Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jobs for the weekend


Before working, I was  inspired to take a few additional shots of some of the many trees and and plants currently in bloom over the weekend. Shown here are top left to right, Pear Blossoms, Royal Star Magnolia, and Peach Blossoms.

I did some general maintenance around the house and garden in preparation for gardening season. I spread a fresh layer of landscape fabric around my raised beds, and covered it with pine straw. Fourteen bales was only enough to supply about 1/2 of the area between the beds, so I plan to finish it one afternoon this week. Back in the garden, the lettuce and mesclun bed seem to be doing very well,  and we cut our first bunch of asparagus over the weekend.  With a small rain front working it's way through, I decided I would try and get a few more things planted in the garden, and put out some carrots, radishes, and beets

I added 5 bags of Miracle Grow Garden Soil to the rose beds outside of the potting shed, and turned it into the top 8 inches of soil.  These beds contain several varieties of my favorite David Austin Roses, and are already looking very good this season. I treated them with a Bayer Systemic 2 in 1 preventative. This is the first time I've tried this product, and I'm hopeful that it will help with some of the mid-season black spot I seem to get each year. I also planted a few new rose bushes, (robin hood, buff beauty, and a souvenir de la malmaison) purchased from Petals from the past, the Antique Rose Emporium. Both arrived quickly, were very well packed and seemed to be in good health. I was inspired to plant a few of the Robin Hood roses after seeing these on the "dirt therapy" blog. 

Finally, I planted a few more Autumn ferns in the back yard shade bed. Those already planted in this same bed are now on their 3 year, and did very well over the winter.

A few more shots at the end of the day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunrise Photos

Took a few shots Saturday morning just as the sun was coming up. It had been so longs since we had a nice sunrise, I just had to take advantage of it. This image is of a new Chinese Snowball, one of my favorite plants. I first came across one of these while visiting Callaway Gardens. It was in full bloom and was just incredible! This one has a way to go, but I have high expectations.

awakening photo

Daffodil at sunrise. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Finally a little sunshine!

 The sun finally came out for the last half of the day. I took advantage of it by planting  4 more grape vines that we picked up this morning  at a nearby co-op. I was pretty excited to find this particular variety called "Fredonia". Doing a little research led me to this vine, and it's apparently grown and sold at a local winery. ( I haven't actually tried it yet, but if it grows at all, I'm willing to give it a chance! I'm testing several varieties in this row, and hope to find one that will work well for our area. I planted this row on 32" centers and I'm eventually going to burry a 2x10 down both sides of the row to try and keep out the Bermuda, and make it a little easier to mow around. I'm also planning on setting up a watering system similar to the one we saw while traveling in Italy last year.    

This year I decided to attempt to warm up the soil a little using this quick and easy covering constructed of 4-8' PVC pipes, a handful of metal connectors, and some 3 mil plastic. So far it seems to be working pretty good. Once it gets a little warmer, I'm going to use the same frame and cover it with some bird netting to help keep out deer and other friendly little rabbits that seem to really enjoy my lettuce buffet.  

Today I also moved my tomato seedlings out to the potting shed and got the grow lights up and running again. I was pleasantly surprised to find that everything seemed to be in working order, with the exception of my super fancy Gilmore spray nozzle that I picked up at the end of last season. It seemed to be leaking out of every joint, with the exception to the one that was supposed to have water coming out it. Guess that's what I get for leaving it exposed to the freezing temps all winter.  Above are some of the first tomatoes that I've gotten started. I know I'm a little late with these, but with this never-ending winter, I figure I should be ok.The glow from the potting shed is pretty unmistakeable.

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Tasks

Most of the day was spent cleaning the potting shed. (What a mess!) Wrapped up the day with a trip to Lowes to pick up a few plants for the shed and a few more seeds. While cleaning I noticed a small birds nest under construction above the fuse box in the shed. Tried not to disturb the nest, but I'm not sure that baby birds are going to like the 24hr a day grow lights.
Speaking of birds, I've noticed a few new additions to the birds feeding from the feeder 0utside the office window. To date the list of birds consist of two Mourning Doves, so many Finches I've lost count, 5 Cardinals, a Wood Pecker that I have yet to identify, several Blue Jays, and either a Downey or a Hairy Woodpecker. Their appetite has now reached almost 1 bag of seed every 4 days.
(Photo of potting shed is from last summer, showing moon flowers and Shoal Creek Vitex.)