Poppy Fever

Like anyone else, some days are good and others not so much. Unfortunately, it was the latter on Tuesday and I needed some music to reinforce my mood. I flipped through my CD case and settled on some Peggy Lee and listened repeatedly to "Is That All There Is?" on my short drive home.
Feeling less disgruntled the next day, I cycled through the other songs on the CD. This CD isn't on heavy rotation in my car so I couldn't recall the songs on it. I was pleasantly surprised when "Fever" started playing. The Oriental poppies in my garden remind me of this song and right now I have poppy fever. 
It's poppy time again. The time of year when poppies start their annual bloom fest. The buds belie the flowers greatness.  Poppies herald the unofficial beginning of summer (Memorial Day) and my back garden starting to wake up.
Poppies are a sultry flower. Look even the wasps can't keep themselves away. I think that's a wasp. I have a wasps' nest in my shed that I've never figured out what to do with it. Since it's still there I have a healthy supply of pollinators. 

The pop pop pop of the buds reminds me of Peggy Lee snapping her fingers as she sings. The unfurling of the delicate petals takes my breath away. I will leave you with a few parting photos and the first stanza of "Fever."
Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me
I get a fever that's so hard to bare

You give me fever....


W4W - Harmony

In an article about pruning fellow blogger Lee May stated, "In some ways, all gardening is unnatural, including watering, fertilizing, mulching, weeding – any intervention that goes beyond what nature would do." This sentence resonated with me and got me thinking about some of the features in my garden that are contrivances and whether they are harmonious or discordant with the surrounding environment. And I realized the whole garden is contrived in some respects.  If something is contrived does it lack harmony with its environment? You be the judge.
I have a dry riverbed in my garden that is a spiral of river rocks and thyme. Spirals are a universal symbol that is echoed in nature. I think I'm drawn to spirals much like many other people. The river rocks anchor the spiral and the pink chintz thyme repeats the theme. 
The pink chintz thyme overwintered well and none died out. I don't recall that I watered. There must have been enough intermittent snow last winter to keep the plants alive.
This year, I tried dividing thyme to fill in some of the bare spots. Dividing was relatively easy. I found a resource that suggested dividing it in 2 x 2 inch squares and transplanting it. I wasn't that methodical and divided into about 4 inch pieces. The thyme I managed to keep watered stayed alive. Alas, I didn't always remember to water.
Almost all of the thyme has bloomed, which I didn't think would happen. It's like having my own pink spiral galaxy.
The spiral was a huge self indulgence. I'm not sure if the pink chintz thyme and river rock are "united in perfect harmony" or with their surroundings. (My apologies to Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul!) However, the pollinators love the thyme and that's good enough for me. To read more about the development of the spiral, check out Spiral Vision and Spiral Vision, Part Deux.

I'm joining Donna's Word 4 Wednesday meme on harmony at Garden Walk, Garden Talk. Please read her exploration of harmony in the garden and other bloggers interpretation of the harmony theme. Thanks Donna for hosting! 


My Square Foot Garden

I must be easily influenced by the power of suggestion. After a year of other gardeners regaling me with posts and photos of vegetables I thought I should try growing my own. I've never had a vegetable garden before. Although, I did plant tomatoes one summer when I lived in Albuquerque.
After wading through the plethora of resources on the Internet. I decided on a square foot garden. I was able to find an inexpensive plan for a raised bed that uses cedar dog eared fence pickets for the sides and adapted it to suit my needs. I opted to err on the of side of caution and made a 4 x 4 bed. Sunset magazine has a beautiful raised bed plan that I nixed because I wasn't sure if vegetable gardening would work for me or if I would lose interest after the novelty wore off.
Unfortunately, the problem with using fence pickets is that I didn't ensure they were all straight before I brought them home. Another mishap that I had was remembering to level two sides, but not the other two. I also discovered that it is relatively easy to make my raised bed into a hoop house. I only needed some PVC pipe, galvanized brackets and some wood screws.
My apologies for all the garden detritus in the photos. I had to pull up landscape cloth and move some mulch around to put the raised bed in. Voila, the finished product! 



Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Special thanks to Carol for hosting Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens. I wasn't sure if I would get a post done this month. It was gray, wet and windy most of the weekend, which didn't lend itself to taking photos.
The penstemon pseudospectabilis looks so healthy this year. It has already started to peak and the blossoms are starting to fade.
Another photo of penstemon on the left. The rose queen salvia in the upper right corner has become one of my favorites. And the primroses in the bottom corner are more plentiful than they've ever been. 
Everything is coming up primroses. The primroses started blooming earlier than they ordinarily do and have ensconced many of the flowers.They surround the penstemon, columbine and ultraviolet salvia.
I feel like a woke up one day and there was an unexpected sea of pink of primroses. A parting photo of the front garden on an overcast day.


Lovely Lilacs

A belated post to commemorate the stunning lilacs in Santa Fe this year.
The scent of lilacs permeated the air as I was coming home from a walk with my dog, Aster. The wind lifted their scent. The blossoms poked their heads out between the chain link. One of my neighbors has lilacs that cheer me me up when I walk past. The blooms are white, pink and shades of the eponymous lilac. (Unfortunately, the photo below is blurry camera phone shot that Aster patiently allowed me to take.)
However, my lilacs are a sad testament to my lack of gardening skills. As with many of my early attempts at gardening in the desert Southwest, I plopped them into the ground without any soil amendment and anticipated the flush of blooms in years to follow. Year after year, I was disappointed as they increased in size but the flowers failed to impress. How hard could it be? I saw volunteers all over the place.
People suggested amending the soil around the plants, but I recalled how hard it was to dig the holes to plant them and mentally said, "No." I've tried giving them away. Trying to tempt my friends with the size of the bushes. Well this year, everyone's lilacs went wild and mine did, too.
My blooms weren't as prolific as some of the lilacs around town, but they were just enough for me.

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