Early blooms and produce another garden update

The weather here has been great!  Hot days, rain every couple of days, the plants are loving it.  There are lots of early blooms on everything. I am almost ready to harvest my first pepper.  I have probably had my first pepper come due in June before, but never this early in the month.  This guy isn’t quite ready to harvest yet, but it will be within days.

huge hungarian pepper

Not only that, look how loaded the plant is with more peppers.

pepper abundane

I am seeing a lot of stuffed Hungarian peppers in my future and it looks tasty.

Also, look at all the blooms on the tomato plants!!!

tomato blossomsAnd teeny tiny buds on the eggplants.  They are such pretty flowers, they are worth growing even if you don’t eat eggplant.

eggplant_flower_buds

The hostas are also full of buds that are ready to open.  In the past they have always bloomed around the second week of July.

Hosta buds early blooms

My Gooseberry plants are loaded with fruit.  I am hoping to have enough to make some jam.

gooseberries loaded with fruit

I have also had a chance to do some rearranging and redesign.  Remember how I am trying to create some lower maintenance in the gardens?  I planted some green and white hostas in concentric rings underneath the apple tree at the end of this garden.  They radiate out in a tight pattern from the apple tree’s trunk.  They look pretty sad right now and the pattern is hard to see, but I think it will look really cool next spring when they all fill in.  I’m going for a hosta ground cover that will help to keep the weeds down.  Fingers crossed.

hostas_formationLast, but no least, the kids are loving all the visitors that have been showing up in the gardens.  Here is this little guy that we found a few days ago.  the stump of an overgrown evergreen that I hacked apart is a nice place to hide and probably a great place to catch a buggy meal.

garden toad

decorating with trays challenge

Decorating with Trays Design Challenge

Last month I joined a new Facebook group.   I wanted to participate in the monthly challenges and this is my first one.

I have been trying to finish start decorating my living room.  I have been debating about a color scheme, but I have been leaning toward a delft/ royal/ china blue and white pop of color.  About a month ago I pulled out some of my many blue decor pieces and put together this sad display.  The pedestal gave it height, but it just wasn’t quite dynamic enough.  I wasn’t happy with it, but didn’t have time to tweak it and I was lacking inspiration.  Enter the June Decorating Enthusiasts Decorating Challenge, decorating with trays.

decorating with rays before

At first I was going to do something on my dressing table with a tray, but that seemed a bit to expected.  I only have a few trays, so I started brain storming.  I dug out this frame turned tray that was a hand me down from the Hub’s Grandparents.  I believe his Grandmother used it on her dresser and it has the wear and charm on the mirror to prove it.  Grandpa added rubber feet to the bottom of it to protect the furniture.

frame turned mirror

Anyway I kept the same basic configuration, but place the whole thing on the tray.  Then added a bit of greenery with a cluster of green and white hosta leaves,  and a bunny figurine.

hosta leaves greenerya candle

candle clusterand a bunny figurine.

bunny figurine decorating with traysThe mirrored surface really adds depth to the whole vignette.

mirrored tray vingette

The lacy edge of the tray adds texture.

decorating with trays challengeSo now we have a family heirloom out of storage and on display and some interest that will give a bit of life to the corner of the living room.

What a difference a tray makes!  I am so glad that I did this challenge.

You can find more entries to this challenge here

Artsy Chicks Rule

Confessions of a Serial DIYer

Our Southern Home

Refresh Restyle

Restoration Redoux

Top This Top That
Visit everyone on the Decorating Enthusiasts Facebook page

Installing mowing strips another garden update

Last week we a few rainy days.  And was the rain ever welcomed!  We have had one of the driest Mays and springs that I can remember.  Before the rain came, I managed to fit in this project.  I don’t have a before of this garden, but I was able to take bricks from it to create a mow strip in another area.

front stone bed

In an effort to lower or automate some of our yard maintenance, I have been Installing mowing strips around the gardens. Mowing strips are a great way to add interest to a garden edge and add a practical barrier between grass, weeds or even garden beds that you want to keep separate.  This is a small herb garden that I like to keep near the house for convenience.  It gets quickly overgrown at the edges and needs frequent edging.  Also, the shape makes getting in close to mow around it difficult, exacerbating the issue.

before mow strip installation before installing mow strip

These bricks were around a small bed in the front yard stacked in one single layer and a second partial layer.  I am really not a hug fan of this style, especially with our house.

creating mow strip

I eliminated a small unruly ring of gorgeous field stones from around a tree in the back and was able to free up a few more to redo the bed in the front yard.  The hubs took on this project and straightened the ring around the tree so that it had a perpendicular ending to the walk and driveway.  This eliminated the need for some weed whacking.  The previous shape was more of a circle offset against the edges of the drive and walkway, creating an awkward little triangle of unruly grass that the mower could not reach.

While he worked on that project, I got started on the mowing strip around my herb garden.  I chose to start at the left side that butts against the house and a stone pathway.  I knew that I would have more room for adjustment at the other end where I could adjust the curve.  I dug down and created a nice flat bed and checked the depth of the bricks regularly.  I added soil or dug out more, as needed, checking that the brick was sitting flush and level to the grass and the previous brick.

mowing strip installationI trenched out the shape as I went along, loosely following the curve that was already in place and adjusting it to fit the amount of bricks that I had.  This garden had only a trenched edge previously and was constantly being encroached by weeds.  Ideally a mowing strip should be installed over a layer of gravel.  The gravel layer will help to keep the stones from sinking over time.  I know from past experience that it takes many years for this to occur and since this may be temporary, I left the gravel out for now.  I have plenty of gravel on hand (a post for another day) and it won’t be a big deal to add it later.

how to install mowing strip

I had to tweak my design a bit near the end so that I would be able to fit full bricks and make sure they were flush against the house.  I lost a bit of garden at the end, but I gained some in the middle.  I also find that the new shape is much more interesting and has great movement.

mow strip end adjustment

I planted a couple of my basil plant starts and an eggplant and moved my thyme over.  Oh, and I found St. Francis in the shed and added him too.  I plan on adding another thyme so that I can dry all I need for the year and never have to purchase the stuff again.

St. Francis statue

This garden has such wonderful soil.  The herbs I planted last year had tripled and quadrupled in size and were crowding each other out.  Here is a shot after I moved the mint away from the sage, oregano and lavender.

mowing strip finishedI will post some pictures in a few weeks when the plants get larger and fill in.  I would like to add some more herbs as well.