Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spring Garden Journal

I'm feeling wistful about parting with my fledgling flower garden for the entire summer.  When I return to Jordan in September it will likely be weedy, overgrown, and dusty. Hopefully, it will be alive. Since I knew that we wouldn't be in Jordan this summer I added only a couple of herbs to my garden this spring; everything else was planted in the fall, and most of the plants were brought with me from our Amman garden when we moved to Mafraq last September.

Thanks to Dear Husband, who brought in dirt and manure when we moved last fall, my new garden is doing well and some of my plants are thriving better in Mafraq than they were in Amman.  I take numerous turns in my flower garden each day (is that a new leaf I see?!) and here is what I've been enjoying--and anticipating.

This first picture was taken in April and shows my Spanish lavender at it's peak. I found this lavender, a rare find in Jordan, in a garden store last summer. The proprietor told me it was an English lavender.  Once it bloomed this spring, I identified it as Spanish.

Spanish lavender
I collected my small harvest of Hidcote lavender this morning.  This is an English lavender. I love it for its intense blue-violet color and the strong fragrance of the flowers.

Hidcote lavender

My ever-blooming French lavender is the workhorse lavender of my garden, blooming most of the year round and starting easily from clippings. All six of my bushes were started from one bush I bought in the Galilee region about seven years ago--that one is was left in Amman.

French lavender

My first coneflower bloomed this week..

Coneflowers and Coreopsis
...with many more flowers on the way. I thankful I got to see one bloom, at least.

 Some more anticipation: these are coneflower plants I grew from seeds in colors "Sunset" and "Sunrise".  I think. Not the typical purple, anyway. I really hope they make it.  Dear Husband laid meters and meters of drip hoses and these plants will hopefully be watered twice weekly by a very garden savvy and diligent friend while we are away.

New coneflower plants
Below is an odd bird which bloomed this week.  I started it from seed and it is supposed to be a yellow coneflower. It will be interesting to see if it changes from it's present form/color and if all the plants (seven) have the same color flower.  I may not know this year as this is the only bloom so far.

Prairie coneflower
My irises bloomed at Easter, but I thought the foliage looked so pretty this morning that I photographed it. It reminds me of lattice work.  All these irises and this many again, on the other side of the garden, were started from one bulb I found in a garden scrap pile.

And speaking of multiplying plants, I am quite proud of this little border (on the other side of the walk, too) of purple lilies.  I brought about seven of these lilies up from Amman, but when I decided to line the walk with them last fall, I set about separating them. One careful separating session yielded the present twenty-eight drought resistant (it seems) lilies. They should bloom all summer.

The Malva I began from seed grows so easily and quickly.  It is beautiful, but unfortunately, all seven of my plants are aphid infested. some heavily.  The lady bugs are having a feast but they can't eat fast enough.  Leaves are curling and browning and I expect I'll have to start over with these next year when I have some time to put into pest management.  Really lovely, plants though.  I'm glad I tried them. I think they grow to about six feet.

Dear Husband planted two honeysuckles last fall and they are both now to the top of the pipes that we are attempting to cover.  Notice the rock hanging from the string--that is the clever way to get the plants up and over the top!

I brought this Russian sage up from Amman, where it was stunted, growing next to an overgrown lantana bush. It seems very happy in its new home and has already grown more in one partial Mafraq season than it did in four or five years in Amman.  I'm glad I brought it!  I love Russian sage and after purchasing this one, I have never again seen it in Jordan. That's how things go in garden stores around here. Russian sage is perfect for the arid climate and needs little water, so they really should be grown here. So far I've been unsuccessful at propagating it.

Russian sage, not quite in bloom
The basil is now big enough for pinching off...

...as is the thyme and oregano.

Thyme and Oregano
Unfortunately, I somehow discarded the picture I took of our pomegranate tree in full bloom.  All my years living in the Middle East and I somehow have missed enjoying such a site.  Below is picture of just one of the blooms, but imagine a tree full of them.  From afar it looked a little like the tree was full of small red roses. I don't know what the fruit will be like, but even as an ornamental, this tree is such a beautiful way to welcome spring.  It grows right in front of our sun porch window and I could hardly read there when it was in full bloom, so distracted was I by it's beauty!

Pomegranate blossom
I will enjoy the beauty of my mom's garden this summer, and I anticipate visiting lavender farms in Sequim, Washington, but I will miss my garden this summer--grow well, little garden!


Susan said...

Thanks Melissa, for sharing those pictures and it gave me a little glimpse of what you did with all that empty space in front of your house!! I had so hoped to come up to Mafraq for a day and see how you have made your new house a home...maybe next time.
I am enjoying my yard...but it hasn't really warmed up enough for much to grow except the daffodils and tulips which are mostly finished now...I await for much to grow and bloom this summer!!
I miss you , my gardening friend :-)!

Molly said...

It will be so hard to leave your garden. On the plus side, of you're coming to the PNW, there will be lots of greenery to take its place.

Jodi said...

You really do have a gift, Melissa. Or should I say, Green Thumb! We had to leave our veg garden beside 2 years ago when our daughter got married in New Zealand. We came home to a jungle. :)