Thursday, May 23, 2013

Changeable Weather and Gardens

An exquisite heirloom peony.
EAch day recently has brought an almost hourly change of weather.  Sunshine, billowing dark clouds, bursts of rain and wind. The sun comes out and all is warm, but I'm learning to have a warm shirt or sweater handy for when the wind whips up and sun slinks behind the clouds.

Red peony, planted two years ago.
On Tuesday and Wednesday I hurried to the peony/iris garden, kichen shears in hand, to rescue peonies before they could be dashed down with rain and wind.
For my efforts I've had two gorgeous bouquets and two nasty tick bites.
[I believe the ticks are lurking on the billowing leaves of the peonies and leaping in their maddening manner onto my shirt and immediately burrowing under the waistband of my jeans to attach themselves.]

The cool, wet springtime has encouraged Johnny-Jump-Ups in odd places.

The hoped for greenhouse didn't materialize this spring and J. has kept the garage busy with his tractor projects, so no access to the wide south-facing shelves.
Therefore, pots of seedlings and house plants outside for the summer are crowded onto the edges of the front porch.
Grandson D. brought me the dark-leaved begonias when the FFA greenhouse at school closed for the season.  The little plants were crowded into tiny black plastic cells.  They are now happily expanding in roomy pots.

I pricked out some of these seedlings today and potted them on.

Photos of my porch could never feature in a prim house and gardens sort of magazine.
Using the available space to shelter and grow plants is more important than a stylized display.

Pointy leaves and emerging gum balls of the sweet gum tree against the southern sky as rain came in from the north.

J. took this shot of the fuzzy baby peaches.

Another of J.'s photos. Blueberries forming on the plants set out last spring.

We picked strawberries with wind whipping around our necks and the first raindrops spattering.
J.'s photo of strawberries and the rescued flowers.

Lowering skies in mid-afternoon.

Rain, thunder, shimmering green darkness, and finally a rainbow.


  1. Strawberries in May. Oh my. . . I just have the odd flower on the "escapees" which have set out runners amongst the raspberries. The Blueberry (singular) doesn't even have a flower on it yet. My Paeonies (2 of them!) are a long way off flowering too. Snap with the weather - cold northerly winds, heavy showers - hail yesterday (poor builders - they had just reached the top of the scaffolding at roof height with their big tub of lime render . . .) and sunshine. Half a gail blowing, then just as suddenly subsiding.

    My home would never be a contender for House and Garden either, but like yours, it is a creative and happy home, with pots of this and that all over the place : )

  2. I learn so much from your blog ...I have often wondered about Gum ball trees ...and who would have guessed that our humble Viola/violet was actually a 'Johnny Jump Up'. I am so glad you rescued the strawberries from the storm and so sorry about the ticks.Yuk.
    I think my post was a little missleading so I have made it clearer ....Barnaby the cat was the thief ...Holly the hedgehog was just playing ,innocently, on her wheel lol xx

  3. Beautiful peony, shame they drop so quickly.
    Our weather is also not good, I don't have any inspriration to buy plants at the moment, things just don't seem to be growing, its so cold.

  4. Love the peonies! So lucky to have blueberry plants. I don't think I would like to be always watching for ticks. Loved the garden strolls.


  5. I was afraid you might have lost your peaches and blueberries to frost.

    Love peonies.

  6. We've had a strange spring too. Your peaches look great.

  7. Those Peonies are stunning. About half of your pics don't seem to be there....don't know if that's me or you to blame! No one else seems to have mentioned it so I'm guessing it must be my end. I have the same Violas (Johnny jump up) as you - exactly the same colours and they've seeded too.

  8. How beautiful the peonies are! We've had rain all week, and tonight we have the s-word. Really. And it is measurable. Ah, spring in New England. Miss it? Ha! Bet you don't.

    1. Nan; In spite of having deep New England roots I don't miss the extended winters there--or in WY. The trade-off is KY in July--rather too hot and humid, but thus far, manageable.

  9. Strawberries and peonies, - delightful. The strawberries look like strawberries and I can just taste their sweetness, - so different from the great large immature fruit that we get at the supermarket this time of the year.

    1. Hildred; Supermarket strawberries are a travesty of what berries should be! Ours are small this year as we are picking from the remnant of three year old plants, but still sweet and good. We have 25 new everbearing plants in place and blossoming!

  10. Wonderful photos. That rose on your banner is a prize-winner. I always think of you when the storms start to roll around your way. But the rain makes everything so lush and green -- such a contrast to Southern California. We've had next to no rain in the last two months, but then we only get ten inches a year. The hills around us are losing their green and turning brown, but converted Californians call them golden! Those are gorgeous peonies too!

  11. Your spring weather looks very much like ours. Lots of rain and the occasional day of warm sunshine. Your flowers and fruit seem to be much further ahead. It will be another month at least before we can harvest garden strawberries or blueberries here, although locally grown strawberries ( from polytunnels in market gardens along the south coast) are available and they do taste good.

    I love the peonies. Beautiful flowers.