Saturday, September 3, 2011

Gardening in the Summer

Wild flowers I seeded in the fall when I added the bulbs out front.

Wayne and I have spent an awful lot of weekend mornings this summer planting more and more plants in our yard.  We are turning more of it into gardens and not grass.

Lambs ear and lily right after they were planted (before the deer got to the lily).
Almost all of the trees from Maryland DNR that we planted in the spring are still alive and some are thriving and over 6 ft tall already.  They were definitely a good buy and we are planning on ordering more for next spring.
Another import from Iowa.
 We have focused our gardening efforts mostly on the front and side yards where they are more visible to the neighbors and in case of the long ditch on the west side of the house where it is a pain to mow.
One of the hostas I planted last year.

Some of our newer additions, all clearance plants from Lowes.
 We have been working to take areas in the ditch and join them together so that now more than half of the side ditch has been started with plants.  We have also dug up areas in between where we planted some of the baby trees making them into larger garden area.  The plan is to continue joining areas between the trees so that it is easier to mow and less to mow.

Ditch along the side largely planted.

Red Sedum, we'd almost given up on them.

Side yard by ditch, more and more plants slowly filling it in.
I didn't originally plan to plant as much as we have or to plant all through the summer but as we discovered if you visit on a regular basis and are patient Lowes has wonderful clearances on plants as they get past their prime or are done blooming.  Buying plants at 50-75% off sure lets us plant more than we could have otherwise and has also let us try different plants to see which ones do well for us.  We have lost a few but we also have some that are thriving for us.

Many of the plants have been clearance plants from Lowes.

Gardenia for only $5.  What a deal!

Front ditch with periwinkle getting going.

Another view of the side ditch, it keeps changing.
I also ordered  a bunch of plants in the late spring that were very small and slow to get started but seem to finally be getting established.
Some of our 50+ baby trees.

One of our very happy black locust trees.

Another new area, this one with a ground rose, and daylilies.

Another picture of the side dich.

Beside the driveway, a challenging area that gets wet and hot.
With a lot of the plants I have been buying at $1-$3 we have been able to get much further than I expected to this year.  I have bought almost exclusively perennials so as they get more established they will get bigger and fill in the areas more.  We have slowly been adding plants here and there so we have a nice biodiversity.  We haven't gone with much of a plan other than we want a lot less grass but this has allowed us to make really good use of the clearance plants as we can get whatever looks good that is on sale.

It has almost become like a sickness for me and I even bought clearance plant the day before Hurricane Irene came barreling in.  I am getting ready to order Iris, daylilies and more bulbs to plant this fall and we will continue to add Lowes clearance plants.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Out of the Dirt Grow Iris

Those Iris need some dirt to grow in.
With as much time as I have been working on other projects including planting lots of real plants in our garden the mosaic has been taking a while to finish but that was expected.  I need to quit adding new thing to my to-do list, but as I write this I am getting ready to order Iris and bulbs to plant in the yard this fall.  A day before Hurricane Irene visited I was at Lowes getting a few things and ended up buying more clearance plants for the garden (they still need to be planted).
A bit of a closer look at the dirt.
Beading the dirt took 9 1/2 hours.  I was pretty impressed as it seemed to go fairly quickly.  When I was at Wire Fest in the spring I found some copper beads that are a bit bigger than 6/0 seed beads but they were wonderfully copper and copper seed beads were hard to find when I was ordering.  They are very irregular in shape and size which I like especially in the dirt since it gives the dirt more visual texture.
The other side of the dirt, shades of browns and blacks to coppers.
I like how the green leaves pop against the browns, blacks and coppers of the dirt.  The little copper leaves that are sprinkled amongst the dirt are not very tall so I will have to be careful when removing the excess grout to make sure that they show up.  

Blues and purple beads for the Iris.
 In the photo above you can see the piles of the different blues and purples that I chose to make the Iris with.  With the greens and the browns I was able to get all of the colors onto one tray but not so with the Iris colors.
My first Iris completed
 When doing the Iris I started all of them by doing the yellow throats first  and then did a few of the lighter colors that surround that.  After that I did each petal of each Iris one at a time.  I tried to use edges and values to separate the petals visually and think some worked out slightly better than others but think that I got the general look I was after.
Another Iris complete and a butterfly comes for a visit.
 Here you can see a closer look at the second Iris I beaded and a butterfly pendant I cut the loop of so that he could join the Iris in the garden.

Here you can see I started all of my Iris with the yellow of the stamens. 
Here you can see the first two Iris beaded together.  It has been really interesting for me to see this piece slowly emerge from sketches to a piece that will one day adorn our kitchen.  I know that adding grout will further change how the piece looks and I can't wait to see how this continues to evolve.

Three leftmost Iris beaded.
It is interesting that as I work on the piece how I approach the different sections slightly differently in how I add the different values and colors.  I have just been going with what feels right for each area hoping that my approach will get the feel I am after.
All 5 Iris beaded.
The Iris took 36 hours of work to get them completely beaded.  Most of the time I can only work on them an hour or two since my hand gets tired with the tweezers but I have had a few sessions that were longer when I was in the groove. As shown above the piece is at 64 1/2 hours of seed bead work.

Next time more leaves and some background.