the ranunculus are here!


I really don't want to jinx it, but the flower garden is .... doing well. Last year was pretty much an epic failure with the exception of the sunflowers crushing it hard. So any success this year is just really thrilling.

But this week, I was out socializing on Monday and Tuesday ... and then on Wednesday... bam. Ranunculus! I grew these little babes from bulbs I bought off Amazon. I'll never forget the first time I saw ranunculus in Tuscany. All of the layers of blooms were so captivating. Last years attempts barely peeked out of the ground so to have plants and a handful of blooms is a flipping victory. I already feel like I won. I did end up returning the Lowe's ranunculus... they couldn't handle the wind and really crapped out.

For this part of the garden, I've spread some of the remaining salt marsh hay to try and keep the weeds down. I would love to understand how weeds can grow faster than grass and faster than flowers. In spite of my glorious plan laid out, I have not torn out the rogue sunflowers that are thriving outside of the designated sunflower row. Given how terrible this effort was last year, I'm holding on to any bloom I can get. Also, when I tried to transplant one of them it died... so we agree to disagree about where they live. But to round out the rest of the update, here is how everything else is doing.

Dusty Miller // Coming in pretty strong. Although it's a little confusing why two of the plants are wildly large... and the rest are just plugging along. Either way, all of the plants from last year are coming back and I didn't need any of the new seedlings that I started. There is something so enchanting about the slightly furry leaves. Maybe furry isn't the right word, but either way.

Dahlias // Coming up big and strong! The Arabian Night one that I planted first has some solid buds on it that could bloom in maybe a week or less. I can't wait to pair it with the dusty miller. Unlike the dahlia's planted last year, these are really growing straight up. I do expect that I'll need a stake or something to support them in a few weeks.

Sunflowers // Feel free to call me insane... but I legitimately planted 8 varieties of sunflower seeds. I think last year I did maybe 3? But, Jake gave me all these seeds... and I really couldn't pick which ones made the most sense... so I planted all of them. Additionally, I planted a few scattered rows of rogue sunflowers on the other side of the wind screen. I'm really hoping they take root ... and grow big and tall ... and make for amazing sunset backdrops.

Cosmos // Of the two cosmos varieties I planted, the second variety was doing much better. It seems like the seeds have a 50% germination rate or so. I ordered some more seeds from Burpee and just planted some more this afternoon. Really looking forward to some blooms here.

Love-in-a-mist // Doing well... but no blooms yet... and no real timeline for it? The seed packet had suggested planting more seeds every couple weeks or so to maintain flowers all summer. I'll probably do that next weekend.

Tuberrose // Of the 4 bulbs I planted, only one came up... which did result in a credit from Burpee. It is supposed to smell amazing so I can't wait for whatever the blooms are to show up. I might have to fill in the rest of this box with something else.

Ranunculus // See all above comments about how my eternal happiness for these babies. I do need to figure out how to make them grow even more. A lot of articles say that cutting the flowers actually helps them grow even more so I'll be Googling that all week.

Previous Flower Posts: what I'm growing [4/22]


[top] all the sunflower varieties
[1, 2] Dusty Miller in all its glory
[3] Ranunculus blooming
[4] piles of sunflower seeds with my new magic soil
[5] all the sunflowers beginning to pop up after a week
[6] Ranunculus blooming (again)
[7] The beginnings of the Arabian Night dahlia bloom
[8] The full garden picture

what I planted


I've been in the market for a time machine on several occasions recently. My little brother's 18th birthday. My little brother's high school graduation... and my tomato plants. See, I got real ahead of myself and planted the seeds in the winter. Then it was a pretty miserably cold winter... and spring seems to have never existed... so my tomato plants didn't exactly shoot up.

They all looked really healthy but they weren't exactly getting miles taller. Meanwhile, my dad's tomato plants look like tall leggy green models. He offered repeatedly to take my short, cold tomato plants in like they were from a bad home... and I kept delaying it. And then I never did it.

And if I wasn't failing my tomato plant children enough, I definitely failed to transplant them early enough. The itty bitty seed pots are just too tiny. So, while the garden is planted and looking good... it is not looking incredibly strong. So, we'll see how this goes. Since everything is in the ground, it is time for a quick roundup of all the gems we are trying to grow this year.

So here are some notes:
  • Tomatoes // Yes, there are 10 varieties. There are 4 varieties that my dad grew that are planted in buckets outside the normal garden. For what it's worth.... they are thriving despite the fact that soil was not tilled, composted, or anything. One of his plants already has a TOMATO on it. 
  • Onions // yes, I almost didn't plant onions but I only need so many radishes (actually, I need none), carrots, and peppers. Also, onions came up in many plant charts are being great for its neighbors (e.g. peppers, carrots, tomatoes, etc). 
  • Cucumbers // These are not thriving at all. I'm giving them a week and then I'll be buying a plant from Lowe's. Year two attempting Mexican Gherkin is not going well.
  • Kale & Lettuce // I only did 3 plants this year versus the 5 or 6 I did last year. The lettuce has really picked up speed in the last few days. 
  • Herbs // Growing herbs is not for me especially when I can buy them for less than $3 at Trader Joes - which is what I did. The parsley seems to have passed on to a better life but the basil is thriving. We are going with parsley (maybe), green onions, rosemary, basil, and thyme. 
  • Carrots // I went all in on the carrots this year. I'm really hoping to build some solution to help store them in the garage this winter. Really pulling for the purplesnax carrots to crush it. They are purple!
  • Snap peas // not doing amazing. I'm a little worried that the salt marsh hay was too close to it and has affected some growth. Going to give it a week and then replant as needed. I'm real invested in this pea trellis.
All funny notes aside, this garden is the best part of my day most often. I check on it each morning and often in the evenings. On the weekends, you can frequently find me just staring at it looking at everything. I'm still not sure why the weeds grow faster than everything else but I'll keep pulling them out. Unlike last year, I bought the saltmarsh hay from a local greenery. Buying it was the smart move, putting it in the front seat of my car was the dumb move. Hay everywhere.

So, let's see how 2017 fares. I'm going to keep staring at the plants and slowly bringing tiny rocks back from the beach for the border.

precious pretty peonies


Everything has felt so late and slow this year. The weather has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Tanktops have been a rarity. Vest season has lasted a lot longer than prior years. So, it also felt like peony season was really behind schedule... just like my tomato plants. 

Well apparently that was a lie because I did last year's peony post on pretty much this exact same day. The day the peonies bloom is always such a great day. I had been casually checking in on them to see how close they were and then overnight the blooms were out. 

I might like the 2016 pictures the most - but this pass was good enough. Other years felt all about the big blooms and I really wanted to get them before they totally bloomed this time. More about the unfolding of the layers, and less about all the layers being on display. You can see the difference even one day makes.
There are so many different peony varieties. My parents will never plant more but perhaps but here are some that I'd consider for my own garden in the future. These colors aren't exactly a happy family but they feel so different from the trademark pink ones you see everywhere. Don't get me wrong - I love all the pink peonies. My heart jumps out of my chest when I see them at Trader Joes... but I'm always a fan of growing things that you can't buy. [buckeye belle, la lorrainekopper kettle]
But here is what 2017 brought to the peony show... If you are so inclined, you can take a trip down memory lane to see 2016201520142013, and 2012.
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