Sunday, May 27, 2012

The joy from gardening

Every May since I began to enjoy gardening eight years ago or so, the anticipation builds in earnest. I find myself constantly peeking out my kitchen window to observe or note any progress on the plants that will give me the earliest pleasure from my efforts to give them every opportunity to do what they do best.

By May, I've already seen the crocus and tulips (and hyacinth until I accidentally dug up the bulbs three autumns ago while trying to put fall plants into the ground) come and go, although tulips often linger into mid-May. After the tulips had withered, I usually had to wait until late May before the spectacular pastel yellow and pink Asiatic lilies would bloom. I've never seen Asiatic lilies with blooms this large and elegant, and would you believe I ordered the bulbs four summers ago from an ad I saw and clipped in USA Weekend, a magazine insert in my Sunday newspaper?

This year, a year after I planted a strawberry starter, the plant produced its first harvest, and I've been picking -- and thoroughly enjoying -- the fruits of last year's labor for the past two weeks. I was so thrilled that I went out and bought and planted a blueberry bush last month. Next year at this time, I hope to be doubly fruit-thrilled. As a bonus, I was able to cut a sprig Monday from the first bearer of the broccoli seeds planted in late February.

The first Asiatic lilies to open -- from a plant with yellow flowers -- blossomed overnight yesterday. My eyes popped this morning when I saw the blooms when doing the aforementioned surveillance from the kitchen window. I decided it was time to take some photographs -- of the lilies and the strawberries, and to document progress on the cucumbers, broccoli plants, cauliflower, tomatoes, lettuce, a new hosta plant, roses, my new Earth Box and yet another first-year vegetable (not to mention perennial!) -- asparagus. I used my Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens for all of these shots, beginning with the tight shot of a strawberry leading off the post.

I also grabbed some shots of my house and garage exterior as it looked today, about halfway through a new paint job. A crew spent four days last weekend water blasting and scraping, applying a good amount of trim and managing to get a modest layer of primer down on about one-fourth of the west side.

So today's post is about that shoot. I did the shoot probably right around the time the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race was beginning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, about 10 miles away. Many of these shots should be self-explanatory if you read through the above text; I'll add captions where appropriate. 

Above: One of the pink Asiatic lilies is bulging, certain to blossom in the next day or so. 
Above: The strawberry plant, which not only has borne fruit this year but grown and expanded. It's butting up against a day lily (stella d'ora) on the left. 

Above: Broccoli plants dominate the front row, which is what I call my genus garden (developed in a former grass median of an old-fashioned two-path driveway); a cauliflower plant is on the far left. In the background are cucumbers (left) and the Asiatic lilies (right).
Above: The whispy tops of the first-year asparagus plant.

Above: Closeup of the in-ground cucumbers.

Above: The Earth Box. All four seeds sprouted: Tomatoes (back right), cucumber (back left), carrots (front left) and one I can't remember.

Above: I took this thinking about how this painting project has been like turning my house upside down ... or something to that defect.

Above: A leaf on a first-year hosta plant. 

Above: A bloom from a rose plant that is the only plant in any of my gardens that has been with me since the day I moved into the house 21+ years ago.

Above: A shot of the narrow area between my garage and the next-door neighbor's fence.

Above: I started this post with strawberries, I figured I'd end it with 'em, too. I picked and ate these immediately after taking this picture.


  1. I'm envious! Your garden is beautiful; perhaps after I've had my house for 21 years my garden will also be as lovely.

  2. Joe, You're making me feel soooo guilty! This is absolutely wonderful! I knew you enjoyed gardening...but, WOW! what a nice variety! Tulips, by the way, come in early, mid, and late bulbs. So, you may want to get some of each in the Fall so you'll have a longer flowering season. You even have asparagus! I'm impressed!!! That's not an easy plant to grow! Broccoli and cauliflower...hmmm! Have you tried brussel sprouts yet? I'm amazed, too, that you took the challenge of starting so many from seed. My recollections of starting some of these from seed weren't so good. So, congrats!!!!! Boy, those strawberries sure looked good too!!! You'll have to tell us how good they tasted too!!!...

  3. Forgot...I think you have to buy more than one blueberry bush...and be sure you get a variety (not all the same kind)..and get the hardy ones!!!