Happy May Day! A welcomed return of mild weather from last week's horror. The Amaryllis are in full swing. I hear from the kids a few times a day, "The Armadillo's look so beautiful!" Being from New England, this wonderful flower was never a perennial option. What I love about these lovelies is that even after they are done showing their blooms, they fill the flower bed with their deep, green folage for the rest of the year. They flourish when they are divided in the fall. I started with a few plants, and now have them spread throughout the beds surrounding the house.
Picking a favorite plant is like picking a favorite child, impossible. I always admire the shade plants. I love the different textures and cool shades. Ferns and Hostas always a must. My favorite fern is the Japanese Silver Leafed. A wonderful, sturdy, low growing, dwarf-like fern with incredible grey, blue, purple hues. I have them mixed with the White Astilbe's and petite Blue Hostas. I put the larger leafed Hostas around the Hydrangeas. I'm a huge fan of the Oak Leaf Hydrangea. I love adding Coleus' in pots around with their multiple varieties of colors. My motto is always to mass plant. Plant many of one kind. It may take me years to fill a flower bed, but I am patient, divide and buy a couple more every year to add. It just takes a few years for the beds to "beef-up". This is all such easy care. Just clean dead folage away in the fall and wait until spring for the show to begin again.
It's mid June and so many things are starting to fill up our spare refridgerator. Of course, the zucchini's and yellow squashes are an every night dinner event. The banana peppers are exploding and the bell peppers are not far behind. The eggplants have started to form fruit. The beans are a gift that keeps on giving. The tomatoes and cucumbers are ready for an all out asault. I am still lucky enough, even in these 90 degree days, to be harvesting lettuce. I planted this awesome variety called "Heatwave". And man oh man, have they lived up to their name. Will definitely plant these again next year! I covered the blackberry bushes this week to protect those gobbs of berries getting ready to turn black. The birds and those lovely Japenese Beetles love those vines. We will be picking blueberries this weekend. I promised my husband I would wait, because I have a bad habit of "grazing".
The last few years, as I pass by our fig trees, I would stop and pick a few figs, then a few more, and a few more. You get the idea . He actually hasn't even eaten a fig yet! I promised this year would be his year. (But only time will tell. sshhh) The flowers are fabulous. There are zillions of zinnias along with the hydrangeas (which I adore as cut flowers!) I have a ton of basil that I use in with the cut flowers (It smells wonderful!). The sunflowers are 5 ft tall ready to bloom. Can't wait to see them! There were people on main street in our town that had what looked like a huge dirt/manure pile up by the road. Last summer they planted hundreds of sunflowers all over the pile. It was stunning! It just made my day everytime I drove by. That is what motivated me, to at least, plant a few this year.
The gorgeous Zinnia's (one of my favorites!) have just started to bloom this week! BUT....the battle of the bugs begins! Early this morning, I happended upon a family of Japenese Beetles gorging themselves at the Zinnia food bar. I caught them before they woke up from their slumber, after what was no doubt a Thanksgiving sized meal for their growing bodies. I captured all dozen or so and lovingly passed them on to the chickens for a yummy breakfast treat. "Circle of Life" you know.