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May is a month of insanity. Between graduations, gardening, Mother’s day, end of the school year band concerts, plays, ceremonies, and in our house we have kids in soccer, baseball and track and a few of them are in all of these sports AT THE SAME TIME! Fortunately, the month of May is about over and it looks like we are going to survive it. In addition to all the other goings on around here, I decided to fix up an area of foundation plantings in front of the house. I was never satisfied with what used to be in this spot and have long wanted to tear everything out and start over. This Spring, I finally tackled this project. I built a stone pathway to the hose, tore out some old shrubs that looked terrible, planted a few new ones, added three Hostas as “filler” and jabbed some flowering Vinca in the remaining bare spots. Check out the photo!

I know!
It’s not much to look at when you consider all the work involved, but I think by the end of the summer it will start to fill in a bit and look pretty good and then in a few years… well you just wait. I think it is going to look great and certainly better than what was here.

The shrubs I planted around the stone walk are two oak leaf hydrangeas, one pink diamond hydrangea, and a red wing viburnum.

Ridiculously excited about the Red Wing Viburnum.  It’s got all sorts of bells and whistles.  Spring flowers, red tipped leaves and in the fall a nice bright red color.  How can one possibly ask a shrub to do more?  Oh!  How about flower all season in large conical blooms that slowly urn from creamy white to pink to red?  Why that would be your Oak Leaf Hydrangea!  A shrub that I may or may not have had a hot steamy affair with during my first season as a Garden Center employee.  Trust me, you don’t want to know.  But what about a massive shrub that will form an excellent backdrop to all the other plants in this area, cover the two unattractive gaping holes underneath the porch and be covered in blooms all summer long?  Oh!  Why that would be the Pink Diamond Hydrangea!  So yes!  I am kind of a genius when it comes to choosing a shrubbery!  This can’t possibly be bragging when it is simply the truth!

In other news…

I picked my first batch of beets today.

Just call me Dwight Schrute!

Beets are very pretty plants, but I am struggling with finding a way to prepare them that doesn’t involve sugar and vinegar.  Not really interested in borscht either.  I don’t mind a few cold beets in a salad, and I can eat a few roasted beets, but surely there are other interesting ways to prepare this veggie.  If anyone has any recipes, please help!  I’ve got tons of these things in my garden!

Lastly…

I went antiquing with my mom this past winter and purchased the above flower vase.

I have been very excited to put this vase to use and today was the day!

I tramped around the yard cutting cone flowers, Victoria blue salvia, Helenium, Russian sage, and yarrow.

And here’s the first bouquet of the year!

Isn’t that vase great!

I am so glad I bought it.

I’ve said this many times before, but I really do love growing flowers so much more than veggies.

Sometimes I think about chucking over the vegetable garden and just going all flowers all the time.

Because this whole beet thing…

It’s just not turning my crank.

I kind of went crazy planting lettuce this year.

There were so many wonderful sounding varieties available at the Abundant Life Seed company where I placed my seed order, that I think I went a wee bit overboard…

The varieties I grew are as follows…

Green Salad Bowl
Cimmaron
Sunset
Tomahawk
Super Jericho
and a Mesclun Salad Blend.

As far as taste goes – they are all wonderful in the early cool of spring, but we had a hot streak in May and almost all of the lettuce became bitter at that point except for the Green Salad Bowl which is the lime green curly lettuce that looks like typical garden lettuce. Because of that, it’s the only variety I will order again next year… along with a few more varieties that I still need to try. But I will attempt to keep a slightly cooler head with next year’s order.

My Broccoli Harvest

June 16th, 2011

This is my broccoli harvest.
After growing these plants from seeds, nurturing them through the winter months, transplanting them to the garden and encouraging them to grow for the past eight weeks, this is what I get.

I actually cut about this same amount a few days ago and chopped them up in an omelette for the CD and myself, but this batch did not get the star treatment.

Instead it got mercilessly added to a pot of Ramen.

And this shall be the fate of all the other veggies in my garden who choose to perform so poorly!

You. Have. Been. Warned.