail about my Deer Protection Plan (D.P.P.).  Since posting that the arbor and gate have been assembled and placed at the west entrance to the backyard.

It's a rainy day so there's no outside work to be done other than quickly stringing more fishing line to close up the space between the arbor and the stone wall.  Eventually plants & bushes will fill this space as outlined in #4 of the D.P.P.

Here's how the arbor looks now.

Standing on the deck looking west across the perennial garden the arbor is barely visible against the woods.  It's there to the left of the upturned wheel barrow.


A closer view.  A's garden there by the wall will be expanded to the left.  The fairy house I built will likely have to be moved.


Now you may be wondering why the arbor is turned to almost face the woods.  I did that for two reasons.  It was flattest there and I didn't want the deer to have a direct view into the garden from that west side.  The space from the arbor to the wall will have to be filled with bushes deer don't like to block the space and their view in.


Also by turning the arbor this way from the great room we have a framed view of the woods beyond.


To block access in the meantime there is fishing line strung from that black post to the arbor.  Also from the arbor to a tree trunk on the other side.

Unrelated to the D.P.P. - here are my tomato and pepper seedlings. 7 varieties of tomatoes (back) germinated a week ago and 4 of peppers (front) germinated just this week.



Monday, April 6, 2015

Deer Protection Plan

Now by that title it sounds like I'm protecting the deer from who knows what.  But in fact I'm protecting the gardens from the deer.

This winter I read two books that have been my inspiration. 
Deer-Proofing Your Yard and Garden by Rhonda Massingham Hart
and
50 Beautiful Deer- Resistant Plants by Ruth Rogers Clausen

Based upon what I learned I have a 9 point plan.

1) Spray Liquid Fence regularly.
I started this last week on the emerging day lilies and will have to keep it up on a weekly basis as other deer favorite delicacies emerge.
In the autumn I will need to spray it on junipers to protect them from winter browsing.

2) Create a downed wood fence along the glen.
  It will be the first line of defense next to the plantings, then fishing line.  I started the fence last year and have been adding to a short section.  Saturday I had help building the last section though it will need to go taller over time.


3) Install a fishing line fence along the glen.
I purchased 20 lb. monofilament line to string from tree to tree about 2-3 feet off the ground.
Supposedly the deer won't see this but will feel it and back off.  If they are fleeing they may break it.  I'll have to take that chance.  Not sure how it will affect birds. I completed this task today.

4) Close off the west entrance to the backyard with an arbor and gate.
I purchased this arbor and gate from Plow and Hearth.  It will need to be installed and then planted on either side with bushes and flowers that deer don't like.  I'm thinking butterfly bush, black snakeroot, morning glory, and Russian sage.  The idea is that you block the deer's view into the yard and deter them with plants they don't like.

5) Close off east entrance to backyard.
No arbor here just plantings of ostrich fern, Russian sage, black snakeroot again to discourage them from investigating further what's beyond that they cannot see.

6) Remove hosta from under east window.
This is another possible entry point to the backyard and with the hosta there invitingly they will then move on into the backyard.  I hope to plant red hot poker, butterfly weed, in place of the hosta.  I will probably also have to remove a phlox which they love.

7) Interplant more ferns with the hosta I have along the glen edge.
The idea is to confuse them with the plants they don't like.

8) Protect English laurels with winter fencing.
These are evergreen bushes that the deer don't eat during the growing season but come winter with nothing else green they devour all the leaves.  For 2015-16 and beyond I'll fence the deer out.

9) Russian sage hedge
To discourage deer from entering the yard from the north I'll plant a Russian sage hedge that will direct them away since they can't stand the scent of Russian sage.

Here are some other photos.

This is the east entrance to the backyard.  Fishing line starts on nearest skinny trunk and goes to small beech tree then to the right.

  
Fishing line catching the sunlight is visible here.

 

Looking west out of the backyard.  Arbor and gate will close this off.



Standing at the west entrance to the backyard looking east.



Next part of this plan to complete is assembling the arbor and gate.

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