Pictures of the Actual Garden This Time!

The general state of neglect inside the house these past few weeks should be indicative of a perfectly manicured yard… but haha, you’re wrong, they’re both trashed! (outdoors is better than indoors though.. but much still to be done.)

We (mostly my husband, let’s be honest) reworked our dry creek bed. Our original location resulted in two, much too narrow beds on the side between the patio and the slab for the carport.

Dry Creek, 2020
Same view, 2022

As you can see in the back of that picture the river rock dry creek now runs solely under the bridge to the back deck, and also serves as a walkway out to the driveway on the side of the house. The beds on each side of where it ran before were about one and a half feet wide and washed out pretty constantly.

The new bed is 6′ wide and all the open spots are already filled with white cosmos and zinnia seeds. The back section behind the creek (with the red rose, under the window) is planted with mixed color zinnias. All other zinnia plots in the garden are solid colors, but the mixed color section back there was a suggestion from my husband.

We’re still adding edging rocks, and most everything will be mulched (and weeded) this weekend.

Birdie and a dwarf Japanese Maple overseeing the other side of the dry creek. All the open sections here are planted with Hot Biscuits Amaranth and zinnias, aside from the far right section which will be black sesame seed plants.

I planted a 7′ by 3′ plot of sorghum between the deck and AC unit, and the seedlings are just starting to emerge.

Verily, we shall survive the winter. And it looks so cool.

And I can finally show you pictures of the Ballerina rose! I still haven’t weeded, don’t judge.

Before shot- the Ballerina grew everywhere except on it’s hog panel trellis. (Canes arched 6′ away from the fence)
Now contained to within one foot of the fence
New buds, a week or so away from bloom!

So roses are related to apples, and so the fundamentals of espaliering fruit trees for greater production also applies to roses to promote more blooms. Basically you get more fruiting/flowering off of lateral branches, so you want to train them in a way that promotes more of the lateral branch production. Sounds more complicated than it is- you just tie the branches back horizontally instead of vertically. If you run a long rose cane straight up you get one rose at the top of that cane. If you weave that same cane back and forth through a trellis it produces all these short lateral stems that each will have a bloom. So now that Ballerina will be a veritable wall of flowers! And when it does it will be worth the blood, scratches, and one side of my face sunburn I got while weaving the canes into the panel!

I’ve planted Castroville basil seeds under it, but those seeds, nor the ones I planted in a pot, have germinated- maybe they are not viable anymore? I have one plant in a pot that I carried through the winter though, and while it is scraggly it can be used for cuttings to propagate from, should the need arise. If those basil seeds don’t come up under the Ballerina roses I will put in more zinnias.

We’re very zinnia heavy around here this year because we have a LOT of open ground to cover, but also because they just do so damn well. AND our middle daughter plans on upping her flower selling business this year. Additionally I helped my friend put in a bunch of cosmos and zinnias at her house as she’s intending to grow all the flowers for her sister’s outdoor wedding, but I’m growing extra as a bit of insurance.

With so many annual flowers it seems like the veggies have taken a bit of a backseat…but I do have my one tomato in. After the abysmal tomato season last year I decided to walk it back and only put in one Sungold cherry.

Verily, we shall survive the summer.

I also have 3 sweet banana peppers in, as well as a jalapeƱo. And that’s about it I guess? There is the sorghum, but that’s really grown ornamentally and for the chickens. We have lots of oregano, will put in some sweet basil this weekend along with some fennel- but that last one will be for the swallowtail butterflies. Oh yeah, but we will harvest the black sesame seed though, so I guess it’s still quasi-urban homestead over here, just not as much as in previous years. (Also the grape, blackberry, peach tree, pomegranate tree, and the lime and calamondin.)

Back to roses- the shrub roses are having a great start to the year- every one is covered in buds, with the first blooms of the season just starting to open.

Dame de Coeur rose. “What is that, velvet?”

I pruned ALL the roses quite hard in February, as you’re supposed to, and the resulting flush of new growth and buds makes me realize how important that is to do correctly every year.

The iris you can see in the background of the picture above.

The irises I liberated from the abandoned house down the street and planted along our driveway are finally blooming. I had originally decided to name them “Conspiracy Theory” irises as the guy who lived there (before abandoning the property) was a WEIRD dude with a Breaking Bad style RV he’d park in his front yard. But the neighbor who bought the house and is fixing it up (she lived right next door to said house) calls them Goodfriend irises, as that previous owner’s last name was Goodfriend. This name is growing on me, and since it was one of these irises I ended up planting at my friend’s “grave” in her Mom’s backyard instead of the yellow one I had originally intended, I think I’ll stick with Goodfriend as the name I use for them moving forward.

As for that- here is the wrap up/finale to that whole thing.

Last week I planted the purple iris and anOxblood/Schoolhouse lily bulb on my friend’s grave/rock in her Mom’s backyard; and I did it on a day when her Mom was out for a few hours (unintentional, but nice as I could be alone with my thoughts) and I also installed a firework style solar light.

I’m not generally for a lot of the decorative solar lighting, but… I don’t know, something told me it would be a nice touch if I could find the right one. I tested the one I decided on in my key lime pot for a week or so to ensure it wasn’t tacky, but also that it wouldn’t crap out immediately. Trying to capture it in a picture was really difficult- but it was (no exaggeration) spectacularly cool.

I took many pictures, and this blurry black and white one captured what it is like the best, weirdly.

The light has lots of thin wires with three tiny LED lights along the length of each one. It has good movement and is quite graceful… and shockingly bright for a solar light. It comes in a two pack, so there is a backup in case that one burns out. Found here.

To me, standing back up from planting that single fan of iris and the bulb and “installing” the light (pushing single post in the ground) it seemed to be done so fast. I worried the gesture wasn’t grand enough of a sendoff or something I guess.

After I was done planting I told her she’d been a good friend, that I would miss her, and to try to find some way to let her Mom know she was okay.

I then left and proceeded to be very, VERY sad for a few hours.

And then later that day her Mom called me crying, about how beautiful it was and to thank me so much for doing it. She asked if the firework was a sculpture or if it would light up, and when I told her it did light up she said she could not wait to go out there that evening with her husband.

She then called me the next day to tell me how amazing of a moment she and her husband had the night before, how much she loved the light all lit up and the iris, and that it brought her so much joy. She said she stood out there and told her daughter to be good in heaven and that her grandparents would report back if she wasn’t. She laughed as she told me that- which was good to hear in her voice.

Her Mom invited me to dinner soon, and Lucas and I will go (ala Nancy and Steve with Barb’s parents from Stranger Things, I guess?) and I may check in on her periodically afterwards.

I hope the Oxblood/Schoolhouse lily blooms in the fall, and I hope the Goodfriend iris thrives by her rock.

For verily, she was a good friend.

3 thoughts on “Pictures of the Actual Garden This Time!

  1. Your garden is so beautiful, Lauren. And I love, love, love the story of how you planted flowers for your friend. It sounds like you are bringing a lot of comfort and a spot of beauty to her parents. What a kind and loving thing. I am so sorry she’s gone, and I hope this brings you peace and comfort as well.

  2. You have a beautiful garden, Lauren. Nothing is ever perfect, so I’m allowing for some areas that still need work, but that’s the beauty of a garden. It’s always a work in progress, and yours is lovely.

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