Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jorene's Perennial Gardens-May 30, 2010

The bearded iris, blue star, white and Kilian Donahue clematis, and bleeding heart have all reached the end of their annual flowering cycles. Other beautiful perennials are blooming to take their places. Most of the summer perennials in the garden are long blooming, care free, and drought and deer resistant.

Veronica Royals Candles is a short plant that does well towards the front of a sunny flower bed. Its spire-like violet-blue flowers grow on tidy, deep green foliage. It blooms in zones 4 - 8 from late Spring to late Summer.

Scabiosa Butterfly Blue is also a short plant that does well towards the front of a sunny flower bed. Its pincushion flowers grow on very compact plants that have ferny blue-grey foliate. It blooms from late Spring to early Fall.

This photo contains a bearded iris in the far right corner, scabiosa butterfly blue and veronica royal candles in the foreground, a huge clump of flowering Japanese iris in the center, and flowering lamb's ear and white delphinium in the background.

The white delphinium have been in our garden for several years now. Delphinium, a standard in cottage gardens, contain tall, large mounds of dark green, glossy foliage that are adorned with huge spikes of showy, spurred flowers of white, blue, lavender, or pink. They grow in zones 3 - 8 and can be quite tall, reaching heights of 3 - 4'. They bloom for most of the Summer, but the require staking so that the flowers do not break off in hard wind and rains. Last fall, I planted blue delphiniums with these white ones. They did not get very tall or bloom this year. Hopefully, they will survive the season and come back next year with big beautiful blue flowers.

The white clematis is no longer blooming in my sun bed, but the dark purple clematis has taken its place. This clematis has been in the same spot for several years now. I over-pruned this it a couple of years ago, but thankfully, it survived and has grown back beautifully. I enjoy clematis because they come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Additionally, the different types of clematis bloom and rebloom throughout the year, so it is possible to have clematis blooming before the last frost in Spring until after the last frost in Fall. The large grass like clumps in the foreground are spiderwort which will bloom numerous petite, purple flowers in the next couple of weeks.

The photo below is of my sun perennial bed. It contains clematis to the left followed by spiderwort , coneflower, and Russian sage which will bloom later in the year. Purple Nepata Walker's low catmint, and campanula blue-eyed blonde are in the middle of the bed. Petite, fuschia aarmeria dusseldorf pride are in the foreground.

Salvia May Night is a medium sized plant that grows 18 - 24" tall in zones 4 - 8. Its spikes of blue-purple bloom all summer long, and its leaves have a strong herbal smell. Once established, it is extremely care-free, deer resistant, and needs little maintenance or water. It does, however, respond well to sheering after blooming in order to promote fresh foliage and blooms. Other varieties of salvia are available in shades of pink, fuschia, blue, and purple. Our salvia is contained in the friendship garden with japanese iris, day lilies, bearded iris, and peonies.

Peonies are also a medium height plant that can grow 2 -3 feet tall in zones 2 - 7. Over time, they form a bush-like appearance. Unlike most of my other perennials, they are not long blooming. However, their huge size, gorgeous flower, and fragrance makes up for the fact that they only bloom for a few weeks in late May an early June. Our gardens contain peonies in shades of white, blush, light pink, and fuschia.

The photo below is of the friendship garden. Currently, the purple bearded iris, salvia, purple and white Japanese iris, and fuschia peonies are blooming. They will eventually give way to orange and yellow day lilies in the summer, and aster in the fall.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chicks - Week 2

It's the end of weeks 2 for our new chicks, and they sure have grown. I'm especially amazed at how fast the Peking duck grows. I can make out the different colors for the Freedom Ranger Broilers now. They are tricolor, redbro and yellow. I expanded the brooder floor space to give them more to move around. They are getting hardier now, so I keep the heat on at night, but turn it off during the day. Next week I will start letting them outside during the day to forage.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jorene's Perennial Gardens-May 16, 2010

My perennials are starting to bloom nicely now, so it will be another exciting, fun year full of beautiful color.

Clematis are one of my favorite flowers. I have many different varieties planted all over our property. I like them because they come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Additionally, the different types of clematis bloom and rebloom throughout the year, so it is possible to have clematis blooming before the last frost in Spring until after the last frost in Fall. They are easy to grow. Finally, since they are a vine, they need very little soil to grow in and can actually be grown in a pot on a porch for apartment and townhouse dwellers. If all of those wonderful traits do not pique your interest, check out this beauty.

This Kilian Donahue clematis is quickly becoming one of my favorites. In fact, she wins the prize for Miss Popularity hands down. This perennial is planted just outside my back door, so I have the privilege of seeing her every time I walk outside. What a sight to behold she is. The early flowers open ruby red and mature to brilliant fuchsia with an orchid edge. The more mature flowers are pink lavender with a pink bar. Because the flowers change over time, it looks like it has several different types of flowers on a single plant. Right now, she is only about 1 foot tall but will allegedly reach 9 to 10 feet tall in a couple of years and bloom for 3 months! The thought of this beautiful perennial blooming for nearly an entire growing season just makes my heart pitter-patter. I am so happy with her already that I can not imagine how awesome it will be when she is 10 times her current size. She is supposed to bloom June through September. However, I think she bloomed early this year because our Spring was so incredibly warm.

These bearded iris are not planted in a flower bed either but, rather, along the edge of our driveway. If flowers were people, the bearded iris would be a strong, steady, dependable marrying kind of man. That is why I have them in nearly all of my flower beds. Unlike the fickle tulip which can not commit to blooming every year nor stand up to a Spring thunderstorm, the bearded iris returns annually-without fail, and when the blooms arrive, it really means something. Old Man winter is gone for good, and the long, hot, sun-filled days of Summer are not too far away. Other than a little bit of sun, the bearded iris is not a needy fellow; it does not require any special soil or treatment to grow. Its blooms are fairly long lasting, and, like the best kind of man, there is more to this perennial than just its showy flower. After the bloom fades, its beautiful, unique blueish, sword-shaped leaves remain tall and sturdy all year long. The leaves serve as a great color and shape contrast to other perennials in a flower bed and are also beautiful just by themselves.

In late spring, I can look out my bedroom window and see these iris, the goats, the cow, the Appalachian mountains, and the sunset all in one glance. It is such a beautiful, peaceful sight to see that I feel very lucky to live here.

In my naturalized perennial bed, the tall purple roadside phlox, ox-eye daisies, blue-star and bearded iris are all in full bloom.

DH and I worked today on the herb/cutting garden. I moved all of the flowering perennials to a different location, and DH tilled under all the soil that is in between the perennial herbs and Japanese iris. We added more perennial herbs, including transplants of chives and lemon balm, hyssop, and tarragon and numerous annual herbs such as dill, cilantro, and a variety of basils. We love to use fresh garden grown herbs when we cook for our groups, so this garden seems to get larger every year. The Japanese iris in front of the herbs look like they will bloom soon.

Th bearded iris in the friendship garden are blooming, and the peonies, salvia and Japanese iris are about to bloom their dark pinks and purple. I thinned out and gave a way a large number of bearded iris in this bed last Spring because they were really starting to take over the left half of the bed. Looking at only the few flowers here that are blooming, I am slightly regretting that decision because I miss seeing them in mass quantities. However, I know that they will fill the bed in a year or two, and I will have to thin them out all over again. Plus, it always makes me feel good inside when I give perennials to other people.

The bleeding heart and columbine are blooming beautifully in the shade garden. These two perennials remind me of Southern girls. They are incredibly graceful and delicate with gorgeous blooms, but they are also long lasting and can stand up to the hard rains that Spring brings them. Many more plants are also starting to grow, including the astilbe, hydrangea, ferns, and hostas. Ken plans to get the gutter out of it this week ; ). Our snowfall was so huge this year that it completely destroyed our brand new gutters on both sides of the lodge. I plan to edge and mulch this bed soon, in addition to digging a dry creek bed down the middle of it. I would really like to finish it by the end of June and then add more perennials to it each year as I am able.

The shade garden continues to fill in nicely with hostas, ferns, and perennials. I was mistaken last week when I said that the clematis I transplanted died. I just noticed that it has new green growth coming on, so I expect big, beautiful flowers on it next year. The purple cardinal flower and a yellow ground cover that I purchased from Blue Stone Perennials arrived, and I planted them in their appropriate spots. There will be a few bare spots in this bed this year as the perennials I have planted get established, but I am really excited for this bed to grown and mature to become as lovely as I know it will.

The boxwoods, day lilies, and hostas in my front beds continue to grow. Although the boxwoods survived last winter, they are a little worse for the wear. Some of the branches and leaves are still droopy from the weight of the feet of snow that bore down on them all winter long, so I think I will prune them some. The day lilies will bloom in June. I also plan to get some hanging baskets to fill with annuals and hang out the porch above these front beds. I hope to complete that task next weekend.

The full-sun front bed continues to meet and exceed my expectations this year. So far, it has more flowers blooming then all of my other beds put together. This is just fabulous because I have spent the last 5 years trying to get the reality of this flower bed to align with the picture I had in my mind. Currently, the following perennials are blooming in this bed: armeria dusseldorf pride, the white and dark purple clematis, nepata walker's low catmint, viola purple showers, pat's select ajuga, chives, bearded iris, and bluestar.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chicks - Week 1

After one week, our 56 chicks have grown dramatically. The four turkeys and the duck have started to show their size, with the duck now standing tall over the broiler chicks. We moved them back outside after the last frost, recently. They get fresh air and sunshine in the afternoon. They are eating and drinking machines, consuming 1.5 coffee cans of feed, about two pounds of fresh grass clippings and 2 gallons of water each day. Liam loves making the rounds every day to feed the chicks.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Goat Pictures

This morning, I let the boer goats free to graze on the hillside. I had to lead them out of the barn. Then, when I walked back in, they followed me back inside. So I led them back out and stood on the hill with them for awhile. They took to eating the brush immediately and seem quite happy. As promised, here are some more pictures of them.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another Addittion to the Farm

Sunday, we picked up a Red Angus steer to add to our farm. He is a yearling and weighs 615 lbs. I hope he will be around 800 - 900 lbs. by this fall. Like all of the animals on our farm, he will be raised on clean, organic pasture. Other than worming medicine, he will not receive antibiotics, vaccines or synthetic growth supplements.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Boer Goats

Saturday, we drove to Wyoming county, WV to pick up 6 boer goats for our farm. The farm where we were getting them was over 2 hours away, so we started out early in the morning.

The boer goats will be my "brush clearing" crew in the 8 acres we just finished fencing. We picked up 3 nannies and 3 billies. I was surprised at how small they were. We plan to keep them in the barn for a couple of days, until they get adjusted to their new home. When I put them out to pasture I'll take more pictures. Link
One of the billies needs bottle fed twice a day for the next three weeks.

Liam loves his animals.

Friday, May 7, 2010

New Chicks!

Today, we picked up our chicks at the post office and at Southern States. We ordered 50 Freedom Ranger Broilers, from J. M. Hatchery. They are meat bird from the Label Rouge program. It is highly adapted for pasture, free range raising. It is a slower growing bird than the Cornish Cross and is supposed to produce a firmer, tastier meat. This is our first year of growing them, so we'll let you know what we think.

Liam was excited about getting our Freedom Rangers at the post office.

We also picked up a Pekin duck and 4 Broad Breasted White turkeys at Southern States. We have been going to chick day there for 3 years now. It is a tradition with our family and Liam really enjoys seeing all of the chicks.

Jorene and Liam in front of the store.

Liam really likes seeing all of the chicks.

What's this Daddy?

Hope, on guard at the brooder house.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jorene's Perennial Gardens-May 1, 2010

In my two budget garden beds, all six of the Itea Virginica Henry shrubs are getting their leaves, so I am very excited about that because it was a really harsh winter for them. They were covered with feet of snow until early April, and I was afraid they would not survive. I was also incorrect when I wrote last week that the lily of the valley did not survive. There are a few sprouts of them, so I will move them after they bloom this Spring because this bed is not the ideal spot for them. The ajuga that I added last month seems to have survived the transplant, so I expect that it will spread quickly by the end of fall. I also added more liriope and hostas so that the bed will look fuller this year.

This photo is of my naturalized perennial bed. The plants have really grown since last month. Currently, nothing is blooming in this bed, but the purple roadside phlox, ox-eye daisies, and blue-star are about to bloom, so the next blog of this perennial bed should contain photos with some beautiful color.

The herb/cutting garden looks terrible right now because I have not weeded the front of it yet. The perennial herbs in the rear and behind the welcome rock (mint, rosemary, oregano) are coming up nicely. However, I will not be able to start the seeds for the annual herbs for a couple of more weeks because we could still get killing frost up here on the mountain. The gladiolus bulbs in the cutting garden have yet to sprout, but the Japanese iris have done well. They should bloom by the end of May.

The daffodils in the friendship garden have died off, so it does not currently contain any color. However, the peonies and bearded iris in the beds are about to bloom. Once that happens, this bed will bloom all year long. It will be incredible, and I cannot wait.

The bleeding heart located in the new shade garden is doing wonderful, and the columbine is about to bloom too. The hostas have really grown since the last blog.

The photos below are of my shade gardens in the front of the lodge. Only the woodland violets and black helleborus are blooming right now. The other plants and perennials in it are coming up nicely though. I transplanted a clematis to it this Spring. I must have not hardened it off well enough or babied it enough at the beginning of the transplant because it does not seem to have made it, so I will try to propogate another purple perennial plant to replace this one next year. There are also two bare spots on the right side of the bed that were created when I reorganized these beds last fall. I purchased purple cardinal flower and a yellow ground cover for these spots from Blue Stone Perennials. They will come in the mail this month, so I cannot wait to plant them to see how they do.

The boxwoods, day lilies, and hostas in my front beds have grown quite a bit since the last blog in April. The day lilies will bloom in June. Our friends gave us most of them last year, so I cannot wait to see what colors they are.

This front bed contains cannas, day lilies, lamb's ear, and gaillardia goblin. The cannas have not sprouted, and I am afraid they might not have survived the harsh winter. Cannas usually only survive to zone 7. We are in zone 5. In the past, I have dug them up every year, but I did not do it last year because it is a lot of work. Instead, I mulched them heavily which is a trick that usually works to winter over more tender perennials. However, I had no ideal we were going to get the harshest winter in history. Time will tell if they survived. If they did not, I will have to find another tall perennial to plant there instead. We might even put some veggies in the box. The day lilies and lamb's ear are doing wonderfully though.

I think I am going to be very happy with my full-sun front bed this year. The white clematis, woodland violets, and ajuga are already blooming beautifully. The delphinium, purple clematis, blue star, and bearded iris will bloom in the very near future followed by the Japanese iris, spiderwort, and daisies. The small blue hibiscus that I planted last year seems to be doing much better. It already has leaves, so I hope it will flower this year.