Category Archives: spring

Spring gardening at the new place

Spring is here, and that means plants and dirt! It also means seeing what perennials come up in our new yard, and planting a few things of our own in the ground, though I’ll still have lots of plants in pots and containers this year.

Greyhound lounging in the sun, new hellebore

Hellebore yellow flower

Hellebore

First, we raked up a LOT of last year’s dead leaves. That alone made a huge difference! Then my mom and my aunt helped me plant four hellebore plants that my aunt had brought from her own garden in Maryland. We planted them where I hope they’ll get a good amount of sun, and added some mulch. The dog also got to enjoy the sunshine while we worked.

There are little tufts of what look and smell a lot like chives here and there. I’m thinking of digging them up and potting them, since I usually grow chives in the summer anyway. If they aren’t exactly chives, they’re definitely in the onion/garlic family, so…close enough, right?

Strawberry plants in jar

Strawberry plants

I bought three new strawberry plants and put them in my old strawberry jar, on the south-facing front porch where they’ll get lots of sun (and hopefully be less prone to attack by squirrels, birds, rabbits, and any other berry-loving wildlife).

I moved the herbs that made it through the winter indoors back outdoors: mint, rosemary, and thyme. I bought three new parsley plants for the herb shelf as well – two curly, one flat-leaf – some of which I harvested to use at our seder. I’ll be getting basil as well, but it’s a little early in the season still – it may still be getting too cold at night for basil.

Radish seedlings

Radish seedlings

I didn’t start any seeds indoors this year, but I did get some radish seeds at the hardware store and planted them in containers outside; they have already sprouted! The first crop should be ready in less than three weeks, and I can plant another crop in late summer/early fall.

I tried to get the little one excited about the seedlings, but she is more interested in the slide, the hammock, throwing a ball (as of today!), and chalk drawings on the pavement.

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What’s next? I’ll plant tomatoes and basil in May. They’ll go in the same containers as last year, since I don’t think we’ll be building any raised beds in a hurry. I’ll probably get some flowers, too, and keep an eye on any perennials or “volunteers” that come up. I’d love to get a rain barrel and start composting, too. (Any tips? Leave a comment!) I’d love to get honeysuckle and/or some berries growing on the back fence, so I’ll be on the lookout for a thornless berry bush or vine. And that all seems like plenty for Year One here! Maybe in the fall I’ll put in some bulbs for next spring – grape hyacinths, daffodils or perhaps tulips. We’ll see!

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Owlt for a walk

We are finally, finally getting some nice spring weather. What classic outdoor activity do we do first? We buckle Owl in the stroller and go for a walk.

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Dad makes sure Owl is buckled in safely.

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Lyra pushes Owl around the driveway…

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…but stops for frequent safety checks.

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Are the buckles still secure?

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Okay, we’re good to go!

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Better call for backup on this buckle. It’s a tricky one.

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Seven months and crawling

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Enjoying her doorway jumper (thanks, J & H!). This may be the one photo we have of her in it that isn’t blurry.

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Before forward crawling came unintentional backward scootching.

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Playing with her stacking rings.

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Delighting in the dog.

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Happy on her tummy (and still kicking those feet).

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Curious about everything.

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Unfazed by rain (even helps hold the umbrella!)…

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…but sunshine is okay too. (And looks darn cute in a sunhat from great-grandpa!)

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“‘Sup?” Borrowing Dad’s baseball hat on a post-daycare, pre-bedtime visit to see Mama at the library.

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Pleased.

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Onward!

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The garden is in

The garden is in! All the big stuff is done (cleaning out last year’s pots, getting dirt and plants, planting) so now it’s just watering and tinkering with placement.

The seedlings are doing very well: the nasturtiums are in a hanging basket and a rectangular container on the back porch, and the sweet peas are in buckets in the back and a rectangular container in front, with – I hope – enough climbing material to keep them happy.

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Above, left to right: sweet peas, tomatoes (“chocolate sprinkles” hybrid cherry and Patio a.k.a. “the container tomato”), rosemary, and – new this year – lavender.

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Nasturtium, calibrochoa (“yellow slice”), narcissus (from bulbs stored in the basement during the winter). Not pictured, recently added: celosia (that paintbrush-looking one).

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Chives, rosemary, and sage. We do a lot of cooking and garnishing with these.

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Thyme, parsley (flat and curly), strawberries. There are little green berries already!

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This is in the front. Real pots would look nicer than Home Depot buckets, but I used what I had. The tomatoes don’t mind! This year I got one plant each of five varieties, and planted basil in with two of them (from left to right: grape “Tami G” hybrid tomato; yellow cherry “sun gold” hybrid; husky cherry red hybrid). I also got nicer soil this year, Coast of Maine potting soil and lobster compost. We’ll see how they do.

 

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Spring seedlings

The seeds are coming up! Not the basil – I think last year’s seeds plus a late snow equals no basil plants from seed this year – but the sweet pea and nasturtiums are. The squirrels didn’t get ’em all! And the nasturtiums are supposed to repel deer. Not that we have deer on our little back porch. Nor will we!

Small nasturtium leaf

Sweet pea shoots coming up in orange bucket

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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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How does your garden grow?

Blue-glazed strawberry jar with three side openings and one top opening, planted with strawberry plants

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?

There are no silver bells here (unless you count windchimes), and certainly no cockle shells or pretty maids, but there are several kinds of herbs and flowers. Memorial Day weekend updates:

  • Moved most strawberries from Home Depot buckets to a strawberry jar or individual terra cotta pots. Hoping this will foil the squirrels (does anything foil the squirrels?). Also, the strawberry jar is pretty – a gift from some friends who are moving away, leaving their rooftop garden behind.
  • Transplanted basil and small rose bush from plastic pots to terra cotta ones (extra terra cotta pots were gifts from same friends as above). I learned from my container gardening book that the roots of plants in plastic pots can heat up too much on hot sunny days.
  • Transplanted the grape hyacinth – which is pretty much done for the year, I think – into its own terra cotta pot, and replaced it with a new sage plant in the rectangular planter with the rosemary and chives.
  • Moved the roses and the calibrochoa from the back porch to the front; moved two mint plants from the front to the back; moved basil and kalanchoe from indoor windowsill to back porch.
  • Planted a cutting of mint for a co-worker. (Growing new mint plants from old ones is incredibly easy: take a cutting, place the stem in water for several days, and it starts growing roots; then you can plant it in soil and it should be off and running.)

I’m trying not to overdo it, but it’s easy to keep saying “just one more thing” and before you know it it’s been three hours. If I ever got raised beds I’d probably never come inside, so I’m sticking with containers for now. At least this afternoon was somewhat overcast, and I remembered to take breaks to drink water.

Basil in round pot, nasturtium and basil in rectangular planter, strawberries in new strawberry jar

Basil in round pot, nasturtium and basil in rectangular planter, strawberries in new strawberry jar

Thyme in rectangular planter, strawberry, mint, and thyme in raised pots, basil on right

Thyme in rectangular planter, strawberry, mint, and thyme in raised pots, basil on right

Mint, kalanchoe, basil, thyme

Mint, kalanchoe, basil, thyme

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