chive flowers are a lovely addition for edible and ornamental gardensHow do you start your days? Mine nearly always begin with a stroll through the front yard vegetable and flower garden. I check for deer damage. I look for newly opened flowers or ripening fruits. And, lately, I’ve been picking a few strawberries for breakfast. The ones the catbirds leave me, that is…

I’ve learned to carry my camera along for these garden strolls, because there’s almost always something worth photographing (morning light on sage flowers, for example). So, in addition to harvesting strawberries or tomatoes or flowers, I almost always harvest photographs from the garden.

While I can’t share the strawberries with you, I can share the photographs. So, once a week — Mondays! — I’ll be posting a virtual stroll through the garden. I hope you’ll join me.

The plan is to eventually have these posted in the morning. A little bit of sunshine and flowers (hopefully) to start the week. And, yeah, I realize today’s garden tour is going live after the sun has already set. So, there’s room for improvement. For now, this is what we’ve got:

Baby praying mantis on a parsley plant.

Just outside the front door is a parsley plant that’s about to flower. I’m letting it go to bloom because I like the look of parsley gone to flower. Also, I want to save some seed (this plant was always so happy). And, well, I’m doing it for the bugs too. Like the swallowtail butterflies I saw laying eggs on the plant a few days ago. Or, this just-hatched praying mantis.

parsley flower, just about to bloom

The parsley might be blooming by this time next week. We’ll see…

'Bright Lights' chard, about to bloom

The ‘Bright Lights’ chard is also about to bloom. It’s not the prettiest thing, but it sure is enthusiastic. I’m letting it go because, well, I’m curious. Also, there’s that seed-saving thing. This was another super happy and healthy plant. Might as well preserve a bit of that genetic material, yes?

red twig dogwood blossom

Last fall, I planted a “rescue” red twig dogwood right along the front path. The plan is to cut it back heavily each year, which should keep it from getting too large, and — bonus! — encourage more young shoots, which look so brilliantly red against the winter snow. The plant is decidedly less ornamental during the growing season, but I think the flowers are rather cute.

sweet potato seedlings, nearly ready to be planted

Although they haven’t been planted into the garden yet, the sweet potato seedlings are spending a lot of time outside. Another week or two, and it should be warm enough to move these seedlings to their forever homes.

blue potato sprouts

Speaking of potatoes, my regular potatoes are sprouting! I know, I know… I should have planted these over a month ago. Instead, I didn’t get them started until last week. The delay is mostly due to the fact that I only just finished building a massive, easy-harvest potato planter. More about that in a future post…

house wrens, nesting in a bluebird box

I built this box for bluebirds, but it was a pair of chickadees that claimed it. Fine by me — chickadees are my favorite. But, then, sadness. A pair of house wrens booted the chickadees from the box, and took it for themselves. House wrens are teeny little things, but they are fearless. The terriers of the avian realm. If the chickadees’ bullies had been house sparrows or starlings — both introduced and invasive pests — I would have taken action. But, wrens and chickadees evolved together, and have been battling over nesting spots for eons. So, I let the wrens have the box. The chickadees, meanwhile, seem to be scoping out a few of the vacant boxes in the front yard. Fingers crossed…

'Green Globe' artichoke

I have another artichoke flower bud! This one is on a ‘Green Globe’ artichoke plant, and looks rather pointier than the others. I can’t wait for it to put on some size!

chive flowers

The chives are in full bloom. Some flowers are already beginning to turn to seed, while others are only just beginning to open. This clump is growing along the edge of the front path. That’s the sage plant in the background.

homegrown strawberries

And, finally, strawberries! The bird netting (really deer netting) seems to be working, and the catbirds appear to be flummoxed. Or, at least, they are slowed enough that I’m able to harvest some strawberries before they get to them. Note: catbirds are not deterred by spider webs of fishing line, dangling CDs that flash in the sunlight, or loosely tented bird / deer netting. It took ground stakes and clips and the sealing of every gap in the netting to keep the birds out of the berries. Catbirds are smart and stubborn, which is a dangerous mix in garden pests…

So, that’s how things are looking in my garden these days. How about you? What’s blooming — or about to bloom — in your garden? Are you harvesting anything yet?

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