Friday, May 16, 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day ~ May, 2014

Alyssum Basket of Gold

Missed it. Again. Bloom Day, that is. Held every month on the 15th. But, I'm only off by a day so... Let's take a walk through my chilly garden.

Happy Daffs & Bleeding Hearts

I'm surprised. And, also impressed. The way these flowers roll with the punches.

We've had a tough spring. Cold, wet, misery.

For example, 3 days ago a hard freeze in the 20's. Today, the forecast is for 80 degrees. A crazy yin yang between winter and summer. Yet, they keep on flowering. Gotta love it.

Meadow Phlox

Buckets of Baby Hyacinth

A lawn in desperate need of mowing + two pretty doves.

Golden Currant ~ the first of the flowering shrubs to start blooming.

Flowering Almonds - isn't she a stunner? 

And, these loud and proud heirloom Tulips!

Happy Bloom Day, Everyone! Scoot on over to Carol's place to visit more participants in this monthly meme.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

The Bulb Brigade

 Monsella Tulips

 When the chilly days of April arrived, they must have decided this was a fine place to sit a spell. Because the only thing reflecting the true season, what should be the delightfully warm and sunny days of May, is the calendar hanging on my office wall.


It's been unseasonably cold, wet, windy... And, that's made me especially proud of my tough as nails spring-flowering bulbs.

Oh, I'll never beat Mother Nature at her well-honed game. But, my mountain gardens are reaching a point where they can give her a good run for her money.

 Gladiator Allium

Bulbs, it seems, are a mountain gardener's best friend. I coax, coddle and cajole early blooming perennials, to no avail.

They won't flower until the soil warms up ~ this year, with this weather pattern, that could take until mid-June.

 Blue Star Flowers refuse to photograph well but they're quite cute along a walkway.

Allium Schubertii  ~ I think she's so cool.

Bulbs, on the other hand, don't seem nearly as dependent upon warm weather, or warm soil. Yesterday, I found some blooming beneath the snow!

Replete Daffodils 

If you live in a challenging environment, perhaps give bulbs a second look? They can turn a sadly brown garden into a talk of the town, spring blooming extravaganza.

PS: When I say 'worst garden' I'm referring to my place, not yours. :)

* Hot Tip: Plant 20 cheap daffodils, in a circle, around your special tulip bulbs. That way hungry critters can't smell those bulbs and they won't gobble that great grub.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Humpty Dumpty Dahlias

What a sweet surprise, when I woke up this morning. The first of the Humpty Dumpty Dahlias are blooming in the kitchen window. And, yes, I bought them because of the too cute name. We should have some pinks, reds, and purples joining that yellow flower any day now...

Friday, May 09, 2014

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Seed Starters

Sun shining, birds singing and a gentle breeze... 'twas the nicest day to be playing outdoors. I painstakingly transplanted all kinds of goodies for the teeny tiny farm project [ growing as many veggies as I plan to eat throughout the season.] Now, they're in deeper containers where they can really hit their stride...

I don't like these seed starter pods.
If you look at the photo below, you'll see a few of those seed starter pods. Geez, I hate those things.

They're too small and the mesh covering doesn't break down very quickly in the soil.

So, why am I using them? Well.... I started over 400 veggie seeds! And, I purchased them from a company I didn't know... Johnny's Seeds. {Everyone loves Johnny's, and now so do I.}

But, I wasn't sure about the germination rate of these seeds so I thought I'd make it easy on myself. Well, whaddyaknow, it's nearly a 100% germination rate and now it's a jungle in here!

A happy jungle, to be sure.

* Growing veggies in the mountains? Consider growing them in raised beds or containers. The soil stays warmer in raised beds. Tomatoes, for example, need to stay above 50 degrees F or they shift their sugar production and produce a sub-standard fruit.

A better way to start seeds.
** Consider growing miniatures - In these photos, you're looking at baby broccoli, mini beets, baby bell peppers, etc.  Mini veggies come to harvest quicker; they're loaded with flavor. Plus, they're cute as a button. :)

*** Starting seeds in 18 oz. drink cups (vs. these tiny seed starter pods) get your veggies and flowers off to a much healthier start. The depth of the drink cups encourage a long, strong root system.

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Monday, May 05, 2014


I'm a seed starting fanatic this year. These beauties are for my daughter (who is an adult but still has to tolerate the nickname, Peanut.)

Do you grow Moonflowers? They are gigantic. Huge blossoms, larger than your hand, on deep green, climbing vines. Consider planting them in a container, on your deck, where you can watch them in action. In the evenings, when the temperatures cool down, you'll see their gigantic petals slowly unfurl, to show off stunning white flowers.

And, they really do reflect the moonlight... [Annual in the mountains, perennial in kinder climates.]

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Thursday, May 01, 2014

Sassy Little Soybeans

Midori Giant Soybean Seedlings
Ah, May Day. The beginning of the merriest month. That means I only have another 4 weeks to twiddle my thumbs before I can transplant my veggie seedlings. Yeah, yeah... I know. That late planting date is downright depressing. But, what's a mountain lover to do? Start things in the window, I guess.

Are you an Edamame fan? That little goodie tops my list ~ the veggie for dinner that I choose more often than anything else. They're so tasty... so easy... Steam 'em. Salt 'em. Gobble gobble.

The big challenge for this summer is to grow all of the veggies that I plan to eat. I can already tell you that will never happen. I'm a big asparagus fan and since it takes a full year of cajoling to get asparagus to do it's stuff... I'll be back in the produce section before you know it.

But, Edamame? Aka Soybeans? I might succeed at this one. That top photo shows my bitsy baby seedlings that I started in the window a couple weeks ago. I've started A TON of seeds in the house over the last few weeks ~ to get a jump on the harvest time.

Roasted Edamame
• 2 cups of SHELLED edamame beans
• 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil.
Put these babies on a cookie sheet, roast @ 400 degrees (F) for 10-15 minutes and prepare to be dazzled...

Edamame Growing Tips:
  • There are lots of soybean varieties to choose from. Read the fine print to understand which ones are happier in your climate. (Some varieties like cooler temperatures than others.)
    • I'm growing Midori Giant because they're fast. Ready to harvest in: 70-80 days.
  • Full sun, consistent water, treat them just as you would beans and peas. Bonus: They're not picky about soil.
  • It's harvest-time when you see the swollen pods, just like peas. Only Soybeans are fussy and lose flavor quickly. Check them every day or two, and don't try nibbling them as you would fresh snap peas. Edamame needs to be steamed before it's very tasty.

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