As you can see, I've been dropping some serious bank so my green thumb can get its fix.
This also helps to explain my absence from this here blog.. Its just been too dang nice out lately.
Sitting still is hard enough for me to do in recent weeks (due to mad-woman cleaning sessions), let alone sitting still inside long enough to put down some words on the keyboard. Northern Illinois temperatures have been breaking records here lately. I heard that this year already marks the longest stretch of 80+ degree days to hit Chicago in March on record. So I've been running around the farm, clearing brush from flower beds and hanging load after load of laundry on our clothes line. If you've never slept on freshly line-dryed sheets, you have no idea what you're missing. Its like bottling up spring, itself, and releasing it in your bedroom. They are crisp as can be and smell of fresh air. If you have the means to line dry, you must get to it.
Just as temps started reaching 80 degrees, I received a catalog I'd signed up for a few months back: The David Austin Handbook of Roses 2012. For a week straight, I flipped back and forth, dog-earing pages and jotting down notes in the margins, as the hamster wheel in my head tried with all its might to help me decide what varieties of roses I wanted and where in the heck I would be planting them. Chris gave me the green light to go ahead and order as many as I needed/wanted/dreamed of.
Right away, I picked out 3 rose colors that had always captured my attention. These three are going to be placed in our back yard along the footpath leading down to our vegetable garden. Aren't they lovely? The peach rose and the yellow will be separated by the white bush.
For as long as I can remember (about 7 years since I first started dating Chris), the front flower garden has grown nothing but pebbles. I imagine, that at one time, there was something growing in front of the porch, but ever since whatever was there was ripped out, that patch of dirt has been pretty depressing. Its the largest "flower bed" in our yard and it is also the first thing that people see when they pull up our lane or walk up to our door. I've been dreading planting anything there due to the old pebbles that are everywhere. Nothing is more of a pain than digging and digging and still hitting pebbles a foot or so deep.
So when I received the English rose catalog, something clicked and I realized that nothing would take up space/look better than rose bushes planted right out front. So, after much deliberation, I added 5 roses to my online cart and clicked "purchase". It was the hardest thing for me to select just 5 roses out of 119 pages of gorgeousness. I decided to plant them in sort of an "ombre" order. Starting with the darkest one on the left just below the left porch window fading lighter as they head to the right, concluding with the white rose bush. I decided to buy another white rose bush to place behind and to the left of the very dark red/burgundy one. Here they are:
I plan on filling in the remaining portion of the bed with a mixture of partial sun annuals and perennial bulbs. So, if all goes well, my issue with the front flower bed will be solved.
Today I went to Home Depot just to browse and ended up leaving with the full cart you see above. I bought a bunch of daffodils and hyacinths to fill in bare spots in a few of my border gardens. I bought two seedless concord grape plants and plan on having Chris use the post-hole digger attachment for the skid-steer to dig out 2 spots for some round, wooden fence posts so I can get some wires wrapped for the grapes to grow out onto. I already have a spot ready for them to go.
I came home with 4 different varieties of raspberry/blackberry plants and shrub-like blueberry plant. If I can find a suitable place for them to grow in our yard, I can start daydreaming about all of the jam & preserves I will be making, not to mention the many, many batches of blueberry pancakes and muffins I will be whipping up for years to come.
Also, my willow tree survived! I was worried that it had gone too long without water when we picked it out last summer. The nursery was keeping the trees on hot blacktop and a lot of the limbs were burnt up. So seeing it thriving already was a great sight.
Also, the flimsy rhubarb plants that I put in during the dog days of last summer have come back with vengeance and have nearly tripled in size. I can already taste the fresh rhubarb cobblers we will be enjoying this summer.