A Garden Post!

It is the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Now as it heats up, I am watching my summer flowers grow and set buds and the veggies start to produce. This year, my grandmother’s peonies bloomed for the first time. They are next to my white gas plant. It is a beautiful combination.Image may contain: plant, flower, sky, tree, outdoor and nature

Many of my iris bloomed for the first time, this year. There were some definite show stoppers and almost all of them were true to name. I lost only one to rot over winter and only one was not true to its name. Jurassic Park is a yellow and purple iris, however, mine bloomed blue and white. So, I decided to order it from a reputable grower, plus a few others! I will have to do some updating on my “Iris Obsession” page. I have some updating for my “Heritage Garden” page as well, now that I think about it! Below is a small sampling of the ridiculous amount of iris photos I have. I actually have plenty of pictures of individual varieties, because I am hoping to catalog them all and have a little booklet printed!

The back garden underwent a few big changes this spring! Todd finally got around to building my new raised beds, I dug and edged two new “U” beds in front of the raised beds, and we started edging flower beds with large rocks collected from a friend’s farm.

I also decided to plant in-ground for all my veggies this year. The raised beds still need to be filled, which we will get to some time this summer. I chose in-ground over my grow bags simply because it has been just such a weird year getting to hardware/garden stores. I typically use Pro-Mix all purpose, but as of right now I can’t find it! I expect that will change soon. I also chose to plant in-ground just to give it a shot in the freshly made beds. Next year, I can just lay mulch and return to grow bags, should I choose to do so. Right now, everything is looking good! I like the idea of having different options.

I did have to finally fence in one U-bed because the bunnies are so prolific this year…and I really would like some green beans and kale for myself! As always, it is still a work in progress, but our yard is really turning into a sanctuary! I think I need more beds though…I still have a lot of historic and heritage plants I need to collect!

 

The Renovation: For Now

We have lived in our home for a little over four years now. We are still working on it. I don’t think that will ever end. Our biggest remaining projects are in the kitchen and back room. And, of course, there is a never-ending list of small projects that need to be finished. That being said, our little house has come a long way and it is happy, comfy home.

So! Here is a quick look at where the interior renovation stands today. You can see where we started and some of the process in these posts: The Renovation: Before and The Renovation: During

There are a couple of rooms missing in this update…the back room (which is a bit of mess) and the garage (which is also a bit of a mess). I will be sure to share some updated photos of those when I get a chance! Also, the fireplace has a board and a big box in front of it. The box has the new fireplace insert waiting to be fitted into its new home. The stock tank in the living room is the home of our box turtle, Boxy. The house has come a long way, and we still have a lot more plans for it!

 

Our House: Another Piece of the Puzzle

Apparently, I started a little post about some more history on our house. Somewhere along the way, the post was set aside and I completely forgot about it. So, I think it’s time I revisit some of our house’s past.

Some time ago,  I was watching a local University of Wisconsin program on PBS about historic aerial photos. They discussed a lot of cool features for the photography and mapping system, and a lot of then-and-now photos. I of course had to check it out. Many states have similar websites for historic aerial photos but, for Wisconsin, you can easily search for photos taken in the 1930’s by going to https://maps.sco.wisc.edu/WHAIFinder/.

I had to look up our house. I was easily able to find our neighborhood. If you read my my first two posts (here and here) about the history our home, you’ll know our lot was once part of a larger farm. This 1938 photo shows that! You can seen the farm and it’s original outline, which now coincides with a few of main roads in our neighborhood. It is fascinating to see what our part of town looked like as outskirt farms and newly built rows of little houses.

To pin point where our house would be in 1938, I used Photoshop to overlay the two images. I placed green squares over the houses already existing on the 1938 image and a purple square over our house on today’s modern Google image. With a little adjusting and aligning of a few landmarks, I am able to see where our house would be on the 1938 image. I used a real-estate website to get the ages of the houses behind ours, so I could figure out which houses they were in relation to ours. You can also do this with your county’s GIS map and tax info.

Old maps and aerial images are so wonderful. I can spend hours studying them and relating it to what still exists or digging into the stories of what used to be. I highly recommend it! It’s also fun to build on to the story of our home and the land.

 

 

Pinterest: Saving Gardens of the Past

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest. It’s a great way to search for new ideas, aesthetics, and daydream about gardens. I joined in it’s earliest years. My sister sent it to me knowing how much I would love it. Before pinning stuff online, I was tearing out magazine clippings and saving those (I still do!)

I will admit I spend a lot of time pinning gardens and garden ideas without looking into their sources. I’m just their for the pretty pictures…and that is O.K.. Have you checked out my Farm and Garden board? Please do. It’s where a lot of my garden plans start. While you’re at it, check out my board for Family History. I use it to save research tips, info relevant to my personal genealogy, and ideas for creating.

 

Today, I want to share a new board I am creating called Vintage & Historic Garden. This one is all about historical gardens and images that relate. For this board, I will not be re-pinning, I will be on the hunt for photos found elsewhere. Most of the pins I hope to find from Open Access collections. I  also plan to share photos from sites I use often in my research: The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. Both have really wonderful digital archives.

I have just made this board public, I hope you enjoy the images I have discovered! Maybe they will add context to a piece of your family history or inspire a heritage space in your garden! I plan on adding to the board every week. It will be interesting to see what sort of images I find. I’m sure the pins will reflect whatever garden mood I am in that week!

Here is just an example of one of the images I’ve pinned!

Peppers for your Victory Garden!

Last week, I started with some good tried and true tomato varieties to include in your 2020 Victory Garden. Tomatoes are hands down my favorite vegetable to grow, but peppers usually end up the 2nd most grown vegetable in my garden.

I honestly, don’t remember or have any stories of what my grandparents grew, pepper wise, but I can almost guarantee a bell pepper was in the mix. Oddly enough, I am horrible at getting bells to grow. Since they are prolific at the farmer’s market, I don’t worry about it. We typically grow medium hot peppers and whatever weird ones I think are worth trying. There are a handful of the common peppers I vow not take up space with but, by mid summer, I’ve stashed some into extra pots.

So today, I am going to share a handful of different pepper varieties that fit into today’s Victory Garden. Once again, I’ve tried to link to seeds still available, and varieties likely found at garden centers.

  1. California Wonder: This heirloom has been the standard green bell pepper since 1928. While I couldn’t find a ton of history right off the bat, you can imagine it being a staple in every Victory Garden of the past. I have never had much luck growing these, but they can be prolific. I find them best eaten fresh, or stuffed and baked.
    svpep122-1_medium

    California Wonder photo via Eden Brothers

     

  2. Sweet Banana Pepper: Grown for many decades, these yellow peppers are excellent for pickling. They are also a great starter pepper for anyone growing for the first time. I am never without a jar (canned myself or store bought)! We also like to add the juice/brine into our favorite Bloody Mary.

    Sweet Banana photo via Urban Farmer

     

  3. Jalapeno:  I have tried a few heirloom varieties of jalapenos in the past, from the old standard Early Jalapeno to a newer variety called Craig’s Grande.  Both were good producers. Early Jalapeno is one of the older, common varieties that have been grown in many gardens. It is said to be an excellent choice for cooler climates. Either would fit into a 2020 Victory Garden wonderfully. For me, I’ve found a hybrid that I just can’t turn down. I grow Mucho Nacho  every year and have found it to be a prolific producer of hot, good sized jalapenos. Jalapenos are in or on almost everything we cook and is perfect for pickling. This year, we are also growing an Italian jalapeno called Dieghito. I am excited to see how it turns out.
  4. Mini Bell Pepper Mix: Looking for a colorful snack? Look no further. Mini Bell Peppers can be found in a rainbow of colors! I’m not sure what their story is, but it’s reported to an heirloom passed down through an Ohio family. They are also perfect for stuffing with a little herbed cream cheese!

    mini-bell-mix

    Mini Bell Pepper Mix photo via Baker Creek 

  5. New Mexico Chilies: Several years ago, I was in Arizona and bought a package of Sandia Green Chili Powder. I loved it. And it took me years to track a company that offered a Sandia Green Chili and I have grown the peppers ever since. The Sandia Seed Company, based in New Mexico, offers a wide selection of peppers seeds centered around Mexico and New Mexico’s glorious traditions of growing some of the best, hot peppers in the world. Pepper traditions span hundreds of years in the Southwest and greatly influence its cuisine. While maybe not a widespread choice of past Victory Gardens, I think New Mexico chilies definitely fit into today’s gardens! You can choose from the huge array of pepper seeds or stick to some well-loved heirlooms like:
    • Anaheim: This well known pepper was developed in 1913 at the New Mexico State University. The university is famous for developing and perfecting hot peppers!
    • Hatch Green Medium: A classic named for the Hatch Valley, New Mexico where it has been grown for generations.
    • Poblano: An heirloom that needs no introduction. While not growing my yard this year (not yet, anyway), I’ve grown this pepper many times and have never been disappointed.

 

*Side note, for many years, I have referred to any open-pollinated seed variety as HEIRLOOM (even if it is a newer variety).  In doing research for my posts, I’ve come across the notion that “heirloom” should only be applied to open-pollinated varieties grown pre-WWII. I suppose I see the point and I guess it’s a topic to be debated. From my point of view, I’ve always referred to any open-pollinated seed as “heirloom” and will likely continue to so. But, as you may know, I am always interested in the past and usually point out the age of the variety. I typically denote when a variety is newer by saying so.