Pushing the Diary in May Anticipation – April 27, 2019
Moved the ferns and rosemarys outside for today’s diary exercise. They are not looking good even though in good light. I think they need the breezes and humidity. With the extensive rain we’ve had, they should get happier. They are close to the house to offer some protection should the temperatures drop below freezing. They have to have some freedom, risking some frost to get outside. The two little ones from last season are joined by a lush fern from the store!
The poppies and Dame’s Rocket wildflowers are the first out. Forsythias were dramatic this year. I’ve promised them a good trimming.
Getting a Good Diary Start May 1, 2019
Moved all of the plants outside. I discovered some little parasites on the decorative sweet potato. Scary diary notes from puny leaves — these little cuttings barely have any leaves to begin with. When the tiny webs showed up with residents too small to see easily, I knew we had a problem. First the cuttings went out overnight, then all of the plants. The cooler nights will help keep bug neighbors population down. I have more decorative sweet potatoes; Margarite chartreuse plants and a couple Blackie purple/red plants. I purchased them at Nixa Hardware along with a light green variegated small ivy-leaf sweet potato vine. I don’t want little parasite varmints getting into them!
May 4, 2019
Put the Margarite chartreuse sweet potato cuttings into dirt. They have good roots, but not much greenery yet. They will be fine! There is ONE purple Sweet Caroline cutting. The little ones that were in pots last year are looking better every day in the fresh air.
May 7, 2019
Despite being a week late, I planted seed! Tomato and Peppers — they may be more of a fall garden thing, but I love to sprout seeds. Basic flowers include zinnia, calendula in different varieties. No good marigold seeds at the store this year. I planted the seed saved from the mammoth marigolds in 2018, Brought the Black and Decker battery-operated hedge trimmer out of the basement. It works GREAT! LINK
May 8-9 Blackberry Winter!
We didn’t have a freeze! Could have, but avoided that. I put an old tablecloth on the porch rail to keep wind off of the plants and covered the entire collection with another cloth. They looked a little tough one morning. The exceptionally cold and abundant rain water in their trays may have been the reason. When I dumped the water out of their trays, everything perked up. Chose a white azalea for Mother’s Day. Maybe this one will survive.
Kept the little seed tubs inside. Don’t need the seed beds getting any colder. All of the rain would just wash seeds to one side.
Neighbors came to get some hay for their little goats.
May 10, 2019 Shopping Spree!
We have so much rain. The usual garden spots are too wet to work. The raised beds and containers will probably be our first source of gardening this year. A pickup load of extra dirt, mulch and peat, along with a few tomato and pepper plants is the base of our shopping spree. I chose some more red and white wax begonias. Last year’s are not bad, but we could use some new blood! The old ones aren’t as lush as I would like. The herbs were too tempting. We came home with Greek oregano, Lemon Thyme, Basil, Parsley and Lavender.
PIcking apple mint all along for cold tea. It is SO chilly that I am pouring the tea into a mug and heating it!
May 12, 2019
The seeds in the tubs are sprouting beautifully! Warmer and dark must have been the secret sauce! Still chilly with more hot mint tea!
We bought more seed for clover and buckwheat for the unused parts of the garden at Nixa Hardware. But today, I found some volunteers reseeded from last year already blooming.
May 13, 2019
The old, ugly push lawn mower is running! I’m easy to entertain. The difficult strip between the boxwood and a fence need the narrow mower. Mowing around the lily bed and the mint gives me control over how close the mower gets. I could hit some tight spots around the red rambling rose and the Dorothy Perkins Rose. A rescue cutting from a neighbor helps perpetuate this rose first developed in 1901!
The WORX battery operated weed eater/trimmer came out today to get some spots that I have never been happy with! Just as when we brought it home last fall, I am pleased with the light weight.
May 14, 2019
Put six Early Girl tomato plants into the older raised bed this afternoon. Still have some peppers and herbs. I bought my first lavender plant this year! Marvelous scent.
A grand trailer load of firewood unloaded ready to split and rick up for next year. We have a new appreciation for tree management to use fallen trees, dropped branches and twigs for some awesome heat in the winter. Using everything to waste as little as possible.
May 15, 2019
A neighbor brought three extra Early Girl plants, seeking some care. They were in those tiny planters from the garden center. Today, I transplanted them to 4 inch pots. May have to move them to larger pots if the garden doesn’t dry out tomorrow.
A garden group discussion recommended rooting the lower leaves and suckers that I removed from the plants. I now have 3 leaves in a bottle of water to see if they will root for me. I’ve been able to rescue the top of a broken plant before. Tomato slips may join the sweet potato slips in the basement window come winter.
May 20, 2019
We have had a few busy days! Bought a lot of dirt for the new raised bed. R has been doing more of that than I have. He did find some volunteers in the plots. The wheat volunteer from straw mulch has been re-planted in another bed. The potatoes look like they could use some produce wash for veggies or fruit.
I did replant some hostas. Breaking up two older containers, sent some to two newer containers while others went into a little raised bed, edged by stones. I thought there was one little weed in the bed. Just as the spade ‘struck’ I realized it was the surviving Bleeding Heart, coming in very late! Those poor little pieces were salvaged and seem to be doing okay in their nursery environment.
With a few dry days, he was able to get the tiller and tractor out and put them to work. He tilled 5 garden patches on Friday and Saturday — two for us and others for three neighbors.
While he tilled, I planted the new raised bed with tomatoes and peppers. Carrots, onions, spinach and lettuce were planted in between the plants for some intensive efforts. We have only talked about this in the past. A very heavy rain came as we finished which surely rearranged some of those little seeds.
We didn’t walk around the hay field yesterday or today. The mosquitoes and wet hay are more than we want to deal with. Ziva, the cat, stayed in the field on Saturday. She was caught out in the rain.
Today, we walked around the yard, looking for the multi-flora roses and poison ivy to spray with the vinegar/salt weed killer. We took the leftover egg water down to pour over the reeds. They need a boost this year.
In the fall of 2017, I scattered a large amount of wildflower seed on a steep bank near the highway. The road department mows this area every couple years. It is usually all poison ivy or honey suckle with some raggedy trees trying to grow. In the spring of 2018, nothing came up. This year, I hope the other flowers match the crop of daisies that have bloomed this week! There will be butterfly weed, black-eyed susans and Dame’s Rocket as well as daisies!
Can’t seem to stop putting more seeds into pots for later planting. I have some cucumber and coleus seed in little 4 inch pots. They probably could be put into the ground, but I want to know where they are for sure. One cat especially keeps digging in the raised bed where I put the lettuce and spinach seed. I think he has wrecked that project.
I love to save little trees or start new ones. Last year I thought I was wintering two tulip poplar babies. Both trees survived the winter, but neither is a tulip poplar! One was a box elder (weed) that I have to eliminate. The other is a much desired redbud! Our redbud tree is unusual with pink blooms on the knuckles and knees of the tree as well as the branches. Very few trees seem to do this. We have planted several little trees that came from this tree and they are beginning to get the extra blooms. Our tree is becoming quite popular for offspring!
May 27, 2019
Taking advantage of the non-rainy, but muggy weather to do more yard work. I didn’t do much heavy work, R. did plenty. He finished the DEEP trimming on a forsythia bush by the house. We’re going to have to decide how to let it grow in the future. It is lovely right outside the window, but blocks access to one of our rain barrels. The shrub literally fights us over the hydrant, sending out little shoots that must be cut off several times during the summer. Expect some discipline, little shrub friend. We’re pushing the time to get things cut back and have flowers next year.
The red rambling rose (don’t know the name) is blooming its brains out. I took cuttings from a family rose in JUNE several years ago. The cuttings were babied in buckets. More survived than I expected. This big one has been struggling, but gaining traction. This year it is fantastic. Plus, I thought I had abandoned a casualty in another spot too shady for them. Last year and this year, that rose is thriving too. I must defeat poison ivy and Virginia creeper to get at the rose. Then I will plant it in a happy place.
Over 10 years ago, someone came to my desk and handed over a dead lily, saying, “Maybe you can do something with this.” I put the husk in the ground and blessed it, but didn’t know what to expect. It survived and is a beautiful bright yellow Stargazer lily. After a few years ago, a second plant (a baby) came along. This season there is a third plant in the group. It is quite small to be blooming, but making a prime effort.