Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May Flowers, No Showers

Ah, May.  A month to savour the colours and scents of the Pacific Northwest.  The biggie - lilacs, all in bloom right now, and with the (for us) warmth of the air, you catch their scent before you see them.  At the ranch, add to the lilacs the beautifully sweet scent of the two 'Brandywine' crabapples and the early shrub rose 'Jaqueline du Pre' along with the first of the sweet peas, and you'll know why I spend a lot of time out in the garden right now.  Besides the obvious - WEEDS, and lots of 'em.  And with the dry, warm days, the watering routine is back in action once again.  It's fairly unusual for us to be this rain-free this time of year, but hey - we'll take it, after last month.  Along with the weeding, planting out the cukes, thinning the carrots, keeping the peas trained to their trellis and getting the corn up kept us busy out in the garden.  And I have started finishing up the hanging baskets and getting going on the ground pots as well.  I planted an entire plug tray of 'Durango' marigolds figuring that out of the hundred plugs, probably only half would come up.  I sure don't know how to count, because last I checked, about 10 plugs were empty.  Good thing my pal Donna loves marigolds, 'cause she's gonna get some, along with all the extra snapdragons that I hadn't planned on coming up.  Tomorrow, I'm headed to Gathering Together Farms up in Philomath for a tomato grafting class - I'm really excited about this.  I missed last month's class but made sure I was first in line for this one.  I am so sold on grafted tomatoes that I can't wait to find out how to do it myself, and have a couple of 'Kellogg's Breakfast' and 'Brandywine' heirloom tomatoes started from seed to use as guinea pigs.  I know that grafted pepper plants are next, and boy will THAT change the face of gardening up here!

Don't forget to click on the first pix to start the slideshow, and enjoy!

'White Russian' petunia and 'Sapphire' lobelia - quite a combo

This shot smelled so good - 'Sensation' lilac and 'Brandywine' crabapple; out of the shot is 'Jaqueline du Pre' shrub rose, also in bloom.  All against that gorgeous blue sky

'Sensation' lilac - smells every bit as good as it looks

'Brandywine' crabapple blossoms, blue skies

The garden, May.  Just wait - soon, there won't be any actual soil to be seen except in the resting beds

An interesting experimental tomato I picked up to try, 'Silvery Fir'.  It's a determinant variety from Russia.  You can't see, but there is already a small tomato on it.  The water jugs are solar heating for our still very cool nights

'Sugar Dots' and 'Earlivee' corn, just popped up.  Cukes 'Miss Pickler', 'Bush Pickle', 'Alibil' and 'The Pearl' on the other side of the fence, newly planted out, along with some free range sweet peas

Strawberries Gone Wild.  That bed started out as two plants from Pastor Greg's wife Corrine that I was sure I'd kill, just as I have every single strawberry plant I've ever tried to grow.  Now they are garden thugs, constantly invading the other beds, pillaging and dragging off women and small childern.  But they sure are good.  Just ask my nephew Spencer.  Two years ago I think he ate himself into a coma out there in August

Lupine 'Tutti Frutti', good enough to eat and a fragrance to die for.  Carrots in the background

The finished gazebo project.  Facing west, the evening breeze can be quite stiff (and until August, quite cool), making it difficult to use the smoker or to sit and enjoy the evening, so Dale the engineer designed and built this windbreak that can be lowered quite easily when the day is nice and the wind below hurricane force

My 'drunken tower'.  Once the coreopsis and tricolour sage fill in and grow up, you won't see the black pipe, altho I did consider drilling large holes in it and planting sedum.  Might still do that.  Two different dichondra, 'Emerald Falls' and 'Silver Falls' are in the smaller pots, along with dwarf snaps and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember

Just a nice shot of the ancient lilacs, iris' (not quite blooming yet), paeonies (ditto), Japanese maple and heuchera 'Caramel' and 'Scarlet Ruffles' in the barrel in the back

The lovely Japanese maple, all fiery in the late afternoon sun

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