Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Working in the garden . . . gives me a profound feeling of inner peace. Nothing here is in a hurry. There is no rush toward accomplishment, no blowing of trumpets. Here is the great mystery of life and growth. Everything is changing, growing, aiming at something, but silently, unboastfully, taking its time. ~ Ruth Stout

Last night I dreamed it was spring.  I awoke to  40-degree temperatures and a pewter sky.  Rain oozed under my coat collar and down my neck as I filled the bird feeders.  I shall go back to bed and hope the spring dream returns.

From the shade Garden

Pagoda dogwood a little past prime time bloom time.

White Nancy grows beneath the hosta and really brightens up dark places.

Hostas planted years ago have grown into large clumps.


Allium gone wild, self seeded everywhere...lawn, shade garden, sun gardens, among the daylilies and peonies.  I had hopes it would bloom with the peonies but that looks unlikely.  

Birds always welcome

Indigo buntings and gold finches enjoy the thistle feeders.  

Unknown.  If anyone has a positive ID for this bird, please let me know.

Blooming now

          Amidst a mess of really sloppy foliage the two foot tall camassia stalks lay down and then bend                                                                    to reach sunward.  

The foot tall camassia stands upright but fades into the background foliage.  

Immortality always blooms ahead of the other iris then blooms again in late summer.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

"Gardening is a long road, with many detours and way stations, and here we all are at one point or another. It's not a question of superior or inferior taste, merely a question of which detour we are on at the moment. Getting there (as they say) is not important; the wandering about in the wilderness or in the olive groves or in the bayous is the whole point." - Henry Mitchell, Gardening Is a Long Road, 1998

We have had some nice rains and cooler temps lately.  Always happy to see that combination.  I'm inspired to transplant lots of things in this perfect weather.  Usually, I'm a timid transplanter because a hot dry spell makes it labor intensive with potting, watering and maybe artificial shading.

Below are some photos taken at the feeders.  These photos are among my worst partly because they were taken beyond the limits of my telephoto lens and mostly because I'm just not as  good with the camera as I once was.  

 I stopped by Birds Unlimited yesterday and noticed their feeders looked like objects of art.  They had Broom feeders like mine but theirs were shiny and new.  I left the store with only one peanut feeder for the bluejays.  This spring I have been happy with the numbers and variety of birds at my feeders.  Several migrants stopped by on their journey north.  White crowned sparrows and white throated sparrows are only seen here in the spring and early winter.  A rose breasted grossbeak came to eat, they go south for the winter but sometimes nest in northern Illinois in summer.   I also saw a Baltimore oriole at the suet feeder yesterday.  I hope he decides to nest nearby.  Would love to get a photo of him. 

                 This peony flowered tulip was planted last fall.  It is a late blooming variety that extends the tulip season.

                From the shade garden beneath the lilac hedge, the blue bells are blooming.  

"A garden should feel like a walk in the woods."
~  Dan Kiley, American landscape designer

This little bridge is just down the hill from my house.  There used to be a road from the north that passed my house and went on south to connect to the county highway.  This bridge was part of that road.  Sometime in the 60's a bypass around Rockford was built  and my little lane was cut off from the north.  Now the bridge is used only by farm equipment to reach the fields and by me.  

 This photo taken from the bridge, clouds reflected in the creek on a perfect spring day.

One liquid ribbon of nature sandwiched between two farm fields.

Foxy, one of my rambling partners.  Always eager to walk with me and always willing to let me choose the path.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

"We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home, in towns and cities." - G. W. Sears

We had a nice rain this  afternoon and more expected tomorrow.  I hope this is a sign of a wet or at least average rainfall this summer.

These dianthus are new.  Love the clovey scent and the blue foliage.  In the past, dianthus haven't done too well in my heavy, clay soil, but I keep trying different locations hoping to find a site they can tolerate.

The crabapples are amazing this spring.  The red one is just outside my kitchen window.  The white is in front of the milkhouse.  

It's been an outstanding year for tulips.  The cold weather has kept them fresh and beautiful for weeks.  I have one or two late blooming varieties yet to show.

Spent the morning rambling through the fields around my farm.  This time of year, there are always interesting things along the hedgerows.  Above is a wild grape leafing out.  I thought the colors and textures were nice.

Soon to brighten the creek side with beautiful blooms.

Probably a robin's nest but the redwing Blackbirds were hovering in the tree above it.

Definite beaver activity.  I would like to find the dam but am completely unwilling to brave the tick infested woods to search it out.  

A little downey watching the dogs and myself pass.

MacDuff racing across the pasture.

"People are different on a path.  On a town sidewalk strangers may make eye contact, but that's all.  On a path like this they smile, say hello, and pet one another's dogs. 
~ Anne Lusk 

Jessica Fowler
Mar 22, 2012
There are crackles and scratches woven here;
bridges and highways where little things run.

Over tangles of brambles and berries
a bud’s coming out; a hand lying open in grass.

There is bracken crisping; brown and dry;
shaded by waxy leaves where water balls roll.

There are bees in the air, flitting around.
Air which is thick with nectar and pollen.

It’s dense in here; cramped thorns twist,
ears are twitching, claws scratch on bark.

When the light goes away eyes start to shine,
the scurrying gets furious, noises in darkness.

An owl glides down and a mouse hurries up
but quicker than light, he’s swept from the ground.

Spiralling up from his hawthorn nest
He’s stolen away; into the night.

Sparrows whistle, a feather snags on a branch
and the moon bows down to the lilac dawn.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout

Just bought this red Achillea

This has been a good year for daffodils and tulips.  The days have been cool, in the forties and fifties and we have below freezing temps every night.    In cold weather the tulips continue to look good for a long time. 

These were planted last fall.  They are a pretty shade of purple.  I've forgotten the name.

I believe this is Miranda and I've had this lovely double red tulip for over ten years.  I can hardly believe it has survived so long because tulips have a life expectancy of three declining years here.  I planted it in the vegetable garden and would love to move it to a more prominent place but I'm afraid to touch it.  

These  dwarf bearded iris almost go unnoticed among the larger, brighter spring flowers.  They are increasing quickly and I'll have a nice colony in a few years.

Parrot tulip Madonna.  This is the fourth year for this tulip and there is only one of the dozen originally planted still coming up.  The poor thing has lost almost all of the feathering on the petals.  It's still pretty.  Hoping to find more this fall. 

Parrot tulip Rococo beginning to open.  This is it's first year, it was planted last fall.  It looks very strange before it opens completely.   The crimped edges look like teeth in a big red mouth.  See how my imagination runs to the sinister;)

Here's a mess.  This is my pot ghetto of recently purchased plants now waiting for overnight frosts to cease before they can be planted.  Every night the plants are carried into the garage and every morning I carry them outside to get some light.  I do this every spring because plants in retail stores aren't well cared for.  Plants are healthier if they only have a brief stop over in retail.

This is Foxfire.  Today she brought her bunnie outside for a stroll in the pasture.  Fox is so careful with her stuffed bunny, she never tears it or pulls the stuffing.  In the photo, she is guarding a little stash of toys, Jolly Ball, bunny and a tennis ball. 

We walked along the edge of the creek and watched our neighbor to the southwest disk his field.

The dogs are taking a break in the shade while they watch the tractor. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

"The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day. When the sun is out and the wind is still, You're one month on in the middle of May. But if you so much as dare to speak, a cloud come over the sunlit arch, And wind comes off a frozen peak, And you're two months back in the middle of March." - Robert Frost

A couple weeks ago we had some lovely spring weather but like the poem says, a cold wind blew in chilly days and freezing nights. Visiting the garden centers, I found lots of frost kill to the  annuals and even perennials and shrubs have freeze damage.

Now Staring

False Rue Anemone brightens up shady places.

Goldfinch colors get brighter and brighter.

Pretty species tulips with lily shaped blooms.  

Lovely shade of pink.

 Very double yellow tulip almost like a yellow peony.

Coming Soon

Blue Bells

Lots of furry Allegro poppies self seeded where they will.

Brand New

Over the years I've bought dozens of bleeding hearts only to loose them to extremely dry summers or maybe they didn't like the location I chose.  This year one plant emerged so I added two more.  I love the graceful arching stems and the pretty pink hearts.

Woodland phlox keeping the bleeding hearts company.  These were my Dad's favorite flowers so I always want to keep them in the garden.