Monday, June 25, 2018

I Love June!

Turns out that my garden blog has turned into a monthly recap format. Okay, works for me! I mostly keep my blog as a journal for myself anyway, while hoping that others may tune in to see what's going on here in Robin's Nest. Have I mentioned lately that I'm grateful for anyone who gives my blog a look-see? Well I am thankful that you're here. I particularly enjoy any comments left here for me. So feel free to chat at me, okay?

Let's talk about June in my garden, shall we? I suppose the main highlight of this month is the rain. Rain may be no big deal to you, but my little corner of the world generally turns dry each summer. But this June we've had generous rainfall, and like most gardeners, I'm pleased with it. Everything is green and lush, and actually a little jungle-like. I may come to regret it later on when all this growth needs to be brought under control. Right now, it just looks lovely, and I plan to enjoy it.

Another favorite part of my June garden has been the return of the butterflies. Butterfly gardening is the focus of Robin's Nest, and most of my plantings are meant to attract either butterflies or hummingbirds. So when the flutters start showing up in June, I get as excited as a child would. The first visitors are usually cabbage whites and red admirals. Although I have to admit that I am no longer enamored with cabbage whites, as they discovered the kohlrabi in my garden and proceeded to lay their hungry caterpillars all over it. Don't worry, they were all "dispatched".

But no other butterfly can match the monarch in my book. This year, I found monarch caterpillars on my milkweed before I ever spotted an actual monarch butterfly. I took them into the house to raise as I often do, and soon I had monarchs to release. The first actual monarch butterflies I spotted were my very own releases. I raised three of them, and they are now off to see the world. Just yesterday, I found 14 more eggs on that same milkweed! That's the most I've ever raised at once. It's actually the most I've ever raised all summer long. There are many other monarch maniacs who raise hundreds of these beauties each summer, but I run a very modest monarch operation here.

And then there are my ever beloved flowers. With the heat and rain that we've had, they are especially glorious this year. I did add some organic fertilizer to most of them, and that brings out even more blooms.

The roses didn't do well here over the winter, and I had to severely prune them back afterwards. But they've recovered well, and are even giving me some blooms. I didn't think I'd see much in the way of roses this year, but I'm glad that I was wrong. The bushes themselves are pretty small, so there aren't nearly as many flowers as usual. But I'm grateful for all of them, even if I have to battle the Japanese beetles for them right about now. Worst. Insect. Ever.

So yes, I love June in the garden. Who wouldn't? I'm not sure it gets much better than the month of June. It's summer, the weather is perfect, the flowers are blooming at their peak, and school is out. Aren't those some excellent reasons to love it?

Thanks for stopping by to see June in Robin's Nest!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Spring Makes a Quick Turn Into Summer

May is hands down the busiest month of the year in the garden. It's also the most delightful! There are so many new flowers coming into bloom that I'm forever photographing them all. With all these lovely blooms to share, you'd think I would have posted more frequently. Instead, the opposite was true. I was so busy planting everything that I couldn't begin to think of putting up a blog post. And when I finally went to do so, I found myself quite overwhelmed with photographs. But here I am finally trying to catch up with Life in Robin's Nest. I hope you think it was worth the wait.

Remember when we all thought that spring would never warm up? Well, it did. The cliches often say that we'd skip right over spring and move directly into summer, and that assessment wasn't very far off here in central Ohio. Our last frost was back in April, so I planted my containers early this year. While I have plenty of ground plantings, I find summer containers to be one of my favorite ways to garden.

Despite the current warm weather, we still started out the month of May with tulips. Normally they'd peak a couple weeks earlier, but were delayed by April's chill. The good part is that the chill made the blooms last extra long.

Next came all the other spring favorites, lilacs, columbines, redbuds, crabapples, and one of my personal favorite blooming trees, Chinese fringe tree. All the spring color made me almost giddy!

But the spring pastels quickly gave way to summer's more vibrant colors. I think this photo of my front walk illustrates that very point. Yes, that colorful pot on the front porch is a little jarring mixed with all the pastels around it. I fell victim to its glorious color combination while at the nursery, but when I got it home, I couldn't figure out how to make it work. The verdict is still out. When it comes to bright colors, I try to limit them to my back patio, while keeping the front a bit more subdued. I'm not always successful, because I dearly love bright colors.

And so here we are on Memorial Day weekend, when the summer season has its unofficial start. My garden is growing rapidly, and I'm already in summer mode, where I spend long hours outdoors enjoying it all. It's the season I wait for all year long!