Garden Report: May 31

So, big happenings in the garden.

The chicks are chicks no more, so we've been getting them used to the other chickens (and vice versa) while also giving them daily outside time. We fenced off half the chicken run for their exclusive use, so hopefully by this weekend we should be able to introduce them to life with the big girls. These chicks are by far the most slow-maturing we've had, so we don't want to rush them. It helps, of course, that Carole has gone broody on us again. She's the biggest pain about newcomers.

The little chickens are enjoying outside time

The big milkweed patch out front is getting ready to put on a nice summer display. This milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) is a host plant for the Monarch butterfly, and I hope I can cultivate a large enough patch of it to attract some butterflies at some point. Until then, the plants are basically weird and attract a lot of aphids, so they keep everything else looking good.

Milkweed getting ready to bloom

Also out front, in the swath between our house and the neighbors', I planted Calandrinia spectabilis, which is this gorgeous succulent with amazing flowers on long waving stems. It doesn't mind completely xeric conditions and thrives wherever I put it. Perfect for a swath-type planting situation.

Calandrinia spectabilis blooming in the swath

I also planted a clarkia, because they tend to reseed and I like reseeders. This one is Clarkia concinna 'Pink Ribbons'. It seems happy, which is good because I am giving it neither water nor food.

Clarkia concinna 'Pink Ribbons' in the swath

And yeah, it does bear mentioning that I suddenly have a lot of foxgloves. I didn't plant any foxgloves, mind you; these seem to have come back from the dead roots of last year's plants, or maybe seeds they dropped. They're quite pretty.

Volunteer foxglove in the containers

Though they're also crowding out the plants I actually did plant this year. Not that I can bring myself to weed them out.

The other container full of volunteers crowding out the plants I actually bought

The poppy monster is slowly fading, leaving behind seed pods that are drying out, so it was time to harvest some poppyseeds. A decent showing, but not really enough to do much with. I suppose a lemon poppyseed loaf or something.

Harvesting poopyseeds

On the other hand, I have a ton of cherries. Overnight the cherry tree went from almost-there to OMG CHERRIES!

Lots of ripe cherries

Over the weekend I planted one of my two container mulberries -- the Morus alba 'Pink Mulberry' -- in the spot left vacant by our old quince. There had been a quince sucker growing there that the gardeners had lobbied for us to keep, but I have no real need for a generic rootstock quince, so I pulled it out and put this tree in its place. This is a neighbor-friendly tree, because when birds eat the fruit they do not have those notorious black poops all over everything (the fruit is white with a little bit of purple tint). Even though the neighbor on that side hardly deserves the consideration, of course.

Planting the pink mulberry in the old quince spot

And one little peek, a bit of blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis for those who like a Latin name) growing in a container stack. I put this container stack together to do some tiered planting, but was not inspired to plant anything other than the one plant. A trip to the nursery may be in order.

Blue Star creeper enjoying life in a pot

The gardeners are due to make their next visit next week. I was not sure how putting off the visit would work, but after an initial jump in weeds, things have been kind of OK. We definitely need some serious weeding time, though, and given the work I've been doing elsewhere in the yard, I'm happy that somebody else is going to show up and do it.

posted by ayse on 05/31/12

4 Comments

I think one of my favorite botanist/gardener moments was being able to identify clarkia concinna in Pt Reyes and then being able to grow it in my own garden. Great plant!

Are those foxgloves? I don't grow either one, but I thought those were snapdragons.

You're right, Karen Anne. I always mix the two up because they always seem so generic.

Oh, Carol. Such a diva.

Looks like the garden is coming along... I didn't know you could actually harvest regular poppies for poppyseed bread.... It's possible you could make one of those cinnamon roll loaves with poppyseeds? Something a la: http://www.girlichef.com/2012/03/giant-cinnamon-rolls-w-buttermilk-glaze.html with poppyseeds and extra brown sugar to make a poppypaste instead of cinnamon paste.

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