Saturday, April 24, 2010

Farm and Garden Weekly - week of April 18

The daffodils are the stars of the garden these spring days. That's garlic you see in the raised bed.

Little hyacinths from Old House Gardens are up in another raised bed.

Muscari botryoides, ORIGINAL GRAPE HYACINTH, 1576

For centuries, this was the grape hyacinth, but today – except for its much less vigorous white form – it has all but vanished from commerce. What a loss! It’s hardier, earlier, and bluer than the modern M. armeniacum, with upright, sprawl-free foliage. 6-8 inches, zones 3-7S/9W, from Holland

At my request, Tom has cut down all the Rosa rugosas just outside the kitchen door. I planted maybe four plants a few years ago, and they had taken over the whole area. I like roses but there were just too many. I already see things popping up which have been hidden - iris, mountain bluet, and lupine. It doesn't look very attractive now, but once the flowers spread, and I plant some others there, it shall be beautiful, I'm sure!

We've been talking a lot about what we want to do just outside the kitchen door. We now have two granite slabs for steps and then grass with some stepping stones. The sidewalk is made of little pebbles which are almost completely covered by grass now. We need to put some pavers down as a sidewalk, just like the patio (scroll down to fourth picture on the page).

But do we have a patio off the kitchen too, or do we build a wooden deck? A lot of people say a deck just doesn't go with an old farmhouse, but I'm still thinking it could be nice. I'm open to any ideas you would like to offer!

This summer we are going to replace both doors, and paint the new ones the same as the front door.

We get our honey in large buckets from Honey Gardens, and after they are empty Tom uses them for various things. This week, he filled one up with water to dissolve the honey and clean it out. As the water sat, all kinds of insects were attracted to the sweetness, including this bumblebee.

First mowing this week

The rhubarb has leaved out and stalks have poked through the soil.

And lastly, here's a good reason to keep the tag on a plant you aren't too familiar with. I bought a tree/shrub last year and planted it between lilacs and an old honeysuckle near the vegetable garden. This year I wondered what it was. And then I saw the tag!

The quality of the photos isn't very good this week, but I took most of them in the brightest sun of the day, and didn't adjust the camera at all.


  1. Nice pictures, Nan. Well, I live in the land of decks, so I think you might like one. You just have to keep up with sealing of it so the wood doesn't deteriorate. Our back yard is almost all deck because it surrounds the pool, which is partly in-ground and partly not. Our lot slopes quite a bit.

  2. The photos look just fine to me. It's so great to see the greening of the land in New England. Although I didn't go through your winter, my spirit still rejoices at the sight of the daffodils and the other plants poking up. I'm glad you shared.

  3. Lots of good things growing and going on in your neck of the woods. It looks like you can't go wrong with either a patio or a deck. I wouldn't worry about a deck not going with your farmhouse if that is what you want! You could stain it gray and it would look very cool. I also like the solid stamped/poured "slate" patios (so you don't have to mow and weed around stones or tiles -- just sit and enjoy!

    I was coming by today to tell you I just did a post with a big nod over to you. I did my first ever "at this moment" post (something I've meant to do before.) Stop by my place to read it when you have time. Happy spring.

  4. I really enjoy your farm and garden weekly feature! We mowed for the first time on Friday, and I spent some time today cleaning up the perennial beds.

  5. Love your garden tour!
    Did you mention previously that you have an herb garden? If not, that would be lovely just outside your kitchen door.
    Flagstone would be a great way to create a patio with gardens around it.
    I took a picture of a bumble bee and enlarged it as part of a gift for Kiirstin who loves bees!
    I'll have to post it next week sometime.
    I must admit, I am crazy about the rosa rugosas and would have been heart-broken to cut them down, but it works for you so I will understand:)
    And...I can't wait for the rhubarb to be ready...some great recipes await!
    Nan,loved your post!

  6. Hi Nan! It looks like Spring has come to your farm! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Kay, I love that - 'land of decks!' Boy, does your yard ever sound great! I don't think I've ever seen a picture in all these years. How I would love to walk out on the deck and go right into the pool! Whatta life!!

    Margot, Thanks so much, and it just delights me that you enjoy my little weekly journal.

    Nan, I like both your ideas and am going to give them a lot of thought. The gray in paint or in stone would fit perfectly. And it would make a difference from the patio which is more reddish. They aren't next to one another -there's a fence and lawn in between, but I have thought it would be nice if they weren't the same. I have a bunch of old Groundforce shows with Alan Titchmarsh on vhs that I'm going to watch - I remember a garden with those gray stones - in Yorkshire, I think; they were native to the area. But I liked the look. I'm so pleased you did an 'at this moment.'

    Thank you, Erin! It's still a work in progress 29 years on. :<)

    JoAnn, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoy it. It's been good for us to keep track in this way. Isn't it just great being outdoors again!

    Joanne, I don't have an herb garden. I have some perennial thyme in one of the raised beds, and perennial chives in another. I may buy a parsley and a basil plant and tuck them in somewhere. Flagstone could be really beautiful. I'll be thinking about that. Thanks. I do like rosa rugosas, and am pleased they grow here where most roses won't, but it's a smallish area and they just ran the place! I still have a group of others on the fence along the road. And I have two of the tall William Baffins which I love - they don't spread. :<) I just made a rhubarb dessert yesterday with last year's frozen rhubarb. Didn't have a chance to take a picture, but I'll make it again and will post recipe. Thank you for your kind words.

    Sherri, it couldn't be nicer! I'm sure it is gorgeous where you are!

    Thanks, Kerrie. I'll be over.

  8. Too many roses-- what a wonderful problem to have!

  9. Bookish NY, you're right!
    If they had been somewhere else, they might have been fine, but it is a small area out the kitchen door, and they were crowding everything else, including me! It feels more open now.

  10. Loving how your yard and garden is coming to life!! Please take a photo of those plants when they start blooming and spreading!!!

  11. Staci, there is a new color, flower, miracle every day. And hey, you've got a new little picture!! I like it.

  12. Spring just makes for such a light heart, doesn't it?

  13. What fun. I say go with a screened porch. That can definitely be made to be appropriate for your beautiful farmhouse.

  14. Isn't this just the most exciting time of year.?. I do love the grape hyacinths. I need to thin mine. They are no doubt an old variety. I don't remember which one. I think you should build a deck if you want it. No doubt you would use it a lot during summer. I say go for it. I love your header photo. Sheepy looks so hansome.

  15. I just love this feature, Nan! So much fun to see what's going on in your garden/yard and to see more pictures of your house.

    As far as deck vs. patio, I was going to say deck, but then I started thinking about all the snow you get in the winter. If you did go with a deck, I'd be inclined to use some of the "fake" wood rather than real so you don't have to worry about all the upkeep (sealing or staining). We had our deck stained two years ago and it's in desperate need again this year since we had snow sitting on it for such a long time this winter. I love your patio, so I think I'd opt for another with some sort of flagstone. Maybe with a pergola covering a portion of it?

    Such fun to plan! :)

  16. Yes, it does, Kristen. Each season has its own special gifts and pleasures. I love them all.

    Thomas, that's a great idea! Thanks! We have a porch on the other (west) side of the house, but it isn't screened. I'd like to have something on this side (east) of the house which was cool in the evening and sunny in the morning.

    Lisa, thanks for the encouragement. We're still thinking. Lots to do inside the house first, but I'd love to do something this summer! My sheepy thanks you.

    Les, that's helpful information! Lots of people around here have decks so if we get serious, I'll ask around about the work involved. I love the pergola idea!


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