Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Busy in a good way

We were exiled from the house yesterday while they laid the new tile. It looks fantastic! Today they are prepping and grouting. Then comes the fun of us sealing it and putting all the (freshly painted) baseboards back. We decided to do some of the work ourselves, to save money. I'll be glad to have my appliances back in place.

Yesterday the weather was quite schizo, varying from sunny to severe thunderstorms and back again a couple times during the afternoon. Still, I was able to help a friend get a start on dividing her irises and making plans to renovate her overgrown front yard. We'll be helping her again this afternoon, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll chase the kids through their homework this AM, and they can help this afternoon too. Nothing like a little character-building grunt-work to round out a good education, don't you think?

My friend that I'm helping gave me a number of her irises, an heirloom planted over 100 years ago and brought over from England. I LOVE heirloom irises, and although this doesn't appear to be a particularly rare variety (lavender-blue, simple), it's the longevity and history that makes this plant special. Today my friend and I will be giving some long-needed TLC to some heirloom roses in her yard (same story as the irises), and I'll be able to bring home one of those too. I will be so happy when my own yard matures to the point I can share my plants with friends again.

I've got about half of my winter-sown seedlings planted out now. I finally got labels for the daylilies I need to plant out. I purchased seed from The Lily Auction this year, and also used some seed saved from my old garden. I started trying to hybridize my own daylilies a few years ago. My oldest seedlings will bloom this year, so I can decide which few to keep, and give the rest away. I've got perhaps 50 new seedlings to plant out and watch. I'll have to be ruthless and only keep 2-3 from each year's crop. I'm not breeding for a particular color; I'm more interested in the flower form and garden performance of each one. I love all colors. The seeds I sowed this year include a number of crosses with a striped daylily (a novelty and rarity - I might strike gold, or get a bunch of real dogs, and only time will tell). That's the fun of hybridizing: waiting for something special to bloom.

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