Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Madness

March Madness was full swing around these parts with VCU once again in it for a short while. 

Speaking of madness, we had a freeze warning last night and had to cart all the containers into the garage. Especially those 2 hanging baskets I picked up the other day. After a string of 80 degree days, it may have reached 30 last night.

The pollen is thick in the air, I saw a swallowtail butterfly 2 days ago, a blue tailed lizard skink, and a few caterpillars.  The bluebirds have been busy building nests, picking at the coco liner of my deck baskets that haven't been filled for the season yet.

The weeds have taken over the pool gardens. While the daffodils are peeking through the mess, and the Iris are getting ready to shine in a few weeks, I wonder how I will manage that chaos. It is sad.  I did dig up some huge yucca from the front garden beds, divided them somewhat and laid them outside the pool fence. Not sure if they'll make it back into the ground or if they're just waiting to be thrown in the woods. They are insane. From the one 4" pot we brought down from Monmouth Junction, that had been a piece of the plants transplanted from Edison, I could plant one in every house in our development right now. It'd be okay if they didn't expand exponentially within a year or two and need digging up again.

My son was sad last week when all of the front yard daffodils faded. That hot sun took the life out of them. I have some annuals ready for the tufa pots and deck baskets around back. Looking forward to adding some color.  Sweet potato varieties, geranium and verbena. Start their trailing in the full hot sun now and they'll be spectacular by the time we are outside to enjoy them. Need to get the red outside to welcome the hummingbirds back. They should be arriving very soon. 

Remind me... I need to post some pictures for my last few posts!        

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saint Patrick's Day

This past week has had record highs, close to 90. This brings an end to the bright yellow daffodils, they are fading fast. The plum, willow, pear and star magnolia trees peaked this week and are now coming into their leaves. The quince is spectacular, for the first time that I can remember. It must know that I  intend to prune it back to a stump this year after blooming. It is such a nasty eyesore 50 weeks / year.  It is reminding me now why I planted it.

I wanted to buy 2-3 hanging baskets this week but deferred to prudent spending with my daughter's birthday bash this weekend, Elton John and Madonna concert ticket purchases and an expensive vacation coming up soon.  Not to mention some expensive car service bills now and coming up. Actually, I just ran out of time while in town. But they just seem incredibly pricy. I will get calibrachoa, million bells and training verbena. They thrive in the hot sun of my front porch and the hummingbirds love them.  The hummingbirds should be here in a few weeks, always by April 15.   I'm happy to buy small plants, plant up my coconut lined baskets and wait for them to fill out to save money and allow me to create my own designs. However, it is sometimes more difficult to even find smaller plants these days at the nurseries. I'll have my own greenhouse someday right?  

I did move most all of my large containers outside.  I think they should be able to stay there now until October. I must make time this year to transplant most of them. They are all busting out of their pots.  One bird of paradise bloom is almost spent and 2 more are ready to open. I realized that not only is this the first time it bloomed since we brought in back from Hawaii almost 11 years ago, but I had forgotten what the plant was for many years and was waiting for a bloom to find out!   

The hint blush of the wild redbuds greeted us this week along the roadways too. I haven't seen our planted redbud start yet but it is typically late. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Enjoy the last few days of Winter! I hear spring is coming Tuesday even though it's already been summer weather here. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

What's new in March Spring

The ornamental pears and the gorgeous ornamental plum have been peaking out blooms for the past few days since the snow left us. I also noticed today that the quince looks pink from afar. Will need to take a walk around tomorrow to see.

Really just making some brief posts to setup for some new pictures and keeping a date diary of when spring blooms come around. Makes for a boring blog post but helps me a lot. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

And then today school was canceled due to snow! Flip flop weather, coming back into the 70's by Thursday.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring Heralds

More signs of the early Spring!

The star magnolia on Fairgrounds at the entrance of Fair Woods development has been in bloom for a few days now. It may last 2 weeks at the most but it sure is another herald of spring in these parts.   Between the location of this specimen and seeing it at a Maymont Garden show years past, I did buy and plant one a few years ago. It blooms beautifully but later than the others I see. It is still young.

I think I said in my last post that the willow tree in the front yard is dripping with its tiny green pearls. The leaf buds are filling out. My son says they are super mini corn stalks.

The pear trees... today was the first day I noticed a hint of color from the second floor windows. Wow. I hope they have a great display this year.   

Friday, February 24, 2012

Birds of paradise

The weather forecasters say it'll hit 80 today. That's something!

We knew spring came early this year because of the American woodcock mating dance we've witnessed and now the Spring peepers are blaring every night. I found this website that explains the woodcock and its dance as well as its whistle dance sound. It's great:  http://mrines.com/Birds/woodcock/

Our bird of paradise plant has finally bloomed. after 10 1/2 years after being brought back from our honeymoon in Maui, it is blooming beautifully. I only hope that it is not like the 40-50 year Haleakala silver sword and this is its only time in the sun and then a sure death.

I'm quite sure that we purchased it, our plumeria cuttings, tuberose, and dwarf schefflera lava planting at Dan's Greenhouse in Lahaina. They've traveled far... from HI to NJ to VA and still going strong.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Warm February day in the gardens

I've been waiting for today to mulch the mailbox garden. The weather forecasters told us that today would hit 60. Whether it has or not, I dunno. Probably since I'm out without a jacket. It is quite lovely outside!

I went over to our local southern states to pick up some mulch. I chose 3 bags of statesman pine bark. The mailbox only needed one so I am using the rest in the butterfly pet cemetary plot.

Our area YMCA have started their training for the sports backers monument 10k and our local team runs through our neighborhood every Saturday as a group and small groups every day it seems. I feel like I can do my part to enhance their run by cleaning up the front of the house at least since running is not my thing.

The mailbox area was easy enough. I've lost some soil due to erosion so I dumped an old hanging baskets soil in there. I also got to admire the pansies that are perky and bright since the fall planting still. There are a few crocus and iris corms that I moved there last year.

Before laying the butterfly garden mulch down, I'm cleaning up the iris leaves and cut the butterfly bush branches down about half. I know my mother in law would suggest more but that was all I could handle. It is just so amazing how much that thing can grow in a season. I just wish it would bloom sooner. Although it does last well into the autumn to feed those straggler butterfly's.

I also decided to top off some of the green giant thujas that border our back yard. I know it is not recommended but they are mine and are my experiment at my living fence shrub. It smells like Christmas trees! I know I had to do it now before they were too thick and tall for my lops.

Of course there are plenty of yellow crocus around in the grass although never enough for my liking. Wasn't too happy to see some dandelions already up. The hyacinths and daffodils that are up already are midgets. Guess that's what such a mild winter here in central Virginia does to them.

So back to the out of doors and perhaps I can shoot some photos to post!