Monday, December 23, 2013

Looking Back

Sorry to be so quiet here on my garden blog. Like so much of the country, we've had bad winter weather already, and my garden has long since gone to sleep. And we all know how busy life can be during the holidays. So I thought I'd wrap up with the traditional "year in review" type post. Last January, there was a lot of nothing going on out in the yard. I had one lone flower to share, a petunia that I had managed to keep blooming for many months, on my kitchen windowsill.

In February, life in the garden began to slowly appear. A few bulbs peeked out, and the snow melted enough to see how pretty the Angelina sedum can be once the cold hits it. This is my absolute favorite winter interest plant. 
Now March is when the garden got down to business. The hellebores began to bloom, and the early bulbs popped out. It's enough to get a gardener all excited for the upcoming season! You might think the first bulbs would be crocus, but at my house, the first to appear is always iris reticulata.

 Ah, sweet April. This is when the bulbs came up all over the place. Daffodils, crocus, tulips, hyacinth, pansies, flowering trees, a gardener hardly knew where to look next. The weather softened, and it really started to feel like spring. 
 When May came along, it was time to get down to business in the garden. Time to plant! The best part of May is when the roses started to bloom. 
June is when everything really started to bloom. And it was all about the colors. Every flower in bloom seemed even more colorful than the one before. This past June is also when our new patio was installed, so we had some work to do getting it landscaped afterwards. Totally worth it! 
The main attractions this past July would be the appearance of the vegetables, the arrival of the butterflies, and the big blooming period for the summer annuals. 
August was the month we decided to build our tiered herb garden. All we had to go by was a picture, so it took a lot of thinking to figure out how to make it happen. We loved the results, and having herbs growing right outside the kitchen door was ever so handy. It didn't take long before these little plants grew and grew to fill the space. 

I'm pretty certain that I spent most of September dealing with my garden produce. There were lots and lots of pickles produced, and jars and jars of salsa to enjoy. This particular picture came from the day I made a lovely batch of gazpacho. I also chased countless butterflies around the yard, trying to get them to pose for me. Funny how they refused to cooperate. 
 There was still a lot of life to see in the October garden, but things quickly faded when frost threatened. The dahlias were so gorgeous this year, so one frosty night I gathered huge bouquets of them for vases all over the house. 
By November, the flowers were pretty much gone, taken down by frost. But the leaves were just as colorful as the flowers once were. 

And so we come back to December. It's been a very good year, in the garden, and otherwise. Thanks for visiting Life in Robin's Nest, and stay tuned for whatever 2014 may bring! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Farewell to Fall

Well, it's time to say my final goodbyes to autumn here in Central Ohio. The trees are all bare now, I'm sad to say. But earlier this month, I made a trip out to Dawe's Arboretum and there is where I really said farewell.
 This quiet park is one of the finest in this area. Because it's an arboretum, they concentrate mostly on trees and shrubs, not flowers. The advantages of using trees becomes obvious every autumn.

One of the best parts is the fact that they use an auto trail around the park so that you can see it all without having to hike mile after mile. This makes it accessible to all. Of course there are numerous turnouts so that you can stop and enjoy each pretty spot. Boy did I ever!

I know about using different colors and textures in your landscaping, but I don't think I've ever seen it done so well as here.

This living sculpture, that spells out Dawe's Arboretum, can only be seen fully from the air. But if you climb the tower at one end, you can get a pretty good view of it.
 Well, the sculpture is just one beautiful thing you can see from the tower.

That lake was just so beautiful that I had to get up close and personal with it.

I have to admit that I drove through the auto trail twice, just so I could make sure that I didn't miss anything. But something sad happened on that second go round. My camera battery died, so I had to switch over to my phone camera. So the rest of the pix here may not quite be up to snuff. But it was such a gorgeous park that hopefully you will barely notice.

As I went to leave, I found a smaller traditional garden, and that's where I found this colorful carpet view. What I particularly like about this part of Ohio is the rolling hills, and this is a good spot to see them.
So farewell beautiful fall, I'll see you again next year.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November in the Garden

Years ago, I thought that the garden season ended with the first frost. I'm so glad that I was wrong.

Now I know better, because a garden can actually be interesting year round. Every November, I am surprised to find flowers still in bloom, even after they have been kissed by a few frosts.

Tonight we are expecting a killing freeze, so that will be the end of the these last flowers. It's always a sad day for gardeners. It will take more effort to find the "interesting" that I mentioned earlier.

Soon the fall colors will fade, and much of the landscape will turn to shades of browns and grays. It's a tough time for color lovers like me.

The winter interest I mentioned will be the dried grasses and flower stalks left behind. That's why it's important to use evergreens in the landscape.

I have to say that some of my ground cover plants are nearly evergreen, like this Chocolate Chip Ajuga and the nearby Dead Nettle, or lamium. Honestly, the lamium often sneaks out a flower here and there even in January. That's why I let it go a little crazy out front. It's worth it.

The last tree to lose its leaves around here is the ornamental pear planted by the city in the easements throughout our town. I look forward to this sight every year. I've always called it my clown tree, because it has so many colors at once. But someone else called them The Skittles Trees, and I like that even better.

November in the garden, who knew?