Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Exotic Incognita

maryg driveway bed

From commentor Mary G:

This is the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink bed in my driveway. Got three batches of blooms from the snapdragons planted in November for the first time; I love gardening in Southern California. Something is always blooming, but I like May the best.

maryg purple incognita

Does anyone know what the plant with the dark purple/orange and red flower is in the closeups? My gardener got it from a garden club sale but didn’t get the name of it. I thought it was a big nothing-burger and was going to pull it up, but am I ever glad I didn’t.

maryg orange incognita

Here north of Boston, I have twenty-two mail order tomato plants from Southern California & Alabama waiting to be transplanted — not to mention the bare-root clearance Asian pear, lilacs, blueberry & forsythia bushes that I couldn’t resist — and there’s been a persistent cold drizzle for the last three days. And if there’s any part of gardening I enjoy less than horsing big sacks of potting mix, it’s horsing big cold slippery soggy sacks of potting mix… especially when it was in the low eighties (but hella humid) at the beginning of the week. May is not the best month for New England gardeners, it’s a godsdamned tease!

How are your gardens doing, this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Gearing Up

raven roses 17 may 13

Roses in Georgia, from commentor Raven.

I’m looking forward to thirty-eight heirloom tomato plants arriving from three different mail-order companies, anytime starting this Monday. If I tell you it took both me and the Spousal Unit over an hour to dig out, hook up, and field-test the various tangles of last year’s hoses and hose heads leading from the one working faucet on the north side of the house to the flower and vegetable boxes on the south side of the house, will that help you understand why I don’t start my own plants from seed?

Meanwhile, our lilacs are glorious this year, and the dianthus and heucheria plants I thought had died over the winter have finally popped up, reinforcing my conviction that (global warming or not) one should never dig up a ‘winter killed’ plant in New England before Memorial Day.

How are things in your gardens, this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Wonderful Moments

marvel Poppy

From faithful commentor Marvel:

I hope all’s well with you and yours, and that you’re finding time to sit and stare off at the far distance in your garden (WARNING: Do Not Attempt To Focus On ANYTHING In Your Garden. Yes, Yes, It ALL Needs Work, But Give Yourself A BREAK Every Now & Then – ‘K?).

A truthful representation of what’s up in my garden would convey simply a sweaty, groaning blur comprised of an uncountable repetitions of the age-old Bend And LIFT And Bend and STRETCH routine. Why does everything happen all at once in the Spring? Weeding unto death; rebuilding soil; transplanting seedlings; weeding the seedlings; weeding the weeds…it’s endless.

But there ARE wonderful moments. Here’s a snapshot of one such moment — a poppy that’d do Georgia O’Keefe proud.

marvel Lettuce-n-Peas

We’re all slipping into Giddy here in the Willamette Valley (OR) — a toasty heat wave (low 90s) is on the way, JUST in time for the annual Master Gardeners’ plant sale. All our clear beds are prepped and waiting for the few veggies we start with, um, starts. The little veggies already in the ground are doing well, including (1) young lettuce enjoying a day in the shade whilst their pea-buddies laze in the sun; and (2) garlic & shallots planted last year (above) and this year’s onions. (If I could have planted olive oil and a small saute pan next to them, I would’ve.)

marvel Garlic-n-Onion

What’s going on in your gardens this week?

Sunday Garden Chat: California Dreaming

scout211 rock rose
From commentor Scout211:

Here are 3 pics of parts of my garden. Pink Rock Rose bush in the front yard.

scout211 cactus flowers

Yellow cactus flowers in the back yard.

scout211 veggie starts

And then my vegetable garden with all the new beginnings of Spring.

All plants are in, all seeds are coming up and the blueberry bushes (in the wooden, high box on the left) are full of green berries.

I live in Calaveras County California, where we have recently had lots of hot (90’s) sun. So we have a good jump on the summer already.


Here in New England, the lilacs are blooming more-or-less on schedule (Lilac Sunday at the Arboretum is traditionally held on Mother’s Day) and my dwarf irises are opening to coordinate. With any luck, I’ll have a window to dig up one badly overgrown bed once the daffodils & irises are past it, and before my mail-order tomato plants arrive to suck up all my garden time & energy.

How are things going & growing in your gardens?

Sunday Garden Chat: Making A Start

making a start
Finally got to the garden center last weekend, so I’ve been transplanting pansies/violas, allysum, and a couple species geraniums into the raised beds and hanging planters. Found a Patriot blueberry bush (which may eventually be too tall for the raised bed), and a new creeping variety called Peach Sorbet as well. Not a very well-matched duo, but mine is a very cottage garden — which, before the marketers got their hands on the concept, meant “a riot of estate leftovers, transplants & give-aways crammed in any-which-way”.

This weekend’s specific project has been dragooning the Spousal Unit into helping me hack down the Little Barbie mini-rose climbers along the front line of the yard, which have regularly overtopped their six-foot obelisks and stretched out to snag innocent passers-by. Now they’re poor little knee-high stubs of their former glory, and I’ve got a mild case of gardners’ remorse for fear they won’t rebound. Which would make the Spousal Unit happy (he’s not a fan), but even though they’re viciously thorned and practically scentless I love how they explode with popcorn-ball bunches of self-cleaning blossoms several times every summer, through rain or drought or the year the hardscapers hammered a granite-block edging within inches of their roots and then ran hot asphalt paving…

And Rocket the new cat has impinged on my gardening endeavors, again, by eating the fingertips off my favorite gardening gloves. We were warned he had a fondness for cloth-chewing, but I didn’t expect him to sneak downstairs and attack my dirt-encrusted, sweat-scented leather gauntlets, the evil meezer.

So… how are things looking in your gardens, right now?

little barbies