"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Friday, May 16, 2014

Spring Pictures (Voyeurism)

It may be the middle of May, but spring is finally in full swing here in the upper northwest. We have enjoyed nearly an entire week of very warm, sunny days. Yesterday I took a walk around a beautiful residential neighborhood in Bellingham, cruising the alleys and checking out the backyard gardens.

Although I am only a few miles north of Bellingham, my homestead has a very cold microclimate (as I think I may have mentioned once or a thousand times) and it is always surprising to me to see just how much further ahead the season is downtown as compared to here.

Irises are my favorite flower. I have gorgeous giant blue irises in my yard (a few years ago I traded eggs for bulbs) but they haven't bloomed yet, they are still stately green spires. These irises were lovely in the afternoon sunshine.


Bleeding hearts


I don't grow flowers - except for that one clump of irises and the rhododendron bushes that line the front path I am content with wildflowers on my property. But it was lovely to see the flower gardens surrounding the beautiful old homes on my walk yesterday. I am a bit too practical for flowers - unless it's edible I'm not really interested in growing it. But these flowers almost make me change my mind. Almost. 

There are plenty of edible-oriented garden in the downtown areas, as well. That's one of the reasons I like to walk the alleys - most people plant their flowers out front and their vegetable gardens in the backyard. I would say nearly every home has something edible planted - a fruit tree or other perennial - and about a third have an actual garden of some sort.  Favorites in our area include:


Raspberries; so many homes have a line of raspberry canes running along the back of a shed or the alley. These are in bloom. The flowers are not impressive, but there were plenty of bees. Grapevines are also a popular item, and now are just putting out their fresh green leaves and tendrils. 

I have definite voyeuristic tendencies when it comes to other people's yards. I like to look and see how they have things organized and think how I would use the same space for food production. All those little flower bushes could be blueberries, for example, and that weedy space on the side of the porch looks just right for a chicken coop.... I'd train a grapevine over that carport, I think, or use that sunny lawn space for raised beds...

I can't be the only one who does this. Mentally rearranging other people's space is a fun exercise, but the truth is I have plenty of actual rearranging to do here at home. Last week I went to a giant plant sale and got a lot of plants, cheap. I have to get them into the ground soon. I bought a flat of roma tomatoes (which can finally be set outside) and several containers of strawberries. I'm running out of garden space... but that's another post. 


Jen's Farmily said...

I love the pictures of the flowers! I know what you mean about being practical... I used to be that way but now I'm on this 'plant as many flowers' as possible kick. The only thing that stops it is my need for everything to be perfect (what if I buy 4 but I really need 5? I better wait and get it measured out!)

Aimee said...

Jen, measuring my garden space is a totally foreign concept to me, beyond eyeballing an area and estimating how
Many ape trees I can cram in there :)