Search May Dreams Gardens

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Garden fairy selfies explained

Garden fairy selfie
Now, now, the garden fairies in my garden are surely not the only garden fairies taking selfies these days, are they? 

If yours arent, maybe they'd like to?  You can help them do so. 

First take your camera and aim it toward any small, ground hugging spring flowers.  You should put the camera as close to the ground as possible. Maybe even put a paper towel down and put the camera right on the ground.

Then, ready, focus, and wait just a second. I guarantee the garden fairies will run in front of the camera just before you hit the shutter button.

And that's how the garden fairies take selfies.

If you don't have any small, ground hugging spring flowers, make a note to get some bulbs for some next fall and plant them up.

Occasionally, in desperation, garden fairies will run in front of a camera aimed at emerging foliage.
Garden fairy selfie with columbine foliage
Here's an example of a garden fairy selfie taken in front of columbine foliage.

Sometimes, the camera will focus on something you didn't intend for it to focus on, but it's still a good selfie because the garden fairies in it are interesting.
Interesting garden fairies in a selfie
In this selfie, the grass takes center stage and the garden fairies and crocus look more like they are attempting to photo-bomb the picture.

If you can't see the garden fairies in their selfies, you should look again.
Garden fairies love pink stamens
The garden fairies are there, I promise.

If you have a chance to help your garden fairies take some selfies in your spring garden, let me know. I'd love to see them.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Garden Fairies Take a Big Step Forward

Garden fairies here!

We are garden fairies and we are as excited as the first crocus of spring to announce we have done something that no garden fairy has ever done.

We have written a foreword for a book.

Yes, we are garden fairies and we wrote the foreword to Miniature Gardens: Design and create miniature fairy gardens, dish gardens, terrariums and more-indoors and out by Katie Elzer-Peters (Cool Springs Press, 2014).

Apparently, Katie is a big fan of us garden fairies so she contacted our agent, Carol, and asked if we would write a foreword for her new book.  Yes, that's right, we garden fairies have an agent now.  Carol doesn't do too much on our behalf, but we are working on that because we just don't think it is right that she sits there doing nothing while we work and work and work writing a book foreword.

Before we wrote the foreword, we found out what a foreword is. We are garden fairies, we know a lot but we don't know everything.

Then, we read through a copy of the book  and that's when we decided that we would pleased to recommend such a book to anyone who is interested in growing miniature gardens in addition to their regular garden.   Or in place of their regular garden. Or to give as a gift to someone else.  Or to grow just for fun.  Or to extend gardening indoors in the winter time. Or to just for once plant a garden without having to break your back over a shovel or worry about marauding rabbits armed with sharp plant-eating teeth attacking it in the middle of the night while you are unwisely sleeping soundly.

Shudder at the thought of the marauding rabbits!

We garden fairies do believe that this is the first and so far only foreword ever written by garden fairies.

We offer this picture of Violet Greenpea Maydreams' by-line as proof of the actual foreword. We circled it in green so you could see.  This foreword is a big step forward for us garden fairies. Forward to what, we don't know but it is a foreword moving us forward at least into the literary history books

Ha ha!  We are garden fairies! It's also a teaser.  Buy this book if you want to read the complete foreword, the only foreword, the best foreword every written by garden fairies!

Submitted by:
Violet Greenpea Maydreams, scribe and writer of an actual book foreword!

P.S. You might also want to buy the book because it is a great book about miniature gardens with lots of ideas to inspire you to plant small and enjoy miniature gardening.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ain't nobody happy about this cold weather

Hyacinth forced into bloom indoors
Ain't nobody happy about this cold weather at the end of March.

The pansies on the front porch are shivering but because they are on the south side and partially under cover, they are hanging in there. Looks like if they can just make it through the next 24 hours, they'll be fine.

As expected.  They are pansies after all.

The violas on the back patio are shivering and then some. They are on the north side of the house and it sure is cold for them. They were looking a bit ragged earlier after all those snow showers. I hope those violas recover.  No, I didn't cover them. It is going to be cold enough that covering won't make enough of a difference. No, I didn't move the containers to a warmer spot.  The containers are too big to move.

I gave the violas some water and blew them a kiss for good luck.

The crocuses are all closed up tight.  They do that when it is cold or cloudy or snowy.  After all, the bees are smart enough to stay home during weather like this, so the crocuses don't want to waste their pollen for nothing.

Crocuses are like that... you think they open for you, but they really open up for the bees.

Yep, ain't nobody happy about this cold weather in March.

Well, check that. The hyacinths are oblivious to the cold weather, because they're inside.

I forgot to get the hyacinth bulbs out of the refrigerator after the new year to force using hyacinth vases, so a few weeks ago, I potted them up, thinking I'd have a nice bunch of hyacinths for Easter on April 20th. Whoosh! They were so excited to be out of that refrigerator and in some dirt that they shot right up and are now blooming.

No turning those blooms back now, so might as well enjoy them while I have them.

The garden fairies are tired of the cold, too. But they are almost oblivious to it at the moment. They are working on a big announcement, but biding their time until it is the right time for the announcement.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Go, go, go. Buzz, buzz, buzz.

We could learn a few things from the bees.

They were out in full force on Friday, the first full day of spring. They buzzed from hellebores to crocuses and then from crocus to crocus. I'm sure they visited the irises and snowdrops, too.

The bees know a sunny day shouldn't be wasted in the springtime. They know the pollen from those early spring flowers isn't going to be there forever until they get around to it.

This is not the lazy season. When the sun is shining and those flowers are open it is "go" time for the bees.  

Go, go, go. Buzz, buzz, buzz.

As I stood in the lawn, I could hear the bees singing a chorus.
The hum of their buzzing made it seem as though the ground was vibrating.  

In the springtime, we should be the bee. Enjoy the flowers. Waste no time. Get moving. Take advantage of sunny days.  It's springtime. It's go time.  Be like the bees...

Go, go, go. Buzz, buzz, buzz.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Blue Pigment

Iris reticulata 'Harmony'
"Nothing great is of rapid achievement, it must be remembered, and "to make a garden", wrote a Persian poet, is to paint a living picture with the pigments of the Almighty." (Mary Hampden in Every Woman's Flower Garden: How to Make and Keep It Beautiful, 1915)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Familiar beginnings

Garden Fairie Selfie #9
I've been sowing peas or helping to sow peas in the early spring in the garden for as long as I can remember.  Fifty years, at least.

How early I've planted has varied and I'll admit there was a time when I actually waited too long in the spring to sow peas and as a result, I didn't get a good harvest.

I figured out what my problem was several years ago when I found an old packet of pea seeds in a box of seeds my Dad had from the last spring he planted a garden.

Right there on the packet he wrote "Planted March 6, with onions".

Dad's packet of pea seeds from 1987
I'm not sure why or when I strayed off the spring garden path and started planting peas later in the spring. And by later, I mean early April. But once I found that old packet of seeds, I started sowing seeds in early March and have now settled on March 17th,  St. Patrick's Day, as my target date to sow peas in the garden.

Just for fun, I use a soil thermometer to make sure the soil temperature on March 17th is above 40F, which is what pea seeds need to germinate.
A soil thermometer comes in handy
 So far, the ground has always been warm enough to plant peas by the 17th.

If I had not built raised beds for my veg garden and instead had to till it up each spring, I would not have been able to sow peas yesterday. The ground is soft and wet, and still frozen in some places, so it is too soon to till it up. But because I have raised beds in my veg garden, which warm up faster in the spring, I merely had to rake the bed smooth, pull a few pockets of henbit, and plant.

It's a familiar beginning to the gardening season, one I can do from memory after fifty or so years of starting spring in a veg garden.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Garden fairy selfies

Garden fairy selfie
Garden fairies here!

We are garden fairies and we are as antsy as can be for this spring to get here and stay here.

Yesterday was so nice outside.  The world seemed so right.  Carol was outside cutting back beautyberry and butterfly bush.  She even cut back the roses without nary a cuss word, even though she was probably stuck a few times by the thorns.

We garden fairies watched her for a bit, then got kind of bored. She never once took off her gloves so we could hide one. 

But she did leave her camera unattended for a bit so we decided to get in on this craze called selfies and take all kinds of pictures of ourselves to post on line.

We even posted a selfie on Twitter.  Would anyone be willing to retweet it so we can get the word out?  It's also on Facebook to share.

Some of our best selfies include this one of Deema Mae Flowerweb.

She said she would have preferred to take a selfie by a rose, but there are no roses in bloom right now, so she took one by some crocuses.

Sweetpea MorningGlory thought it was hilarious fun.
She thinks the color of these crocuses complement her dress.

Ol' Tangle Rainbowfly thought at first this selfie business  was all utter nonsense, but we think this selfie he took of himself shows he couldn't resist.
Gosh, he needs a haircut or something.

Granny Gus McGarden even ventured out of the veg garden when she heard the laughter of the garden fairies.
She and her son the right reverend Hortus Augustus McGarden took one together. They are quite a pair.

A couple of other garden fairies couldn't resist dressing up a bit for their selfies.
Daisy Dewleaf and Rosie Riverflow shouldn't stick out their tongues like that.  After all, these selfies are destined to be posted for ever and ever for people to see.

We couldn't believe this one.
Professor Hortledore actually photobombed some of the garden fairy kids who were hanging out amongst the snowdrops, trying to get them to ring like bells while they took their selfie.

Finally, after watching everyone else take selfies, Violet Greenpea Maydreams couldn't resist taking her own selfie.
She chose to take her selfie beside a tiny viola that seems to have made it through the winter, to bloom again. She likes the implications of that. She is also very excited because Carol went by the local greenhouse and is having them hold five flats of violas until this current cold snap unsnaps itself.

We garden fairies had quite the fun with the camera, taking all of our selfies. We hope to do this again later in the spring. We are hip like that.

Submitted by:
Violet Sweetpea Maydreams, chief scribe and best selfie taker of the garden fairies at May Dreams Gardens

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - March 2014

Crocuses in the lawn
Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for March 2014.

Here in my USDA Hardiness Zone 6a garden in central Indiana, Spring has cracked open the garden gate and taken a few tentative steps into the garden.

First to arrive were the snowdrops, of course.  Then the race was on between the crocuses and the reticulated irises.

This year the crocuses won, in particular Crocus tommasinianus, affectionately called Tommies.

Many of the crocuses are in the back lawn now.  They actually showed up earlier in the week when it was suddenly warm.

I think if I had stood there long enough, I could have caught one popping up and blooming.

Crocus on Monday, March 10
A few days later, temperatures plummeted again and the crocuses responded by closing up their petals.
Crocus on Thursday, March 13
But then it warmed up again and they dutifully opened up once more.
Crocus on March 14
It's progress to see the crocuses.

The first of the Iris reticulata showed up this week, too, just in time for bloom day.

Iris reticulata
They joined the snowdrops, Galanthus sp. which have graced my garden for a few weeks now.
I love the early spring blooms. Though they are small and ground hugging, they lift my spirits and give me hope for the entire growing season.

What's blooming in your spring garden?

It’s easy to join in for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Just post on your own blog about what's blooming in your garden right now, outdoors or indoors. You can include pictures, lists, common names, botanical names, whatever you’d like to do to showcase your blooms.

Then leave a comment and put your name and a link back to your bloom day post in the Mr. Linky widget below, so we know where to find your blog and can visit you virtually and read about your bloom day blooms.

We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Garden Fairies Ride the Weather Merry-Go-Round

Garden fairies here.

We are garden fairies and we have nearly exhausted ourselves these last few days.

It started when the temperature shot up to the low 60's on Monday.  We realized then that we had to get our act together and start pulling the crocuses up out of the ground and opening them.

Make hay while the sun shines, we say. 

Today, it was warm again, and so we opened up even more crocuses.  We ran around like crazy trying to open as many crocuses as we could because we feel so behind, what with the wicked winter that stayed around so long and all.

And then we found out today that the wicked winter that stayed so long and all is coming back and there is going to be a whole bunch of snow tomorrow. Inches of it. Maybe three inches? Or four inches?

We are garden fairies and we feel tricked, snookered, had.  Now we will be up half the night closing up all the crocus blooms before the rain falls and then snow flies. We must protect the pollen, after all. 

Really, we are sick of this weather merry-go-round. We had hoped winter was gone but someone must have left the garden gate unlocked because it is coming back.

We wish we could stop it, but we can't. We can only do our part to close up the crocus blooms, then we will hunker down and wait for this winter to finally, hopefully, once and for all get the heck out of here.

It has to.  Carol swears she's planting peas on Sunday. Regardless. Well, at this point, she might need a pick ax to make a furrow for the peas in the frozen ground.  Granny Gus McGarden is beside herself worrying about it all.

We'll do what we can, but we are garden fairies and we can only do so much.

Submitted by:
Violet Greenpea Maydreams, Team lead for the best crocus opening team in the world.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

I'm growing candy in my garden

I'm growing candy in my garden this year, like I do every year. 

Whenever I'm out working in the garden, I'll be able to walk right over to the candy plants and just help myself.

One of the reason I can just help myself is because I never use pesticides on my candy plants.  Plus, I have a clean water source nearby so if I think the candy needs a quick rinse before I pop it into my mouth, I can easily do so without walking all the way back to the house.

Let's see... some of the candy plants include...

Peas.  As soon as I see a pod that looks ready to pick, I'll pull it off the vine, snap it open, and pour the delicious candy, I mean peas, right into my mouth. They are sweet and good, even without cooking.

Cherry Tomatoes.  Oh yes, cherry tomatoes are premium candy in the garden. Pick and eat. Pick and eat.  I like to grow at least one variety of cherry tomatoes with the word "sweet" in it.  Then I know it is good candy, though any cherry, grape or currant tomato will be delicious candy and can be eaten right there in the garden.

Green beans.  Once the peas are done, the green beans are coming on and they are also good to eat raw in the garden.

Cucumbers.  Yes, I've picked the tiny cucumbers and eaten them while still in the garden. When they are little and fresh, there is no bitterness in the skins.  They are cool and refreshing.

Raspberries and strawberries.  It is pretty obvious these are garden candy.  I grow both red and gold raspberries. Only about half of them ever make it to the kitchen.  The other half I eat while still in the garden.  With strawberries, I think I eat a third of them in the garden and take the rest to the kitchen.

I love me some candy ready to pick in the garden.  You should grow some, too, but remember...

  • No pesticides.
  • If it looks dirty or dusty rinse it off quick before you eat it.
  • Save some of the garden candy to share with others. Without that evidence, they'll wonder why you can't seem to grow  raspberries, strawberries, and anything else you've eaten while still in the garden.
I highly recommend growing  candy in the garden.  It's fun to eat, and fun to share with others.

Friday, March 07, 2014

The Garden of No Regrets

Spring in the garden, a few years ago
I've picked out a motto for my garden.

Or maybe it is a theme for this year?

Or maybe it is something to repeat whenever I can't decide if I should or shouldn't do something in my garden?

Or maybe it is a sub-name for May Dreams Gardens?

Or maybe it is just a state of mind for when I think about my garden?

Regardless... motto, theme, mantra, sub-name, or state of mind... I'm thinking of my garden now as...

The Garden of No Regrets.

All in or put your hoe away.

Let's go!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Winter shapes a garden like no other season

A few weeks ago
Winter shapes a garden like no other season.

Winter is why I don't grow camellias, and why I grow lilacs.

Winter is why I plant tulips and daffodils, hyacinths and snowdrops.

I don't think about whether or not a plant will live through spring, summer, or fall in my garden.

I wonder if it will survive through winter.

Winter shapes a garden like no other season.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

40 Degrees Fahrenheit

Just  before the two little snowdrops were buried in our first snow of March, I hurried out the front door and took a picture of them. Then I hurried back inside because it is cold out there.

 An hour later, the snowdrops were buried under a new blank of snow.

It's not a deep snow, so far, but it's enough snow that when I tell people that I will be out in the veg garden sowing peas in about two weeks, they will look at me, again, like I also believe in garden fairies and pilliwiggins.

Of course I believe in garden fairies and pilliwiggins, and for that matter, toast fairies, too.  It's just easier to explain some things that happen in and out of the garden when you believe in such things.

I also believe that in about two weeks, around March 17th, the soil temperature in the veg garden will be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or above at about a depth of two inches.  That's what it needs to be for peas to germinate and not sulk and rot. 

I believe this because the veg garden beds are raised, so they will warm up faster than other areas of the garden. I also believe this because if this weather continues throwing cold and snow at us, I'm going to purchase some plastic to place over the bed to trap in heat and raise the soil temperature.  Then the peas will definitely not sulk and rot.

Yep, that's what I plan to do.

I'm also going to grow potatoes this year, for the first time in many years.  I've split an order of seed potatoes with the Hoosier Gardener. We are getting two varieties, 'Carola' and 'Rose Gold' and will both be growing them in Smart Pots.

I'm thinking about chitting my seed potatoes before I plant them, mostly because it is fun to say. "I'm chitting my potatoes."  Chitting just means letting them sprout an inch or so before planting them.  

Plus, I am once again going to grow some tomatoes and peppers from seed. I know I said I wasn't going to this year. I was going to buy tomato and pepper plants, maybe even get some grafted tomatoes. But then I was buying seeds and well, if I have to explain what happened, then you don't understand gardeners.

I'll sow those seeds in a few weeks. Between doing that and sowing peas and chitting potatoes, I'm suddenly going to be quite busy gardening.

I can't wait. I hope the snow is gone by then...