Atlanta is 90 degrees today...

girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)April 10, 2011

Warm and sunny, then cold and rainy..typical psycho spring. I just hope it stays for awhile, I love a long lengthly spring. Besides warm and sultry nights it's what the South is all about!

This week I took a few photos of the garden.

This is the obligatory front corner photo. It has changed so much over the years...and is now home to a nice Reeves Spirea given to me by a friend (who also gave me many shrub roses) in the neighborhood who has since passed away. I need to go to his place and save some more things, I can just never find the executor of his estate in.

When we moved in, there was a walking smack against the front screen porch. Nothing could be planted next to the house, and it was very boring looking. There was no way one could integrate the house and garden (OK, I admit I am still struggling in this area). We faced the stairs with some flat stone, then stacked stone and filled the walkway with some old concrete rubble (but we left the walkway there, and built out a bit to mimic more of the steps area...and eventually that all disappeared! Now I grow shallow rooted plants here, and this little Santa Barbara daisy is my favorite. I'd love to have it in every nook of the garden but so far it's not taken to other places. It really loves the stones and any crannies it can find.

The mailbox needed some new spring fashion, and I heard polka dots were all the rage...this is the first time the bottom has been anything but white! Do you see behind the mailbox? I had a most lovely Dianna Rose Of Sharon that I loved. It suddenly just up and died one day, and I can not for the life of me get her tree stake out!! This year the City workers kept poking around in that garden for some reason while fixing my neighbors plumbing (they had no reason to poke or go in there) and have really made a mess. They removed 3/4 of the plants and the good soil and HAULED IT OFF! Clearly it was going to someone's home garden. I was livid. Since that time I've raised a fuss but there is no way anything will be done. Hopefully they will make a city workers garden prettier and his family happier.

My friend who passed away told me this is Russels Cottage Rose. Clearly it is not. I have no idea what on earth it is, but it is an antique rose shrub without scent but with beautiful flowers all summer. I adore it!

This little fellow is one of the Easy roses...I have Easy Living and Living Easy both from a GW friend who used to come to our plant trades here. For some reason they grow only a foot tall for me, and bloom just a few times a year. Odd, isn't it. Someday this one will once again need a new home (I thought it would reach it's full 4' here, someday....).

This year I fertilized the irises. They are very thankful!

Anyone else in their right mind would be SICK to death of chard right now. We've eaten it 1-2 meals a day for at least 3 months straight. Looks like we have another few weeks before freezing the rest.

Strawberries work well when fertilized at the same time as roses and irises! Who knew? There are TONS and tons of berries forming!

Here's the main garden. Spring is it's peak, with the lime green of the maple and the dark red buds of the Smoke Bush, this is one of my biggest design successes! We see this right from the porch. Currently everything is perfect from the porch: the balance of colors and the balance of shapes. I wish it could stay like this...but it's the garden!

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Lovely!!! You have such an inspiring garden!!!!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 1:35AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I hardly ever think to visit the gallery. I'm glad you mentioned it. Your gardens are beautiful ... true cottage style!

We've been eating chard a couple times a week all winter/spring. I don't think I could handle every day. ;)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 12:37PM
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lois(PA Zone 6)

I love all your purple... Is that a missile mailbox?

I also love all the landscaping you've done with rocks.

Didn't you say you lived in the city? (Maybe I'm just confused, that happens a lot, LOL.) Your main garden looks like it's way out in the mountains or something. It's beautiful.

How long ago did you put down those stone pathways? Do you have to refresh the stones in them every year?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 7:25PM
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I'm drooling over that lovely strawberry patch! I am thinking about trying a strawberry pyramid bed...I Love spirea! Mine is just starting to bloom(Ialways worry that things won't grow, and I just moved the spirea, and it seems very happy so am I too!ha!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:12AM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

So beautiful! Love your Japanese maples, stacked stones, spilling of plants over them, Swiss chard - I planted it this year mostly for ornamental reasons - love the color combination.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:21AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

GGG just what I needed thanks for sharing. Spring is still struggling to break through here. I don't know about your 90 degree weather tho... I'd be melting and doing a lot of whining.
It looks like it may be a little warmer here next week. You have beautiful roses blooming, mine are just starting to signs of growth, that bed of greens of yours.... has me wiping drool off the keyboard.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 4:23PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

GGG, your pictures are beautiful! What a fabulous job you have done and I love how you are so carefree with paint. The mailbox is so cute. You have such a great veggie garden. Do you have any pests? Rabbits, voles, moles, woodchucks, etc.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:28PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

The temperatures have become much more reasonable after some storms on the weekend!! Thank-you for all the lovely compliments. This is a very good garden year, we've had plenty of rain although I still notice that the ground is very dry in some areas. The rain simply can't soak in well after years of drought and the clay I worked so hard on year after year is so hard again.
To answer some questions. Yes, that is a missile under my mailbox! It made me WANT this house! I love crazy stuff like that.
We live in downtown Atlanta, in the first suburban annex - after The Great Fire (which occurred a mile from us) people built in this neighborhood. There are some Victorians behind my home.
Our pathway was laid in 13 years ago. It was originally solid concrete. That is simply broken concrete with pea gravel, we set it right into the clay with no base. Dirt has washed into the pea gravel and holds most of it pretty firmly.
I took some more photos yesterday and I'll try and post them (some of the roses which have been spectacular the last two days). The spring storms have effected the phone lines here so my internet has been intermittent the last two weeks!!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:33PM
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Oh have such an amazing touch. I love love that rock wall in the last pic...the whole thing is perfect as you say. What lovely places to sit a spell. Your raised beds are perfect. I don't have room for them but I have a new one that I will post soon...think of it as a raised "bed" bed :) c

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 9:29PM
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This post made me so happy! Our earliest plants are just barely turning green now, so it was awesome to see your beautiful garden this morning. I'm growing edible stuff this year and would love to see more of your vegetable garden. What is your favorite way to prepare swiss chard? Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 12:18PM
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I always love your photos. Thanks for sharing them!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 1:51PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Dahli22, I made my own version of a swiss chard wrap this week, and they are the biggest hit ever! We had it tonight at a party, and yesterday I took them to the neighborhood picnic. I'm going to use them in some classes this week.

As much chard as you need individual leaves. For every 70 leaves you need a full cup of the raw rice.

1 cup uncooked brown sushi (sticky) rice or shortgrain brown rice (needs to be short grain, and sticky is best). Cooked until well done (do not rinse first, let it go sticky)
1/2 c. miso mayo (my mayo of choice, but I'm sure you can use regular mayo
4 leeks or an onion sliced
olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
4 larger sized radishes finely chopped
2 carrots finely chopped
6 bite sized pieces of 9 day pickles (I think 3 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish would substitute nicely)
Seasoned vinegar: I make my own herbal vinegars but a seasoned rice vinegar to taste will work. Probably 2 tablespoons
assorted chopped herbs of your choice: 4 tablespoons

Cut the swiss chard stems off of the leaves, cut down a bit to get all the firmest part cut away from the leave but leave the leaf intact. Chop finely.

Saute the onion or leek and swiss chard stems until soft. Add finely chopped nuts, pickles, radish, carrot in a bowl to cool. Add in the fully cooked rice and herbs. Mix together well. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the miso mayo and stir - season to taste. I found I needed some raw garlic, just a small amount for some kick. This will seem very strongly flavored, and it needs to be to compete with raw chard.

Add a dollop of the mix on each clean and dry chard leaf. Wrap in a bundle and secure with a tooth pick. I make each one into a two bite size.

Rave reviews, now my fave!! I'm in the process of removing the old garden, ammending soil to plant so the veggie garden is not so pretty but you can see it with last years photos:

Here is a link that might be useful: girlgroupgirl 2010 photos of garden

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 12:07AM
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wow that sounds fantastic! thanks for posting!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 9:41PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

You mentioned you fertilized the beautiful purple Iris. What did you use? Do you recall what variety of iris those are? I love purple and pink and versions of it.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 7:46PM
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