Dandy lions

Is a dandelion a weed or a flower?

Devin and I discussed this yesterday. The majority of lawn-loving Americans would, I’m sure, vote for weed. But c’mon…dandelions have bright, cheerful flowers. Walk by an empty lot where no speck of lawn product has been applied and you’ll see hundreds of them flocking together in a festive gathering of yellow. Dandelions bring back childhood memories of rhymes. “Momma had a baby and her head popped off!” Who didn’t have fun flipping those soft, golden flowers off the stem? And how many other flowers morph into wispy, magical orbs that no kid (or grownup) can resist plucking from the ground to make a wish and watch the fuzzy seeds float on the breeze?

As much as I try to lessen their numbers in my yard, I consider them flowers. If only they’d sprout in a more orderly, controlled fashion, I’d be more likely to just let ’em go. Maybe I should. I’d have the brightest, cheeriest yard on the block, that’s for sure.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Why so proud of a pumpkin? Because we made this one in our very own garden!

Never having grown pumpkins before, I stuck the little seedlings in several different spots and wasn’t prepared for the length of those curly vines. They wrapped themselves around everything in sight. And despite all of the lovely yellow flowers, not many pumpkins have been growing. Dev and I were poking around trying to determine how many we had the other night. I was just about to pull out one of the vines that seemed to have nothing going for it when we found this one dangling in the air in the middle of one of my sedum plants.

How does your garden grow?

Summer is when you’re supposed to garden, yes? But it’s also when it gets really, really hot. Planting, weed-pulling and other such tasks just don’t seem as much fun when it’s 90 degrees and humid outside. Today was one of the cooler days of the last couple of weeks. (We’ve even turned off the AC…yay!) So I took the opportunity to attack a few pesky weeds and check out the progress of the growing things

I’ll omit sharing the photo of my butt that Devin took. He was out there with me and found it quite amusing to photograph Mom bending over the weeds. Six-year-old humor. Very sophisticated.

The blooms have arrived!

Last year my hollyhock plant shot up big and bold — but without any flowers. Just big, bushy green leaves. Not that I have anything against leaves. It’s just that the whole appeal of the hollyhock plant is the flowers that burst open on the various branches. Otherwise, it’s more like a bush.

This year the same thing appeared to be happening. All of the “buds” turned out to be more leaves making their way to the party. And the bush was getting bigger and bigger as summer came closer. I grumbled about this a bit. Because it’s so large it basically dominates my garden and it was doing that dominating without any flourish.

Two weeks ago, though, as Devin and I lounged about on the deck, I looked over and saw flowers. Three of them. And then I did my little “Happy Hollyhock” dance. (Which will, I’m sure, embarrass the heck out of him when he’s old enough to register that his mom is a loon.) So, yes, there are now dozens of lovely pink blossoms on my very tall and imposing hollyhock plant. Everybody say, Hallelujah!

The fruits (er, vegetables) of our labor

Nearly two months later and we’re getting some real production. Although the seeds we planted didn’t all come to fruition. In fact, only three of the pea plants are really amounting to much from the two rows we allotted. And the lettuce and spinach? The bunnies, adorable little critters with healthy appetites, nibbled them up before we even got a chance to admire them.

Since then we’ve added beans, carrots and pumpkin to the vegetable garden and planted sunflowers, zinnias and poppies in the flower bed next door. Fingers crossed that the sunflowers get to more than a foot high this year. The little critters cut them off pretty quickly last year. Each and every plant bit the dust.

Two green thumbs are better than one

Well, we’ll have to see how green those thumbs really are, but Devin has joined in with me yet again on some gardening. He’s actually been helpful every year, going as far back as when he was two and surprised me during a trip to the garden center by expressing very strong opinions about which plants I should put in my containers. (His choices have been good ones, I might add.)

This year he helped me pick out some veggie seeds, then made the markers to stick in the rows. Then we clattered out to the beds with the tools and hacked away at the weeds. He giggled a bit when it was time to spread the compost and cow manure (“Cow poop? Hee.”) I mounded up the rows and he plopped in the seeds at the designated intervals. Then we added water. Now we wait for the sprouts. He seems as eager as me to watch and see what happens.

April showers really do bring May flowers

20090512-dsc_2636Someone brought a bunch of these into work yesterday. Lilacs remind me of my grandma. We had a couple of bushes in our backyard when I was a kiddo. It’s such a wonderful smell and it pulls me back to kid-hood every time. I planted a bush in the yard a few years ago, but it’s always a late bloomer. So I have more lilac loveliness to look forward to yet this spring.