Monday, May 18, 2015

May Garden: Week 2 - 2015

Clearly the bulbs have made a huge difference in the front flower bed this year!

Perennials are wonderful charmers, surprising us as the spread and fill out year after year. Then they let us divide them and share them with our neighbors, family and friends, so that our gardens become a story of sharing:

"Look, those are the violets and daisies from my sister-in-law, Lena. Here are the wild geraniums and hostas and phlox from my neighbor, Kim, and here are the lilies and coral bells from my dear friend, Laura. Oh yes, and those irises are from the lady from the credit union! She had these from her own garden as a gift for me when we closed on our house!"

Those are all true examples of the community that has helped to make my own garden grow.

 And yet...

One must be patient with those perennials. They are sturdy and hardy, but they, like us, often experience shock when they are transplanted. It takes time for them to establish their roots and begin to flourish.

In the meantime, they look scrappy and scraggly. That is pretty much what my flower garden has been for the past two summers. Things are still filling in and it was hard to see if there was any rhyme or reason to the plantings. Thus, I am so very glad I took the time to dig through the layers of rock that still make digging in this bed take two to three times as long as it would to plant in a normal bed, to plant tulips and narcissus last autumn.

They have provided filler and color and a sense of cohesion, despite the fact that its all still just a bit random! It's an odd bed because two-thirds of it is shady and a small, one-third gets more sun. This requires different flowers at either end of the bed! Thankfully, the bulbs grow in sun or shade and are in full flower before the trees are completely dressed in their leaves. I love looking out my window in the morning to peek at what new is happening just below me. I have said more than once that it looks to me like a wedding is going on out there!

I have a feeling more bulbs will find their way into the ground around my house this fall. :)

In the meantime, there are a couple other, new additions. I planted an upright fuchsia in the bed as well as this one with autumn-colored leaves in a pot on the front step. They are supposed to do well in the shade and overwinter inside. I usually love the fuchsia hanging baskets I see at garden centers, so I am eager to see what kind of flowers this one produces.

Last summer we transplanted two, baby lilacs. The one below is a white one and came from my sister-in-law's property. And the one below that is a shoot from my neighbor, Kim. It already has a teeny-tiny little lilac bloom for us! Some day they will provide a hidden walkway wall to our back yard. I wonder how many years it will take for that to happen? That is some of the joy of gardening: seeing if you are able to manifest the vision of the garden in your mind's eye.

This is a favorite task for the season: seeing how the vegetable garden grows and how the flowers around it will fare. As you can see, the strawberry patch is already full and overflowing into the grass around its box!

There are NEW flowers this year and I am having to wait for the color longer than I had to last year. Last year I purchased already-flowering geraniums at the store. I took them inside over the winter and have brought them back out. I trimmed them back, as they grew leggy reaching for the winter light and now we must wait and see!

There are only a few hollyhocks - three that I can see - that will be growing this year, but the ground is also littered with their seedlings. I have tried to be careful with them as I've added other things to the bed and hopefully I'll have another strong showing next year. I really thought I would have more than I do this year, but that's how it goes.

On the corner are the hydrangea that survived the winter. The one on the right is flourishing more than its sister, but she's still coming along slowly.

To fill in where the hollyhocks have left bare patches, I have spaced some foxglove (!!!!!). Oh, how I hope they will succeed! And reseed! I have long wished for, but have never had foxglove. Neighbor Kim says that she has not met with success with them in her (beautiful) garden, so I wonder how they will fare over here.
I also have some other new-to-me plants this year: bachelor buttons and lisianthus. Just today - and not in the picture - I plunked in two hyacinth that Maia and I picked up at Trader Joe's for our rooms before Easter. And a new, white peony anchors the other end of the bed by the gate there.

The veggie beds are clean and planted now too. As you can see, there is a bit of volunteer lettuce that has sprung up from last year. I always love those little surprises and leave them. The rest of that bare looking bed is planted with seed: two rows each of carrots, beets, spinach, and radishes. I don't think I have had any luck with these four types of vegetables yet. My veggie beds don't get as much sun as I would like them to, since there is that giant tree in the background there. There is one, large branch, in particular, that, if it were gone, would add a number of extra hours to my vegetables. But, since a recent estimate came in at $600 to remove said branch, we'll just have to hope for the best with the garden for a couple more years now. We have also purchased a CSA membership for summer and fall, so that should help too!

 I have more tomato plants than I'd planned for again this year. I planned on 6, but have nine, since the one plant that I had selected was supposed to come in a larger pot, but they only had smaller ones in sets of four. I suppose I could have given some away... But I had a pretty paltry tomato showing last year, so maybe having the nine will help out. We shall see!

I also have four basil plants out here, six kale of two varieties, two sweet, red peppers, and of course, the chives and oregano.

The flower boxes look a little funny too, with some overwintered geraniums planted with two basil each and one thyme in each box. Its a good thing we're not due to be in a magazine shoot any time soon!

And finally, the oldest geranium that my sister gave me as a house-warming present three years ago is still with us. I've got a new, small rosemary plant too that hopefully will be able to be kept year-round too.

 So, that's where we are right now. It's the beginning of the tale for the story that will be our garden this year! Are you growing a garden this year? Please tell me about it below and/or leave a link so that I can pay your garden a visit too! Thanks for stopping by!

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