Friday, May 8, 2015

State of the Garden Address

The lilac hasn't done much this year.  The oldest (tallest) branches have produced clusters of lovely, fragrant flowers, but not as many as in the past.  Unless I missed it, the two (or three?) year old growth hasn't produced at all.  I'm not sure what's going on with this guy.  D wanted to chop it down last year, but I got him to leave it alone because the frost killed ALL of the blossoms last year. This year I promised to let him cut it back, because it's starting to look pretty shabby.  

The plants are coming up nicely, and just like last year, the earliest bloomers have been the dropmore catmint and the salvia eveline.

salvia eveline

salvia eveline

The garden feels pretty uneven at this point, because of the rearranging that happened after the other 2 poppies died, and I transplanted the old balcony lily next to the surviving poppy.  

beginning of  May

 I'm glad the lily has bounced back since it's rescue from the unblooming iris.  I'm just not sure I like it where it is now. 

But even if I were to rebalance the garden to go for more balance, with the lily and poppy budding, now isn't the time. 

fuzzy poppy buds

After the spring bloom, maybe I'll move either the lily or the iris, try for a more cohesive appearance.  I might need to consider trying my hand at dividing either the lily or the iris, which I've never attempted before.  I have a few naked spaces which are now options because the effing deer in our neighborhood ate my other lilies.  Or the squirrels.  Or the groundhogs.  Somebody around here ate my lilies. 

 The coral bells that I planted four years ago are still going, despite the best efforts of the hordes of uncivilized wild violet that creeps into everything.  I actually just took a weed-wacker to this bed a week or so before this photo.  It doesn't even pay to pull them by hand, not that I have time to pull them by hand because ain't nobody got time for that.

 These are the same coral bells that froze solid a few years back.  This past winter I lost three, but the rest have survived.  Best twenty dollars ever spent?  I think so.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spring in Cincinnati (April Flawrs!)

Cincinnati had an annual flower show on the regular.  Then the recession hit and then the Cincinnati Horticultural Society couldn't do it (or didn't do it) for four years.  Then in March I started to notice billboards go up for the return of the Show this year. 

Rain or shine.  Guess which day we went.

Saturday weather was idyllic, and we therefore spent it weeding and mowing the lawn and chasing after Smalls.  Sunday it gushed pretty much unceasingly so naturally we suited up to walk around outside in the wet.

  I'm told the crowds thronged in for the great weather, but the good luck within bad luck was that there was no crowd for us.  Or, you know, hardly anyone at all.   We came around 4pm with no tickets, and were given courtesy tickets at the gate for free so this event cost us only what I spent in plants and cheddar+carmel corn.  The rain meant business, and Smalls has a dangerously short attention span anyway, so we just did a quick race through.

There were actually people here, just not many to be found out of tents

There was a barbecue event (special tickets), and a bourbon tasting on Saturday (cry), and a mother-daughter tea (which I would delightedly drag my kid to because they had a gloriously dressed Mary Poppins lady in full chalk-painting-land regalia there I kid you not.  I didn't get a photo, I was trying to juggle my giant golf umbrella and at the time I didn't realize I was blogging again.  Regrets.)  

What I used to love about the flower show is the model plantings, where you can see new and tested plants in garden settings.  

I saw this and thought, "Why! Sweet Woodruff.  I should have that in my yard."  Of course that might require you to reign yourself in if you start to see things that you covet all around.    

"Why!  I totally need these red star thingies!"

This year they featured a variety of model window boxes.  I love looking at the new coleus and heuchera cultivars.  So many more colors than they used to have! 

And, as in the past, they had a competition run by the Horticultural Society.  People compete with their gorgeous orchids and toad lillies and I'm afraid I didn't get more than a few minutes in there.  I did manage to catch this friggin awe-inspiring arrangement featuring David Austin Garden Roses.

needwant  :: drool ::

And lots of perky deer-bait I mean tulips.

excuse my jealousy...

Yeatman's Cove was splendidly decked out with blossoming trees.  The grounds were meticulously cared for, and it was a lovely space to spend time in and sit beneath the trees.  You know, probably.

Despite the unceasing rain, that got quite nasty around 5pm, it was a really nicely turned out spot for the show and I hope they consider having it by the river next year as well.  I enjoy the Flower Show, and I'll go back as long as they keep doing it.  


April is also the time when the mature cherry trees in Ault Park bloom.  We did go and picnic.  

"Is that a leaf?  Don't eat the leaf.  No, DON'T eat the leaf."

 I'm glad we went, though it's a bit more of a production than it used to be.  Cincinnatians know that the cherries in Ault Park are a sight to see.   

Lately I feel it's more important than ever to not be content to just let time march on, but to mark it with personal observances, make my own traditions, and to celebrate life and renewal when the opportunity strikes.   

Preferably with bourbon.

LINK : PR Bit on the Flower Show from the Cincinnati Business Courier

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Local Love to The Faux Frenchmen

Now, its true that every year Maifest in Mainstrasse has crafts and foods and beer and live entertainment.  And hey, who can deny the appeal of an oompah band, huh?  NO ONE, that's who.  

I got myself down to Covington,
But this year it wasn't for the oom-pah bands. 
I threaded the maifest maze of tented booths, 
OMG, Red John?

And found both the Moerlein booth and the Taste of Belgium Booth.  

I sat down contentedly with my Sangerfest Bock and my waffle and thoroughly enjoyed the live entertainment :  

The gypsy jazz awesomeness of Cincinnati's own Faux Frenchmen.  

The Faux Frenchmen.  
Fine musicians.  Catch them around town and show some local love.   

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Unblooming Iris (Part 2)

We had to skip town for some urgent family stuff.  Urgent family stuff takes a bit of the wind out of your sails.  Goes without saying, I guess. 

We got home, exhausted and smelly, and I was immediately and illogically cheered by what greeted me. 
surprisingly un-purple, in a pinkish way

Not bad, as payoffs go.

I love the colors and textures.  The fuzzy + the veiny + the ruffles. 

It was such a pleasure to just sit outside with my coffee and admire what nature and science has so lovingly crafted.  

But that's not all.  
Orange photobomb

This is another first for this O-Town Gardener.

It is one year old,

And my poppy has popped.
 One of 3 poppies survived the planting.  It didn't flower last year, but it's clearly quite productive this year.

The pods are all cute and fuzzy like baby tomatoes.
pods pods pods
I bought the poppies as a multipack of seedlings, so the orange is a surprise.  But I don't mind the pop of orange.  My garden isn't all match-ey match-ey and the same color.  That's all right with me.  

Perennials might require more time and patience, but there are some great surprises along the way.  

Annuals are for chumps.

Maybe that's too harsh.  But just look at this show!

In the beginning perennials are teeny.  In the first year you wonder if they are sick or dying.  And you lose a few.  I've certainly lost a few.  But Perennials are awesome.  You plant one year and the next year they come back to you.   

Looking as fresh and gorgeous as ... well, THIS.

A much-needed pick-me-up. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Unblooming Iris

It must be, oh, four or five years ago since we went to that small-town library book sale.  There was an adjacent plant sale, but at the time D & I lived in an apartment with no direct sunlight.  I had had no intention of adopting plants, but as I loitered outside waiting for D to finish up with his purchases, both the library and plant sales were winding down and the ladies were getting antsy to rid themselves of what hadn't sold.  

Would I like to take home a plant?
No, no, just the books, thanks.
And if they offered me free plants would I just take them?  
No, I declined politely.
Did I know they were going to throw them out after I left?
Okeydokey then, I'll take two.  

In the four or five years since I have had the lily it has bloomed all but the last two years.  On the sunless porch in the teeny pot, it still popped up some lovely flowers for me.  I transplanted it two years ago and it didn't bloom, but upheaval can be tough on us all, so that's understandable.  
See, no direct sun.  Such a trooper!

to be honest, I'd forgotten what color it was until I saw this photo

Last year it was smothered into the dirt by the iris, and I'd rather thought it had died.
Now you see it 
Totally smothered

It didn't die though, hardy son of a gun. When it peeked above the soil line this spring I swooped in to rescue it, transplanting it into the front bed.  It's looking happy and healthy.  
he's on the right.  Next to the foofy-pants poppy
This iris has been another matter though.  

Every year this leafy bugger gets bigger, but has never so much as put on a single bloom.  

What color iris?  Why, I have no idea.  It's adopted.  

But then ...

I couldn't believe when I caught a glimpse of this peeking out of the foliage. 

I've read about irises that don't bloom.  Caused either by stress (if its been transplanted), or soil deficiencies.  Too much nitrogen, not enough phosphorous.  This isn't necessarily resolved with normal fertilizers, because that often just piles on more nitrogen, because it coaxes green growth over blooming.  We tried sprinkling some fireplace ash, which supposedly also leaches potassium into the soil.  

Maybe that made the difference?  I dunno.  

Purple!  I think it's purple!!  Eeeee!