Category Archives: Gardens

Apple Time

All of those apple blossoms this past spring have turned into a whole lot of apples!

Today I made my first pan of apple crisp for the season.  We made homemade ice cream to go with it.  Yum!!  What is better than warm apple crisp with creamy homemade ice cream?

I am not sure what I will do with all these apples besides doing a lot of baking in the next few weeks. My motivation to preserve them by making applesauce or something else is very low.  Our last attempt was a failure – the sauce was too mushy and we do not eat much applesauce anyhow. It does not make sense to me to go through all that work if you don’t really love the end product.
applesSo, instead of peeling, coring, boiling, and canning for hours on end…I will be eating a lot of fresh and tart apples in the next few weeks, along with baking some up in tasty apple desserts, and hopefully giving some away.  The chickens will get their fair share too.  🙂

Lynell

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My Favorite Roses

Summer is going way too fast.  I am having a hard time keeping up with the gardens, let alone finding the time to write blog posts.  As I have mentioned before however, I still grab my camera often and snap pictures outside…usually in the evening after supper.

My climbing roses were absolutely stunning this year. I have four William Baffin climbing roses:  two climbing up the porch and two on an arbor by the vegetable garden.

I planted these two roses by the porch the summer after we completed constructing our home, in 2001.  They are 12 years old and still going strong.  They are zone 2 or 3, depending on what you read, and are a perfect match for our frigid Minnesota winters.

rose3The plants were so loaded down with buds this year that the branches were drooping under their weight.

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I absolutely love the color of these pink beauties and the blooms just keep unfolding over a couple of weeks.  Even after the initial heavy blooming period there are still scattered flowers to enjoy all summer long.

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My only wish is that these roses were more fragrant.  Surprisingly, they have very little smell, even though they are often described as having “fragrant deep-pink blossoms.”

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In the spirit of full disclosure, these climbing roses do not come without a fair amount of work.  I battle the thorny growth each spring to thin it out, cut out dead canes, and to tie it up and keep it focused.  I usually have to deal with it at least one other time during the summer to continually train the new canes to grow in the right direction.

From my porch I can look out and see more climbing roses by the vegetable garden.  I planted these roses later than the porch ones, some time after we built the fence.

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They are finally getting close to the top of the arbor.  I am hoping they eventually will reach over the top.

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If you are looking for a prolific climbing rose, give the William Baffin rose a try.  You will not regret it!

-Lynell

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Filed under Flower, Gardens

Pretty Peonies

Almost every day I pick up my camera and go outside to take a picture of something that is blooming around here.  It is hard to keep up with posting the pictures because after all, it is summer and who wants to be inside and in front of the computer?

Last week I snapped these photos of my many peonies.  I have moved these plants from house to house as we moved through the years.  I could never bear the thought of leaving them behind.  This collection is out in my front yard.
peony1The only peony that I have actually purchased is this white one.  Although it is pretty, it just does not have the same strong fragrance as the old-fashioned pink ones that I have transplanted and taken with me all these years.
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I do love the white flowers mixed in with all the other varieties though.

I picked a huge bouquet of these beauties one afternoon to bring in the house to enjoy. I love to bury my nose into the flowers and inhale deeply.  What a magnificent smell!

peony3It turns out it was a good thing that I did pick some flowers that afternoon because we had a big rain and wind storm the following evening that really did a number on the peony plants, pounding and shredding the big blossoms that had already opened.

In addition to the large grouping out in the front yard, I also have peonies planted along the picket fence surrounding the vegetable garden.  These plants are from my first division of the peonies…maybe about six years ago?
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All of my peony plants are overdue for another division.

They do seem perfectly happy however, so I am in no big hurry to create the extra work for myself.  🙂peony6I still have some peonies blooming, although they are starting to wind down now.  The heat and humidity of the last few days definitely hinder the longevity of the blossoms.

I have never taken the time to identify the variety of peonies that I have.  Any ideas?

Lynell

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Prairie Fire Crabapple Tree

As I have mentioned, life has been very busy with a graduate in the house and I have definitely fallen behind in posting some of the pictures I have taken this spring around the farm.  I wanted to share this photo of the Prairie Fire crabapple tree outside our kitchen window.  This tree is such a delight, particularly when it is in its full blooming glory in late spring.

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I have posted pictures of this tree in the past when it was loaded with honeybees (Our Buzzing Crabapple Tree).  Each spring this tree puts on an impressive show and it never disappoints.  If you are looking for a lovely ornamental tree to add to your landscape, I would highly recommend a Prairie Fire crabapple tree.

Lynell

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Garden Art

Life has been very busy here.  Our middle child graduated from high school a week or so ago and we had her open house a few days later.  Because of our late spring I was frantically trying to get my gardens in order for the party.  During one of my trips to buy annuals and a few other miscellaneous plants, I came across this funky little bird at the garden center.  I do not have a lot of garden art, but this silly piece caught my eye and I bought it.
gardenartAnd I am happy that I did.  Two weeks later and it still makes me smile…so I would say it was definitely worth it.

Lynell

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Apple Trees and Abundant Blossoms

Our four apple trees are in full bloom.  We don’t know a lot about apple trees and honestly have not had that great of luck with apples through the years.  Back in 2000, when we first purchased the property, we planted about six apple trees out in the meadow before we even started building the house.  Neither of us remembers the variety and we did not keep any tags.  The trees failed to thrive in the hard-packed clay and we eventually lost all but two of them, which we moved over behind the chicken coop where the soil is better.
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They have grown quite a bit over the years and a few years back we added two more small apple trees on the other side of the garden.  The trees seem to have heavy blooms every other year…and this is an ON year with and abundance of blossoms.  The sweet smell catches your attention as you walk past.  apple4a

Surely the bees are enjoying these lovely white blossoms during the day.  It was later in the evening when I took these photos and there were no bees in sight.  They return to the hive in the early evening and hunker down for the night so it was no surprise that I didn’t see any.
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We have never used any pesticides to spray our apple trees and when we do get fruit it often has issues – it is mis-shaped, has worm holes, etc.  One year we had enough to make some applesauce and apple butter, so I guess it has not always been a total failure.  Maybe one of these years we will put some effort into consistently growing good fruit.
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In the meantime, we will enjoy the blossoms and the few pans of fresh apple crisp that we make each fall.

Lynell

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A Dash of Color

I have been a gardening maniac for the last few weeks.  With the late spring, it feels like things are moving along quickly and there is SO much work to do just to get the gardens set for the season.  When I need a break from the physical labor of gardening I will sometimes grab my camera and stroll around the grounds to take some photos.

My bleeding hearts are in full bloom behind the house. Such magnificent flowers!bleedingheart

Volunteer Violets are blooming in the garden too. My Grandma called them “Johnny Jump-ups” and they will always remind me of her.  As a small girl, when I would go to visit she would always send me home with a bouquet of these flowers for my mom.  They were prolific at her house, almost like weeds.  She would wet a paper towel, wrap them gently around the stems, and finish it off with tinfoil to hold in the moisture.  I was always so proud to bring these little gems home to my mom, who would put them in a very small crystal vase and place them in the windowsill.  It is these memories that make my heart happy each spring when these lovely flowers appear in my garden.

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And then there are the tulips.  One can never have enough tulips.  I do not have enough tulips.

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I need to remember that this fall.  I really do need to plant more tulips.  They are such a beautiful way to welcome spring.

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I planted these a few years ago when I put in my new Magnolia tree.  I don’t even know the variety, but I really do love them.  The bright color stands out boldly from all the green spring foliage and makes a real statement.DSC_0330

These purple tulips are pretty too, but their color is more muted and seems to get lost a little in the sea of spring green.  I’m not complaining though.  They are beautiful too.purpletulipsI have a lot more pictures of spring blossoms and flowers to share.  Things are really blooming around here!

Hope you are enjoying spring blooms in your part of the world!

Lynell

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