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Winter has been hard on this gardener..............I said I was going to not start planning and dreaming about the gardens till March or so, when I might actually get outside-even if it is just to pick up sticks or walk around and imagine what this section will look like in a few months...........or run the lavendar leaves through my hand and inhale the aromo of the oil-a tease of things to come. I was going to maintain self control when the seeds came to the store. I am only going to buy a few packets, you know, my favorites! I won't get carried away this year. I have pulled out the leftovers from last year to remind myself why it is sometimes, less is more..............and then...........the seeds are in the store.................I will only get a few............one basil, one tarragon, one parsley-no make that two basil, two parsley and a lemongrass to go along with the tarragon. Ohh...flower seeds, I will need a few moonflowers, some morning glories, some nasturtiums..........and can't leave out the cosmos. What-they have seashell cosmos......I have to have one of those, and two for friends.
I take the seed packets home and show my husband............he just cant appreciate that this is like him showing me his new fishing lure........oh, that is nice honey.
We have a snow storm...........too much snow.........spring seems farther away.......
Finally get to the store again...........look at this...more seeds are out! Wow, I need some more sweet peas-you can never have enough of those, oh another moon flower, and Zinnas, they are good for cutting flowers.....mixed, small, tall, pink, white........OMG I have to have them. Red salvia, I haven't tried that........I have pink and purple, but no red, I will just get one.
Get home.......sorta tuck this pile of seed packets away....I am out of control..I am like a junkie.........and the seeds are my junk! Is this a bad thing? I can share once the plants start......................I never seem to have enough room in the gardens for all the seeds I start....I was going to be focused this year............stick to what I know, only plant a few.
Oh, but the windowboxes, I am going to plant the upper deck with herbs and nasturtiums, ...........you know it...........a couple more packets of basil-you can never have enough basil! And I will want to succession plant the nasturtiums........and the herbs, maybe one more of each......ok that is it, No more seeds!
Until the next time I go to the store and the REAL selection has begone...............how many gardeners are seed-a-holics? Is this phenominon limited to those of us who have to wait longer for the growing season? Is there a seeders anonymous?
I tell myself there are worse things to be................add seed-a-holic to fabric-a-holic......and there I am, the quilted gardener!
There are so many wonders along the garden path. The plethera of volunteer morning glories that will cover the stump and become the focal point of a garden that demands your eyes attention. The robin that built the foundation of her nest out of last years dead hosta leaves, tightly wove a nest and is raising three vocal babies. Their growth is amazing to watch. The return of the beautiful hummingbirds that come to the kitchen window feeder each morning. The Goldfinch, Baltimore Orieles, Cardinals, Red Breasted Grosbeak, Tufted Titmice, Red winged blackbirds, Bluejays, Grey Catbirds and the variety of woodpeckers that frequent the feeder each day provide music every morning.
The baby dutch iris that appear three feet away from what I can only imagine are the parents. The Lemon balm and lilly of the valley gently scent the back garden. The lfragrance from the ilac bushes that can be enjoyed no matter what part of the yard we are in. The lovely bleading hearts that return each year bigger than the last producing lovely flowers-one can't but smile when you see them.
Spinach baby leaves, strawberry buds and tomato flowers that are all promisses of things to come. The birdhouse gourd that has become a home to a pair of finches and I believe thier babies.
This garden path tour could go on and on because the wonders are only limited by the time spent there. No matter whose garden, the path is beautiful.
It is Earth Day. A day to dig in the dirt, absorb the warmth of the sun, enjoy the lovely songbirds and be amazed, yet again in the miracle of life that happens outside around us everyday ............and so much goes unnoticed or taken for granted. We gardeners are fortunate enough to take in the wonderment and feel the joy, we feed our souls.
Mother Earth is beautiful. I am hopeful that all my Garden Guide friends experience a joyful day.
The seedlings are sprouting in the greenhouse, the birds are building nests on the side of our house, the gardens are cleaned out and cool weather seeds planted. The tumbler is tumbling but clearly needs more green stuff to help it along. This first batch is taking alot longer than I expected but then this, like many other things is a learning process.
The squirrels are reaking havok on my garden beds. They have been tearing up the yard for some time but have decided that the raised beds are the place to be. While the germination time is lengthy, with the disturances of the squirrels I am concerned with what is going to come up out there. There are lots of other places to dig, so I don't know why they want to dig there. There hasn't been a need for fencing before, but maybe I will have to consider it.
The back corner is almost all cleaned out, thinned out in places, planted in others and mulched. I cleaned out the flowerbed under the back bedroom window and found that the toad lillies needed to be divided. They were purchased about three years ago. At the time I bought three. They came as an individual shoot. Today all three of them would benefit from splitting. This was one of the easiest plants to split. After I dug it up, I just gently puled the sections apart. There is still some dividing to do as I only got one done. Because of my schedule I need to plant after digging up otherwise it might be days and I wouldn't want them to die waiting. I transplanted 15-18 babies. The lillies are beautiful, they will fill in part of the back corner. Since they don't bloom until September, I need to plant some others around them. I planted three white columbines, dutch iris, deep purple iris, begonias, white violas, and goosenecks. There are already two bleeding hearts and a beautiful Japanese grass. Tuesday one of the mail orders containig a blackish grass will arrive and will be planted there also. This area gets sun, but its fair share of shade and tends to be moist........so it is a challange to find things that are happy there.
The front pool garden is all cleaned out and I pulled a few things for my mom but really the whole bed needs to be dug up, amended and different things planted. This will require finding homes for everyone, and some will should be split first. Most of the plants are at the right size for digging up to prevent translant damage. There is a tall silvery plant that I don't know the name of that has taken over the end of this bed and I am not sure where would be a good place to put him.
This blog was started a couple of days ago.........I took two vacation days and spent almost all of it outside! It was great fun and very rewarding. My delivery from Bluestone perennials arrived and the items have been planted. The front pool garden, as I see it, is going to be beautiful and fragrant! This bed was planted with red and lavendar bee balm, chamomile, lemon balm, stargazer lillies, rasberry pixie day lillies, hals pink day lillies, white dianthus, goatsbeard, puple coneflowers, babys breath and will also have beautiful white and purple sweet peas.
My daughter was talking to me on from the deck and swears that there was a hummingbird! We love hummingbirds!
OH, I almost forgot, even though the squirrels have been digging I found some baby spinach and baby lettuce. The stawberries are still intact.
Photos would be good here, but it was either be outside or be inside writing about it and taking photos. We are expecting good weather for the next few days so I am planning to record with photos and post as i finish planting all the divisions.
Hopefully all the gardeners will enjoy beautiful spring weather today. It is back to the office, but my heart will be outside.
Wow, my winter list doesn't quite compare to the mental list I made yesterday while playing in the yard. The woodchips that my family so graciously helped me move from the driveway to the edge of the property in the fall is about two feet deep-literally. Our neighbor had a bunch of trees cut down so I went over and asked the tree service what they were going to do with the chippings? They had no problem driving thier dump truck over to the next driveway and dumping. After the second load, DH thought that would be enough. Good thing I went with that. The pile looked one size, but upon moving the chips.........became another. I know that some people wouldn't use the woodchips because they are "fresh", I had read somewhere that it wasn't good to use fresh ones near plants because it may kill the plants. Honestly, the price was right and I had done this twice before and not lost anyone! Free is always good! In an effort to remove the huge pile from the driveway so we could put the cars in the garage if it snowed-this was end of October-early November, we spread and piled along the property line in the back. My intention is to keep the weeds from growing on the town property. Those weeds tend to become trees and then next thing we know, we are dealing with even more mosquitos because of the shade..........and then there is the shade-we like sun! There are enough trees there that they are already fighting for light.
So......................in the back corner yesterday I continued to clean up the plant debris left behind from leaves dying back , and then filling in the woodchips around the babies before any weeds rear thier heads. The multiplication that went on back there is wonderful. In my minds eye it is beautiful. The area where I have put the green house in past years will need to be planted but I think I can manage to find enough plants to fill the space. This woodchipping thing is hard on an old girl. I have to get this done first because once the plants get bigger it will be harder to mulch around them without damaging thier leaves.........guess I am really saying that I will hve to be more careful.
Because the neighbors cats like to hide in the plantings near the birdfeeder, I thinned out some of those before they got to big.
The dilema I am having at the moment is again about the front pool garden. Having been out back I can see that I wil need to spend alot of time now to prevent spending my time later weeding. At the same time things are sprouting that I wanted to move to the front pool garden and I am afraid that if they get too big they won't transplant well. I have a lovely Chinese foliage plant that has made it self quite comfortable in the garden........in fact at a glance it looks like it has taken over! I love ths plant and really want to introduce it in other areas in the yard by when I tried before, now is the best time to do so-at this size. I may be forced to put them into pots so the roots can grab hold and then transplant later as if a purchased plant would be.
I spoke with my mother lst night and she had left her recliner and spent two days outside in her garden. Additionally she went to Lowes and picked up a few plants. We talked about what I have to offer and we are going to make some swaps. I really wanted to have more bleeding hearts for the back and apparently she has lots of volunteers at her place. The purple coneflowers, blazing stars, tower white columbine, chinese foliage and lemon balm are all things that interest her. A few Iris will go over to her also-she only has one kind.
This weekend we are going to do another college visit and it is going to rain-according to the weather man-so I am not sure how much outside time I am going to have. I may take a couple of vacation days if the weather is nice next week so I can play- a girl needs to play!
Off to the races.........................
This morning is cloudy and the weatherman is calling for rain-but how often is he right anyway? This evening I have a few hours at home alone and am torn between playing in the dirt and sewing, the weather will decide or maybe I will play a bit if it is only drizzling and them sew-indecisios!
Since I had divided the outside tasks in my mind yesterday, there was a great sense of accomplishment not only for what I had done, but for managing to keep it managable. In the past I have been known to spend hours outside after hibernating all winter and then find it difficult to walk~or at least stand up straight at first try...........but it is all worth it. Pacing is the plan this year, pace myself.......do a little here, do a little there.......and vary the tasks so that all the muscles ache not just one or two :)!
I can't help but look out the window each time I come to the kitchen, looking out at what is and what will be-it makes me smile. All winter I stood in these windows looking out dreaming and planning about the colors and the smells and the sounds of spring. Where I am going to move this and wouldn't that look nice if combined with that over there and oh-maybe I should do this............... Now it is here, I simply love being in the garden.
There was a stop to the garden center yesterday for green bean seeds, it seems I didn't order those through the mail and while I was there a little rosemary plant took a ride in my buggy-I love rosemary. This afternnoon she will take her place in her special square in the garden.
If it decideds to rain there are a few tasks that can be done to continue my gardening quest. Last year I grew birdhouse gourds and during the winter I dried them in the utility room. Perhaps I will drill the holes so they can be hung up. This year I am not going to varnish them. Everything I have read says they will last a year or two unvarnished. As I am unsure that a bird will come back and nest in the same gourd over and over I have decided not to varnish this year and see how it goes. Now that I understand more about the growth and ways to encourage more gourds, less vines, perhaps this years harvest will be more substantially sized fruits. We have been saving the dryer lint in a net bag so I think we are ready to assist our feathered freinds with their nesting.
Maybe this would be a good day for the rain, less chance of physically overdoing it in the yard and now that the debris is cleared from the gardens a good soaking may be in order.
On my way to the car this morning I am going to pop into the greenhouse and see if anything is happening. Most of the seeds have somewhat lengthy germinatiion........except maybe the chamomile [ I love chamomile], anyway that will be the first gardening task for today. At work I have some houseplants that I am going to repot -at lunch of course-and bring home a few clippings for a garden friend.
This evening was spent quickly cleaning out the landscaping in the front and side yard. Not much cleaning to do really, just clip the grasses down and remove the dead stems and flowers from the starlight sedum. On the side it was more of the same only the added challenge of removing the leaves that settled underneath and in the barberry. Ouch!
Once that was complete, I looked around and decided I had two choices. The first being to work on raking the incredible amounts of acorn up out of the grass and the second was to begin tackling the cleanup of the back corner. I chose the corner. In the fall I blew the leaves but then apparently either the neighbors leaves blew over or more leaves feel because there was a TON of leaves to move. I started with the rake and a wheel barrow but then decided that the leaf blower was the way to go otherwise I would spend the rest of the week just trying to get the leaves out of this section and while that is good, I wouldnt' be as satisfying as puttering around the garden. DH showed me how to get the blower going and helped me get the straps adjusted [it is a backpack blower]- I love this power tool!
There was quite a bit of leaves and of course the farther down you go, the wetter they are so they don't move as easily as they would if they were dry. When the leaves blew from the front of the stump I noticed a series of tunnels. Seems some rodents have taken up residence in my garden over the winter. My guess is that they are voles as we have had them in the front landscaping last year. Unfortunately it looks like their tunnels uprooted some of my plants so there may be some losses. The lambs ear is looking very rough at this point and I am not sure it is going to make it.
On the up side, once the leaves were gone [or really as they were moving] all the new life exposed. I am thrilled iwth the amound of spreading that took place since last year and even found a few things that I was sure didn't make it that are poking thier leaves through the soil. Two of these things were huge bleeding hearts. My daughter was helping me in the fall. I had dug them up to move them and she thought that the wheelbarrow needed emptying so she dumped it in the woods. WIth all the leave blowing I was sure they were gone. I found them at the end of winter, and put dirt and woodchips around therm. I am amazed that they didn't rot having been exposed to the winter weather like that. The leaves are poking up.........I love bleeding hearts.
The biggest excitement out there tonight however, was the location of two baby jacobs ladders. Last year I had started some from seed, they had done really well but shortly after transplanting, they died. When the seed heads on the big plants dried, I took them and shook them in that area in hopes new babies would grow..........and there they are.
Now I know many gardeners would have planted the seeds in trays with seedling mix but I had done this with my tower white columbine and have been rewarded with literally hundreds of babies. As I am trying to fill in a large space this method is easy, and the plants are spaced more naturally instead of any way that I would have placed them.
The two hours spent outside tonight were very satisfying. I could have stayed out there until it was dark-or past dark as I am known to do [we have outside lighting in back] but I forced myself to come in , make dinner and spend time with the family. Besides, my inactivity of the winter has caused me to suffer from what we lovingly call in my house "the old girl syndrome". It is all worth it.
I am hopeful that the sun was shining all over today so that all the gardners had a chance to get some fresh air and thier hands dirty.
It is going to be another B E A U T I F U L day in Southeastern Connectiuct today and though I will be sitting at my desk for the majority of it I have lots to look forward to.
Yesterday, I left work on time and drove home and threw on gardening clothes and got busy. Even though I had cleaned out the leaves in the fall, the moon garden [in photos has trellis] was full of leaves.............and TONS of acorns. The srquirrels have been tearing up the yard for sometime looking for thier acorns and all the while they were resting safely in my garden! Eight or nine wheelbarrows later, the garden was cleaned out and the beauty of plants reaching for the sun can be seen. I love how they make their way through the soil.
Fortunately for me, it was also the time of night when the birds feed so I was serenaded by the songbirds. Once again the red winged black birds have located our birdfeeder. Once they find you they tell all their friends and wipe out the food. I don't mind much, only that their presence keeps away the songbirds. While I am outside the blackbirds sit in the trees white the other birds come in to eat and sing. Nothing says spring like singing birds and baby plants.
Even for a girl with pictures, I found myself out there saying............now, this is where this plant is, no I moved it over there so that means this is ..........---. At the end of the season last year I made a few changes and don't quite recall where they all landed.
Today the sun is shining again. So I will run errands on my way to work so I can rush home and get digging......ok maybe not digging, but cleaning out two more beds. The last one will be the one I want to dig out. Seems each year I dig this garden out........did I blog this aleady? Can't remember-must me the mid-life mind at work here! :)
This bed is viewed from the office and the lower bedroom and is on what I refer to as the front side of the pool. The humingbirds are in abundance due to the windowbox flowers and the feeders so I wanted to incorporate some of thier favorites here along with flowers that attract butterflies. I tend to be drawn to the purple/blue white and red colors so that is what I am going with. The problem really is that I have not been able to balance the bloom time in this bed. It is feast of famine and durring the famine all you see is greens..........and they are all very similar so it really isn't as appealing to me as it was in my mind.
This year I ordered a black knight butterfly bush to add here and am going to thin out some of my other favorites from around the yard, filling in the spaces with lemon balm and chinese foliage to add that needed green with a variety of leaf shape and shades. The other challenge is that the bed is long and fairly narrow so I tend to think that I can plant more than the space allows. Widening the bed would make the most sense, but this is the path we use to get under the deck with the wheelbarrow and hoses and things so I can't really close it off. Making it smaller would make it impossible for the mower to go throw and that is always a criteria in the bed planning. Maybe I will remove all the grass there..........hey, maybe that will work. Oh, did I mention the water? This area receives the water from the downspout and althogu it was my intention to catch that water, rainbarrels haven't been purchased yet.........and I am not sure they are in the budget this year. So wetnes can be an issue when there is extensive amounts of rain.
Several times over the last two weeks I have drawn up what I would like to do so now it is a matter of digging out what is there, amending the soil-because I can, and then planting. This task willl also create the need to find a place to put the things that are there now that won't stay............that was going to be one of the other big projects this year but that is a whole nother story!
Off to work. Thankfully I have what most would consider a wall of windows overlooking the channel so I can enjoy the beauty of the day even while inside.
While mother nature has provided many challenges over the last month, garding is finally in full swing. The greenhouse was set back up and is filled iwth trays of cells full of seedling mix and seedlings waiting to spring to life. I love to play in the dirt!!
In the greenhouse I have started a variety of flowers, herbs and veggies. Some old favorites and some I am trying for hte first time. They are: Birdhouse gourds, luffa gourds, acorn squash, spagetti squash, two cucumber varieties, yellow squash, zucchini, garden salsa pepper, basil, dill, cilaantro, parsley, giant lavendar zinnias, candy cane zinnias, dwarf zinnias, blanket flowers, red impatients, swee peas, scarlet morning glory, eggplant, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, califlower, marigolds, and purple salvia.
The strawberries have been planted and three beds have been sectioned off and labeled. The cool weather crops have been planted in the bed-spinach, red sails lettuce, buttercruch lettuce, green leaf lettuce, scallions and two variety of peas. By applying the square foot gardening method I am hoping to increase the bounty.
Photos at this point could not express the sense of satisfaciton, the joy and contentment that was gained by spending this time gardening. The birds were singing and while it was cool, I enjoyed every moment spent outside this weekend.
After strolling around the yard, I made a list of things that I can work on after work each day that will allow me time outside and work towrd my gardening goals for the year. I think the biggest challenge will be the digging, ammending and replanting of a garden that is near the pool This is a challenge because I have yet to get this garden to look like it does in my mind. That picture has chnaged several times over the years but the common denominator is to have scented things that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The hard part seems to be planting a variety of items whose bloomtimes are staggered with variying leaf shapes-and NOT overplanting. I tend to overplant.
gardening is something I do because it feeds my soul, and tonight when I go to sleep I go there happy and filled with a sense of contentment and satisfaction of my accomplishments. I am also reassured that there will be a garden and months to play in it. It was a long winter and welcome spring with open arms~ I have embraced it.
It is hard to believe that we are almost in April. The last two and a half weeks have been a blur of activites, none of which are garden related.
Two of our daughters were home for their spring breaks at seperate times, with a short overlap. It was nice to spend time with each of them and the family as a whole. The third daughter also had a week break and it was different than the other also. Time with her has been spent looking at colleges in an effort to make a selection. There are still two more to view and then it will be time to make her selection. It has been fun but at the same time un nerving. The thought of financing another college education is a bit scary. This step forward in her life is going to be a great one for her and I am happy for her. For DH and I it means changes at home based on the empty nest-that will be fun and scary in its own right.
Part of the spring break activities inclued sewing a medival style dress for one daughter and that was great fun. Easter was quite. All in all it was fun to spend time as a family and we are all on the count down to HS graduation, college selection, and the summer.
THere have been meetings to attend, work that needed completion and interest outside my gardening that I have been focusing my energy on. Additionally, my computer is dying a slow death. First the internet connection went arye and now the blue screen of death seems to be with me more than not. By the good graces of our daughter I write here today. After all the high ticket repairs on two of our cars in the last two weeks, I don't see a new computer in the near future.
While I have spent quality time in the garden of my family, I am looking forward to getting my hands into the earth. I have missed my connections here at GG.
On the gardening front, my greenhouse blew over in the big windstorm but fortunately wasn't damaged too much. We are hoping to get it set back up tomorrow so that I can refocus my energy back on gardening. The signs of spring are everywhere, green here and there..........getting bigger by the day........and the email notification that UPS will be delivering bare roots on monday!
The tumble has been tumbled, but not enough moisture so I have altered that and will continue to tumble. Both sides are going now. Manure will be delivered by my neice in a couple of weeks and next week it is time to put the first pea seeds in the ground.
I am, still very excited about spring coming, sharing in the creation of beautiful plants..............garden on!
The greenhouse is up and it sure is bigger than I remember it being! I am most excited-now the fun can really begin. Because I have planned succession planting, seeds won't all be planted at once. The brocilli, califlower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and then the cucumbers, squash and some flowers. I don't have my seed packets handy so I don't quite recall which flowers are started first-more on that later.
The Brocolli, Califlower and Cabbage are all small head varieties. I purchased the seeds from Park Seed Co. because I had great success with some squash seeds purchased a few years back that were for compact gardens. The plants were within the two feet the description gave and produced an abundance of fruit. Since I haven't grown anything in this family of veggies before, I wanted to set myself up to be successful. I have purchased other seeds from them but my only veggie experience with them had been the squash.
Once there is something to see, I will journal with photos-once I figure out how to add to my blog. The greenhouse photos were added to my albums for now.
The new lasagna beds have the first three layers; three of the flower garden beds are cleaned up and one side of the tumbler is full.........and cooking! It was nice to be outside puttering around in the yard, if I thought I had spring fever before.........I was wrong, only now there have been some participation in spring activities so I have a better sense of satisfaction.
The thermometer in the greenhouse said 65 this morning. I was thinking that wasn't too warm-but it is no different that inside the house!
All in a days work...................in the garden--I am smiling.
Yesteday I showed our daughter how to add and turn the composter-shouldn't be too complicated for a girl about to head off to college! :)
Due to the continued rain, the greenhouse is still in the garage, but I am DETERMINEd to get outside today and have a list of tasks to accomplish:
after all that fun it is my intention to go pick up some more seedling mix, and make some more pots for the plants that get started next week. If time allows, I would like to straighten off my gardening supply shelves in the garage.
When all that fun is over, it will be time to hit the grocery store and find something for dinner..........both girls are home from college tonight so the family will have the opporunity to eat together.
Off to the mudpatch!
There is life outside here in SECT! I found it, spring IS coming!
Spending the last part of the winter planning out the garden and dreaming about getting outside and digging in.....literally has been a build up to spring that only brought me down. The graphed out garden beds showing where each plant will live, the pile of seeds waiting to be planted, the tumbler that sits next to the garden, the pile of newspapers and bundles of peat moss, the pot maker......they are all indicators that I should be gardening!
Stuff is in the tumbler, and I keep adding to it but I must confess there were a couple of days I didn't get out there to add and turn because the ground was so wet I would need rubber rain boots to slosh around in out there=sloggers just don't cut it!
I love reading the blogs here and seeing the photos. It is all very encouraging and enjoyable to see the progress of my friends yards, seedlings and learning experiences. It is enough to say that the last couple of weeks have been difficult ones and I really NEEDED some food for my soul.
The other day I jumped out of my pity party and took a muddy stroll around the yard and discovered many signs of life. Additionally, it occurred to me that if I collected all he stems, old leaves, cut down the grasses etc off the plants I may very well have the green matter needed to fill the tumbler and really begin the two week process of composting. While manure, I thought, would be the easy solution, the reality of getting it to the back corner [because of the mud] made this a non-option.
After walking around a bit I decided to get the camera and document. When that was finished I came inside reviewed my start seed dates-putting into perspective where I was-and then my daughters and I made the seed starting pots out of newspaper. DH and daughter are planning on putting up the greenhouse today so even if it rains, as planned, I can still get outside and get things started. These were all good things.
His morning I am posting the photos that will serve as a record of where my babies are now and serve as proof that spring really is on its way.
Like many, there are small signs of spring............but then the rains came. It rained and rained and rained. No gardening here!
I did enjoy catching up my favorite blogs and am glad that some gardeners here are actually gardening! If spring really arrived elsewhere, eventually it will arrive here too.
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