Sunday, May 29, 2011

Perfect little worlds

 Two cottages are surrounded by plants with tiny leaves and delicate demeanor that mimic a full-size landscape.

The idea of creating a miniature landscape or fairy garden never much appealed to me. It always seemed a tad too precious, too cute, too cluttered with ornamentation. But, after a visit to Winter Greenhouse in Wisconsin, I may become a convert.

The scene in one of the plant-filled greenhouses stopped me in my tracks. The display of two cottages and the surrounding landscape was nothing short of charming. The cottages looked as if they had been plucked from the pages of a fairy tale. Thyme and baby's tears became lawn; sedums and succulents and sempervivens became shrubs and trees; accessories were tasteful and not overdone. The plants, and the creative way in which they were employed, carried the day.

Winter Greenhouse has a web site devoted to its new venture in miniature landscaping -- it has inspiration and, of course, plants and products for sale. There's also advice on how to create your own landscape. Be advised, these are not no-maintenance projects. Like any landscape, they require upkeep to keep them looking good.

Muehlenbeckia complexa is trained onto the mini arbor.

The Underfoot Cottage has a sweet windowbox. Slender chives stand in for a tall hedge by the fence. And yes, that's a rock waterfall at left.

Thyme forms the upper lawn at the Mustardseed Cottage, and I think that's a jade tree near the bridge. Note the tire swing at the back of the house on the left.

A round bench surrounds a dwarf euonymus; pink hypoestes contrasts with the many shades of green. Delicate purple alyssum forms a hedge at left.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Savor the moments

 Ussurian pear in bloom. And forsythia (left).

A friend's serious medical emergency is a potent reminder to seize the day and savor the moments. Like some of these moments from the past week.

Tulipa humilis violacea

Tulip 'Professor de Mosseri'


Monday, May 16, 2011

Do we need a greenhouse? ...

... You make the call.

Seedlings in the dining room along with some potted plants that will go outside when the weather settles.

 Seedlings on the main light cart downstairs in the "plant room."

 Tomato seeds on the heat mat in the "plant room."

 Seedlings on the windowsill and bookcase in the "plant room."

 A homemade light cart in the entry.

Yes, we start a lot of seeds indoors. Since these photos were taken, many of these seedlings have grown enough to be moved out to the cold frames. Others are taking their place. Crazy? Maybe. But it's the only way to get some of the varieties that we want. Plus, it's a whole lot of fun.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Must be spring

The rose-breasted grosbeaks started showing up at the feeder a few days ago.

The first hummingbird of the season buzzed the daffodils and lungwort yesterday.

Lawn was mowed today.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring shows up for Seventh Day May

Yellow twig dogwood in a pool of naturalized chionodoxa and daffodils.

A year ago on May 7, we had snow. This year, although spring has been slow to unwind, May 7 proved to be pretty darn nice.

Bulbs dominate now, with a few early-blooming perennials thrown in for good measure. The weather has cooperated enough that the tulips and daffodils are able to put on a good show.

See what's happening around our homestead in the slide show in the sidebar.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Daffodil mystery

Where did these daffodils come from?

You can just make them out from the kitchen window. A couple of pale spots in the debris of stems and leaves covered by snow just a few weeks ago. I don't remember planting daffodils there. There across the bridge and a few feet off the path to the stream. There among the green shoots of the wild grasses shooting toward the sun.

But there they are.  

 Raindrops glisten on the petals.

I remember planting daffodils on the back hill and along the path that runs parallel to the ditch. And under the birch tree this side of the ditch. Several clumps have performed reliably over the years. A few others have disappeared. And these few -- well, they seem to have moved themselves and settled in. And they look as beautiful there as they do anywhere.

Silly Dog checks out a clump of daffodils along the path.