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Friday, May 12, 2017

This week in the garden: blossoms are popping out every day

Here in the Red Oak House gardens, blossoms are popping out every day.  It feels to me much like when I had babies and I needed to be watchful, to pay attention, because each day was different, and once certain stages were gone, they were GONE.

Wednesday, Jim noticed that the bleeding hearts had opened. This particular plant was first in the front of our house, but was doing so poorly that I moved it to the back gardens where it is thriving.

Bleeding Hearts
I know, how perfect is it that we of all people would have a plant called "bleeding heart"?

Other than in Jeff's boat on the Missouri River or on a Bad Lands trail, there are not many other places we want to be this time of year than our yard.  There is just so much happening, and so much work to be done.

On Thursday, I worked to fix and replace the plant labels that this past winter's exceptionally deep snow had flattened.
The labeling operation
It is exceedingly tedious work, but I did tedious work all through my career so this is nothing new to me.  What I do relish that is very different is that I'm outside all of the time I work on this chore, where I can listen to the birds in the quiet of my neighborhood and savor the fragrant crabapple blossom's scent.  Lizzie, our Springer Spaniel, likes to follow me from place to place, and she is of no help whatsoever.  My sister (she of the famous margarita's) and I share the labeler and also share the passion for gardening. Wouldn't you know it, the label cartridge ran out before I was finished, so I grudgingly made a trip to the office supply store this morning.

Not only do I have labels for the perennials, but I also have Excel files with all of the details on said plants, including the year I purchased and where I acquired the plant.  I do realize that it may be considered a little over the top to label the plants, but remember, gentle reader, I'm a retired librarian! I've visited more than a few arboretums and gardens, and always linger to read the labels, and take notes about plants I'd like to try in my garden. When you have hundreds of daylilies and hostas, like I do, it just makes some sense, or at least it does to me, and it is, after all, my garden.
Winter Glow Bergenia, a gift from my sister-in-law Jill Power
Last fall Jim confiscated another area of grass for our new garlic bed and the vine vegetables (we are no fans of grass here and have a bare minimum needed by Lizzie for her.....well, you get the idea).  Another chore today for me was to dig a trench and put down new edging to add to all that I'd edged several years ago.  I had a stash of leftovers and I declared to Jim when I was finished that this was likely the last edging I'd ever do as there is simply no place left!
The new piece of edging left side of picture, midway.

When I go about my digging in the yard, I often think of archeologists, and how someday the next people who own this house and dig in the yard might find some very interesting things that reveal more about our lives here.  One example: I put down pennies in the hosta beds to combat the slugs.  Someone will scratch their head someday trying to figure out why the front yard is littered with pennies.  This amuses me.  Today, while digging, I found this metal tag and said "hmmmm...."
The tag says "Tournament of Roses (Jaciento) Coral Pink.  AARS" (which Google tells me is for "All-American Rose Selections")  Patent 6725
I took it in the house, washed it, and examined it more closely.  I knew immediately that it was a remnant from the rose that was in that location when we bought the house, a rose that for several years looked so straggly I finally dug it out and pitched it!   Here's what it should have looked like had it survived.  Tournament of Roses

Also on Thursday, upon his return from his fishing fun, Jim started planting our precious tomato seedlings.  Today, he finished and there are now 24 tomatoes growing in our garden.  As he plants, into each hole he places egg shells we've saved all year long in a container in the garage (we eat a LOT of eggs at this house).  I sure hope we don't get a late May cold snap.  Jim says he always plants these on May 15th and since it is so warm and the forecast is for good weather, he got a jump on it.  Oh, and he has backup seedlings if disaster does strike.  I can almost taste these now!

This is very precious to me as it is my favorite prairie wild flower, Prairie Smoke.  Last spring Jim and I climbed Square Butte, west of Medora, and dug up some of these to transplant to our yard.  I'm over the moon that it survived and is even blooming this first year.  
The very first iris made an appearance, with much more to come.  Friday I started fertilizing the iris as the experts at Schreiner's Iris Garden, where I purchase my irises (except for when my sister gives me some of hers), tell me that I'm to fertilize when the lilacs are blooming and the lilacs are showing the first hint of bloom here in Bismarck.

Over this morning's coffee on the back patio, I spied the house wren going in and out of the house we have mounted on the fence.  I know he is checking out all of the potential nesting sites in the area, but I'm so very hopeful because they have nested in this box all the years since we put it up except last year.

Then, I turned to my long list of daylily chores.  Last summer I made notations about daylilies that I needed to move for various reasons.  28 need attention this spring.  I got about a half dozen finished before I ran out of steam and time and will return to this chore tomorrow.

Time to quit, get supper prepared, have a glass of wine on the patio, and get downtown for Bismarck's annual Band Night Parade!

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