Sunday Garden Chat Open Thread: Blessing Upon OpieJeanne

Thank you, OpieJeanne, for sending extra photos with your last submission, because otherwise the rest of the Jackals would be *very* disappointed this morning!

Top pic: Large bee on a chive flower.

Baby artichoke

Chives in the onion bed

William’s Pride apple

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Not kidding, guys: “Too many” garden pics is as silly a concept as “too many” homegrown tomatoes. Send ’em to me, and I’ll find a way to use them!

Speaking of which… one thing about the persistent rainy weather, it’s been good for my tomato plants. With luck, it’ll stay dry for long enough this afternoon that I can get the tomato ladders out of storage and into the rootpouches…

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








Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Hugelkultur

From Balloon Juice rescue angel and general favorite Satby:

On a previous garden thread someone mentioned making a hugelkultur raised bed. The idea interested me, so I decided to try a small version of one in the front if my house where I had overgrown evergreens removed. It’s a mini-hugelkultur bed, because I don’t want a huge mound blocking the porch, but it’s doing the job so far.

Tree limbs and stick base of the bed.

The next layer of mulch, grass clippings, and leaves.

Following that a deep layer of garden soil, roughly about 200lbs and 10 cf. I probably should put more, but it was just enough to get the plants in the ground.

The anchor shrubs (2 vanilla strawberry hydrangeas and a Rose of Sharon in the middle).

Top picture is the finished bed without the top mulch of cedar chips. I finished off the bed with summer bulbs and Lewisia ground cover. The canna bulbs are in the buried peat pots so that I can find them to lift in the fall. There’s also dahlias in there, but those were too huge for the peat pots.

If it all grows I’ll send a follow-up later, hopefully with flowers 😆

[I put in the hugelkultur link; if anyone’s got other recommendations, leave a comment!]

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I’m sulking, just a bit. Last Monday, the one flower bed by the front door that I’ve rescued / revived this year looked amazing. Back in late April, after I removed two trashbins full of oak leaves and winter detritus, there were four gnarly, severely pruned rose stumps, and a few sad little clumps of green where the daffodils were dying and the daylilies & columbines were just re-emerging. I put down a giant bag of dehydrated manure and another of mulch, before shifting the old (not very) ornamental trellis/screen and putting in a prettier one. Then came half a dozen dianthus, some fancy old-fashioned violets, sweet peas, and some more columbines, plus sweet alyssum, blue-white-purple pansies, and dark-blue lobelia in the white planters along the front edge…

By the start of the week, the Zepherine Drouhan roses were lush and blooming pink, and the Don Juans dark red. The columbines (Nora Barlow, Songbird Blue Jay, Winkie blue) were blooming, the mini-roses in the big pots had reemerged, and cranesbill flowers in shades of magenta were nodding over rich mounds of crenelated leaves. The achemilla had grown from a fist-sized lump to a three-foot-tall near-shrub (completely hiding the sweet peas, but that’s gardening). The alpine strawberries in their big doorstep-side pot were blossoming, and because it’s been so damp this spring, even the pansies were still adding their color accents to the mix.

So I went to take some pictures… and, of course, the quick-pic idiot-proof camera had disappeared. Much later that night, the Spousal Unit unearthed the never-very-adequate second-best backup camera. The next day it rained heavily; the day after that was taken up by (another) health scare with the 17-year-old rescue dog; and the following two days were alternately cloudy and raining.

But Saturday was another lovely day! So I got out the camera… replaced the batteries, again… and took one fuzzy practice shot before it announced OUT OF MEMORY.

I decided I’d at least take some aide-memoir shots with my cellphone (we’ve never been able to transfer pics off my phone to my extremely homebrewed laptop, for reasons). Of course, two-thirds of the rose blooms had wilted, and the plants that really ‘popped’ in every shot I framed were the various weeds and woody invasives that had taken advantage of my inattention to re-emerge.

Good thing for the blog that I have you guys sending me pictures, because I think I’ve officially given up on visual documentation.








Sunday Morning Garden Chat: “Zen and the Art of Something or Other “

From the gifted, inimitable Ozark Hillbilly:

The so named by my wife ‘Zen Garden’ is finished. Well, for now anyway.

We had a pain in the ass postage stamp’s worth of lawn between the car port and the house that cried out for… Something. I knew back in 2017 when I dug up the old flagstone path and poured a sidewalk that… Something would happen there, I just didn’t know what. During the ’17-’18 winter I built the flower beds y’all saw last year but even then I knew that… Something more was called for. This past winter I bought a 50 gallon kidney shaped “pond”, just like I always knew I would.

For the first few months I just kind of moved it around to see where and how it worked best. I knew that by itself it was lacking and that… Something more would be needed. Obviously we would need a place to sit and a place to park our feet. We would also need to walk to the bench and past because our trash cans are on the far side of it. Also I would need to plant… Somethings or others. All of this required a lot of digging, including the removal of the top 4-6″ of “soil” (actually a concrete like accretion of clay, potosi dolomite, and chert).

Then I set the treated 4x4s for everything to be built on. Laying out the curves for the decking was mostly by trial and error. I could have planned it all ahead of time and worked out the math on paper but that would have made sense and required planning, which after 35 years of following blueprints to the fraction of an inch, I am averse to these days.

When all that was built I was finally able to plant some stuff behind the bench. I had originally planned on a Japanese maple but DUH! I can always use another redbud. The ground covers are a mix: Hosta, Deadnettle, Creeping phlox, wild violets, and a couple primrose. No doubt that will change.
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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Small Spring

From diligent Garden Queen commentor Marvel:

It’s starting to be that time again — fun & exciting, but it’s been tough getting used to having so little growing space.


My little raised-bedpocket garden is in and planted — just things I know we’ll gobble up (‘matas, beans, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower and kale).


I got ahold of some big commercial growers’ pots and have a dozen or so potatoes doing well in a small sunny side yard beside a young grafted pear tree (five kinds of pears).


There’s some garlic in troughs on a back deck and peppers in the greenhouse…and that’s pretty much it.


The yard landscape’s mature (plenty of rhodies & azaleas — things the deer don’t favor), but there are a few spots where I’ve planted (and will be planting) things that please me.

It’s funny: I don’t miss the old house all that much, but I think I miss every single thing I planted there over the years.

Have a SWELL spring — the BEST time of year!

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Have to admit, I would be jealous of Marvel’s organization skills, if I weren’t so in awe…

Today, Murphy willing, will be dedicated to transfering tomato plants into 15gal rootpouches. If you don’t hear from me again, it’ll be because I’m too tired & sore to lift my hands to the keyboard!

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








Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Purple Season

These are actually 2015 pics, but right now those lilacs are almost as gloriously profuse, and the irises which were sulking all through our very rainy March & April have all burst into bloom simultaneously. It makes the ugly reality that I’m gonna spend a lot of sweaty hours digging up & dividing those irises somewhat less daunting…

A month ago, the only color in our front yard was the defiant yellow of hardy daffodils and forsythia. Two months from now (Murphy the Trickster God willing) the color palette will have shifted again to shades of apricot, pink, and cream as the roses and daylilies come into bloom. My garden ‘planning’ mostly amounts to ‘oooh this is a pretty plant, let’s find a place to jam it in and see if it survives’, so it’s a nice surprise when the result actually seems… intentional!

I’m going to need all the inspiration I can get, because the first half-dozen mail-order tomatoes just arrived, and the other 16 are due on Monday or Tuesday. That means lugging home some three dozen 30qt sacks of potting mix (I can’t lift larger bags, and there’s no room to get a dumpload delivered) and a strenuous couple weeks’ worth of hauling rootpouches and tomato ladders into place. Here’s hoping the resulting crop is less discouraging than last year’s near-total failure.

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