Thursday, June 16, 2011

Farm and Garden Report - June 16

In just the ten days since I last wrote, flowers have gone by and others have come into their yearly spotlight. Every single day is a marvel, a once-in-a-seaon event. I go outside to view the beauty, or gaze out the windows as I go about my day. I like the surprising views I get from different vantage points. The maple hides most of the poppies from one window while from another that color dominates the whole scene. The bunches of iris everywhere look so amazing. When the rain topples some of the bleeding heart, I suddenly see a bit of pink among the daylily leaves, a promise of July color.

I have two William Baffin roses, bought because they were deemed good for my climate. They've lived up to the promise. They bloom and bloom and survive whatever the winter months offer them. I like the different colors.

I wondered if my iris was Japanese or Siberian, and so I looked it up and found:
Siberian iris have no beards and typical bloom in New England begins in late May or June. They have smooth, thin, grass-like leaves without the distinct rib that runs lengthwise down the middle of Japanese iris leaves.
Mine have no rib so are Siberian. We have them all over and they are such a beautiful color.

The Korean lilacs came and faded quickly with days of rain. They are not my favorite flower in looks or fragrance, but I grow them in honor of my South Korean born children.

Rosa rugosas by the barn - these are my favorites. They grow free here and live cozily beside honeysuckles and lilacs. I love this rather wild area.

The others on the hill near the kitchen door are slowly being overtaken by lupines which is what we wanted when Tom cut them all back. And the third area by the fence is slowly growing back. Tom had to cut them down after some snow and plow damage this winter. I think what we'll do is cut them back every fall, and let them grow up again in the spring.

The peonies are equally sublime and ephemeral. They change from day to day. I read a tip in the Old Farmer's Almanac Calendar:
A lit tea candle inside a peony blossom floating in a shallow bowl of water will release the flower's fragrance.

I can smell the sweet fragrance but only when I put my face quite close to the flowers. Later I saw the tips of the flowers had burned so I probably won't be trying this again. If you do, let me know if it worked.

There has this week been a wild turkey in the far north pasture where the animals rarely go to graze. The grass out there just isn't very good. And so this meadow grows - filled with wildflowers. And wild turkeys. First the strutting toms with their harems. And then the hens alone. And at last the hens and their babies. We began noticing this a few years ago. In fact those mothers were the first wild turkeys we had on our land. It was fascinating to watch the babies behaving much like human children. I remember a mother with three. Two hung close by her while the third was dashing off onto a rock. Tom's garden journal notes that last year at this time was the first spotting of babies. So far I've just seen two mothers, or the one alone, eating their way along for most of the day. Then they disappear, without me seeing them go, into the woods which are just the other side of the stone wall. In these woods for much of the spring, we would hear the gobble gobble (yes that really is the sound) of what we think is part of the mating ritual.

And speaking of babies, I wonder if there are any in the bluebird nest. I haven't heard any little peeps so I'm guessing they haven't hatched yet. That pair is so different from last year's. They are much calmer. I wonder if it is because they chose to nest in the box under the eaves rather than out on the telephone pole. Their home is much more protected, less exposed to weather and various activities. We still see them out a couple times a day, just sitting on the wire. We are quite sure now that there is just one nesting pair. No one is using the box on the pole. And we wonder where did the swallows go who used to come year after year and nest there.

As for the new 'farm' down the road, Margaret and Matthew have already picked radishes! The grass has begun growing. When I walk down, I hear robin song so my guess is there is a nest or two near their house. They are heading to Bar Harbor, Maine for a week and we get to take care of the adorable duckies!

As for the vegetable garden - check out this blur of color from the panolas (a hybrid mix of pansy and viola)!

Tom's mother gave me a few plants last spring and I soon took them out of the pots, and planted them in one of the raised beds in the vegetable garden. They spread last summer, lived through the winter, and are thriving! Great plant which I highly recommend.

We've had quite a bit of rain so every single thing is up, from potatoes to peas to beans. It is so exciting. The garlic scapes are just about ready for picking.

Poppies are impossible to photograph, at least for me. The photos make them look otherworldly, as if they are suspended in the air with no connection to their stems or the earth underneath.

And this one even shows a yellow color which is not there in real, as opposed to photographic, life.

Less than a month ago, the crabapple we bought last year was in full blossom,

and now there are little crabapples.

This most amazing time of year is about to draw to a close. We welcome summer, but really it can't compete with the diversity, lushness, green, and constant change of the springtime. Since March 20, we have gone from snow to mud to today's temperatures in the low-eighties. So much happens in the spring. We have to keep our eyes and hearts open so as not to miss a minute.


  1. so. We are sweltering. It's 2:47 in the afternoon and 99 degrees. Should top out around 103 today and here's the forecast:

    Fri - 104
    Sat - 104
    Sun - 102
    Mon - 99 (a cold front)
    Tues - 95 (a real cold front)

    and it's just June. Lord help us when August comes. :-)

  2. It is amazing to me too how your farm changes with the seasons. Just 'yesterday' all was covered in snow and cold and quiet and now there is a riot of color and activity.
    Thank you again for sharing this with us.

  3. Oh, I am just loving this. You are a few weeks behind, so, I get to enjoy all but the fragrances all over again. The rugosa roses are my favorite as well, though we moved one and it isn't too happy right now. I think I'll cut it back and give it some food and see if I can talk it back into life. Sigh.

    Your peonies look so fresh and inviting and I love your updates on all the critters.

    Off to pull some weeds and plant a few pots for the next wave of rain comes.

  4. SO beautiful Nan! I just may buy a William Baffin rose since it's good for your climate. I think we're pretty similar. Although we are not in the 80s these last few days. It's been a very chilly 55. What the heck?? :) Oh well - it makes our spring flowers last longer! My peonies will be out in a few days. Also my irises. And the lupines are all along every roadside - absolutely gorgeous!! Happy weekend!

  5. It's all so beautiful, Nan. I like the 'panolas' best... I've not seen those before.

  6. I enjoyed all of your pictures today. I wish we could send the sense of smell over the internet. I'm sure you love walking outdoors and taking in big sniffs of air.

  7. Your Farm and Garden Report is always such a pleasure to read, and the wonderful pictures you post with it!
    Thank you for yet another great company for my morning coffee :-)

  8. Your flowers are so lovely Nan. This year my peonies bloomed right before 3 days of heavy rain and the were on the ground, and ruined rather quickly. They smell so good, but not long lasting in the garden.

  9. Beautiful photos, Nan! One more beautiful than the next it seemed, but the ones of the poppies were my favorites! I did a post a few days ago on peonies...and guess what? I purchased the Nikon Coolpix camera at your recommendation and love it! It took a little getting used to, but I love its work on closeups! June 12 - I got one of some service berries that I was really happy with. Enjoy the beauty of this season!

  10. Kay, every place has its pluses and minuses, doesn't it? Hopefully, people get to live in the one that suits them best. Each landscape has its own beauty. You can probably take 100 in the summer better than -10 in the winter!

    Jill, you saying that reminds me of a post you might like to see from a while ago. I took pictures of the same spot each month, and then put them all in a blog entry.

    Sadly, two of the three dogs have since died.

    Penny, thank you so much. The Rosa rugosas just take over around here. It is hard controlling them! Our peonies are almost done.

    Kathie, did you know it is a Canadian rose?! here's are a couple links:

    It is a fantastic cold-weather rose.

    Cath, they are great little flowers. There's some info here:

    Margot, it has been a wonderful spring of fragrances.

    Thanks, Librarian!

    Diane, they sure don't last long, but oh, while they are in bloom they are just so wonderful. I've only got two bushes, and those leaves stay nice all summer.

    Nan, those poppies are so bizarre! I'm so pleased you got the camera and like it. Isn't it just so easy to use? That's what I like. And you got serviceberry! I'm delighted. I've never thought of them as a plant someone might buy - they are just all over the place around here.

  11. Your yard and gardens look so great. We just can't keep up with ours anymore and I think that's why we're talking more often about moving into a smaller place - maybe even a condo where someone else will take care of the outdoor maintenance. I do love to look at the flowers, etc. that someone like you grows though.

  12. Barbara, I'll tell ya - it's almost embarrassing how little work I do in the garden. These are all perennials that really take care of themselves. There's a little time spent weeding and then harvesting in the veg garden, but really I'm not a gardener who is out there 2 or 3 hours a day. Not by a long shot. :<)

  13. I love visiting you.
    Like hearing what is growing and comparing it to my area at the edge of Northern Tennessee.

  14. Ernestine, thank you! Do we overlap sometimes??

  15. We've had quite a stormy week with lots of rain, hail, thunder and very strong winds. No tornadoes in our immediate area, but a couple touched down nearby! It's cooler now (low 70s), but still rainy. Feels more like spring!

    I love all the beautiful flowers in your garden. The iris, roses, peonies, and poppies are so pretty! I planted a few new things this past weekend. I put in a double red peony, a couple of stella de oro lilies (yellow), some coreopsis, as well as a new Japanese Maple tree, which I hope will give us some privacy from our neighbor's back patio. I also put a lot of annuals in pots out on our deck and some in the yard. We have 2 beautiful hibiscus on the deck that make me smile every time I see them blooming.

    Happy Summer!

  16. Les, your plantings sound wonderful! The privacy thing must be very difficult. I hope the tree works. Could you do a higher fence??


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