Another piece of history in our garden

There's a lot of family history in our garden, starting with the limestone rocks from Grandpa's pastures in Ellsworth County. Now, my husband's Uncle Bob has given us another piece of history in this baluster from the bridge that spanned the Smoky Hill River in the small town of Ellsworth where Ken grew up. The baluster already had the perfect patina, so we didn't need to paint or restore it in any way. It makes a perfect stand for this heavy dish of succulents we planted. Thanks, Uncle Bob!

A gift of purple kale

At the nursery the other night, inspired by their stunning displays of purple kale, I bought two pots of this gorgeous cool season plant and was raving about it to the owner. As we headed to the car with our bounty, the young girl who'd waited on us came running, her arms overflowing with pots. At first I thought we'd forgotten something, but instead she thrust three more pots of kale at us and said, "These are free, compliments of the boss." Wow! That made my day! And doesn't it look great in the garden cart my dad built as a housewarming gift? I'll probably need to move it to a shadier spot later in the summer, but for now, it makes such a pretty filler for the cart. Thanks, Andy!

Spring has sprung!

April 22, and we bought the last of our flowers today. Last year at this time they were in and well established by now. We spent a beautiful afternoon and evening getting everything potted, then enjoyed dinner out on the deck surveying the fruits of our labors.
Now in our fourth garden season at this house, we're finding that almost every plant we've bought this spring was for a pot. We pretty much have all the trees and bushes and perennials we want in place and now we just need to "maintain" and perhaps move a few things to different spots, either because they've outgrown the place we first planted them, or they aren't doing as well as we hoped in their original spot.

The dirt on spring in Kansas

April 19 and FINALLY we get to plant some flowers! After a very long winter, almost overnight it is spring in Kansas. We hit several flat sales this weekend and came home to dig into the fun part - putting stuff in pots! Stay tuned for photos of our works in progress. . .

Prairie fire! But no need for alarm. . .

For the past several years, they've burned off the prairie meadow across the street from us early in April. It's a controlled burn, but awe-inspiring just the same. Listening to the fire crackle and watching the smoke roll over the houses in our neighborhood, I can't help but think how frightening a prairie fire must have been a hundred years ago. But even more awe-inspiring is how beautiful everything is once the plants start pushing back through the charred earth.

On another note, we drove about fifteen miles to the south this evening and the pear trees were almost in full bloom there, so I'm guessing I'll be able to share pictures of our trees in bloom in a day or two.

First blooms!

It's April 4, and the very first blooms of spring have appeared, almost overnight. The forsythia adds a burst of yellow to the front yard. And on the porch, bright pansies turn their faces to the sun while purple kale looks on. Okay, this is cheating a bit because the pansies and kale are leftovers from our autumn pots. Apparently the front porch offered enough protection from wind and snow that they not only survived the winter, but thrived. And now they're giving us a lovely spring fashion show!

They say it's a late spring this year, and I found this photo, taken March 26 of last year, to prove it. Of course, on April 6 last year, we got 4 inches of snow, which ruined the spring blossoms you see below and set us back in the garden by a few weeks. So I think a late spring isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Clean-up time . . . no foolin'!

Over the past week, we've been cutting back the grasses, cleaning out the flowerbeds, and burning off the stubble from last year's prairie grasses. It's a very efficient way to clean up the garden (provided we don't burn down the fence or the house! We've learned to keep a garden hose close by and turned on.) It's been rewarding to clear out all the yard debris and see some of the plants springing to life. The yarrow and columbine have a good start on the spring and the sedums are already beautiful. They never really died out over the winter, but now that we've raked and thinned them out a bit, they're really taking off, and provide a nice spot of color on rock garden hill.