Sunday, May 31, 2009

May: Spring Fling Chicago photos

I had big plans to annotate all the weekend's photos, crop and adjust brightness and blah blah blah. We all know what happens to the best laid plans, of course, and thus WITIWYG (What I Took Is What You Get). Those of you who took hundreds of photos this weekend, you have my sympathy.

My Spring Fling flickr collection is here. If you also flickr (hmm, that doesn't sound right), feel free to add me (bintie) as a contact!

I would just like to point out one thing that you might enjoy. This was the scene at the Lurie Garden on Friday, May 29:

And here is essentially the same shot from July 8, 2005:

Looks rather different, doesn't it? Note how much the "shoulder" hedge has grown; we were skeptical when the concept was explained to us back then, but it really has filled in. Also note the whole new skyscraper, the Trump Tower, just completed a few months ago.

I'll highlight a handful of photos in coming days and share some of my favorite sights from the weekend! Now I need to go get some sleep; big week of DNA sequencing ahead of me. Keep an eye out for those basswoods!

May: Spring Fling Chicago - last day!

It has been an extremely hectic weekend and I'm secretly glad it's the last day b/c am so tired :p I'm heading to the Garfield Park Conservatory around 10 and will meet everyone there.

Incidentally - the Spring Fling registrant list shows my blog as "McGarden" but that's just my own name for the garden. If you are looking for Diane from The Garden of Live Flowers who is a graduate student and lives in Chicago - you're in the right place!

Pictures later. Need coffee.

Monday, May 25, 2009

May: Memorial Day and grouchy

I'm not the grouchy one. In fact, I had an awesome weekend of gardening, tree-trimming, tree-climbing (well, hubby did anyway), family overnight guests, and lots to eat. The grouchy one is this little guy:
Little Robin Jr. complained from that sand cherry for about two hours while his poor parents depleted the local worm population. "Stop planting those foofy flowers and feed me!" he grumbled at me.

Happy Memorial Day! Tomorrow it's back to work, then Friday is Spring Fling Chicago!

May: New gloves!

This is a long overdue post! Just hours after I joined Twitter, Ethel Gloves had a Twitter-follow contest and I won a pair of their lovely gloves! I persuaded my husband to take some pictures so you can see them in action. I chose "Jubilee", size L, and they are already caked in mud, but that's the sign of good gloves, right?

Digging a hole for my new Dianthus

Closer shot

Me, gloves, and Dianthus, plus bonus greyhound. You'd be amazed at how many of our pictures have a bonus greyhound in them.

The best thing about the gloves is how flexible they are. I can easily grip a trowel or clippers and the rubbery bits on the fingers hold tools and slippery pots firmly. All in all, I am very happy with my new gloves, and it does lend an air of quaintness to wear something so pretty while gardening! Now all I need is a wide-brimmed hat and a parasol! I look forward to putting the gloves through their paces this summer. Thanks, Ethel Gloves!

Friday, May 22, 2009

May: It's late, I'm sleepy, here are some plants

Japanese maple 'Sango-kaku'

Weigela florida 'Ruby Queen' - I don't much like these shrubs, am shopping for replacements

Aquilegia canadensis, extreme closeup!! with pistils crammed against camera lens

Panicum virgatum, switchgrass, with adorable tiny furry flowers

Drumstick allium poses complementarily with the neighbor's Euonymous

A glorious 3-day weekend of gardening and other non-work-related stuff stretches before me. Time to go rest up!

Friday, May 15, 2009

May: Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (my first!)

The stars finally aligned properly and I realized it was Bloom Day in time to actually participate! My little Chicago garden is in its usual May slump in which I just don't have a lot of flowers, but due to the rain the foliage is becoming prematurely riotous and I foresee great things this summer.
The last of the tulips, and my newest purchase, a bright blue birdbath (has settled crookedly in the mud... oops), which my husband makes fun of but I think is gorgeous!

Columbines, self-seeding throughout the shade garden. And dandelions! Yay.

Lilacs, one of the few flowers I like the smell of (I think I associate smelly flowers with my allergies, though of course it's the wind-pollinated ones that are the worst culprits)

A fading tulip that has turned into a bird feeder thanks to some rather messy eaters

The last of the bleeding hearts

Carolina allspice - This is a beautiful and interesting shrub with its reddish brown, straw-like flowers and glossy leaves. More people should plant this.

Red twig dogwood

Pulmonaria, or lungwort, one of the best additions to the garden I've made in ages. I also have a pink one but it's not quite open yet.

Drumstick allium, something I recently added so I would have flowers in May (and nifty seedheads all season)

Zizea aurea, golden Alexanders. For some reason this just never photographs well but trust me, it's adorable.

Can't post flowers without Foleyage! Foley dozes in yesterday's sunshine and hopes Daddy doesn't run the scary mower and dislodge her. Sorry, Foley, but it must be done.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting GBBD!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

May: April showers brought May flowers

But not a pilgrim in sight. It's been a frustrating mix of too rainy and too busy at the old McGarden these days. I still have not finished doing my winter clean-up, which means my clematis is all wound into the dead brush and my coneflowers are choking on mulch and I have so many dandelions I can hear them roaring late at night. The yard desperately needs core aeration and overseeding but I don't see it getting done any time soon. My neighbor pays a service to do her winter clean-up and every year I privately poke fun at her, but the joke's on me because her borders are lovely and mine look... well, casual is a polite way to put it.

I hope to get out there and fix up the back 40* later next week, after stressful meeting with dissertation committee is firmly behind me. In the meantime, life marches on...


Daffies, and spiky tulips! Don't ask me what varieties any of my bulbs are. I care deeply and obsessively about the IDs of the "real" plants, but the spring bulbs and annuals are lucky if I bother remembering the genus. OK, I exaggerate a wee bit, but not much.

My Dicentra is underwhelming but bear in mind it's been moved, trampled, broken, or otherwise abused every year I've had it. I'm happy with whatever I get.

Pulmonaria something. What was that about obsessive taxonomy? It's written down somewhere, I'm sure.

Tradescantia zebrina 'Red Hill', just a baby a few months ago, surprised me by blooming all over the place. Always a pleasant surprise when houseplants bloom; I only grow them for the foliage.

Foley checks out the perimeter at the in-laws' place in Michigan.

*more like 40 yards than 40 acres