First Peach 2016

IMG_20160626_195019990

Our two year old peach tree produced fruit for the first time.  The two peaches we picked tasted amazing!  Juicy and sweet.  When I cut through the soft skin fuzz, the peaches nearly fell apart.  Juice squirted.  The peach flesh slipped through my fingers.  I gathered it up with a spoon and offered some to my son. Yummy and sugary!  There is nothing better than growing and eating fruit from your own yard.

In June, there were many small peaches on the tree, but by July we could only find two.  There were no peaches on the ground around the tree. The little peaches completely vanished.  It is a mystery.   Did birds pick the peaches off the branches? Did the peaches drop prematurely and a rabbit, squirrel or other fortunate critter eat them up from under the tree?

Now our peach tree has beetles eating through the leaves.  I shook the tree and several beetles fell to the ground.  The beetles are munching leaves beyond my reach.  What kind of beetles eat peach tree leaves? What is the best way to get rid of the beetles?  Did the beetles eat the little peaches?

I know our gardening season 2016 is off to a great start when both juicy fruit and questions are produced.

Visitors to our home garden

Visitors to our garden are welcome!

wpid-img_20150905_143908188.jpg

 

We were thrilled to find helpers in our garden this year – a toad, wasps, spiders and a praying mantis. They kept some of the insect pests from doing too much damage.  This praying mantis was not intimidated by the size of its prey.  After a few flashes from my camera, he flew towards it and grabbed with his long legs.  His attack reverted my attention back  to weeding and watering the garden.  Could that have been his plan? He has that “get to work” look.

Grape Tomato
It is October and we still have ripe grape tomatoes!

 

We were super thrilled to find another kind of helper in our garden this year – a little girl. Our neighbor’s tomato loving daughter picked and ate from our garden when she played outside.  A child enjoying our home garden and their veggies, that is the perfect garden visitor!

Our Garden Plot Comes Home

wpid-img_20150912_141352563_hdr.jpgFirst year of new backyard garden gives our family veggies, flowers, joy,  and humble pride.  My 10 year old son announced a few days ago, “We have the biggest and most beautiful garden in our neighborhood!” Next he said, “I want to sweep the stones and weed.”  Really.  My “working in the garden is boring,” son volunteers to work in our garden?

When our garden plot was in Howard County Conservancy Community garden, we produced more veggies.  Now that our garden plot is at home,  more inspiration grows.   A salad or veggie stir fry for dinner – pick some grape tomatoes, kale, zucchini and peppers.  Science project ideas – check on those kitchen scraps added to compost yesterday.  A break from stress and high tech stuff – pull some weeds, empty rain barrel water into a watering can and sprinkle the dry ground. Stillness – watch the rain soak the garden and revive its thirsty roots.  Welcome home our garden plot!

Fall plantings include:  beets, spinach, lettuce, an assortment of kale and two blueberry bushes in pots on our deck.

Outdoor Work and Play

wpid-img_20150525_144745266_hdr.jpg Several hot and dry days over the long Memorial Day weekend gave us a chance for outdoor work and play together. We finally stained our new deck. My 10 year old son was thrilled to paint with us. His constant chattering about his thoughts, feelings, school, Minecraft and best techniques to paint, made the work fun. I smiled when he told me his cure for his sore throat. He said, “Mama, my throat does not hurt anymore. I guess I just needed to ‘talk it off’, get it? Like ‘walk it off’.” He certainly did.wpid-img_20150526_163558458.jpg

Tuesday, my husband and I picked up our son from school and we all went to Patapsco State Park.  We walked/jogged on the Grist Mill Trail.  My son had to get close to the water, to feel it on his feet and make it splash with rocks and sticks.  My husband joined my son in stone skipping.  I never knew my husband could get a stone to hop on the water 4 times in one throw. My son begged to swim across the creek and climb a huge rock. It was bold for him to put his whole body into a murky creek filled with unknown critters.

When we explore and work in the outdoors together we discover more about nature, but even more about each other.

Steppables

image

A photo of our front yard at start of growing season.  My goal is no weed or grass spots and no brown mulch, only green steppable plants. There are five different ground covers growing – Stonecrop at front right, Alban Reptans, blue flowers at back right, Vinca around the tree, Wooly Thyme behind the tree and Sedum to left of Wooly.  There are Alban transplants growing between stones (can’t see in this photo).  More stepping stones will be added to the left.  I remain hopeful that one day  we will be able to walk across a living green carpet.  My bare feet are ready!

Lilac Wonder Tulip

lilac wonder2The Lilac Wonder tulips were in bloom for about two weeks in our garden plot.  They lasted long enough for a Mother’s Day appearance. These tulips remind me of a mom’s power. There is a bright ruffled circle formed from all the random yellow splotches on each pink petal. Order created from chaos.  God’s design. A peaceful home forms as a mom prays and loves each stress splotched life into the center of God’s grace.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Tulip tip: Do not cut the leaves, let them yellow. Yellow leaves on tulips are a sign that the bulbs have stored enough energy and are now ready to go dormant until next spring. If the leaves are cut off before they go yellow, the bulbs will not get enough energy and may not produce a large flower or survive a winter. 

Arbor Day 2015 – Celebrate and Plant a Tree

Spring 2015 Eastern Red Bud
Eastern Redbud planted October 2014

Last year, my husband planted this Eastern Redbud tree in our backyard to celebrate my birthday.  This is our first Spring to watch it bloom.  Redbud trees have small rosy-pink flowers that outline its bare branches like strings of lights. The flowers follow the curve of the tree limbs giving these trees a light and airy quality. They add an elegant and subtle beauty among the bigger “cotton candy” shaped Spring blooming trees.

The Eastern Redbud are native to Eastern United States and Canada. They can be found tucked among larger trees  in neighborhoods, along roadways and in the woods.

One day my son and I played “look for the Redbud trees” while driving home from school.   Planting a tree is fun and opens our eyes to nature around us.

Hidden Spring Beauty

Bright sun, vibrant color and sweet scents surround me. I walk in Spring beginnings. The white and pink flowering trees are splendid. I stop and gaze below me. There is another beauty here with a dance that reveals the secret rhythms of light and wind. It softens the sun’s sharp edges. It shelters.  It is not a brief burst of Spring color. It will grow through summer.  I stand inside the hidden beauty of a Spring Shadow.

Spring shadows
Spring shadows