Dutch iris (Iris × hollandica) is a hybrid bulbous iris. Its name does not reflect its place of origin but rather the Dutch people who hybridized it. Iris xiphium, the parent species associated with the Dutch iris comes from Spain and Portugal. The 3- to 4-inch flowers are usually multi-colored. Blue, bluish-purple, white, bronze, rose, gold and yellow are the most common colors.
The garden pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana) is a hybrid, one of whose parents is V. tricolor, which is a weed of European grainfields, the other parents being V. lutea and V. altaica. The tufted pansy, or horned viola (V. cornuta), is the parent of numerous forms of bedding pansies. The wild pansy (V. tricolor), also known as Johnny-jump-up, heartsease, and love-in-idleness, has been widely naturalized in North America. The flowers of this form are usually purple and yellow and less than 2 cm (0.8 inches) across.
Peach (Prunus persica)
Every day, the colors change in our yard and in our forest. I love how everything turns to gold, orange, and maroon. Colorful vines creep along the tree trunks, mushrooms grow on the fallen trees, berries become ripe and their skins split open. The colors of Autumn are so beautiful. 🍁🍄
The temperatures seem to be perfect for the greenhouse garden, this October. We still have quite a few snacker tomatoes. The beef-steak tomatoes are still green. And the flowers seem to do well. I also could harvest a banana pepper, a bell pepper, two eggplants, and half a bowl of cherry tomatoes and golden sun tomatoes. This Summer I started late because I waited for the greenhouse to be built. Therefore I will have a late harvest in Autumn.
Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia)
This year, we have a severe drought in Connecticut. Not enough rain has fallen this Summer. And it shows. Our birch tree, the sumac bushes, and the Virginia creeper vines change colors. Birds have picked most of the pokeweed berries. Only very few jewelweed blossoms are in nice bloom. Hopefully, we will get more rain in September. The flora and fauna need it.
Yesterday morning, I checked the plants in the greenhouse. After I added some fish emulsion to the watering can a couple of weeks ago, everything looked great and green, yesterday. The tomato, basil, and zucchini plants grew much bigger. My eggplant fruit didn’t grow much. But it has two more blossoms. Hopefully, our sunflowers will take off soon. They would provide some shade for me to sit in the greenhouse in the afternoons.
The vine tomatoes and peppers begin to ripen in the greenhouse. And the seedlings emerge from the soil. So far, I have borage, bush beans, cucumbers, and sunflowers as seedlings. I believe that once it is a little bit cooler, some more plants will pop out of the raised beds. Due to last night’s rain, it was cooler today. This might help with seed germination. I also have a greenhouse helper: Button, the spider. She makes sure our plants stay bug-free. I haven’t seen Karmo (toad) in a while. He’s probably camouflaged or hiding in the soil.
1) Red Bell Pepper; 2) Bush Beans; 3) Sunflower; 4) Banana Pepper;
5) Cherry Tomato; 6) Yellow Summer Squash; 7) Firecracker Plant
This evening, Kevin and I worked on the other two raised beds in the greenhouse. After I positioned the cinder blocks in place, we filled in the beds with wood branches and dirt. Now, we let the soil set for a couple of days, before I begin to plant and sow more vegetables and some flowers in these raised beds. There is still so much Summer left in Connecticut. Time to make use of it.
Last week, I ordered more seeds from Botanical Interests for my greenhouse garden. And today, the package has arrived. The company always puts so much L.O.V.E. in its packages. Since it is only mid-July, there can still be so much done in a New England garden. Some of these plants can handle low temperatures, once they have established their roots in the ground. In the meantime, I want to enjoy some yellow, orange, and red colors inside the greenhouse in Autumn.
We have some growth in the greenhouse. The sun-gold tomatoes begin to ripen, the celery has recovered from the Black Swallowtail caterpillars, there are more bell peppers, and the bush beans sprouted in the raised bed soil. My Buddha statue was weathered and cracked. The top piece fractured just the right way so that I could place the face and portion of the upper body in the soil.
In these photos are some of my plants: eggplant, Golden Sun tomatoes, McIntosh apple, and Mandevilla blossom. Today I’ve also been sowing borage, Bush beans, Italian Flat parsley, marigolds, Mesclun lettuce, Purple Hull Peas, and sunflowers for companion planting; Common Buckwheat and Crimson Clover for improving the soil with nitrogen and attracting beneficial insects.
IT’S DONE! We finally finished building the greenhouse. Kevin had only to install the brackets, the doors, and some small pieces to keep the greenhouse sturdy and protect it from future storms. It looks great. Now, I can work on the rest of the raised beds and do some planting for the Summer/Autumn Season. There is still so much time left and the growing season can be extended before it will get really cold again. YAY! I’m so excited!
1) Pumpkin Blossom; 2) Black Raspberries; 3) Morning Raindrops;
4) Pokeweed Raindrops; 5) Black Swallowtail Caterpillars; 6) Eastern Carpenter Bee pollinates Motherwort Blossoms; 7) Gooseneck Loosestrife; 8) Turkeytail Mushrooms; 9) Honeysuckle Berries
My neighbor, Lisa, always gives me these beautiful plants for my garden. Lisa works for a garden nursery. And once the season is over, she gets all the plants she chooses for free. They usually still last throughout the whole Summer into early Autumn. Who knows? I might be able to extend the season all the way until the first freeze, in the greenhouse. So far, our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, herbs and flowers do well. It’s not too hot for them. Sara can’t wait for me getting more raised beds and plants into the greenhouse. She enjoys hanging out there. Especially, when it rains, she still can sit in the greenhouse and watch the raindrops hitting the roof while she plays with toads. And our cats would be in ‘heaven’.
This week, Kevin and Christian (Katelynn’s boyfriend) worked on the greenhouse. The roof still needed to be done. And it was a perfect time to have a man-to-man talk with each other. Both also installed my windows. Now, all that is left are more reinforcement beams and the door. The door I properly can build and install it myself. And when Kevin is back from Dallas, he can help me with those beams. The tomatoes and peppers are very happy so far.
This morning I planted my bell peppers, banana peppers, beef steak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sun gold tomatoes, basil, and eggplant in the greenhouse raised bed. Some peppers and eggplant show some fruit on their vines. With the rest, we still have to wait a little bit longer. I’m so excited, I’m growing my first garden in New England.
While Kevin and I are still working on the roof frame, I began to build one raised bed in the greenhouse this afternoon. I built the cinderblock wall, so I could fill it with soil and start planting. First, I made sure we had barriers against the wooden frame, so the soil cannot seep out when it is wet. Next, I used fire wood, small branches, our old Christmas tree needles and some leaves, I still found in the yard from last Autumn. And then I filled the bed with
- 5 bags of raised bed soil
- 5 bags of all-purpose sand
- 2 bags of cow manure
- 20 bags of topsoil
Now, I let it saddle overnight. And tomorrow, I’ll begin to plant some peppers and tomatoes in the morning. We are supposed to have a rain storm tomorrow evening. This will be a good time to get those plants nicely watered.
Today, Kevin and I worked on the upper level a little bit on the roof frame of the greenhouse. While Kevin installed the frames, I got all the smaller and more detailed work done to prepare the framework to go up in its place. Tons of screws and bolds had to be untightened in the framework and crossbeams had to be connected on the ground first to make it easier for installment.
While Kevin and I spent most of the day outside, we had the chance to see three Lockheed C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft flying over our property. If you are familiar with the Navy Blue Angels airplanes, the “Fat Albert” is also in the C-130 family. It was very cool to see this flyby.
Today, Kevin and I got some work done with the greenhouse. Now, the lower frame is installed and the panels are slid in place. There were so many screws for putting the frame together. Our backs began to hurt and we had to call it a day. But I’m glad we’ve got it this far. The next level had to be done with a ladder. The greenhouse is very tall.
Kevin and I reinforced the wood frame because the outer frame was too big. And I didn’t want to chop the original frame up. Once the wood frame was done, I built the aluminum bottom frame. We secured it by screwing it into the wood frame. Hopefully, this will prevent the greenhouse from falling over in high winds. Now, all the little detailed work has to be done, before I can build the outer upward frames, so I can slide the polycarbonate panels into place. Yep, this will take some time to get all done.
Every day, there is more color in our yard. Over the last weekend, the pink Rhododendron’s buds began to open up and started to blossom. Once the whole bushes are in full bloom their green leaves can barely be seen anymore. There will be pink half globes all over the shrubs.
Chewbacca always comes running, when I call him while I work on a garden project. He has to make sure I’m doing everything right. In the meantime, he eats some grass and pukes on the ground. Lovely! When I’m fast enough, I can move him away from the greenhouse flooring, before he leaves me a present on the pavers. The joy of having cats as pets. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. I would rather have him gagging in the yard than in the house. Once he feels better, he makes sure I lay out the bricks in a square.
World Bee Day is celebrated on May 20 each year. The purpose of the international day is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem. Every year on this day, the global public will focus on the importance of preserving honey bees and all other pollinators. People will be reminded of the significance of bees in providing for the needs of humanity.
It began to rain in the early morning. And the rain lasted until the late morning hours. While I captured photos of droplets, a Northern Cardinal fledgling got confused and almost landed on me. Once it figured out, I wasn’t mommy or daddy it made a sharp turn and sat on the porch railing.
Today, it was a cool day. However, this weekend we are supposed to get temperatures in the mid-90s (35℃). It will feel just like Texas, before the weather cools down to the 70s on Monday.
The greenhouse was ordered and picked up, and the materials for the greenhouse floor were ordered and delivered. And I have my vision put on paper. All I need is to focus and some elbow grease to turn this idea into a nice little garden oasis. The first mission will be the base to build that floor. This will be a backbreaking project. Let’s see how everything will turn out. I’ll keep y’all updated on this project.
I’ve got some work done with the flooring for the greenhouse. After I measured everything out, I put the stakes in place and span a rope around the perimeter. Once I had the edging installed, Kevin and I dumped a gravel mix on the ground. Then we covered it with landscape fabric. Now, we have bricks on the fabric temporarily.
Since the weather is beautiful, and I recovered from the surgeries I had last Winter, it is time to work on my project where I left off last Autumn. Last weekend, I spread out the leveling sand and started to work on the brick floor. While Kevin transported the bricks from the pallet to the spot where I wanted the greenhouse to be, I laid them out on the ground. Every other day, I work on the greenhouse floor, so I can get to the next step: Building a frame on the bottom of the greenhouse to get more raised bed space and prevent it from flying away in the high wind gusts. The bricks are not set perfectly. But in most areas, I’ll have raised beds anyway.
… to be continued …
1) Common Periwinkle; 2) Wild Honeysuckle; 3) Dame’s Violet;
4) The Neighbor’s Flowering Dogwood; 5) Spanish Bluebells
1) Creeping Charlie/Ground Ivy; 2) Wild Strawberry Raindrop;
3) “Pusteblume”/Dandelion; 4) McIntosh Apple Blossoms;
5) Robin Feather; 6) Wild Violet Raindrops;
7) Blooming Eastern Redbud; 8) Carpet Bugleweed
1) Rose of Sharon; 2) McIntosh Apple; 3) Eastern Red Bud; 4) Dandelion;
5) American Robin; 6) Greater Celandine; 7 & 8) Wood Anemone;
9 & 10) Norway Maple Leaves & Blossoms; 11 & 12) Wild Strawberry;
13) Garlic Mustard; 14) Eastern Chipmunk; 15) Pink Hyacinth;
16) Carpet Bugleweed*; 17) Japanese Cherry*; 18) Japanese Quince*
* Neighbor’s yard
Now, at the end of April our yard has changed quite a bit. More ground cover blossoms have emerged from the ground; the shrubs begin to bloom; and our maple trees start to turn green. Spring becomes more colorful. The last couple of days, I’ve seen an American Robin picking nesting material on our property. A Mourning Cloak butterfly flew across our yard as well.
While I captured photos of fresh Spring blooms I asked our neighbor, if it was okay to capture some photos of the Saucer Magnolia blossoms on his property. After I’ve got permission, I shot some images of these beautiful blooms. They always remind me of my childhood in Germany. We’ve got a lot of Saucer Magnolia trees in the Court Garden of the Residence and in the Royal Garden (Kaisergärtchen) close to the train station in Würzburg. As a little girl, my grandma dressed me up, when we took a walk through the Court Garden of the Residence. When grandma sat on a bench to take a break near the Saucer Magnolias, I was collecting the blossom leaves from the ground and counted them, how many I could hold in my hand. That kept me busy for quite some time.
I loved my ‘mater garden in Texas. Hopefully, I can grow some good tomatoes in Connecticut as well. Fresh garden or farm tomatoes are always the best.
April Songbirds’ joyful music, and the early springtime flowers,
Colorful umbrellas opened wide for April showers.
Days are brighter, hearts are lighter, promise fills the air –
The gifts of April bring us special happiness to share.