Some of our fruits and vegetables from a few years ago...

In just a few short months, beginning in late July through the end of September, we will begin to harvest the fruits and vegetables from our garden. I found this picture in my collection and thought I'd post a little bit about what you see in the photo. Starting from top to bottom in the picture you will see green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeño peppers, okra, purple podded pole beans, eggplant, roma tomatoes, some heirloom tomatoes, tomatillos, a zucchini, and some cucumbers. This is just a small selection of the fruits and vegetables that we grow every year. There is nothing like fresh pickings from your garden. We can't wait until our plants are ready for this year's harvest! In addition to our own garden, my oldest sister is growing a massive garden of her own, so we should have plenty of fruits and vegetables to last us for a long time!

Annah and I went for a hike through one of Minnesota's State Parks on Monday and we had a great time enjoying the warm weather and the beautiful wildflowers that the park had to offer. Below are the pictures we took and I identified the plants that I could. If any of you know what any of the other plants are please feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy!

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum?)

Nodding Trillium (Trillium cernuum)

Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

(Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum?)

Photo Credits: Jordan

Last Sunday we went for a walk at small nature center in one of the surrounding communities and we saw some beautiful Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) flowering all around the path. It would be wonderful if we could have some of these plants in our garden someday, even though they only bloom for a short time.

(Mertensia virginica "Virginia Bluebells.)

Photo Credits: Annah

(Left to Right: Adromischus cristatus and Lithops leslie 'albinica'.)

If any of you follow the number of houseplants that Annah and I own, which is to the right under the "About Us" section, you might have noticed that we recently surpassed the 100 plant mark. We finally reached this "milestone" this past weekend on Saturday when we were up at Linder's Nursery where I purchased a Lithops leslie 'albinica' and a Adromischus cristatus ("Crinkle-Leaf Plant") and both of these were small and easy to transport. I had seen and read about the Lithops in this post at PATSP and this post at Water When Dry (and then her second post) and it seemed like an interesting plant. The Adromischus cristatus or "Crinkle-Leaf Plant" is in the Crassulaceae family and it produces some intriguing flowers.

On Sunday we then purchased two more plants (#101 and #102) that we saw at the HyVee Grocery Store in the Floral Department where they were having a sale on Tropical Plants for $11.98, which seemed like a decent price for some decent looking plants, so we bought a Monstera deliciosa (PATSP post about this wonderful plant here) which is the plant in the photo on the top and a Strelitzia alba ("White Bird of Paradise") which is the photo on the bottom.

Space is starting to become an issue so I'm not sure how much longer this plant-buying obsession can continue. We should be fine as long as we stick to smaller plants.

This is the first post regarding our houseplants for quite some time and it won't be the last. We are currently working on other houseplant posts that will be posted in the future.

Update (05/28/08): We are back to 100 houseplants now since my Spathiphyllum ("Peace Lily") and Annah's Pachira aquatica (Braided "Money Tree") have died.

Photo Credits: Annah and Jordan

I decided to go take some more pictures of the Malus x. 'Spring Snow' Crabapple tree today and I got some nice photos of the flowers and an angry pair of Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) that did not want me near their birdhouse. The tree itself has more blossoms today and is looking much more "snowy" and makes it look prettier.

When examining the flowers more closely, I noticed that some of the flower petals have pinkish-purplish streaks and I'm not sure what is causing it but its a nice surprise to see a bit of color mixed in with all of the white.

Do you see the Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)?

I also noticed a lot of busy bees out collecting pollen and I snapped a few pictures of them as you can see below.

Photo Credits: Jordan

It has been a colder and wetter spring than normal, or at least it seems that way. The plants in our garden continue to wake up and get ready for the warmer months ahead. All of the pictures in this post are from my parent's garden. Their garden was beautifully landscaped in 1992 after they purchased the house from my grandma. A local landscaping business gave them ideas and created blueprints for the layout of the garden. Over the years several of the plants have been moved, or accidentally killed, or have died from the cold and frigid Minnesota winters. One of the focal points if the landscaping near the deck is a Spring Snow Crabapple Tree (Malus x 'Spring Snow') which flowers beautifully and profusely every year. The tree has grown quite tall and is in store for some trimming in the future. The tree is not yet in full bloom, but there are some flower blossoms on it now, and perhaps more will come as the warm weather continues. Below are some pictures of the flowers.

(Malus x. 'Spring Snow' Crabapple)

I also took a picture of the entire tree so that you could see that the tree is not yet in full-bloom. It is a spectacular sight to see the entire tree in bloom because the entire tree appears to be covered in snow. Hopefully I'll be able to get a picture of the tree when it is like that but the bloom is different every year. Another thing to notice in this picture is the lack of railing on the deck that is next to the tree. The reason why there is no railing at the moment is because last fall there was a minor flood that resulted in some minor damage to the basement wall that is underneath the deck. In order to repair the damage my parents had to remove the deck and replace part of the wall. The trucks that were used to bring in supplies and remove dirt damaged a few of their plants and buried some of the wood chips that were around the plants. The railing of the deck still needs to be reattached and the landscaping needs to be redone, but there are still plenty of plants that survived.

The Sedum plant (pictured below) that was featured in the "Signs of Spring" post has grown quite a bit in the past few weeks and looks much different in the sunlight and when it is not covered with raindrops. Another plant that was in that post was the Fern-leaf Peony (Paeonia tenuifolia) and that will be blooming in a matter of weeks.

(NOID Sedum)

(NOID Sedum)

(Fern-leaf Peony [Paeonia tenuifolia])

(Possibly a Sedum repestre 'angelina'?)





For Mother's Day I bought my mom a pot full of Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) since she absolutely loves those plants and has since she has several collections of them around the house. I personally think they are nice plants that will thrive on neglect, which would be perfect for me and Annah. I will have to buy a plant for the two of us soon. Once my parents get their deck finished it will be the perfect home for this new plant! The Latin name of Sempervivum tectorum for this plant is fun to say and sounds great!

(Sempervivum tectorum "Hens and Chicks")

The last thing I will mention in this post is that I purchased some new plants last week at a local Community College Horticulture Center plant sale. I purchased a Brazilian Fireworks Plant (Porphyrocoma pohliana Maracas), which will look beautiful once it blooms and I also got a Wandering Jew Plant.

(Brazilian Fireworks Plant [Porphyrocoma pohliana Maracas])

(Wandering Jew Plant [Tradescantia])

Photo Credits: Jordan