Friday, May 29, 2009

What to do with this juniper?

We planted this juniper shortly after we moved into our house in 2003.

I thought it would provide a sturdy anchor for the front landscape. But it is getting quite tall and too narrow for my liking. Recently, a blackbird created a nest in it and everytime I went out to garden, I'd have the mother bird flying around the tree, chirping - just to make sure I knew her eggs were inside.

Neither one of us huge fans of birds anyway, my husband and I carefully removed the nest and put it in another evergreen away from the house. The mother bird found it and I think she's just as content.
Can you cut the size of these down? Would I damage the tree by doing so? Would it look awkward? I'm clueless.

Maybe an arborvitae would have been better for that more round look. What's that cliche, "hindsight is 20/20"?

So some advice please - can you reshape it (or shave off some of the top) - or should I leave it as is? Is there a special technique? I don't want it to look as if Edward Scissorhands got a hold of it!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to all

Today, I will celebrate Mother's Day with my family - mainly outside - working on projects that need our attention. The sun is shining and I can already feel it will be a nice and productive day. My hubby and our teenager have a busy day a head of them with my to-do list.

I think one of the cutest Mother's Day traditions is the school projects kids make. Flowers seem to be the central theme which would make me smile anyway. My oldest daughter decorated a terracotta pot with translucent beads and sparkles and filled it with snapdragons and pansies. That's a keeper.

Mommy's little helper, a first-grader, could hardly contain her excitement when she handed me a large envelope. In it was a poem, her handprints and a packet of seeds. She told me her teacher gave her three flower choices. She chose cosmos, she said, because she remembered I liked them because we had planted some together at home. What a sweet Mother's Day memory. That encapsulated what Mother's Day and the love of gardening is all about for me.

It made me think of my own mother. I'm sure today she is busy tending to that big garden in the sky and how glorious that must be. I posted a photo of impatiens today - one of her favorite flowers - in memory of her.

I read this quote recently and I think it's quite fitting. Happy Mother's Day to all of you. Enjoy your day with your moms, your kids or in the great outdoors.

If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden.

- Claudia Ghandi

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My garden, my friend

I am enjoying getting lost in my garden again.

I can't wait to get home from work and see what grew in those eight hours since I last checked them. It's such a welcome reprieve from the stress that I feel lately - like when I'm having a bad day at the office, or the family is driving me nuts or when life is giving me lemons and I'm too exhausted to try and make lemonade.

It is then that I turn to my good friend - my garden. She rarely disappoints me, and if she does, I'll always find a reason to forgive her. She has been with me in good times and bad and no matter what comes my way, I can always find comfort in her. And this week, I need her.

Enough of my drivel. Let's look at what's happening outside ...

This lungwort is almost blossoming and is very lush. I think the pink blossoms are a week away. I love the spotted leaves.

This terra cotta-colored yarrow is getting quite big already for being only early May. I hear these spread rapidly. God only knows what this will look like in August. Yikes!

I transplanted this perennial bachelor button (Centaurea montana) this spring. I was a little nervous having it in the backyard after all the deer feasted in their growing area so I moved it to the front of the house. It transplanted incredibly well.

My good friend Ang gave me this special breast cancer-themed dahlia. Problem is.... the tag doesn't indicate if it's a perennial or annual and I've never grown dahlias. Can someone tell me what to do with it?!?!? Is it better potted in a container or in the ground? This plant has extra special meaning to me as my mom (aunt and first cousin) all had breast cancer.

I'm trying to keep the field rock look in my backyard and took out all the pavers around this portion near the deck. For Mother's Day, my husband said he'd create a nice sunny corner for me near the deck too (pictured below). I can always use another sheltered sunny location.

Any ideas for this area?

And now to my "What is up with this?" section:

This cushion spurge is barely there - I'm afraid it has winter kill. Does this look healthy to you?

Same goes for the Russian Sage - I see it starting to come up all over town but not in my backyard. Does this look like it's gone? Is it OK to Miracle Grow these plants - or is it too early?