May 15: new bed is planted! And scabiosa and verbena are blooming

I killed grass back in February to create a new flower bed. I wanted to fill it with lots of nectar and host plants for butterflies, plus some herbs and peppers for eating. I mulched the bed in the end of March, and in May, I’ve planted it:

  • 5 Mexican sunflowers (nectar)
  • 8-10 dill (host plant for swallowtails, plus herb for us)
  • 4 orange milkweed (host plant for monarchs)
  • A big patch of zinnia seeds (nectar)
  • Red salvia annuals (nectar)
  • Parsley (host plant for swallowtails, plus herb for us)
  • Cilantro (herb for us)
  • Jalapeño (pepper for us)
  • Basil (herb for us)

It doesn’t look like much for now, which is why I wanted to photograph it, as a before picture. The wire cages are to keep the rabbits away from the milkweed seedlings. The’ve eaten fresh milkweed in the past, and I don’t want them eating these seeds I’ve carefully cultivated for 10 weeks.

Newly planted butterfly bed
Plan, which I roughly stuck to
New butterfly bed with the rest of the back garden
The purple salvia is at its peak. The new bed is in the background.
I don’t have a telephoto lens yet, so this isn’t a great shot, but I do love watching the birds at the feeder.
Lollipop vervain is one of the first things to bloom
Scabiosa blooms along with the salvia and vervain

Apr 19: bunnies in the garden

I saw motion outside my office window this morning, and when I walked over to look out, I saw bunnies dart every which way across the grass, chase each other up the flower bed hill, across the gravel right outside my floor level window, through the fence slats to the neighbor’s yard, and back down the grassy hill again. There were four or five of them, and they chased each other for at least an hour. I used my phone to take photos through my office window. I apparently also took this 1 second video, which was a total accident when I touched the wrong button on my phone, but the rabbits were so active, I happened to capture one on video during my fumble.

Bunny! Dashing downhill!
Bunny alert
Bunnies in the grass
Bunnies chasing each other through the flower bed

Apr 18: redbuds and dogwoods in bloom

I went for a walk around the neighborhood today. Pink and magenta redbuds contrast with the chartreuses of fresh leaves. The earth is lush and coming back to life.

Redbud blossoms on our tree
Creeping phlox on my walk
Dogwood flower on our tree
Maple seeds on my walk
Garden at the UU church around the corner
My outdoor office
The back bed; it will flower in summer.
Redbud blossoms at the site of a missing branch
This is the greenest the grass will be all year

Apr 12: Emergence

The grass is the lush, vibrant green that only appears in spring. Pears and cherries and magnolias bloom all over town. Tulips pop in bright colors in the landscaping of public places: medians, libraries, the aquatic center.

In our garden, the redbud is covered in fuchsia buds and the dogwood flowers bloom green before they brighten to white. The leaves of perennials begin to emerge from beneath the fresh mulch. The blades of ornamental grasses come in tender and emerald green. The forsythia and daffodils are done in our garden — I cut back the forsythia this weekend — but violets and periwinkles blossom at the top of the hill. The salvia forms buds that should open in a few weeks. Besides the trees, the primary flowers right now are the ones in our flower baskets; that will change soon though.

Raindrops on pansies
Dogwood flowers still green
Liatris emerging
Front bed with Karl Foerster grass
Back bed with perennials starting to fill in
Mexican feather grass coming in.

May 17: fertilized, sowed seeds, and got a new bird bath

The weather this weekend was glorious, and I celebrated in the garden. I hate fertilizing, so I did that first to get it out of the way. Then I played with plants. I divided black eyed Susans that were encroaching on other plants, and I moved the divided clumps to the back bed where they can spread as much as they want. I sowed zinnia, cosmos, and blanketflower seeds, and I finished filling our raised bed. When I was finished with all of that, I tied on a handmade mask my friend Pam made, drove over to our local nursery during a time of day I thought it wouldn’t be crowded, and picked out a new bird bath.

I’m happy for winter to be over.

Front yard

Front bed with new bird bath

Back yard

The back bed starting to grow; I sowed seeds on the far right. It’s shaded in the morning, but hopefully gets enough afternoon sun for the full-sun seeds I sowed. The tree inside our yard, to the right of my chair, is the tree in the closeup below.
This tree was in our back yard when we moved in and has grown quickly. I think it might be a black cherry. The flowers smell sweet like candy. It is heavenly to sit under and inhale deeply.
They’re hard to see, but this is supposed to be a photo of goldfinches at the feeder. One is perched on the strap holding the feeder.
Our raised bed! I put four tomatoes and an habañero plant in today, plus some green onions I’ve been keeping in a glass of water to encourage roots. We’ll see if they do anything next year.

May 15: lilac, salvia, and working from the garden

It was warm enough today that I was able to take my laptop outside and work from the garden. Before I settled down with my afternoon coffee and the rest of the day’s work, I took a walk around the garden to check on what’s coming in and what’s blooming.

Dwarf lilac in bloom. It only has this one flower cluster this year.
The yarrow is almost there. Any day now and its flowers will be yellow as buttercups.
Salvia so fresh and pretty 😍
Volunteer dill coming up out back. I’m always happy to see dill come back. I love it with salmon. The swallowtails love it, too.

May 3: buds and butterflies

The sun shone bright today and the temperature reached 80℉. I saw multiple butterflies skitter through the garden: a swallowtail, a monarch, a cabbage butterfly, and an American Painted Lady that actually stopped for a drink.

American Painted Lady on salvia

The salvia and a couple of other herbs are blooming now — rosemary and thyme — while everything else begins to bud. This is always an exciting time that makes me walk the garden and check on everything’s progress every day.

Rosemary in bloom
Thyme in bloom
Yarrow buds
Sage buds
Dianthus in bloom
Scabiosa bud
Volunteer milkweed
Mexican feather grasses (foreground) are my favorite 😍. I hope these to fill in more.

Apr 26: bunnies in the garden

Bunnies in the back bed

I spent yesterday watching five rabbits run and play in our neighbor’s yard. The previous owners of the house had a raised bed above their pool’s retaining wall that had corn in it one year, and has tulips and daffodils every March and April.

After the tulips come and go, the neighbor’s bed is overgrown for the rest of the year until it dies back again in winter. Right now it’s filled with dandelions and other high weedy plants perfect for hiding bunnies. They jumped and chased and sped through the grass and between fence slats, never stopping to nibble on anything.

Then, this morning, two of them calmly nibbled their way through my echinacea. It’s fine, the echinacea is established and will come back. If they eat it down too much before it’s able to grow tough bitter leaves they don’t want, I’ll put some fencing up. I feed the caterpillars and the birds, why not the bunnies too? They’re fun to watch.

April 18: Spring beginnings

This is the time of year where I walk the garden every day to see what shoots are emerging from the ground, what’s about to blossom, and what’s already in bloom. I also like to admire the garden overall with all it’s tidy mulch I spent a week spreading.

The dogwood flowers finally opened
Tulips the deer didn’t get
Sage buds
Salvia buds
Nepeta in bloom
Snapdragons for the flower baskets
Rose bed
My front garden perch
Front of house
Back perch