Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Flowers in Our Yard

We are very lucky to have a yard that features a lot of perennial flowers that come back year after year. The yard used to be home to Albert Johnson's flower farm which was called "Fairview Gardens." Back in the 1930s, there was a "fair view" of the Merrimack River from here before the trees and undergrowth clouded the landscape. In fact, we were given a photo of a view of the river that was taken from the second floor of the back of our home. Mr. Johnson, who lived in this house until he died at the age of 98, raised flowers such as Iris and Peonies which he sold or gave to the local church, a nearby stone building that is the Congregational Church of West Concord, New Hampshire.

Perennial Sweet Pea 

Each year there are many flowers and flowering bushes that come back. Hydrangea bush, fragrant wild roses, Perennial Sweet Peas, Cone Flowers, Perennial Salvia, Tiger Lilies, pink Lily of the Valley, Iris, Siberian Iris, and Peonies in three colors are just a few. In addition, there is a flowering Crab Apple tree (which the wild turkeys love), a Flowering Quince bush, and wild Trillium that grows out back.

Portulaca (Moss Rose)

We have added additional perennials such as Bleeding Heart, Dianthus, Dyer's Chamomille, Stella d'Oro Lilies, miniature roses, a Sun Rose plant, and portulaca (or moss rose) which re-seeds itself and comes back year after year. In the front yard, we have planted hens and chicks (a succulent that blossoms). We have herbs such as chives, mint, cilantro, lavender, oregano, and sage. We also planted a pollinator-friendly mix that is favored by the butterflies and bees. That consists of Cosmos, Bachelor Buttons and California Poppies and that, too, re-seeded itself from last year's planting.

Dyer's Chamomille (yellow), Cosmos (pink) and Bachelor Buttons (blue)

To that mix of perennials, we always plant marigolds, zinnias, pansies, petunias, silver dust, and snapdragons. We also have a large vegetable garden and some of the blossoms there are interesting such as those of the Potato plants.

Potato blossoms

The yard is a cheerful place to be. In the spring, we have a blooming Rhododendron. Each month there is something new to enjoy outside whether it be the recurring wild Indian Paintbrush, or the wild Dianthus (with its pretty single blossoms), or the Gloriosa Daisies that return each summer season.

Milkweed Blossom and Insect

Milkweed pops up wherever it wants to grow in the yard and we just leave it for the caterpillars that will turn into Monarch butterflies. It has fragrant blossoms. Evening Primrose, a spiky kind of plant with little yellow flowers grows wild, too, and attracts yellow finches who eat the little seeds of the blossoms. Of course, we also have a big yellow forsythia and lilac bushes in three colors:  lavender, white, and a deep purple (French lilac). The lilacs bloom early, about the same time as the lavender Ground Phlox.

Black-Eyed Susans

We are blessed with a variety of flowers that surround us with beauty. The street pedestrians walking by often stop to take a look and have been known to look around and sneakily steal a blossom or two of the Rugosa Roses that line the white fence on one side of the house. This year we planted Dahlias out front, too, and there are four Chrysanthemums plants that have come back for the third year in a row that look promising for blooms in the autumn. A perennial that blooms where it would like is the Black-Eyed Susan. The photo above was taken near the compost bins we have out back to recycle vegetable matter and lawn trimmings back into rich soil.

Tiger Lilies

We only have about 3/4 acre of land but with land on both sides of the house, there is space for raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry bushes. There is also room for Hosta plants which are perennial and bloom with tall, spiky lavender blossoms. And, a small patch of Oriental Poppies seem to return each year. The wild turkeys and deer love our yard!

Lately, we have not seen as much wildlife as we used to see. In the past, we have seen mink and beaver but we still see a lot of chipmunks and squirrels. Unfortunately, we also have voles which live underground and decimate the root crops like carrots, beets and potatoes. We are grateful for all the food we do harvest from the garden (which provides a considerable number of onions, Swiss Chard, peas, green beans, squash, Jerusalem Artichokes, and other veggies. I feel like we live in a little piece of heaven!

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