May 8

Hello dear readers, I’d love to share with you some photos of our garden this spring. I won’t bore you with weather talk but, like you I’m sure, we have seen extremes that have left some of our plants in rough shape.

The good news is, as we head into our third spring here, it’s really starting to feel like a garden! We’ve even given “tours” to some of our neighbors which helps me see and appreciate it with fresh eyes.

I’d like to continue showing photos of this garden-in-progress in all it’s very rough glory. I’m so bored with overly styled images and gardens without a leaf out of place, aren’t you? So, here is a wide shot of the front garden, which of course we’re still working on. I’d like to eventually get some granite blocks to replace the timber edging, widen the borders and finish planting out the raised beds.

Oh my gosh I can’t keep looking at that unfinished farm fence; I think that’s going to have to be the next project. Anyways, Jesse built another bee stand for me which is currently in use as a holding area for some first-year roses, but we’re on a waiting list for more bees and if we get lucky we’ll use it for another hive or two.

On the other side is that new bed which is now planted with some annuals (cosmos and the like) for summer bouquets. It needs to be wider but it will do for now. This grassy area that abuts it, I’d like to turn into more of prairie with native flowers and grasses and a small path cutting through. I don’t know if I’ll get to that this year.

Forgive me, but this post is going to be a bit of a ramble, as the past few weeks we’ve just been doing odds and ends, the projects we had planned put on hold. Here’s my PSA about that: I mentioned in my last post that I injured my back, but, well, that was apparently just the warm up to the real thing. Not long after I really did a number on it and it’s only been in the past few days that I’ve even been able to bend down or pick something up. I’m still in discomfort and have come to the realization that maybe I can’t do all the things I could do 20 years ago which is honestly more painful than the injury! I’m not telling you this to garner any sympathy, I wanted to share this as a friendly warning to all you gardeners out there who, I’ll just bet, are out there right now killin’ it: digging new beds, removing huge rocks, rolling one wheelbarrow after another of soil and mulch….you know who you are! Take my advice and remember to look after yourself. Stretch before and after each time you’re out in the garden. If you start feeling a bit run down let your body rest. Get help from someone else when something is too big or heavy to move and lift. I know it’s hard after a long winter, you just want to get out there, but pace yourself.

OK, enough said about that, let’s get back to the garden. Today is beautiful and sunshine-y but it’s been feeling like non-stop rain recently. I took the photos above just as the trees were starting to leaf out. They’re fully green, now, creating such a feeling of privacy.

With Mme Calvat as an exception (she has never appeared worse) the roses are looking lovely. So many buds on many of them that are just beginning to open. Above we have: Celsiana,Rêve d’Or, R. rugosa Alba.

Before I get into the rest of the roses, let’s take a final peek at the azaleas which have finished flowering for the year. They were magnificent for a few weeks!

They are also concealing a tiny cardinal nest which we only just discovered yesterday whilst weeding. Looks like we’ll be giving them a bit of a wider berth for a while.

Speaking of flowering things, we picked up this gorgeous ninebark at a plant sale the other day. The chartreuse leaves and textured bark are so appealing but it was really the frothy white flowers that got me. It’s so nice to finally have the space to put in larger shrubs. From time to time, we put in another in a section of the yard where I’d eventually like to have a long sweep of layered plants with a path that starts at one end and finishes up at the top of the rockery.

I actually have a photo of that, would you like to see? Please excuse the mulch polka-dots and unfinished beds. So embarrassing. Before my back was injured, we were getting ready to remove the turf on both the left and right side to widen the borders, run a path thru the center and make this into one connected area. Now that’s going to have to wait and just look a little silly for a while. Maybe this is one of those times when it helps to reflect on what this part of the garden used to look like.

March, 2015…

…same yard, 2 years later. At least now there are more pretty things to look at! ‘Ivor’s Rose’ and ‘Cornelia’ make such a handsome couple.

These iris are something I am excited about this spring. When we first moved in and were exploring the yard, I found tiny clumps of iris that I’ve been since cultivating. This is the first year they have bloomed and aren’t they wonderful?

Another first for us is this mason bee house recently installed and which now has little bees in it already! It’s important to not forget our native bees. In fact, now that we’re keeping European honeybees, it’s even more critical that we continue to look after the native bees by providing them the habitat and additional pollen and nectar rich plants for them to forage as the honeybees put pressure on their food sources.

As a matter of fact, here’s an update on the honeybees: the weak hive did end up getting re-queened. However, it may already be too late as their numbers have dwindled considerably. This is a tough lesson to learn about having the resources available to pull from your own stocks (frames with brood for example) which we, as beginners with only 2 young colonies, simply do not have yet. This is another reason why I put myself on a waiting list for additional bees. (I also will never choose package bees over nucs again but we did that because we have Warré hives and that’s really a whole other post.)

Told ya this post was going to ramble. Here are the rest of the recent snaps from the garden including some more roses! The rain really did a number on them so they’re not looking too hot but I don’t care I still love them. Seen above is The Generous Gardener, Strawberry Hill, Nymphenburg, Blush Noisette, Sally Holmes, Lady of Shalott, Mme Alfred Carrière, Erinnerung an Brod.

And what rose garden would be complete without it’s faithful companion, the Clematis?

Hope you enjoyed the photos and see you soon with more roses!

PS: if you live in the Asheville area, there are two upcoming events you might be interested in: First up, the Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society in conjunction with the Buncombe County Master Gardeners, Plant and Rose Sale will be held at the Red Cross Building in Asheville on May 13th. You will see an amazing range of roses for sale! Next, the ABBRS will be holding their Annual Rose Exhibition at the North Carolina Arboretum on May 27th and 28th where there will be lots of roses, of course, with members of ABRRS there to give advice and talks. (I’ll be giving a talk on Saturday at 1pm on Growing Roses in a No-Spray Garden.) Hope to see you there! 🙂

15 thoughts on “May 8

  1. Stunning! Your site is one of my new favorite finds! Stumbled on it while researching how to hang a trellis on vinyl siding 🙂 How did your hold up before you moved?

    In photo #7…is that an arched trellis? Did you make it yourself?

    1. Hi Katherine, welcome! And thank you! 🙂
      The trellis at the old house held up very well (once we installed it properly with the wood spacers.) We actually ended up taking it with us when we moved! Yup, that’s an arch that we made out of plan ol’ rebar. The two of us used an big stock tank as a jig and basically muscled it into that shape. It was actually pretty easy!

      1. Impressed! I LOVE the look of that rebar. We have a generator out back that we could try and hide but our yard is so small that will eat up a lot of real estate. Instead, we were thinking of an arbor to draw the eye up and not bother trying to pretend the generator isn’t there. And that rebar looks amazing.

        Good to know about your trellis. We have vinyl (ugh) and need to soften some of the large expanses of it, but I was afraid of damaging the siding. Your roses would have been much heavier than the clematis I plan to train on that wall, so this gives me hope.

        Happy spring!

        1. We were surprised how much we liked the rebar, too! It really blends. As for your trellis, apart from the inevitable holes for the install, you should be fine. Just make sure to leave several inches between your house and your trellis so there is air flow behind it. Have fun! 😀

    1. Hi Louise it’s so lovely to hear from you! I hope you’re doing well and enjoying spring. Would you believe that it’s actually only been 2 years since we moved in? Some days I have to remind myself of that when I’m feeling particularly frustrated. 😉 Thanks for stopping and have a great weekend!

  2. SO SO beautiful. So much work – made visible. Thank you for sharing this with all of us who love beautiful gardens and the making of them.

    1. Wooooo! I still remember lugging all those river rocks for your “dry streambed.” Guess you started me on the garden projects early in life. 😉

  3. No wonder your back is giving you troubles! Look at what you’ve done in 2 years!! Hard to believe that much could be done in that short a time. I knew you’d be giving tours. You’ll be a fixture on the garden tour route in your town. Love that iris!

    1. Thank you Andrea! Yes, I guess all this work would explain the back trouble. 😉 Sometimes (most times) we look around and think, GAH there is so much to do! And I guess it helps to remind ourselves it’s only been a couple of years. So appreciate your encouragement!

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