Category Archives: seasons

Spring gardening…damn the squirrels and full speed ahead

I know I should wait until May to start planting outdoors, but I am too impatient.

A few weeks ago I planted sweet pea and nasturtium seeds (actually, that was the correct time, but I don’t know how many survived; some animals, and I strongly suspect the squirrels, have been digging around in my containers). Last year the nasturtiums did very well, so if any of them are still in there and not being digested by small local wildlife, I expect the same this year. The sweet pea last year sprouted and grew leaves and vines but no flowers; I’m hoping if I give them a better climbing structure this year that will help.

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Chives, rosemary, and sage

0417161717bTwo pots of chives, one rectangular planter of thyme, one round pot of thyme, and one pot of parsley (surprisingly) made it through the winter indoors, and I’ve moved them outside to re-acclimate and hopefully perk up a bit. The rosemary, inexplicably, died, so I’ve got new rosemary in a rectangular planter, along with new sage and new chives. I bought a new mint plant as well; even though I can always start new ones from my old ones, they are never quite as robust.

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From left: last year’s mint, thyme, thyme, parsley.

I bought new “perennial, ever-bearing” strawberry plants as well. We shall see about that. Last year’s plants were from the year before; improbably, they survived that winter and grew lovely green leaves but few flowers and no berries last summer. This year I want at least one berry before the squirrels and birds get at them. Maybe I will put up some nets…is that awful? I don’t want to catch any animals inadvertently but I want to enjoy my plants.

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Strawberry box and strawberry jar – six plants total.

I planted basil seeds as well, but (a) they were left over from last year’s packet – do seeds go stale? – and (b) it snowed the day after I planted them so I doubt they will come up. I’ll wait until May, then get some basil to go with the tomatoes.

0417161717eThe narcissus bulbs spent the winter in the basement and are emerging now; I might have waited too long to bring them up. The grape hyacinth bulbs bloomed un-seasonally last fall so I don’t think they will bloom this spring – maybe next year? Last year was the first time I experimented with bulbs and they still seem sort of mysterious and magical.

You’ve all been very patient to read this far, so here is a photo of the baby in her first sun hat:

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Growing like a weed

 

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Fall gardening

Columbus Day this year was beautiful and unseasonably warm; we’re still waiting for the baby to show up, so in the meantime I figured I’d take advantage of the good weather, free time, and my mom’s gardening enthusiasm/expertise to prepare my container garden for the colder parts of fall and winter.

We went to Mahoney’s Garden Center in Winchester to find a couple small evergreen-type shrubs to put in the pots in the front of the house. Back at home, we spent about an hour and a half pulling out dead plants (calibrochoa, lobelia, wildflower mix, sweet pea), transplanting others (mostly herbs, to bring inside once the weather turns colder), and potting the new evergreens with the dusty miller, which is still thriving. We also potted some narcissus bulbs from spring and put them in the basement; hopefully they’ll bloom again next year.

 

terra cotta pot with evergreen cedar and dusty miller

terra cotta pot with evergreen cedar and dusty miller

 

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Neighborhood walk and fall foliage

tree with red and green leaves

tree with red and green fall leaves

tree with orange leaves

tree branch with reddish leaves against blue sky

tree with orange leaves

Ben and Sudo

Orange paper lantern flowers

Purple balloon flowers

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Neighborhood flowers

grape hyacinths

Grape hyacinths marching across the lawn toward the sidewalk

Violets

Violets thriving in a crack on the sidewalk

White daffodils with orange centers

Daffodils standing tall and proud

Purple-blue hyacinths

Hyacinths, a sneaky daffodil, and small blue flowers

Bright pink-red tulips with yellow centers

Early tulips

Fuzzy-looking reddish growths on a tree branch

Some sort of…I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what this tree is growing. Last year I remember it having leaves.

Small pale-green round leaves growing close to the ground, just beginning to open.

I’m not sure what these are going to be either. Right now they remind me of those fish in that game where their mouths open and close and you have to get the fishing pole in and hook them at just the right time.

A tree branch with white flowers

Flowering tree branches

Small pink and blue flowers growing in long grass

Pinks and blues

4/27/15 Edited to add: My cousin informs me that the peculiar reddish puffball things on the tree are the flowers of a red maple; the magnetic-fish-looking ones are sedum; and the small blue flowers are scilla (though they look to me like the flowers on a vinca vine; maybe they’re related?). Thanks, Anne!

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Early spring gardening, indoor seedling edition

This is the first year I’ve planted from seeds, and the results are gratifying so far; I planted them last Friday and saw little sprouts begin to emerge in less than a week. The seed packets themselves have lots of information about planting depth and sunlight requirements, but I also found the book Successful Container Gardening to be helpful.

Peat tray, a few rows filled with potting mixThe dryer is near an east-facing window and is a perfect height for planting, as well as an out-of-the-way location for the seedlings to get their start indoors.

Seed packets: sun gold tomato, supersweet 100 tomato, thyme, chives I planted four varieties of tomato seeds – Sun Gold, Supersweet 100, Jelly Bean grape tomatoes, and “Gardener’s Delight” cherry tomatoes – and chives and thyme. I meant to get basil and nasturtium also; I may try to add those soon.

tomato seeds in the palm of a handHere are the tiny tomato seeds.

chive seeds in the palm of a handAnd even tinier chive seeds.

jelly bean red and yellow tomato seedsThe red jelly bean tomato seeds were dyed, but I planted red and yellow together, about three seeds in each little section. The book advised making little holes in the dirt with the tip of a pencil, which worked well.

peat tray with soil and seeds, plastic lid over topHere’s the peat tray all planted with seeds: tomatoes, herbs, and bunny tails (a non-edible grass). The extra green pots also hold thyme seeds, and the extra brown pots hold more chives.

And look! A mere six days after planting…

Bunny Tails sproutingThese are the Bunny Tails. (I’ve very glad I drew a diagram of what I planted where, as the book suggested.)

tomato seedlings sproutingThese are some of the tomato seedlings sprouting. I think if you stood in front of them for an hour you’d actually see them grow.

thyme seedlings sproutingWe won’t be running out of thyme anytime soon! Pun very much intended.

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