Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gardening in Alaska ~ Judebug Style

I've been bitten by the bug - the gardening bug that is, and two of my dearest friends, Denice and Marlene in NC refer to me as "Judebug".  The moniker originated last year when I'd told them if I owned a red Volkswagen beetle, I'd have it custom painted to depict a ladybug sporting personalized plates that spell  "Judebug"  (because my nickname is Jude).  They have addressed me as Judebug ever since, and now I've been collecting special ladybug items for house and garden decor that truly puts a smile on my face.

It seems the ladybug theme is everywhere now that I've taken notice.  This darling garden ornament caught my eye a couple of weeks ago at a local greenhouse but I passed her by.
Today I was back in the greenhouse, drooled over her again, drove home, then returned shortly after to snatch her up before she was gone forever.  She personifies my "Judebug" mentality and I'm absolutely delighted to have her greeting visitors by our entrance steps.

Here's my garden flag stapled to the house wall on our back deck where I can see instant color year round.
Summer is the perfect time to create a few unique outdoor art pieces, adding color and interest to the  garden while displaying my own artistry.  Of course I'll post the finished results over the summer.

Today's photos document the beginning of my garden season.  Wind has been persistent and chilly all month but the sun is encouraging me to get on with my annual routine.
Rock garden reconstruction last year reveals noticeable visual improvement this year. The rock path dividing the top layer makes planting and weeding more accessible as well. The majority of my gardens contain perennials, thereby minimizing cost and effort required to fill the gaps with annual color spots.  This European Bird Chokecherry Tree with Bergenia underneath is currently in full bloom and smells heavenly.
Vinca Vine wintered beautifully and offers a sweet early Spring welcome.  After the flowers are spent, alternating Sedum will carry the show with their colorful vegetation and subdued flowers.
Forget-me-knot is blooming in the foreground and reseeds itself throughout the growing season.  Globe Trollius' yellow blooms precede the taller Orange Trollius display in July.
Top level, center stage accommodates my need for variety in choosing annual color spots.  Behind on the bottom level is my favorite small bush ~ Gold Flame Spiraea (aka Spiraea Japonica - Japanese Spiraea).  It's foliage transitions from a bronze color, to chartreuse in Spring, to half dark/half light green split down the middle of the leaves, then a solid dark green before clusters of pink flower heads bloom. In the Fall the leaves resume a bronze color.  This hardy bush provides a lot of bang for the buck!  All 7 specimens survived their first winter in the rock garden and will no doubt triple in size eventually.
Primrose provides floral 'eye candy' in far more colors and varieties than I have.  Hmmmm.  I've got a bit more space I can fill in.

Last Fall I transferred my rhubarb into this barrel as a temporary holding area. It did so well I'm leaving as is, where I assume slugs won't be an issue this summer.  My chive also wintered well in a barrel.  I used the Topsy Turvy® Tomato bags last year and was less than thrilled so this time I'm back to the barrels.  See the Garden Bon Bons (patent pending) laying on the surface... an early birthday gift from aforementioned dear friends Denice and Marlene.  This is a first for me!  You set them on the soil, water well, water often, and voila! enclosed seeds should sprout, take hold and hopefully offer a culinary harvest of assorted fresh herbs.  Nothing compares with the flavor enhancement of fresh herbs and spices in every day cuisine. What a novel and much appreciated gift idea. I love my friends. :)

My next post will show gardening progress on decks with container plantings and hanging baskets. I LOVE to garden!


  1. wow, that garden lady bug looks great. where did u get it?

    1. Ian, I bought the ladybug from a local greenhouse. I searched online but the one place I located advertising the same ladybug ~ the website wouldn't load correctly. Perhaps you will have better success? Search: ladybug metal yard art