Last Day of May

This is what's blooming in my garden on the last day of May.  The two irises were gifts, the purple and white one from my garden friend-mentor, Rita, and the dark purple from my in-laws' garden.  The pink poppy, 'Paradiso', I treated myself to, just this spring, and am delighted that it is blooming.  The lilies-of-the-valley I transplanted from our previous home three summers ago and they are just starting to take off in their new bed.

My backyard border (seen in full bloom in my blog's header) is lush with 'greenliness' at the present time.   I recently read that if you intend to do perennial gardening you should 'learn to love green'.  Good thing I do!

There are several things just ready to pop open in here though.

Planting Limestone Path

Sorry the picture quality is a little dark here.  It's a shady garden and I'm finding it a little hard to photograph well. 

My plan is for this to be very natural looking and have the hostas and ferns kind of 'spill over' on the walkway, here and there.  For now I have black plastic garden edging along the right side to hold the soil and water in, but I'm hoping to be able to remove it (or have it covered up by foliage) before too long. 

Along the right side are several types of hostas  including Minuteman, Lancifloria, Longissima, Blue Mouse  Ears, a couple of ferns (Frizelliae and Lady in Red) and some violets.   

On the left side, between the walkway and the house, I have foxglove and monkshood, bee balm, bleeding heart, periwinke, bugleflower, lamina, and some hostas, including June, Golden Tiara, and Gold Standard. 

I love how everything looks but I have no idea if I have too many or too few plants in here.  With luck I might have just the right amount. 

We will see. 

Plant Sale Finds!

May 22 - I went to a private plant sale that a local gardener was holding at her home on the weekend.  She had quite a beautiful garden and was selling some of her perennials that she had divided.  At $2 each, I was quite happy to take some home with me. 
I have here some foxgloves, some lamina, and some violets.   There is also a  kind of white-flowered ground cover that she called Edelweiss (it doesn't look anything like the Edelweiss that I've seen before), and some type of Persian coneflower.  She just called it 'bachelor's buttons' - hers was blooming and it was a lovely shade of blue. 

After looking them up in my books when I got home, I see that the violets, lamina and 'Edelweiss' or what ever it is, should work great with the hostas beside the limestone path.

What's Blooming in the Third Week of May

'Firespray' Tulips.  I found these in a mail order catalouge.  They are tulips for the shade.  And these are in my hosta bed, where they get very little sun....

.....I just planted this Oriental Poppy this spring, so I'm really pleased that it's blooming for this year.  There's a bud on the other one as well. 

When I was at Hampton Court Palace a year ago, I saw some of these blooming in a garden beside some purple foxgloves and fell in love with this colour....

...and my white bleeding heart has just started to bloom.

Our New Rain Barrel

My husband has always wanted to have a rain barrel!  He noticed that our city was selling them (for cost), so we picked one up.   He set it up the other day.  We have only had one good rain so far this month, but it filled the rain barrel completely to the top. 

I used it for the first time today, and I have to say, it's just the ticket.  It has a lid, with a mesh screen to keep mosquitos out of it.   He set it up so that rain water from the downspout on our garage goes directly into the barrel, through the mesh screen. 

The best part about it is this tap at the bottom.   He raised the barrel up on blocks so that my watering can fits perfectly underneath. 

We feel this is very good, environmentally.  We have a well, but using the rain water saves the electricity to run the pump as well as the ground water. 

Plus it's fun!

'Angelique' Tulips

These 'Angelique' tulips were a lovely surprise for me. I had completely forgotten what they looked like on the Breck's website, where I ordered them from. They are the first double-flowered tulip I've ever had, and I have to wonder why I'd never planted them before.

They are also known as 'peony tulips' and that's exactly what they look like. They are a pale pink shade and they look like they belong in a bride's bouquet.

Mulching Time

We found a local landscaper supply place where you can buy mulch by the half-yard. I chose the brown cedar mulch because I like the colour (it looks very natural, like earth) and the texture (the cedar is mostly shredded, with a few slightly larger bits here and there). We were able to fit in one and a half yards into our short box pick-up truck.

Boy, have I been having fun shoveling it out and putting it on the garden. Stay tuned for photos of the garden with the mulch on it. Oh, and I'm pulling out or hoeing up the little weeds that are starting to appear before I put the mulch down.

I hope this works to keep the weeds down!

Compost Time

This is our first batch of 'homemade compost' (she says proudly). We have two backyard composters - both bought from our City. They work great - we just put all our vegetable scraps in, turn them over and around every so often and add water. After about a year, we have this lovely pile of nice composted material!

And here it is spread around the base of the new shrubs.

'Wildhof' Tulips

May 9, 2010 - These 'Wildhof' tulips opened up and seemed no worse for the spring storm we had yesterday. Most of the snow is gone. They are a lovely shade of palest yellow. Another lovely surprize, in the colour department, as I had completely forgotten the shades I had planted in the fall.

The Weatherman has Some 'Splainin' to Do!

May 8, 2010 - We had 10 cms of snow! This is kind of unusual for May, but not unheard of. It's also the reason we have a rule of thumb that we don't plant our annual flowers and vegetables until after the long weekend in May.

No harm seems to have been done to the perrennials. In fact, the hostas seemed to come up a few inches!

What's Blooming!

May 4, 2010 - The first of the tulips to come out! These are called 'Apricot Beauties' and were a house-warming gift from our former neighbour, Michelle. This is the third spring for them. I understand that some people pull the tulips out after they bloom and start with fresh ones in the fall. I just leave mine in the ground and let them rebloom each year.

The muscari is in full bloom this week. I cut some and made a little mini-bouquet for the house. I just love this flower!

I was quite pleased to see the little fringes along the edges of these petals. These tulips are appropriately named 'Fringed Elegance.'

These 'Yellow Emperor' tulips are a little brighter shade of yellow and a bit taller.

Except for the 'Apricot Beauties', I ordered all the tulips from Breck's. I've forgotten what they all look like, so it's fun to watch them open.

Finished Planting the Front Beds

May 2, 2010 - I added the dwarf burning bush and mock orange to the front today. Not that you can really see it in the picture. I'm hoping I didn't plant too much in here, but I'm told that I can prune everything to the size I want.

I know nothing about shrubs so this will be a learning experience for me! I can't wait to see what this will look like in a few months.

This is the other side of our front steps, and the limestone path that we put in last fall. I planted some ground covers in between the rocks, which are meant to be able to withstand some foot traffic - wooley thyme and Irish moss.

I'm hoping to have hostas all along the right side of the walk, and maybe some ferns to break it up. I'm hoping it will be a nice contrast tot he bleeding hearts and monkshood on the left side of the path. So far I have about seven hostas there, a 'Lancifloria', a 'Longissimo', two 'First Frosts', two 'Wide Brims' and an unknown variety that my friend, Karen, gave me.