Spring Is Here!!

Spring is here! How do we know?  Well, the tulips are blooming, and the grass needs mowed.  We mentioned in our first post that our goals are to improve things around our farm and home, but in some cases, we really want to restore things to their former glory.  This is the case with our landscaping.

Martha, David’s grandmother, was fairly well known for her flowers.  She was always outside tending to her gardens.  It takes a lot of work to keep up with the amount of landscaping she had, though, so once she was no longer able to care for it, it quickly declined.  The first time I came to the farm, all of her flowerbeds were filled with weeds or lost to grass or gravel in the barnyard.  When I say all, I don’t know even know how many I’m referring to.  Each year we find more bricks buried underground that used to edge a flower bed.  Thankfully, in some of the flower beds, under the weeds were Martha’s peonies, daffodils and tulips.

Bricks dug out of the ground in the barnyard edging a flower bed after a hail storm last summer.

Two years ago, shortly before we got married, David and I invited my parents to come visit for a work weekend.  For those of you who don’t know my parents, they are pretty into their landscaping, and they’re very good at growing things. Their previous home was actually featured on some kind of local landscaping tour, and they’ve always done 100% of the installation and maintenance themselves.  The four of us spent two full days working on cleaning and replanting the five main flower beds around the house.  We saved what we could of Martha’s flowers, and added some of our own.

Three of Martha's peonies beneath a garage window.

The largest bed, next to the garage, was and is the home of Martha’s famous peonies.  When I mentioned tearing out the beds and starting over, the only instruction I received was that we had to keep the peonies.  We split the plants that needed it, and transplanted some to a fence line where they used to grow.  I think everyone in the family has some of Martha’s peonies, but should anyone need anymore, we intend this fence row to be the place to transplant from.  We have white, light pink, and dark pink peonies, and I think we may have discovered something new last year.  There were also some tulips in this flower bed, and below is what the peony blooms on the plant closest to the tulips looked like last year.  I found through a search that there are peony varieties that look like this, but no one recalls any of Martha’s being one of those.

Speaking of the tulips…when left to their own devices, tulips do not thrive.  What had once been many many flowers had become three plants, only two of which bloomed. That fall I dug and split the bulbs, and last year we had many more plants come up and five that bloomed.

Yellow tulips spring 2011

After doing the same last fall, I have been really excited to see this year’s results.  So far there appear to be seven buds, and the first two bloomed yesterday…with more interesting results.  Because I didn’t know what color tulips each of the many bulbs I discovered would produce, I just placed them all randomly in a trench.  The first to bloom this year is yellow, like three of last year’s five were, but it has some very distinct red tinting to it also.  I don’t know if you can create hybrids by planting things close together, but we’re definitely getting some variations year-to-year.

Yellow tulip bloom 2012

Regardless, we’re pleased with the results.  Each year we take a few more steps toward restoring the landscaping to it’s former glory.  The peonies are thriving, and the tulips are working on it.  Spring has sprung!  It’s time to get to work on this year’s landscaping!

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