Spring is Here!

I’m pretty sure that the universe really wants me to post some photos of flowers today.  Why, you ask?  Three reasons, primarily.  First, Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge is FLOWERS.  Second, the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is SPRING.  And third (and most importantly of all), my yard is in full bloom!!!  Look at the beautiful spectacle I was greeted with upon arriving home from work today.  Spring is really here!!!

Cherry Blossom-lined street

In addition to the blossoming pink cherry trees that line the street in front of our house we also have weeping cherry, pear, and crabapple trees that are all blooming.  Combine those with my daffodils, viburnum, vinca, and potted dahlias and that makes for a pretty amazing Spring scene!

Unfortunately the deer have also realized that Spring has arrived and they are doing their best to gobble up the tasty tulips and azaleas as quickly as they can grow.  This was never a problem in the past because Bailey patrolled the yard like it was her job, but it has now become clear that the deer have learned that their german shorthaired nemesis is no longer around to harass them.

Here’s an example of deer destruction in my tulip bed.  Photo 1 is from last summer, 2 is what the baby tulips looked like in late March before we went to California, and 3 is what they look like now.  Ack!!  I have since pushed several pointy sticks into the flower bed (photo 4) to try to prevent the deer from wedging their heads in to snack… it’s not pretty but so far it has worked!

All deer issues aside, after the long, cold winter we had it is really wonderful to finally experience Spring.  I’m going to try to spend as much time as possible outside enjoying the weather this weekend, starting off with a 5K trail race tomorrow morning.  Wish me luck!

Springtime at our house

The Many Colors of July

Matt and I bought our house in the Winter of 2011 and when our first Spring rolled around I was disappointed to discover that there were very few flowers planted around the house.  I decided that I wanted this Spring and Summer to be much more colorful so we’ve been hard at work digging new flower beds, planting dozens of bulbs, making our own compost, and starting flowers from seed.  We’ve been rewarded with some gorgeous blooms so far this year and I’m excited to see how everything will continue to grow!  Here are some photos that I took on Tuesday:

This lovely bright pink zinnia is growing in the new bed that we dug outside of  our front door. I’m especially proud of it because it is one of the plants that we started from seed back in February.

We also started these painted daisies from seed. The bee landed on the flower as I was taking the photo.

These colorful little “superbells” are growing in a lime green container along with some pink blanket flowers and white Asiatic lilies.

I bought a few bags of Dahlia bulbs at Home Depot in the spring and about half of the flowers are this rich, deep red color. The other half are “peppermint” Dahlias… keep reading to see what they look like!

We planted this small purple-flowered tree in a container last Summer and, although it was supposed to be an annual, we kept it inside over the winter and it’s blooming again. I can’t remember the exact name of the plant but I think it might be in the Solanum family.

This clematis was one of the only flowering plants that came up in Spring 2011. It is planted under an overhang in a very shady spot and it’s “dirt” is a bed of river rocks… I don’t know how it survives without any water, sun, or soil but it seems to be doing well!

Last but not least, here’s a peppermint dahlia!

Oh… and on another note, I ate my first Red Tomato today!!  It was delicious!

Gardening Update – One Month Later!

You may remember that back on St. Patrick’s Day I prepared my little garden plot for the new year and planted spinach and beans.  I posted several photos of the signs of Spring at that time (crocuses, our first daffodil, cherry buds, etc.) and, as one would expect, everything has continued to bloom, bud, and grow since then.  I figured since a full month has gone by it’s time for a new garden/yard update so here goes!

Last Fall Matt and I planted close to 200 daffodil, tulip and crocus bulbs. Since the first daffodil sighting in mid-March we’ve had dozens of these cheery flowers blooming at any given time. I think the key was to buy a mixed variety pack because as one type of daffodil starts to wilt there always seems to be a new type of flower coming up to replace it!  You can also see one of our tulips blooming in the background here.  (Photo from 3/30/12)

The beautiful weeping cherry tree in our front yard surprised us this year by blooming about a month earlier than last year.  This photo is from about 2 weeks ago so by now the blooms have already been replaced by tiny green leaves.  (Photo from 3/30/12)

Even our vinca is blooming!  This groundcover vine literally holds our front yard together — we have had some major erosion and the water has cut paths in our front lawn.   Luckily this vinca is the last line of defense before the road and it seems to withstand the gushing currents of rainwater pretty well.  We’re going to try to divide it so that it covers more of the front yard.  (Photo from 3/30/12)

We have two flowering bushes near our patio that smell absolutely wonderful.  I did some searching on the internet and I’ve concluded that they are most likely Viburnum Carlesii (but if you think otherwise please let me know!!).  The bushes have clusters of sweet-smelling flowers that start out as dark pink buds and then open up to pale pinkish-white blooms.  We may try to find and plant more of these fragrant bushes around the yard.  (Photo from 4/7/12)

OK, OK, I know that this is not technically a photo of the garden and I know that Bailey’s face is completely out of focus here, but I think that this photo captures the feeling of Spring at our house very well.  The grass is getting greener, the sky is nice and blue, the trees are budding, and Bailey is spending most afternoons lounging in the sun.  When we’re outside (and she’s not busy hunting squirrels) Bailey loves to play catch.  In this photo she was scooting towards me in the grass on her side.  By this point she had pushed about 10 feet and she REALLY wanted me to throw that tennis ball!  (Photo from 4/7/12)

Last Saturday we braved the crowds at the Home Depot Garden Center in Glen Mills, PA and picked out several container plants including these two mint plants.  The one on the left is “Chocolate Mint” (so named for its chocolate-brown stems) and the one on the right is “Sweet Mint.”  (Photo from 4/15/12)

While at Home Depot we picked up a flat of Marigolds and I planted them in a large container with a Day Lily, Onion Chives, and Sweet Marjoram.  On our drive home a huge bag of potting soil fell on the Marigolds but they seemed to have recovered from this traumatic experience and are doing quite well now.  (Photo from 4/15/12)

And here’s my garden!  My spinach is coming up nicely and we were even able to use some of the thinned spinach shoots in our Sausage-Corn Scramble on Sunday morning.  The bean plants were much slower to sprout (I guess they don’t like to be planted in March??) but now they are above ground and growing fairly quickly.  I just planted moonflowers and morning glories in the bare strip in the back there so hopefully they’ll be working their way up the trellis soon!  (Photo from 4/15/12)

Last but not least, here’s a photo of our front yard.  We have cherry, crab apple, and dog wood trees and they were all in full bloom this weekend.  Beautiful!  I think mid-April is quickly becoming my favorite time of year simply because of these gorgeous trees.  🙂  (Photo from 4/15/12)