Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Very First Tea Party!

My wonderful friend Robin is an incredible woman. The most energetic person I have ever meet hands down. She's something like Martha Stewart on Red Bull! She cooks, bakes bread, sews, makes her own clothes, paints, makes fancy hats, gardens, crochets and much more.

Tuesday I was invited to her home as the guest of honor for a Tea party. Since I am leaving for MI in a week she thought it would be great way for some gardening friends to get together. Our wonderful friends Sarah and Janelle also attended.

The table was decorated like those you see in a magazine. Due to low light my photos are a little blurry but they work. Four different pots of tea are on the table. We each had our own cup and saucer, no two alike. Flowery place cards and napkins along side her adorable cream holders. One was a little kitty. And of course, the desert! It was a delicious trifle. I ate way more than I needed to but it was way to good.

Conversation was endless and I made sure to bring a long my favorite stash of garden catalogs to pass around. Lots of garden discussion, planning and fun was had.

Robin's yard is a beautiful cottage style garden with self sown seeds all about the yard. She is currently working on installing a small chicken coop too. When I get back in September there should be chickens scratching around.

This azalea has blossoms the size of my palms!

This is the herb and cut flower garden.

The front yard is her newest garden project.

I love the butterfly house.

You can see that her borders are stuffed with cut flowers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Growing Heirlloom Tomatoes

I have become completely infatuated with heirloom vegetables this winter. I had never really gave much thought to them until I received Baker Creek's seed catalog. I was thoroughly engulfed in heirloom madness. I want to grow them all! I suppose I will start small though.

I purchased 16 varieties of heirloom tomatoes over the weekend. Since I am new to heirlooms I wanted to experiment to see which would grow well in my zone 5 Michigan garden. I love experiments that result in delicious tomatoes!

I will purchase more plants as I find them. They are a little difficult to find as they are not commonly grown yet but I think that is all going to change over the next few years.

I bought:
Aunt Ruby's German Green
German Johnson
Mortgage Lifter
Mr. Stripey
Cherokee Purple
Caspian Pink
Arkansas Traveler
Eva Purple Ball
Great White
Black Cherry
Yellow Cherry
Yellow Pear
Black Pineapple
Dr. Wykes Yellow

I will also attempt to harvest seed from the best performers as well. That is the best way to ensure plants that will thrive in my climate for years to come.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Never Enough Garden Tours!

This is a garden tour that I took about three weeks ago. I planned on posting it then but was distracted by other events. It's easy this time of the year!

This is a private garden in Greensboro, NC. It's is a gorgeous, perfectly manicured woodland garden. He has many rare and unusual conifers and woodland plants. Dozens of Camellias adorn the yard but they were mostly finished blooming. Here is a little tour of his very large yard.

A shot of his vegitable plot. I love the raised beds.

A close up of his rock garden. Every plant in this bed is miniature.

It's an incredible collection of tiny plants. Even miniature candy tuft!

Anemone in the rock garden.

One of the many trails on the property.


I can't get enough of trilliums.

He had many Epimediums throughout the gardens.

Chinese Mayapple

The front yard! This stone wall is gorgeous.

Arisaema a.k.a. Jack in the Pulpit.

Perfect paths. His property was several acres at least and was completely landscaped!

Japanese Maples. Just two of dozens.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Two more weeks!!!

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it! A thanks to the Pointer Sisters for that line, LOL.

I am going back to MI for the summer in two weeks. It will be the first time that I have seen my garden since last September! I will arrive in time to see the daff's and the tail end of the Hellebores. Tulips, irises and alliums wont be up yet, yay! I will spend the first weekend raking up the oak leaves that fell last fall after I left. It's going to be a mess!

Beverly Sills

eeek, look at all those weeds!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Hellebore Co-op Has Arrived.

I did a post awhile back about plant co-ops. I have hosted several before but didn't think I would do anther anytime soon. Well, I was wrong. I decided to do a Hellebore co-op with Pine Knot Farms. I did one through them last year that went very well so why not use them again.
They specialize in Hellebores and grow many different varieties. I chose their Southern Belles strain and the double white, Mrs. Betty Ranicar to include in the co-op offerings.

After a few weeks of open ordering I began payment collection from my 30 participants. The money arrived on time via check, m.o. or paypal. I called PKF and payed with my debit card Monday the 21st. 10 flats of hellebores arrived via UPS today! That was fast. I quickly unpacked them and gave them all a drink. They are in great condition and very nice sized plants for the price.

Co-ops as you may know are a great way to get plants at a reduced cost or group rate. It's nice to do this when a company like Bloomingbulb offers quantity price breaks. If you really want some Globemaster alliums but don't want to pay such a huge price then asking others if they want some to get them cheaper makes sense! I hosted a Hellebore, Peony and Fall Bulb co-op last year. We ended up getting amazing deals on everything.

Sites like DavesGarden are great for hosting and purchasing. The Yahoo group BnPCo-op is great for buying.

If you are looking for great Hellebores I recommend visiting Pine Knot Farm's website. They have photos of most of their offerings.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I just drooled a bit!

Japanese Tree Peonies have that affect on me. I wish these pics were all of my garden but credit goes to Tanglewood Gardens and my friend Sarah's incredible yard.

Tree Peony at Tanglewood.

The thick double blossoms of this cherry are so sweet.(Tanglewood)

Wisteria! That's all I have to say.(Tanglewood)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pictures From Last Spring and Summer

I used my camera phone a lot last year but wish I had realized how great the pictures came out on it. I would have used it a lot more! I had no idea that they could be so clear. I finally had my boyfriend upload them on to the computer last night and I'm so excited to finally get to share some pics with all of you.

These were all taken during my Orchard Scouting days while I was in MI.

A sunflower field in full bloom in Central Lake.

A little closer.

One of the vineyards that we scout. It is very large as you can see.

A bundle of grapes in early September.

Lake Leelanau at sunset.

More incredible sunsets throughout the year.

A tiny rainbow I managed to catch while I was driving through a sweet cherry orchard.

My most prized photo. I was heading into the woods for a bathroom break (no toilets within many miles) when I almost stepped on this little fawn. Probably only a day or two old in early May. I continued to see this little guy throughout the entire summer in that same peach orchard each week.

White Morel mushrooms. I was working hard that day...picking mushrooms! Everywhere I went that day I was finding morels!

A carpet of Trilliums. They grow thick in the woods of Michigan. This is on the out skirts of a tart cherry orchard in Northport.

It's hard to believe!

Tart cherries in full bloom above a carpet of dandelions.

A perfectly manicured orchard in the spring.

An incredible storm cloud.

The largest puff ball mushroom I have ever seen. I have heard that these are edible at this stage.

A bunch of honey bees.