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Mid-Summer Planting

 

            “How’s your garden this year?”

            This is the question on everyone’s lips this summer, and in my case the answer is “Not good.”

            I began with the usual good intentions, and even more energy and enthusiasm as I decided to start my own vegetable seedlings and enlarge the garden. My plan was to grow more of my own vegetables than ever, and thus save lots of money on grocery bills.

            However, we all know about the best laid plans.  The long cold wet spring was good for the roses and other plants in the flower garden. Not good for the vegetables, whether I started them myself, or bought starts at the garden center.

            The garden hasn’t been a total bust. We’ve enjoyed many meals and snacks of sugar snap peas, big salads of lettuces, spinach and radishes. The cabbage and onions look great. The herb garden is a delicious wonder; Renee’s Garden Gigante parsley is giant indeed.

            The successes pretty much end there. The chard never germinated at all. The tomato plants are big and healthy, but few fruits have been set. The pole beans have climbed their poles, finally, and are just beginning to flower. All the squash and cucumber plants are sulking, even those planted in my best soil. Heat is what is needed.

            So, with the hope that hot summer days are still in the offing I’m hoping for a second chance. I harvested and froze my piddling broccoli crop, cleaned out one lettuce bed and re-dug both beds. It was time to take succession planting seriously.

            Succession planting can increase the productivity of any garden space. This year it has given me hope that I can still enjoy more home grown veggies.

            I dug up the beds, removed broccoli stems and weeds and broke up clods of soil.  At least that job is easier in mid-summer than spring when the weeds have such phenomenal strength.  Both of these beds are in the original vegetable garden and the soil is pretty good, but it is my practice to fertilize whenever I plant.

            I sprinkled in a little greensand (for potassium) and rock phosphate.  I’m down to the dregs, of my compost pile so I just spread a little on the planting rows, and then covered my seeds with a layer of compost before a layer of fine soil.

            I only used the seeds I had left over which meant carrots, beets, lettuce, more sugar snaps, and radishes. One radish is the beautiful Misato Rose sometimes called the ‘watermelon’radish.  All of these should mature in 60 days or less. That brings us to September 20.

            Because my garden is on a south slope and has a dependable breeze to sweep early frosts down to my neighbor, I usually can count on a long frost free period in the fall. I am certainly counting on that kind of long season this year.

            Last September was wet and cool. There were light frosts here on September 19, but no damage to the garden. Then no frost til October 7 and the squash gasped their last. The killing frost didn’t arrive til October 24 and while I think that is unusual I am hoping for a long warm fall this year.  If not I’ve lost nothing but a couple of hours of digging and a few left over seeds.

            Many crops that can be planted in the early spring are also suitable for planting in mid-summer. These are crops that don’t mind cool weather.  Think of lettuces, spinach, and the many other greens, some of which can mature in less than 30 days. Kale matures in less than 60 days and is better for a little frost.  Carrots and beets can also be planted for a second crop.

            Ideally, some crops like broccoli and cauliflower can be started indoors by the beginning of July, and then moved into the garden (after hardening off just as you do in the spring) when a lettuce or spinach bed is done.

            I do know that keeping the new planting beds moist is essential for success. Newly planted seeds and seedlings need moisture. This need is even more apparent in summer when the sun can dry out the soil rapidly. And we are hoping for some sun!

            Fortunately, many farmers are bringing in a good harvest and bringing that harvest to the Farmer’s Markets. We don’t have to do without fresh local veggies. Or fruit. We have already enjoyed local corn on the cob, and fresh local cherries. 

            I am also fortunate that perennial crops like blueberries and raspberries don’t depend so much on hot summer weather. I have begun picking raspberries, and the first blueberry has ripened. Time to get the nets up.  I continue to be amazed that raspberries don’t need netting. A bird’s palate is a mysterious thing.

            A final word for those who are enjoying a good summer harvest. Please remember all those who find it difficult to afford fresh produce. The Franklin County Hunger Task Force is participating in the national Plant a Row program and has put up a website, www.plantarowwmass.com, that gives the names of all the local food pantries and meal sites accepting donations of fresh produce. Most of us are aware of the growing needs in our own neighborhoods and communities. This need is spread across the county. No amount of produce is too small, but the benefit is great. ###

           

 July 25, 2009

Wedding and Work

Mr. and Mrs. Jay Larson and party

Mr. and Mrs. Jay Larson and party

First I have to say the very most important event of the past week was the wedding of my cousin Jay  and his beloved Juliet in a beautiful garden in Manchester by the Sea. It was a glorious day and celebration was in  the air. Our hotel was hosting three wedding receptions and packed to the rafters with SEVEN groups of wedding guests.

Juliet is a Nanny in the classic mode. The wedding guest list was filled with her charges and their families, past and present which made for an amazing extended family of not only blood relatives, but the families who have exchanged love and respect with Juliet over a period of years.

The beautiful white garden in which they exchanged their vows, and celebrated into the night was owned by the family of former charges, and designed by the mother, Robin Kramer, who is now a garden designer. Juliet and Jay could begin their married life in no more perfect setting than this welcoming garden.

While we were off celebrating, son Chris and son-in-law Gerry once again set to and spent the weekend continuing to paint our house.  The weather did not cooperate and they did not finish, but the potted plants already appreciate being set off by a fresh white wall, instead of one peeling and gray.

Most of my work in the garden centered around the work in progress – the daylily bank.  Diane and her son made a start on digging and desodding during the rafting weekend.  I continued digging and fertilizing, and began the fun part, planting daylilies. Several came from Lorraine Brennan’s daylily sale including: Crimson Pirate, Lemon Yellow, Barbara Mitchell, and Hall’s Pink. My husband gave me Ice Capades, Ann Warner, Happy Returns and Rosy Returns. I dug up Hyperion and a red daylily that Elsa Bakalar gave me many years ago from other spots my own garden. I don’t think I will fill the bank this fall, but it shouldn’t take much more work in the spring.

The purpose of the bank is to eliminate the need for grass mowing.  Somehow I had not expected the pleasure I would have in seeing the blooming bank from my place at the dinner table three times a day. A reminder to always consider what  garden views will please from the window.

Also notice the shining white of our house!

High bush blueberries

High bush blueberries

I guess I was busy enough, and the freezer was full enough of the low bush blueberries the grandsons picked, that I stopped noticing our own high bush blueberries.  The time has come to notice and to start picking. I had my own blueberries on my breakfast cereal.

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas

Amazingly, the second planting of sugar snap peas is still bearing, and still sweet.  We had them in our salads all last week, and will again this week.

We have also been eating these pole beans, green and yellow, from Renee’s Garden for a week and the time has come to pick and get some in the freezer.

Eyes to See

Creating good plant combinations and beautiful color pairings is not my forte.  Obviously I don’t even note such things in my garden because today, I suddenly realized that I had this great combo, a clump of crimson bee balm next to a clump of Black Dragon lilies.  They are perfect together and I wasn’t even trying.

Bloom Day – Still Rosy in July

The roses were just beginning to bloom on June’s Bloom Day, mostly the rugosas, but this Fairy, one of two, had not yet begun. Unlike most of the roses in my garden The Fairy will bloom into the fall.

I fully expected the roses which had barely begun to bloom on June 15, to be done by today, but they are have a most floriferous and long season.  The Queen of Denmark is still petite, but blooming as she never has. At least the roses like all the rain.

I planted New Dawn last spring and got a couple of blooms, but this year she seems to have taken hold. I expect her to bloom for a long-ish season.

Buckland rose

Buckland rose

This year it struck me that the nameless (in proper terms) Buckland rose which was given to me by a Buckland friend is the same rose I bought years ago and then lost the name and record of the name.

No mystery - Buckland rose?

No mystery - Buckland rose?

Don’t you think this is the same rose?  The shrub habit and size is the same.  They are even out of focus to the same degree.

So many other roses are still in bloom, Celestial, Rachel, Ispahan, Dash’s Dart, Scabrosa, Mme Legras de St. Germaine, De la Grifferai, Mount Blanc, Blanc Double de Coubert, Apart, Belle Poitvine, Leda, Mary Rose, Mrs. Doreen Pike, 4 red Double Knock Outs, Ghislaine de Feligonde, Betty Prior and Mme Plantier. Oops, I just noticed the Pink Grootendorst I planted this spring also has a single blossom.

The farmgirls are more rambunctious than ever.  Does this farmgirl bear a resemblance to the Buckland rose? She is much smaller.

Even Thomas Affleck, planted this spring at the end of the herb bed is putting out blooms. This is a good rose year!  You can see almost all the roses on the Virtual Rose Walk page.

There are other plants in bloom right now.

I split this achillea plant last fall, and both are doing well.

This hydrangea and spirea are doing so well, along with a weeping birch, that I think something must be done. But what?

The bee balms are in bloom!  I didn’t dare call this Colrain Red at the Bridge of Flowers plant sale, but I think it is.

Last summer I saw great clumps of white cosmos at the Berkshire Botanical Garden. I was inspired, but this year the rains have knocked down the white cosmos, and these pink cosmos are very short.  This new bed needs some serious work. The soil is very poor and it shows in the poor growth of the new plantings.

Other plants in bloom: an undistinguished perennial salvia; an annual salvia, a veronica, a short pink astilbe and the inevitable johnny jumpups.  The pots full of annuals are doing well.  And now daylily season begins.

To see what is blooming all across the nation, check out what’s going on May Dreams Gardens with Carol, who is the gracious hostess of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.  Thank you, Carol!

Monday Report June 22

Applejack

Applejack

‘It’s raining, raining, raining. I hear the raindrops fall.’  The lawn is sodden, the Sunken Garden is a swamp and the vegetable garden is sulking as morning temperatures  are still in the 50s.

And yet, and yet, the rains have mostly been gentle and the roses have drunk their fill. Applejack, at the head of the drive is all grace, and the rugosas are blooming fragrantly. Rose buds are swelling on every bush. I think this will be the best show for The Annual Rose Viewing ever. The date is Sunday, June 28 from 1-4 pm at End of the Road Farm, off 8A North in Heath.

Since there isn’t very much going on in the garden except the roses – and peonies –  right now, and because I love sharing my hardy roses I am entering the Rose Photograph contest over at Gardening Gone Wild. I have a modest camera and even more modest skill, but in the interest of sharing, not winning, I’m putting up my three photos.  Above is Applejack, a hardy Griffith Buck hybrid that has exactly the graceful but blowsy form I love. A couple of skunks that we had to fish out of one of our dug wells is buried beneath it, but the fragrance has not been affected.

Rosa glauca (formerly rubrifolia) is a rose I have in the garden for its foliage not its tiny pink flowers as pretty as they are. This is the stunner when we have our Annual Rose Viewing. It is impressive in size, probably nine feet tall, and so graceful that everyone wants to know what it is.  And many people get to take a plant away. In the early spring when I find lots of little babies sprouting around it I pot them up and give them away.

Mount Blanc rugosa

Mount Blanc rugosa

 Mount Blanc is a fabulous rugosa. The flowers are large and double and very fragrant, on a big 6 foot tall bush that gets bigger every year.  All three of these roses, Applejack, R. glauca and Mount Blanc are incredibly hardy and trouble free. No bug damage (I have put down milky spore disease to control Japanese beetles) or disease.  Of course, the bloom period is short – but you can’t have garden fresh strawberries in December either.

The roses are starting to bloom and the mock orange is also in fragrant bloom. I planted it at the corner of the Cottage Ornee where that fragrance can be enjoyed in the shade and away from any bugs.  Cookies and lemonade will be served in the Cottage at the Rose Viewing.

For those who cannot attend the I am building a Virtual Rose Viewing Page.  Look for it in the column to the right and click.  The Page will continue to grow as I photograph more roses coming into bloom during the week. Surely we will have some sun.

Monday Bloom Day

Happily for me my Monday Report coincides with Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens Be sure and visit there.  This is an exciting time because the roses are just starting to bloom in my garden. They loved all the rain last week.

Rosa glauca
Rosa glauca

Even though the roses on Rosa glauca (formerly known as Rosa rubrifolia) are tiny and inconsequential, this is the rose that gets the WOWs at the Annual Rose Viewing.  The bush is a graceful vase shape, at least 9 feet tall and the foliage, bluish-reddish, is a stunning show stopper. It is one of the first roses I planted in 1984 and never fails to survive, thrive and delight.

Belle Poitvine

Belle Poitvine

The rugosas are the first roses to bloom. Belle Poitvine is not only double she is sweetly fragrant.  I visited a garden yesterday with two Belle Poitvines, much larger than mine, and not as old.  My usual excuse is that I live in Heath where it is cold!  But it probably doesn’t help that this rose is growing in a fair amount of shade of a linden tree.
Apart rugosa

Apart rugosa

Apart is probably my favorite rugosa. It is so double and so fragrant. The bush took a real beating this winter. Lots of winter kill, but new shoots are coming.
Leda

Leda

Leda is another rugosa with a surprising flower. The tiny buds seem to promise a brilliant red flower, but the small tightly furled blossoms are white, edged with red.  I was assured in one of my early Bloom Day posts (when not much was happening) that Buds Count. Hence this photo.  Very few blossoms will be around to celebrate July’s Bloom Day.
Other rugosas in my collection that have open flowers today are: Dash’s Dart, Mrs. Doreen Pike, Mount Blanc, Blanc Double de Coubert, Scabrosa, and the low Corylus. By the time we have our Annual Rose Viewing on the last Sunday in June I’ll have a special page up for a virtual tour.
The Fairy

The Fairy

The polyantha The Fairy is a dependable rose. She begins blooming early and is one of the few roses in my garden who will be in bloom all summer.
Harrison's Yellow

Harrison

The first Harrison’s Yellow I planted died. So did the second, I thought.  By the time I planted the third, the second sent up new shoots. I now have two of these spiny yellow bloomers that I hope will become lush clumps.
Other roses starting to bloom are the ancient Apothecary Rose, and the new Double Red Knockout.
The last of my lilacs is the pink Miss Canada, blooming behind a large clump of the blue flags that every garden in Heath enjoys.  Once I was thinning a clump and threw the extras onto the side of the road, where they  continue to bloom.  I must have done the same with another thinned clump because they are blooming in the field near our brush pile.
A white iris was also blooming here at the End of the Road when we  bought our house. This clump lives around an amazing 30 foot deep stone lined dug well behind our house, sharing blooming space with large clumps of comfrey, and the weedy bladder campion and galium.  All here before we were.
The early peonies start to bloom at the same time as the rugosas. Many of the peonies will still be in full bloom at the Annual Rose Viewing.
I love this old pink heuchera which I am encouraging as a ground cover.  I also have a dark foliaged heuchera with white flowers, but it is not a favorite. It will bloom later.
Other bloomers this June 15: a viburnam, highbush cranberry; Joan Elliot campanula; geraniums; cheddar pinks; an undistinguished salvia;  purple columbine; anemone canadensis; and alchemilla, lady’s mantle.  My pots are filled with pelargoniums, verbena and Million Bells. Nothing exotic, but appropriate for an old farmhouse I think.
Of course, at this time of year the surrounding fields, and even the lawn are filled with wild flowers: daisies, buttercups, red and yellow hawkweeds, clover, summer asters, bladder campion and wild sweet william. The whole world seems in bloom.

All Kinds of Peonies

Guan Yin Mian

Guan Yin Mian

 

            I walked through the garden with my Sunday morning coffee amazed and delighted to see that the fat pink buds of my Guan Yin Mian tree peony had opened.

            Guan Yin is the name of the Bodhisattva (or goddess) of Compassion.  The term bodhisattva is not much used in the west. It means those who have chosen to remain in the world even though they have enough merit to reach nirvana. Guan Yin is almost always shown with a little bottle containing the dew of compassion, sprinkling it upon those in need – which is all of us at one time or another. She has other magic tools as well including a brush to brush away all our mental distractions and a pill that will cure just about anything.

I planted Guan Yin Mian, Guan Yin’s Face, about five years ago. The journal that contains the date is currently misplaced. It seems perfectly apt that this flower with its silken pink petals surrounding a golden crown protecting a crimson heart should be seen to resemble the face of the bodhisattva of compassion.

Tree peonies are native to China where they have grown for three thousand years. Unlike herbaceous or garden peonies which most of us are familiar with, tree peonies do not die down to the ground each year. They are more like a small shrub and can grow to five feet tall with a wide spread and carry dozens of gorgeous fragile looking blooms while herbaceous peonies are still in tight bud.

Although they look fragile, tree peonies, and other peonies, are very tough and survive our Massachusetts winters with little trouble.

It was after our time in China that I became aware of tree peonies, but because they are more expensive it took me a while to acquire four. I have lost the names of two, but there is Guan Yin Mian and her neighboring pink Japanese sister, Shou Hong, a red, and a white. Nowadays tree peonies will often cost between $50 to $100.

Aside from blooming earlier and so much more extravagantly when they are mature, an important difference between tree peonies and other garden peonies is that they need to be planted more deeply. The roots should be four inches below the soil surface.  The main reason people complain about non-blooming peonies is because they are planted too deeply.  Garden peonies must be planted no more than an inch or so below the surface if they are to bloom.

Many of my garden peonies are the type I remember from my grandmother’s garden in Vermont. Raspberry Sundae is typical of the big fragrant double pink blooms that reminded me of ballerina tutus when I was a child.

One drawback of those old varieties is that the blossoms are very heavy, especially in the rain, and the stems are not terribly strong. There are now new hybrids that don’t bloom as heavily, but the stems are stronger so they don’t need staking.

Coral Charm is the name of one of these new hybrids. It has a beautiful sunny coral color which would never have been possible in the 1940s. It received the American Peony Society Gold Medal in 1986. The only thing it lacks is fragrance.

Nowadays these garden peonies come in a wide range of colors from creamy whites, to pinks, reds, and even a few yellow like Prairie Moon which has soft yellow petals surrounding a circle of golden petaloides.

A more recent development in peonies is the crossing of a garden peony with a tree peony by Mr. Toichi Itoh in 1948.  These Intersectional peonies, often called Itoh peonies, die back like garden peonies but they have the attractive leaf form of the tree peony and have a wider range of colors like shades of yellow, peach and coral. They are also shorter than tree peonies. Bartzella, a popular Itoh peony, is between three and four feet tall with fragrant semi-double yellow flowers.  Bartzella costs about $100 because this type of peony is still in such short supply. Others can cost more.

In the olden days (25 years ago when I planted my first peony) it was extremely rare to see peonies of any sort offered for sale in the spring. Fall is the traditional time for dividing and planting peonies.

Now I see potted peonies for sale at most nurseries, but they are not always marked with much information beyond color.  A quick trip through a peony nursery catalog or website will show you how inadequate this is.

The peony family is large, with a variety of size, small and tall, of form from the elegant singles to lush bombs, and color from creamy whites, luminous pale pinks to rich reds, and blooming seasons from May into July. There are varieties like tall white Festiva Maxima that has been around for 150 years costing $16  and Hillary, a new semi-double pink Intersectional for $150.

 I have a peony bed with about 30 garden peonies, many of which will still be in bloom at the Annual Rose Viewing on June 28, but I have begun a wish list of other peonies. Where will I plant them? I’m not sure, but I know by fall planting season I will have figured it out.

 

For online information about all peony varieties logon to www.theplantexpert.com/peonies. Specialty nurseries: www.cricket hill.com; www.peonyland.com; www.peonyparadise.com. 

 

As a former librarian and plant lover I want to remind everyone about the plant sale at the Tilton Library in South Deerfield today, May 30 from 9am to noon. Help your garden; help the library.

 

May 30, 2009

Monday Record May 26

What a celebratory weekend.  All due honor has been paid to our veterans, and even the tree peony has joined in those solemnities. Appropropriately, she is named (in translation) The Face of the Goddess of Compassion.  This year she has nine blossoms, each about 7 inches across.
Next  to Guan Yin is another tree peony, planted at the same time, about 5 or 6 years ago (the relevant journal has gone missing) but she is smaller and  will have only three blossoms this year. Fortunatley the ice  storm damaged a sheltering viburnam, but the tree peonies were spared.   I don’t know whether my other two tree peonies, one red and one white, which are more exposed will bloom this year.

The weekend has been beautiful and we’ve gotten a lot of work done, paving in front of the Welcome Platform (not quite finished) cleaning up the damaged apple tree next to the Cottage Ornee, planting new perennials from the Greenfield Garden Club sale, phlox and columbine, in addition ot moving a yarrow and astilbe from one bed to another, and weeding the Lawn Beds, but it was all done in  the midst of the fragrance of the hedge of common lilacs, some the tradition purple, and some this wonderful single white.

Beauty of Moscow

Beauty of Moscow

Even though we had that one ancient white lilac three years ago I bought the Beauty of Moscow, a double white that begins with fat pink buds.  I also have a Miss Willmott white that I planted last year, but it is too small to bloom. That was a gift from Jerry Sternstein, who dug up a shoot from his MW. He has 70 lilacs!

Of course, there was lots of work in the vegetable garden. I have 6 tomatoes, two each of Cherokee Purple, Paul Robeson and Volkov. I  also planted 2 Sweet 100s in the Herb Bed, along with a yellow pear tomato. Herb seedlings were planted too, parsley and basil. I stuck a few cosmos in the Herb Bed because I had extra seedlings. Pole beans and Raven zucchini went in.

Squash seedlings went in the ground. Sunshine and Waltham Butternut.  You can see the peas are doing fine.

The Cottage is Open! All swept out and set up for tea time. This is my reading corner, but no sitting and reading time this weekend. Soon.

When you enter the Cottage you can see this deep purple Ludwig Spaeth blooming in back of the Cottage. It gets a lot of shade and is a little more spindly than I  would like but I’m hoping time will take care of that. The fragrance wafts into the Cottage.

From the north windows you can see Boule de Neige and Rangoon, white and red rhodies, along with some ajuga that runs every where and a little primrose. My friend who gave it to me later said there wasn’t really room under the rhodies for primroses. She was right.

This was a weekend!  Out in the garden, and even a fabulous Gourmet Club dinner on Saturday. 28 years of serving ourselves – and we are still hungry.

Monday Record May 4

 Last week’s heat wave woke everyone up. There was enough breeze to keep the black flies down, and make it possible to work in the unexpected 80 plus degrees heat.

Straight lines are not my forte

Straight lines are not my forte

 

 

I always start working close to the house. The Herb Bed is protected from the winter winds and the soil drains well.  I weeded the entire length and spread around some rotted horse manure I got from a neighbor’s farm. 

Brave lettuce and new spinach

Brave lettuce and new spinach

 

 

The Red Fire lettuce starts I planted on March 31 have been nipped and bitten by frost, but they finally look like they will make it to the salad bowl soon.  The Bloomsdale Long Standing spinach seeds are up! 

The  weep is all to the east. What could I do?

The weep is all to the east. What could I do?

 

I had a young man help me with digging out an extension of the south Lawn Bed. The sods he took out are now piled in the compost pile by The Potager. I fertilized with greensand, rock phosphate, composted chicken house cleanings and rotted horse manure.  I moved Henry Garnet, Virginia sweetspire, which gotten lost under the weeping birch.  It had sent out four new shrubs. I transplanted two, and potted up the other three for local plant sales. I hope they will all survive.  You can also see one of the daffodils I moved in full flower, but not the grape hyacinths. 

A successful move

A successful move

 

 

I have moved several clumps of daffodils out of the lawn so that I can mow it better before the Annual Rose Viewing.  Some have gone in the new bed, some around the Miss Willmott white lilac I planted last spring, and some under this old apple at the edge of the lawn. Moving daffs while in full bloom is not ideal, but it is the time I can see them, and the time when I know where I want to move them. Since they are only out of the ground for a few minutes they don’t seem to mind too much. All new transplants get watered well! 

Nameless and early herbaceous peony

Nameless and early herbaceous peony

 

 

I finally finished weeding the whole Peony Bed and I have been astonished at the growth of the peonies this week. Most of them were barely peeking through the soil last Monday. But the earliest of them (name lost) already has buds. 

The lilacs are also well budded, but I don’t think they will be quite in bloom by next Monday. 

Started from seed  on April 2

Started from seed on April 2

 

 

Of course there is the Vegetable Garden. This 15 x 15 foot area has been cultivated for about 5 years: the soil is wonderful, rich and easy to work.  Fedco Sugar Ann Snap peas, Green Ice lettuce, Detroit Dark Red Beets, Mokum carrots, Fiesta broccoli, Diablo Brussels sprouts, as well as Renee’s Garden Neon Glow Chard, French Breakfast radishes, Jewel Toned beets, Catalina spinach flowering sweet peas, and Walla Walla onion sets from the garden center are all planted.  The Brussels sprouts and broccoli that I started from seed just went in with little transplant shock.  

Sweet peas will cover White Trellis

Sweet peas will cover White Trellis

 

 

Now that my hip has been replaced and 4 years have gone by, the garden needed enlarging, hence last year’s 10 x 10 foot extension, which has been extended again and is now known as The Potager, about 10 x 22.  More lasagna gardening.  It is laid out with what I hope are adequate paths.  I applaud the Town of Heath for making available a pile of free and public wood chips.  I moved in some red bee balm, and planted more of Renee’s sweet peas on the White Trellis, parts of a metal crib I pulled out of the metal bin at the Transfer Station.  I like white things like milk bottles and lawn chairs around the garden because white things are supposed to keep the deer away. This theory will get a good test since this part of the garden is not fenced. 

Rhubarb!

Rhubarb!

 

 

The rhubarb in near, but not in, the vegetable garden. Harvest season is not far away.

There are blooms everywhere - even the woods.

There are blooms everywhere - even the woods.

Monday Record April 20

Gray and chilly. Temperatures in the 40s with winds gusting at 14 miles and more. There is still one pile of snow in The Sunken Garden.

 

Van Sion hiding behind a rose bush

Van Sion hiding behind a rose bush

Still, I got a lot done over the past week.  First I found out that the old daffodils growing here when we bought our house in 1979 are Van Sion, a heritage variety.  I have Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardening to thank for the ID. Van Sion is a beautiful frilly double daffodil dating back to 1620. It is available at Old House Gardens where the description “explodes into a froth of green and gold” includes the information that it is often found at the site of old homesites. Multiplies.  And multiplies.

 

Now under the old apple tree

Now under the old apple tree

I also moved some daffodils that I planted in the lawn years ago.  My thought was to turn the lawn into a golden sea.  Could have happened, but since the foliage needs to ripen before cutting, it meant I couldn’t mow the lawn until just before the Annual Rose Viewing. Not good. This isn’t the best time, obviously, to move a plant about to bloom, but it had to be done, and I think they will settle in and bloom. They were only out of the ground for a few

minutes.

 

                 A sky blue lawn

 

The scillas, Siberian squills, are in full bloom, not only the ones that have self seeded in the weeds that came up earlier. 

Lots of cleaning up. Brush from downed trees.  Weeds and wild raspberries in the rhubarb bed where I added compost.

 

I started building a new compost pile next to the slowly evolving Potager. Still moving cardboard and wood chips for paths.

 

The seeds that I moved into a temporary cold frame are thriving.  I also planted sweet peas on the White Trellis, crib sides I pulled out of the metal bin at the Transfer Station, and Sugar Snap peas on a piece of fencing from the shed.The photo shows the plastic compost bin filled with fall leaves. I also planted Detroit Red Beets, Green Ice Lettuce and Neon Lights Chard. My seeds came from Fedco  and Renee’s Garden.

 

Stalwart lettuce starts

Stalwart lettuce starts

The lettuce starts, Red Fire, planted in front of the house in a new bed have suffered from being planted too early, and being bitten by frost a couple of times, but it is holding on.  I planted lettuce and spinach seeds next to the starts.

 

Buds are swelling on the lilacs, tree peonies, rhododendrons, and even one early peony. Last fall I moved division of Joan Elliot campanula to the new cellar door bank and it is up, as is alchemilla.  Rain is promised. Spring is here!