Oh what a long, dreary winter we’ve had this year! It was a winter that set records for snow and cold, and flooding! But Spring has finally arrived, and it’s time to get back to the garden and this blog after a long hiatus. There’s so much to do in the yard, and yet the weather still plays Spring games on us. The sun is shining this afternoon…for about 5 minutes at a time in between downpours. We are hoping for some sunshine and relief from the rain and wet soon so that we can mow the lawns and plant some seeds in the vegetable garden boxes.
I love Pinterest for garden inspiration and collecting ideas, but another favorite source of inspiration for me are the gardens I visit — botanical gardens, demonstration gardens, neighbors’ gardens! Last Fall, the hubby and I spent time going through the Master Gardener’s Learning Garden at the Jenkins Estate in Beaverton, Oregon. It was our first autumn visit to that small but delightful garden, and I fell in love with one plant that was in full bloom on that sunny afternoon. It was a huge clump of Lemon Queen Sunflowers. The bees also loved that plant! It was covered with them! So I decided I had to have some Lemon Queens in my garden for this year, so I sent away for one live plant and when it arrived, I planted it in a tub that I could see from the kitchen window and waited throughout the winter to see if it would do anything. Indeed it did! That one plant has been a delight for all of the summer. It has bloomed and bloomed, and continues blooming today! A huge clump of them would be wonderful, so next spring I will plant more of them. The bees will be very happy.
Our driveway is at an angle from the street. When we decided to place our vegetable garden on the west side of our house (where we get the most sun), we made that angled driveway part of the design. Hubby built the nine 4 x 4 raised beds for the veggies and placed them in a grid pattern parallel to the house and the sidewalk, leaving plenty of walk space between them. That left a big triangle between the garden and the driveway.
This Spring I decided to honor the triangle by filling it with flowers. I ordered seeds for Zahara Zinnias after seeing a display of them at Farmington Gardens last Fall. They were so beautiful and different from zinnias I had seen before, so I planted masses of them…much closer together than the instructions on the seed packet said to do. Then I watered them and waited. I was not disappointed! They are quite beautiful, the bees like them, and they add a lot of color to our veggie garden!
The first book of my summer reading was The Rose Girls, by Victoria Connelly. It was a sweet romance with a love of roses and gardening at the heart. It was a perfect book to take to the beach, or just enjoy on the front porch. The story is of three sisters who live in a crumbling old manor house in England. Raising and selling roses has been the family business for generations, but after the death of their very difficult mother, who suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the three young women are left to deal with the emotional trauma of their upbringing. At the same time, they are faced with insurmountable costs of fixing and maintaining the medieval manor house while trying to keep their rose business afloat. The three sisters redefine their relationship with each other and find the healing power of family.
It’s a sweet story, but my favorite parts of the book were all the references to roses! So here is a linked list of some of the roses that were mentioned. The links will take you to sites with photos and information on each rose.
- La Reina Victoria
- Comte de Chambord
- Madame Pierre Oger
- Gertrude Jekyll Climbing Rose
- Celeste: Alba Rose
- Penelope: Hybrid Musk Rose
- Madame Isaac Pereire
- Honorine de Brabant
- Summer Blush
“All thoughts of finances were forgotten as she gazed at the perfect bud. That was the effect roses had on you — they filled your head with beauty so that there was little room for anything else…”
Our Hydrangeas are blooming in front of the porch. I love them even though they’re not nearly as lush as they’ve been in the last few years. They are scheduled to be moved or removed because we have some major work to do on the front porch (one corner has sunk…), but that project has been postponed, so I can simply enjoy them for another season.
My husband has plans and is gathering materials to put together a drip irrigation watering system for our vegetable garden. We decided to go ahead and plant even though the watering system isn’t ready for this year. It’s a lot of hand watering, but I enjoy it. There are always neighbors walking by and I enjoy our brief chats. Yesterday, I had a wonderful helper who also enjoys watering things by hand– The Grandboy! He and I spent some lovely time outdoors, and he enjoyed watering some of the garden boxes and all of the flowers in front of the house. Summer bliss!