I’m fortunate. I have two sisters that love gardening as much as I do. We enjoying seeing and hearing about each others gardens. Each of us lives in a distinctly different climate: Washington state, North Carolina, and Germany. We’ve each enjoyed seeing what we can all grow in common and sometimes envying when something will grow for someone else, but not in our own climate. Our love of gardening was seeded by our mother. People used to pass our house and ask her who her landscaper was. She did it all herself, and it seems we have each inherited the gardener’s gene.
“Just wanted to share with you an email I wrote to them today. I was lamenting that I was missing being outdoors in absolutely perfect weather, because of a project that has hit its deadline. To console myself I took a few minutes on a break to wander the gardens and make note of what was in bloom…
This is turning out to be a banner year in the garden. All the vegetables are looking fantastic. I even picked my first cucumber a couple days ago! We’ll be munching yellow wax beans at any moment, as we finish off the spring harvest of sugar snap peas, broccoli, and lettuce. The tomatoes have buds all over them and look almost like miniature trees their stems are so stout this year. A far cry from the sickly plants I raised last year. I learned my lesson about overhead watering and tomatoes. I already have the drip hose in place, but have only had to use it twice, as we’ve had ample rain. Of course we’re still harvesting our quarter-sized blueberries and will be for the rest of this month. Unfortunately the critters found the marionberries so we might not get hardly any this year. They’re munching them before they are ripe enough for us to eat! Next year will have the berries all in place, penned in and we’ll have critter deterrents in place, so that we get to eat them.
I’m eagerly anticipating the harvest of peaches, but they just don’t seem to be growing! Ack! I think the cool weather has slowed them down a bit, as we harvested the few we had by this time last year. Much less bug damage this year, so I think that using neem is the way to go. I still want to try the Surround clay spray, as they say neem can’t be used in hot weather. The oil heats up in the sun and bakes the plant or fruits, but we’ve not had any problems so far this year.
The flowering plants are truly amazing this year. I have 37 different varieties of plants blooming in my garden right now. The spring and early summer bloomers are still at it, because of the cooler than normal temperatures, and the mid-summer bloomers are already having at it. It is a riot of color and textures. I’ve not had mature gardens like this before so it’s really a treat.
Right now I have 15 annuals in bloom; Impatiens, vinca, dianthus, pentas, pansies, victoria blue salvia (is an annual, but comes back almost every year, so the plants are getting huge), lantana, clown flower (1st blossom today, grown from seed), zinnia (Old Mexico volunteer), bachelor buttons (also volunteers, one in the middle of the lawn), petunias, cosmos (more volunteers), red salvia (they call it sage here), cherry pink zinnia. I have many volunteer moss roses and cockscomb plants, but they haven’t started blooming yet, just about to though.
The perennials include gladiolus (quickly becoming a favorite, even if I do have to dig them every year), hydrangea, chrysanthemums (thought they were supposed to bloom in the fall), catnip, carnations (started these from seed last year, blooming for the first time this year), snapdragons (same as the carnations) pincushion flower (x2), deep red lily, hollyhocks (were supposed to be doubles, but are singles (from seed), coreopsis (a dwarf variety & moonbeam), anise hyssop (which the bees adore, also from seed), blue salvia, day lilies (even the ones I transplanted are blooming), stokesia, ice plant, asters (another I thought was supposed to bloom in fall), bee balm, loosestrife (a non-invasive variety, it has stayed put in one nice clump and is so beautiful and the bees and hummingbirds love it), gallardia (2 varieties), shasta daisy, echinacea, and I think the hostas out back might has started to bloom, they had big buds on them, but haven’t been to the woodland garden today.
One of the greatest things about the garden is that I don’t think I paid more than $2.50 for more than just a few plants. They are either grown from seed, or I bought them from the distressed section of the local big box stores. Oh, I did buy some of the annuals, but the lady up the street is still only charging $1.25 for 4 plants, what a bargain.
Yesterday I had to do a sad job. I finally dug up the dead Colorado Blue Spruce that unexpectedly died this winter. I had grown it from a seedling. It was probably about 15 years old, but only about 3′ tall, because it had been in a pot most of its life. A couple years ago I finally got it in the ground and it was growing by leaps and bounds. Suddenly the ends turned brown and within a month it was a complete goner. I replaced it with a Japanese maple that was given to me as a seedling. Hopefully it will do well in the space. I see them all over town, and these were dug up from underneath someone’s huge tree, so we’ll see. I put lots of leaf mulch in the gigantic hole I dug, as I’ve been told they hate clay. I had to wait to remove the dead tree until the daffodils had died back sufficiently. It is a relief to have it removed, as it was a sad reminder, its barren skeleton sticking out of the middle of the yard.
I have a bit more planting to do, especially in the woodland garden, then it’ll be on to the roof on the back deck. I’m almost finished painting all the wood, so this next week we can start putting it up. I think I’m going to be able to convince Sarvasri to put on a metal roof. We can do the whole thing for less than $90 and it would be fairly permanent. He was wanting canvas, but it would cost up about half what the permanent roof would and it would have to be replaced every few years.
Hope you two are enjoying your gardens as much as I am this year.”
- Choosing Plants For A Woodland Garden
- Fresh Citrus In My Own Yard