Friday, April 29, 2011

Garden Tour Part Three

I'm here to show another part of our yard. This area is what we have always called the shade garden, but this spring we had two huge maples removed, so it's not so shady now! We tried to plant a new tree near the old one, but couldn't because of the roots. I'm not sure what will happen to the shade loving plants. I plan on moving a few, and keeping the rest well watered, and hope for the best.

 This shade garden is really best in the spring. The crabapple, redbud, and sand cherry are all in bloom, plus I have put in quite a few bulbs here.

I love the bleeding heart and wood poppy, and they reseed easily. A friend gave me a few bluebells and they are spredding, as are the marsh marigolds. I have slowly been adding some woodland plants, such as jack-in-the-pulpit, bloodroot, phlox, and trillium.

And you can see that I have quite a few hostas, and those ferns are a great fill in plant.

When it comes time to add annuals, I will plant impatiens around to add summer color. I also like to pot up some coleus and what ever else looks good and put them around the garden.

Well, speaking of annuals, I think I am going to the garden center today and see what they have out. It's one of my favorite things to do every year - that first big plant shopping trip of the spring. Heaven!

Oh, and on Sunday we are going to my daughter-in-law's baby shower. B-day is coming soon! I can't hardly wait to cuddle that little boy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Weekend

We had a very good weekend because we got to see all our boys. On Saturday we went to Chicago to see our oldest, Justin, who is finishing up his dissertation for a PhD in philosophy. We spent the afternoon at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Even though it is only 2 1/2 hours north of us, they are about 2 weeks behind us in spring. So we were able to enjoy daffodils and other early spring flowers again.

Look at all these daffodils!

Beautiful Japanese gardens.

Lovely flowers.

Some good ideas.
These are my handsome boys, Justin (29), and Eric (20). Eric is a sophomore majoring in chemistry. Our other son Andrew (26) and his wife couldn't come with us this time. And if you wondering about the beards, look at their dad:

For Easter dinner at home I served baked ham, cauliflower salad, biscuits, and deviled eggs. Andrew and Alison brought a warm potato salad, and meatballs. For dessert I made carrot cake. I had fun making these almond paste carrots:

I topped the cake with finely ground nuts because the frosting didn't go on very smoothly:) The terracotta bunny is from the gift shop at the Botanic Gardens.

My last crafting  project for Easter was these decorated eggs I made from blown out eggs. I painted, glittered and gussied them up with flowers, ribbon, and lace.

I did this last Thursday. All  weekend I had plugged up ears like you get when you've been on an airplane. But it wasn't until last night that I put two and two together.  If I do this again I'm getting one of those "baby baster" thingys to do it!

I hope everyone had a great weekend with their families enjoying this wonderful season.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Garden Tour Part Two

I'm back to show the next area of our yard, the herb garden. I started this garden in 1996, the same year my husband was single-handedly building an addition to our house. I was also homeschooling our boys and baby sitting several children. Don't ask me how I had the energy to do all this. I can't even imagine!

I have the herb garden informally divided into areas of plant use; culinary, tea, medicinal, and household herbs. One of the center beds is full of lavender surrounding a sundial that has been in my husband's family for over 50 years. The other center bed is for basil and dill.

I have roses and clematis on the arbors. The rose above is  Zephirine Drouhin. So pretty and grows quickly.

Rick built a covered platform for the beeskep, after several had rotted from being out in the weather. There are several thymes in front of it, though they are being taken over by garlic chives. Have to work on that!

The tulips are going strong now. I love the pink ones, but I want to move those yellow and orange ones to a different area. I really prefer pastels for spring.

This tree is not in the herb garden, but I wanted to show it. The sand cherry is one of my spring time favorites, not only for the lovely blooms, but for the fragrance. We call it the "grape bubble gum tree". That's exactly what it smells like!

Well, that's it for today. I hope everyone is enjoying their gardens and/or getting a lot of Easter crafting done. I'm thinking about blowing out some eggs and decorating them, after being inspired by Martha Stewart's special. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I was waiting for that crabapple to bloom to use in my new header. But guess what? It's not going to bloom this year. It's only done that one other year and I don't know why. Maybe because last year it produced a huge amount of apples. Oh well, I decided I'd better do this. I'm certainly not interested in winter anymore!

I thought I would start a tour of our gardens so everyone can get a feel for the layout. But a little background info: My husband bought our little bungalow in 1976 when he was 22, on the advise of his stepfather, who owned a realty company. The house was built in the 20's and was the original homestead for all the farm land that has since been sold off. (There was even an older home on this site; we can see the foundation in late summer.) Rick and I were married in 1981 and we have been gardening all this time. The gardens have changed a lot from when we started. We did much more vegetable gardening when the kids were young.  Now I'm more interested in herbs and perennials, but we will always grow our favorite veggies.

 The above photo was taken right off the deck toward the side yard.

The raised beds are for vegetables. Behind those are the strawberries, rhubarb, grapes, and raspberries. On the other side are blueberries and dwarf fruit trees. This whole area was once all vegetables.

This view is going toward the backyard. Those woods back there were once planted in sweet corn, then raspberries took over. We have let it go to trees, we like it as a background, and our compost piles are back there.

Here is what we call the south border. There are roses, lilies, coneflower, poppies, and phlox in here. I haven't gotten to edging the beds yet:)

The chickens used to be in the shed by the veggie garden and this shed was our son's blacksmith shed. But he has his own house now, so we moved the hens. The tool shed stays cleaner now!

Hope you liked the first installment of my garden tour. I will be back with some more soon.

 Happy gardening!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I'm in the Garden!

The weather this weekend was just wonderful for working out in the garden. I got so much done. Cleaned out the tool shed, divided the water lilies, planted the early spring veggies. The house didn't get cleaned, but  who cares! The garden looks great! Here are a few things that are blooming now:

A pretty white anemone.
I love the smell of hyacinths.
Pulmanaria just starting to bloom.
I tried to get some pics of the chickens, but they weren't cooperating. They kept running away from me.

I'll be showing pictures of each whole garden soon, when there is more to see! They are really at their best from mid May through June.  And I have got to get rid of that snowy header, but I'm waiting for my crabapple to bloom. Any day now!

I hope everyone had a nice productive weekend too.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Inspiration Everywhere

A while ago I was looking through a craft magazine and happened to notice an ad for Crafty Secrets. They had a tag book in red and black using their chicken stamp set. Well, I really liked that color scheme. It was perfect with the chickens. I decided to do my own version using some StampinUp chicken stamps I've had forever. This is what I came up with:

With the layout already done for me, it was fun to make it my own with supplies I had. Later I'll add some pictures of the chickens to the back of the tag.

It is so good to know that there is inspiration every where, we just have to be open to it. Don't you agree?