Sunday Morning Garden Chat: “What Were We Thinking?!?”

Beloved gardening regular & photography whiz Marvel:

Here in the Willamette Valley, we’ve had a very wet, very cool (not in the good way) Spring. This week and next finally, FINALLY, are delivering warm sunny days. Suddenly, it’s OMG WE’LL NEVER CATCH UP time.

Lucky dogs that we are, with the possible exception of a newish (4-year-old?) tree peony [at top] that still takes a fair amount of coddling, the ornamental portion of the grounds hereabouts is well-established and, except for seemingly endless cycles (starting NOW) of beating down weeds & bugs, we’re free to enjoy the stunning color & grace of the perennials we haven’t yet killed. Out front, an agreeable assortment of rhodies & azaleas give eye-catching spots of color to even the most
mundane surroundings.

Out back, there also are pockets of Spring color that deliver the goods with little or no encouragemt from us, including a swath of iris (some of which are just lovely natturalized Japanese purples, the
others are a ‘gene farm’ from a friend’s garden — we grow cuttings from her favorites in case her long-listed house finally sells) andferns (etc.), tucked here & there.

Elsewhere, we’re breaking our butts to encourage another year’s supply of garden goodies, f’rinstance: today started out overcast so we decided to wrestle with Area 51, getting it ready for the 110+ corn starts that have been growing in the greenhouse these last few weeks. My partner roto-tilled while I watched & worried, then I worked a bunch of compost into the fluffy soil and set up irrigation. We
brought the lovelies out for their first taste of Oregon sunshine and called it a day.

Every year we remind ourselves that Panic & Desperation always overtake us at the beginning of our gardening season. We repeat our mantras (e.g., “It’s not an infinite number of weeds, just a whale of a lot…it’s not an infinite number of weeds….”) and try to remember that some people pay good money to get this much stretching & lifting exercise in…and we trust that in a month or two, all this work will slack off and we’ll start plucking sweet fresh fruit & veggies from the dirt out there.

Meanwhile, we’ve commenced our late afternoon practice: a lovely glass of wine with an ibuprofen chaser.


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Around our house, the vibrant unkillable purple species irises are called ‘Auburndales’, because that’s the town where I first dug up a no-longer-flowering overcrowded patch beside the house we were renting, and put the leftover rhizomes into a plastic planter that moved with us when we finally bought this place.

Since we’re very much hobby (lazy) gardeners, we spent Saturday at our favorite garden center, picking out annuals and replacement planters and a couple more bags of mulch. (Every weekend between now and August will involve at least one trip to purchase mulch or potting soil or both.) Today I’ll be transferring those annuals into the planters, and hopefully finding enough daylight to spread the new mulch before Monday’s predicted downpours…

What’s going on in your gardens this week?








Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Outdoor Accessorizing

Since I didn’t get any other garden pics this week… Adam requested a Garden Chat post about the Sean Spicer lawn ornament meme:

… Lisa Kadonaga, who teaches at the University of Victoria, told BuzzFeed News when she heard about the curious Spicer reports, she immediately thought about all the luscious pastures and hedges around her home city. “The thing about Victoria is we’re into gardening here and there are bushes all around,” she said. “I was looking around outside and thought hmmm.”

..and so Kadonada created this original Spicer cut-out from a Getty newswire image and stuck it among some bushes at a nearby bank.

“Now you too can have the White House press secretary in — or rather, ‘among’ — the bushes in your yard,” Kadonaga wrote in a Facebook post that’s since gone viral.

“And hey, if you’re concerned that when exposed to the outdoors, the image will run….no worries, that’s exactly what Sean Spicer does, so it’s totally authentic!” she added…


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Garden centers and flower markets (and public gardens, for that matter) are liable to be a little overwhelmed today, due to the holiday. Not that it would make much difference, here in New England, since we’re already getting what’s supposed to be up to two inches of rain from this unseasonal nor’easter…

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



Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Starting Over


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From beloved commentor Satby:

I thought I would share some “starting over” garden pictures. I’m trying to recreate an urban version of my former country garden, so no fruit trees, only blueberry bushes, but one of most of the other plantings I had.

First, a long shot of the garden beds left by the previous owner, now filled with the iris and daffodils I both moved and had gifted to me as a housewarming by the wonderful Watergirl.

The second picture is of one of the five tiny lilacs I planted. They should grow enough to start blooming in about three years.

The third pic is of one of the tiny arborday.org trees already growing like crazy. I block all of them with tubes or something so they don’t get mowed. In just a couple of years this will be my height.

Last, but not least: a picture of the hydroponic cloner I bought with some cuttings from my old shrubs. I was going to just buy replacements, but the Amber Jubilee ninebark is running about $55Â now, which was almost the same price as the cloner. So I staged a raid last night and got cuttings of it, my azelia, rhododendron, currant bush, hydrangea, and weigela. Japanese maple too. If only half of them root it pays for the cloner!

Bonus shot [at the top]: The last of the pretty pink daffodils Watergirl got me. What a great gift, and friend!

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The first half-dozen mail-order tomato plants arrived from the major retailer Thursday, just in time for a predicted week of cold drizzle. Also, I mostly ordered from this company to get one particular variety that wasn’t available from my first-choice suppliers… guess which plant didn’t get included?

(I sent them an email, and they swear they’ll send me the right plant next week. The Spousal Unit wants to try putting some rootpouches in “his” part of the yard, where I don’t think they’ll get enough sun, so the sent-in-error ‘prolific slicer’ gets to be the first sacrifice.)

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








Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Beginnings


From commentor Japa21:

I don’t have much that comes up this early in the NW suburbs of Chicago. I have never had much luck with bulbs but will have a lot later on with our pots and other plants. But this year, possibly due to the warmth and moisture, our lilacs are specially beautiful.

I adore lilacs — one reason I love living in New England is that lilacs flourish here. I think of them as the harbingers of “real” Spring; forsythia, daffodils, even cherry blossoms may show up just to get frost-bitten, but once the lilacs bloom, it’s safe to put away the snow shovels.
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Earlier this week, Schrodingers Cat left a comment on an open thread:

As a newbie gardener what equipment do I need. What is okay to buy used and what has to be new?

Any help is much appreciated.

Seems like a good time (here in the Northern hemisphere) to raise that question. What would you recommend for starting a garden?

What tools / tips do you wish you’d known about sooner?

My personal hobbyhorse is a pair of good gardening gloves. I like Bionic Gloves, which are spendy, but they’re the best I’ve found. They protect my hands beautifully, yet are so sensitive I don’t have to take them off even for transplanting delicate seedlings. But any gloves will serve, as long as they give you enough protection that you don’t develop blisters or scrapes, and fit well enough that your fingers don’t slip around while you’re using tools.

And I wish I’d known about hand knives sooner. I used a Korean hand plow for years, but since I discovered A.M. Leonard’s soil knife, I’ve never looked back. The company has a subsidiary website separate from their professional-horticulturalists-&-landscapers site; it may be significant that Gardener’s Edge lists their knife & pruner combo but not the knife by itself. (Again, it’s a pricy set, but IMO well worth every penny.)

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








Easter Sunday Morning Open Thread

(Vinny & Patsy, thank you commentor Ruth)

… And, now that we’ve all had a quick larf, some more garden shots from dedicated commentor Raven:

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Here north of Boston, the earliest of our daffodils got blasted by late March storms, but the white narcissi are starting to bloom. The Siberian iris leaves are greening up, and it looks like we’ll have at least some lilac blossoms in a couple of weeks. And it’s supposed to be almost 80 degrees today — time to get out and start cleaning up the winter detritus…

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



Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Athenian Spring

Dedicated commentor and all-around great guy, Raven:

Here’s a few shots I took last evening.

The boss is particularly please with her Spanish Bluebells.

The Cowboy is a screen door grate we bought in New Orleans years ago, when the deck came down we had to find another place for it so it’s on a rose trellis for now.

The “Raven” is a nice piece a friend made after the little fella died. I made a little memorial out of an old wheel barrow.

The dogwoods [top photo] are going nuts and the Japanese Maple is looking good.

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…. Aaaaaand it’s still ragged-end-of-dead-winter, here in New England. But if we get a few more sunny days, there’s lots of buds just poised to blossom. Some of the trees are already doing so, if my pollen-sensitive histamine system is any indicator…

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








Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Springtime in the Ozarks

The indefatigable and gifted Ozark Hillbilly, making those of us still in winter-blasted climes jealous:

These are the signs of an early Ozark spring:

Pic #1: Early maple seeds

Pic #2: an early Dogwood blossom.

Pic #3: Forsythia blossoms on the ground.


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