Garden Report: May 4

Everything is in bloom now. We had one of those outstandingly early springs (the fruit trees are pretty much all over now), but everybody else is stepping up to the task of making the yard all pink and white.

The orchard in spring

Here we have the orchard, with the deck construction zone carefully left out of the picture. It still feels very sparse in there, with all the weeds pulled out and not much else to replace them, though some of the plants I planted a few weeks ago are investment plants that will grow to fill their space.

Nelson irises in bloom

For example, I give you this Nelson iris patch. I've been dividing these and giving them away and they just keep growing strong, everywhere I put them but especially here, where they live in a somewhat swampy low part of the yard.

Chickens in the irises

I suspect that the swampiness has contributed to an interesting bug and slug ecology there, because the other day I let the chickens out to free-range, and they could not leave the irises alone.

If anybody local would like any Nelson irises, let me know. We need to dig back this patch and get them off the sprinkler they have grown over, and the only other place for them to go is the compost bin.

Container garden out front

Speaking of irrigation, The newly-irrigated containers out front are thriving, which leads me to believe that most of the tragedies I've had with container gardens are due to inconsistent watering (which is not surprising; I know I don't have the attention span to keep up with watering everything by hand). This gives me more reason to put in irrigation circuits for the containers I have out back, as well.

I'm also redoing much of the system. The sprinklers I have don't work very well with mulch, so I bought a bunch of dripper tubing to see how it works. I'm going to start with the orchard trees, which have outgrown the sprinklers, anyway. If the tubing works well I'll replace all the sprinklers with drippers where it makes sense. Given the volume of water we need to move, I can't use many of the low-flow water-saving irrigation fixtures that would make sense if we were using city water for irrigating, but I'm going to see what I can do.

Poppy monster in bloom

The second variety of poppy in the poppy monster (which is actually three plants leaned up against each other) is now blooming (the seedheads from the first are there at the back). These things are huge: 6 inches across and poofy and crazy. I think this one was "Sugar Plum."

Very tall lily

In other very tall plant news, the giant Oriental Lily in the back is bigger and better than ever. I have tried digging this out a couple times but I think it is much further down than I expect. What I end up digging out are little lily pups, which come up OK. The mother lily evades me every year.

Cecile Brunner in bloom

Have I mentioned how wonderful it is to have the Cecile Brunner pruned by somebody who doesn't have any compunction about cutting it into a workable shape? We can actually mow the lawn without getting snagged on a rose cane, and without having to lean boards against it to hold it back.

Rose hedge blooming

This is a good year for the roses. The rose hedge, after surviving last year's retaining wall construction and double heavy prunings, looks to be recovering nicely. Everything is still a little small but I will help them along with a big summer feeding of worm castings and alfalfa, and I might even run a drip line under them to see how that works as far as disease. I also got rid of several roses I was not crazy about, though I still have more to replace. I'm slowly getting rid of the roses that are just bristling with thorns, for example.

Baby pumpkin

And in the unexpected surprises category, a baby pumpkin. More than one, actually, as a result of not thoroughly cleaning up after Barfy Pumpkin last year. I think I'm going to let it grow and see what happens.

posted by ayse on 05/04/12