A Birthday Bouquet!

Oh my dears, Ms. Jeannie was giddy all weekend in anticipation of this very blog post! She is happy to announce that on Saturday morning, her birthday, she was able to walk out into her garden and clip her very own birthday bouquet. Just as she had hoped for all those cool, dreary months ago, when she was  planting seeds in the soil and dreaming of a lush summer garden.

The first bouquet of the season! Moulin Rouge and Drop Dead Red varieties.

Since Saturday, flowers have been opening up, by what seems like, the minute. Every time Ms. Jeannie steps out she sees something new in bloom! If you recall Ms. Jeannie planted a bevy of sunflowers, in a range of colors. Here’s what blooming today…

A multitude of sunflowers! Clockwise (left to right): Autumn Beauty, Girasol and Del Sol Hybrid.
Moulin Rouge Sunflower – not quite sure what those whitish splatters are!
Autumn Beauty Sunflower
Del Sol Sunflowers. They all contain clusters of blooms! The more the merrier Ms. Jeannie says!

These particular Gold Honey Bear sunflowers (below) definitely remind Ms. Jeannie of the Vincent Van Gogh paintings she blogged about in March…

Goldy Honey Bear Sunflower

And what’s fun about the Moulin Rouge variety…

Moulin Rouge Sunflower

is that some of the backsides of them are just as interesting as the front! Some contain stripes of golden yellow on the backsides…

Colorful reverse!

while others are as black in color as a flower can possibly be. Darker then espresso, even. Ms. Jeannie took these photographs so you could see the color difference yourself…

From black to red – sunflowers are quite diverse!

And a close up of the black one. It’s very striking!

Drop Dead Red Variety

These two on the vine are forming a lover’s knot!

Sunflower love!
Sunflowers are peeking out everywhere!
And they wave happy in the wind!

Ms. Jeannie even has a fellow appreciator of the garden, who as recently taken up residence above the Mexican Sunflowers (those flower pictures coming soon).

Mockingbird in the garden.

Here, he is perched on a bird feeder up above the vegetable garden. Ms. Jeannie saw him pull a fat tomato horn worm off her tomato plant the other day. Thank you Mr. Mockingbird:)

It’s so rewarding to be a grower;)

Fruits & Flowers – Garden Update: Day 68

Here it is, my dears, just over 2 months from original plant date and we some fruit from all of our labor!

The jalapenos are almost ready for picking!


The cherry tomatoes were a surprise!  The seedlings were given to Ms. Jeannie as a gift by a farmer at the farmers market, who had under-estimated his seedling growing abilities.   Ms. Jeannie, at the time, didn’t think to ask him what kinds of tomato plants they were, assuming, most likely,  they were some sort of traditional red summer tomato. But to her surprise, one plant turned out to be yellow cherry tomatoes! Always such a pretty choice in summer dishes! The other plant is growing much bigger tomatoes so we’ll just have to wait and see what those develop into! Since she was so forunate with the yellows – Ms. Jeannie is secretly hoping the others are a purple heirloom variety!

Yellow Cherry Tomatoes

Bell peppers are growing bigger every day!  Ms. Jeannie is holding out for red ones so she has to fight the urge to pick them early!

Bell Peppers

And a red sunflower nestled between stalks and leaves just opened up yesterday. He’s in a tricky little spot so it’s hard to get a good picture. Perhaps he’s a little shy!

Red Sunflower

Coming soon: English peas, Mexican sunflowers, snow peas, sweet potatoes, mystery tomatoes and many many many more sunflowers:)

Garden Update: Day 47 – A Sunflower Is Born Just as War Comes to Town

Oh my darlings, today is a celebratory day. Ms. Jeannie is pleased to announce that there has been a birth! A petite little beauty greeted the day. Here she is…

The first sunflower of the season!

This was from the Botanical Interests Autumn Beauty seed packet, which all have red, orange or gold petals with brown centers.  It’s supposed to reach heights of 5′ to 8′ feet tall but this little gem is only about 2.5′ feet tall. She must be an early bloomer:)

You can see her height best in this picture…

In the land of the giants, a small flower blooms.

In the midst of all this excitement Ms. Jeannie did experience a little set-back this week. It appears some sort of war rampaged in the garden. Ms. Jeannie lost 3 of the troops…

The sunflower tops were severed.

Ms. Jeannie is not sure what happened. Her first guess was deer, thinking they bit it right off. Here’s another angle…

Same stalk – different angle.

This is the second stalk that was tampered with…

Casualty #2

And the third…

Casualty #3

Whatever it was, deer, worm, bug…it didn’t eat the tops of the leaves. Ms. Jeannie found two in the dirt inside the beds and one in the grass next to the trough.


All the destruction occurred in the same section but not with stems right next to each other. It is a bit of a mystery as to what happened. Ms. Jeannie was a little ruffled at the scene. If a deer ate the sunflowers for nutrition, then fine, but just to bite it for no reason and then leave the tops to wither seems wasteful and unnecessary.

Ms. Jeannie is hoping that the stalks, which are still in hearty shape, might recover, and grow new leaves. So she  will leave them be to see what happens.

She also consulted her handy dandy Bug Book that’s for sale in her Etsy shop

The Bug Book: Harmless Insect Controls by Helen and John Philbrick

In case it is a bug of destruction, they recommended spraying a solution of Dawn dish soap, water and rubbing alcohol on the sunflowers to create a sticky environment.    So Ms. Jeannie sprayed all her garden with this and so far there has seemed to be no other damage.

If it is deer, that are eating the sunflowers, Ms. Jeannie is not quite sure what she will do yet. If you have any suggestions. Please let her know!

Garden Update: Day 41

We have a bud, ladies and gentlemen! That’s right – one sunflower bud is on it’s way to flowering!

A sunflower is hatching!

Funny enough, this is one of the little guys that sprouted long after the others. It’s only 14″inches tall while most of all the other sunflowers are now 3″ feet tall.

Bird’s eye view!
Full length view!

Do you remember Ms. Jeannie’s other garden patch project? The one that involved the hard to make, impractical but so so beautiful twig fencing? Well, Ms Jeannie discovered that yes indeed – it is definietly hard to make a twig fence. Hats off to all of you that have the paitence to muddle through such construction.

Ms. Jeannie fears that she is a tad short in that department!

After what seemed like a thousand trips into the woods to find perfectly straight, not too big, not too little sticks, Ms. Jeannie discovered that she had only gathered enough to build about 1/16th of her fencing. Goodness gracious!

So the fencing plan was modified just a smidge.

Revised garden fence!

Ms. Jeannie wrapped her garden in 1″inch strips of hardwood and heavy duty steel wire instead. It is still impractical and won’t keep any sort of small critter out, but Ms. Jeannie loves it’s rustic look!  The twigs were re-purposed as a little decorative barrier at the front and back of the garden.

Front entry still needs some sort of gate.

Ms. Jeannie clipped some wild thistle and hung it at the entrance for a little early color. Mr. Jeannie Ology found a buzzard feather that same day, so added to the bouquet it was!

Wild spring bouquet.

The vegetables and herbs don’t seem to mind that the fence is sort of quirky. They just keep growing anyway! Both tomato plants are already flowering!

Tomato plant tucked between three different types of sunflowers, garden peas, snow peas and cosmos.
The start of the tomatoes!

Ms. Jeannie also had to make some amendments to the garden after a cutting worm or two came to enjoy some sprout salad. Ms. Jeannie has filled in the bare patches with cosmos flower seeds and peas around the garden edge.

Besides the bin of three feet tall sunflowers, Ms. Jeannie also has two other water troughs full of sunflowers. They were planted a couple of weeks later then the initial batch of sunflowers to help stagger the bloom time, so they are just getting their soil legs now, so to say. This morning they were just peeking over the rims of the troughs.

Trough #2
Trough #3

After learning so much about the starlings, Ms. Jeannie is on the watch for other birds in her garden. She’s delighted to find that a woodpecker now comes to visit every morning! He sure is a handsome thing…

Garden Update: Day 31

Well my dears, in what surely must be some sort of record, the sunflowers have grown an amazing 11 inches since our last garden update 14 days ago.

11 inches in 14 days! Ms. Jeannie’s going to need to get a longer ruler!

That’s about 3/4 of an inch per day!

Over 14″ inches tall as of today!

How exciting! Ms. Jeannie’s not trying to rush the days – but she can’t wait until they flower:)

Just to refresh- the target bloom date is Ms. Jeannie’s birthday – June 16th. A month and a half away. If they continue on this growing rate they will be about 55″ inches tall in mid-June, which would put that at about 4.5′ feet tall.

According to the seed packet, this Moulin Rouge variety of red sunflower reaches an average height of  6′ feet tall, so we don’t quite know yet if Ms. Jeannie will have that birthday bouquet or not. Oh the garden suspense!

Garden Update: Day 16

Today marks day 16 of the garden growing process. Ms. Jeannie woke to find the very tips of her little sunflower seedlings just barely peeking over the brim of their vintage water trough container…

Just peeking!

She brought her ruler along with her when she went out to water this morning.  The seedlings are just a hair under 3″ inches tall now.

The most amazing part though is that on some of them the leaf span is almost 6″ inches wide! Goodness gracious they are growing up and out!

Garden Update: We have sprouts!

It’s only been four days since planting the garden sunflower seeds and they have already sprouted!

Sunflower sprouts already!

Ms. Jeannie checked the  Botanical Interests seed package… they estimated sprouts between 10 and 15 days, so we are WAY ahead of schedule! How exciting!

Ms. Jeannie added a garden countdown calendar on her blog . She set the date for her birthday, June 16th, in hopes that she will surprise herself with a lovely birthday bouquet.

At the rate they are going – they might be here by Memorial Day!