DJ and I sprung for a new camera last weekend. Nikon D3100, plus a telephoto lens. We're excited, though obviously still have a lot to learn. Thus far we have 87 photographs of the dog.
I took the new camera out for a spin around the house this morning. I'm still getting used to things, and will surely improve, but daaaang, this camera takes nice photographs!
We had a really mild winter this year. In fact, I'm not certain that the ground really ever froze solid. I know I turned the compost pile a few times over the winter. I don't think it helped much, but it indicates temperatures generally above a hard freeze. The spring has been similarly mild and sunny.
The front porch beds are coming in nicely.
It bums me out that the blooms on the hyacinth get smaller every year. Any idea how I could help them be their fluffy selves? Or should I be re-planting these every year?
The sedum is coming in.
As is the Salvia.
This is a fun picture. It shows you how much I love bulbs and perennials. In the front are daffodils, which might bloom as soon as next week. Next back is the daylilly, which I expect to bloom in late July- August. Behind that are irises, which have just exploded this year. They should bloom mid-June to mid-July. Behind that are allium, which should bloom in May or so. Nice little succession of having color by the front steps!
The driveway bed is one of the places I'm hoping to see vast improvement this year. You'll notice that I've stacked rocks against the ugly black tar area along the foundation. Muuuch better. A LOT of work, but much better.
The garlic is up. By comparing to last year, it appears the garlic is almost a month ahead of it's 2011 growing season!
The oregano came back.
As is the mint.
The chives, of course, are out of control. We're having baked potatoes this weekend, and then I need to find other chives recipes! I'm going to transplant a chunk of the chives and mint to the lake, so that we can have mojitos and fresh chives for baked potatoes through the summer.
Further back, the perennial flowers are coming through.
Autumn Joy Sedum. I'm hoping this will take off this year. Last year, I planted cosmos in front of it, and the lack of sunlight really hurt the plant.
Across the driveway the raspberries are leafing out. Building a sort of support system with stakes and chicken wire is on the to-do list this weekend.
Over in the power box bed, things are coming up. Well, a lot of grass is coming up; weeding is on the to-do list this weekend too!
Crocus are blooming.
You'll note that I cut all the perennial grasses back a few weeks ago. I got a little overzealous with the clippers and lopped off the Russian Sage too. Right after the snip, I realized the mistake I'd made. I'd cut back most of the blooms! Dang it; I probably set the plant back years! I am still learning.
More Autumn Joy Sedum.
In the back, along the kitchen beds, things are moving more slowly. First, you can see we haven't gotten the rain barrel out yet. You can also see that I haven't completed the rock-stacking project to camouflage the black tar on the foundation. And, since this area doesn't get a ton of sun in the day, things are sprouting at a slower pace.
I will always worry about the hydrangeas. I unwrapped them a few weeks ago, and though it hasn't been terribly cold while they've been exposed, they're also not showing any signs of life. I'm sure they'll be fine, once exposed to sufficient sunlight.
Across the driveway my tulips and alium are sprouted beneath the aspens.
Same with the crocus.
This garage bed is kind of rag-tag. A lot of bulbs, perennials, a clematis, none of it doing much yet. The lupine is up, as well as the tulips, but past that... not much.
And now for the real farming area; the garden. We talked about roto-tilling this weekend, but given the rain this week it's still too wet. We're also discussing reworking the terraces, dealing with the barbed-wire fence and figuring out how to delineate the garden area from the lawn.
We do have mystery plants out there though. Is this perhaps an onion that failed last year?
Inside, I'm enjoying the results of a grow lamp!
DJ wanted cucumbers; I've never grown them but have visions of trellising them over the back fence this summer.
Jalapenos have sprouted.
The beefsteak tomatoes are doing well.
As are the marigolds. Just to the bottom of the picture you can see the failed attempt to start cosmos inside. I'm not sure what happened, but that flat will probably be given over to growing more marigolds for companion planting.
I tried to start lobelia inside, with mixed results.
We have a couple varieties of tomatoes, including Cherry, Black Krim, Brandywine and Romas. I really liked the Juliet tomatoes last summer, and might pick up a flat of them at some point too. One thing is for certain; we need to figure out a better system to stake the tomatoes on. The little tomato cages from last summer were just insufficient!
So, lots growing on (did ya catch that?). This weekend I need to weed beds and figure out where things will be planted in the garden. I'm having a hard time visualizing how to move things around to avoid planting tomatoes where the potatoes grew last year, or where the tomatoes grew last year. It's a complex dance, isn't it. I do know that we won't plant croockneck or spaghetti squash this year. We just don't eat it.
All kinds of fun things to think about!