Sunday Garden Chat: The Merry Month of May

watergirl may 16 white bleeding hearts 20161

White bleeding heart

Commentor Watergirl, from the beginning of the month:

Took some garden photos this morning. Mostly wildflowers, but a couple of other things, too. Spring is early in central Illinois this year. I lost some of my favorites to voles this year, but what is coming up is very happy.

watergirl may 16 ferns not completely unfurled 20161

Ferns not completely unfurled

Seems like my ferns have gone from zero to 60 in a heartbeat this week. I named the photos so you can tell what they are.

watergirl may 16 blackberry ice heuchera 20161

Blackberry Ice heuchera

I love the improbable colors & shapes of heuchera (coral bell) leaves. Unfortunately, the Spousal Unit looks askance at what he considers ‘sickly’ colors, and the ones in our yard didn’t survive the record-breaking-horrible winter of 2015/16, so now he’s convinced they’re ‘unreliable’. (But then, the Spousal Unit has an inexplicable love for hostas, which I am convinced were invented for people who preferred plastic plants over real ones.)

Spent the last couple days unpacking & transplanting the first two dozen mail-order tomato plants (from three different companies), which involved far too much horsing-around-bags-of-potting-mixture for my aging joints. Still waiting for the big shipment from California… another many 15gallon rootpouches to shift, sigh…

What’s going on in your gardens this week?
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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Spring Greens

marvel may16 4Radish

These pics were taken at the end of April, by perennial garden-chat commentor / contributor Marvel:

We saw a fairly mild, drizzly week here in the Willamette Valley, but this weekend begins another warm (cresting in the low 80s) dry-ish week. We’ve got some pent-up gardening urges to work off, fersure, e.g., preparing Area 51 for its 200+ popcorn starts, setting up cages for the tomatoes I’ll get at the Master Gardener’s plant sale next Saturday, taking the row covers off the leafy green Spring crop of new lettuce & spinach.

A few of areas of the garden will have to go it alone, and they’re looking up to the task. The radishes [top photo] are doing well (we’re just plucking a few a day, washing & salting & gobbling them up) in their cozy Spring bed, along with the onions and a few extra lettuce plants.

marvel may 16 Kale

We pulled the old kale (eating the last still-sweet bits in a riotous colcannon last week) and the youngsters are settling in well.

marvel may 16 Peas

The string peas have finally figured out which way is up and are having a merry race to the sky.

marvel may 16 GarlicClover

And the crimson clover (a cover crop) is enjoying a lively competition with the flowering chives for this week’s Understated Beauty award.

Have a SWELL day!


Here in New England, we just had our first 80-degree day of the year, even though the Siberian irises are just beginning to bloom. All those tomato plants that I over-ordered back in March are due to start arriving this week… and the yard is so not prepared yet…

What’s going on in your gardens this week?

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Bob

imonlylurking bob may 16

From commentor ImOnlyLurking:

This is Bob. He was just outside rolling his chest fur in the dirt, because that’s how he rolls.

Bob is weird.

After precipitating for eight straight days to start the month (not even proper groundwater-rechanging rain, mostly nasty raw mizzle), the weather is now just about perfect here, sunny and in the high 60s with a mild breeze. So I’m finally getting a proper start on post-winter yard cleanup, and it’s actually kind of enjoyable. Although it would make me even happier if there were fewer godsdamned oak trees around — I knew this town was founded to take advantage of turning oaks & pigs into salt pork & tanned hides, but when we bought the house I hadn’t grokked how annoying it would be to deal with the oak pollen and drifts of acidic dead leaves every year. (They eventually got rid of the pigs, but we’re still dealing with the Superfund sites rooted in 375+ years of toxic chemical use.)

If you’ve got any good pet pictures, this would be a fine time to send me jpgs (click on my name in the right-hand column, or annelaurie at verizon dot net). It’s gonna be a long six months till the election and we’ll need all the mood-lifters we can get!


Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Retrospective

watergirl rain chain bed

From loyal commentor WaterGirl:

I always forget to send you my garden photos, so here are a few from last year. I would have sent you the photos I took yesterday, but they are refusing to sync with my computer at the moment.

This [top pic] will be my round bed in just 2-3 weeks. If you look closely, you can see my rain chain in action on the left.

watergirl ferns

My ferns will look like this in less than a month.

watergirl hideaway

Since the big tree fell on my house 3 years ago, the sun is so brutal on my deck and back yard that I can’t even sit out there anymore. So last summer I made this little area on the side of my house.

watergirl pink grass

And this is the “pink grass” that I got last spring. It didn’t do much of anything all summer, but it was my favorite thing last fall. It was so happy when everything else was starting to fade.

It’s been drizzling & raining & mizzling & raw for eight straight days here in the northeast — you’d think it was Seattle except right now it’s warmer in Seattle. Needless to say I haven’t done any (much needed) yard cleanup; to be positive, at least I’ll have the incentive to get out there once the skies dry out, which the weatherpersons promise will happen in the next day or so.

What’s going on in your garden (planning) this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: New England Spring

currants may 16 Pear Blossoms

From west-of-Boston gardener Currants:

It’s been chilly the last few mornings, but no frost (the bane of fruit blossoms) so far. Our pear, crab and viburnum came with the house — I have no idea what varieties they are (but the pears [photo at top], when we get them — roughly every other year — are delicious).

currants may 16 Crabapple
(Crab apple)

currants may 16 Viburnum(Viburnum)

I’ve been doing stuff in the dirt, but thought I’d send photos of what’s going on above ground. That said, what’s in the dirt is pretty exciting. I’ve put in some newcomers: asparagus and blueberries.
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Sunday Garden-ish Open Thread

I rarely participate in the Sunday garden discussions because my husband is the gardener in the family, and I don’t know doodly-squat about gardening. But here’s a picture of one of our tomato plants:

tomahto 2016

Like I said, I don’t know shit about plants, but those squiggly lines on the leaves look like trouble. I’m sure hubby is on it, though. We’ve already harvested and eaten quite a few string beans. Peppers of many varieties and eggplants are also under cultivation.

It’s sunny and in the 80s here today. There is more than a hint of summer in the air, which carries a different connotation in Florida than it does north of here, i.e., for us, it’s time to brace ourselves for the year’s most unpleasant season. Thank dog for A/C!

Despite the heat, we’re cooking out and hanging around in the shade while listening to the ballgame on the radio. What’s up in your neck o’ the woods?

Open thread!

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Rhododendron Days

marvel RhodieSky

From gifted gardener / photographer commentor Marvel:

The Willamette Valley has enjoyed a string of warm sunny days, so we all (and I do mean ALL) have spent the last several days working outdoors, giddy with Spring Fever.

Why is it that after only four gardening days I already feel a month behind?

Anyway, a friend suggested we start our days this week with seasonal Haiku posts.

Here’s today’s (and a photo of a monster-sized rhodie out front):

Dawning bright and cool
a fresh morning breeze unfurls
Spring’s crisp linen skies

Buds and blooms explode
playful color everywhere
Spring’s confetti bomb

Raindrop-beaded buds
warming in the morning sun
Peony burlesque.

There was a two-story rhododendron wrapping one corner of our house when we bought it twenty-something years ago, and it was doing very nicely until an ice-storm-intensive winter a few years ago. I personally suspect it’s never bounced back because the roto-rooter guy finally managed to kill off its infiltration into the main sewer outlet that runs next to it — we haven’t had an overflow problem in the downstairs half-bath since its near-demise. But the Spousal Unit blames our eldest dog Zevon, who loves to make shallow ‘nests’ under it during the hot weather, so S.U. spent a lot of time last fall putting down plastic netting to discourage digging and mulching the area deeply. No new buds yet, but I’m hoping for his sake the bush at least leafs out a little better once the weather warms up…

Also, I finally got my tomato orders done, and come mid-May I will be inundated with TOO MANY TOMATO PLANTS. There are never too many homegrown tomatoes, but I’ve only got a bathroom-sized patch of asphalt for the planters. And it was a pretty mild winter by New England standards, too!

What’s going on in your garden (planning) this week?