Progress!

With the nine-day forecast indicating temps in the 50’sF and rain off and on, yesterday was perfect for moving the first plants from the greenhouse to the benches outside to begin hardening.  Unlike many folks who initially move plants outdoors on a sunny day to begin the hardening off process, I always choose a cloudy day.  It’s enough for those sheltered plants to accustom themselves to breeze and “real” light without having to deal with bright sun rays as well.  benchTwenty eight flats now fill the benches …896 plants.  I chose the perennials and low plants (feverfew, violas, onions, dwarf snaps, gaillardia, rudbeckia, blue salvia, hollyhocks, etc.) so if the wind does pick up, they won’t be whipped around.

Happily, that created space in the greenhouse, so more plants were moved from the basement (marigolds, more onions, cippollini) to refill it and now there’s room in the basement for more transplanting and seeding flats, which will be done when the rain begins and I can no longer work outdoors.  I’m too old to work in the rain anymore…

The Addition Garden has now been cleaned and tidied, as well as most of the Deck Garden.   The most apparent find in the process is that none of the snapdragons, gaillardia, blue salvia, or verbena bonariensis are alive.  I’ll have to dig out some saved verbena seed and get it going, and all those “extra” snapdragon and blue salvia seedlings that weren’t transplanted early on will now have to be potted.  I’m just glad I have them “in the wings.” There are a few rudbeckia that survived, but not as many as I’d like, as not as many seedlings growing on to replace them, so I’m hoping some will have self-seeded.  The low part of the Deck Garden is still too wet to get into, as is the Fairy Garden.  So, I moved to the potager’s interior borders.  This took longer than I expected because the timbers all along the entire south border had been pushed out. bad edge I really must do something about drainage, although I’m sure the freeze/thaw action also had something to do with it, especially since this side is the always the wettest.  Removing the timbers, digging out the “excess” soil and moving it higher up in the border took over an hour, but it certainly was worth it to get a tidy line again.  good edge (Sorry about taking the photo from one end, and then the second photo from the other…makes it confusing, doesn’t it?) There were lots of dandelions to dig out.  That is one of the problems with keeping the back lawn area around the potager “natural”.  Weeks often pass when we cannot get a mower back there due to soggy soil in the low areas, and it always seems to be just when the dandelions are beginning to “puff.”  I was surprised to see that many of them were already budded!

Sadly, the winter was extra hard, and no snapdragons, blue salvia, or feverfew have survived in the potager either.  This is the first time since the potager was created that at least some of them have not returned.  The borders certainly look empty, especially the south one, which only has a few daylilies, a small patch of lemon balm and chives so far.  In the west interior border I’m still waiting to see if the rhubarb survived.  The French tarragon definitely did not, nor any of the hollyhocks. nigella seedlings However, there are lots of nigella seedlings (above) and the true hyssop, anise hyssop and “Golden Jubilee” anise hyssop all show new growth. gold anise emerging  I love the distinctive colors of gold and purple in the tiny leaves of “Golden Jubilee” anise hyssop as they emerge from the old plants.  daylilies emerging  The daylilies throughout the potager’s borders seem okay but are only 1″ tall and none of the tulips planted there last fall have emerged in the south or west borders, however there are a few in the east border near the Lady Cottage, but that’s a tiny percentage of the number planted. chamomile seedlings with weeds There’s too much chamomile, which is a rampant self-seeder if not thoroughly harvested, so I’ll probably pot up some for the garden club plant sale.  This is just one of many patches, including the weeds, sticks and leaves that were removed after the photograph was taken.  Just wanted you to see how untidy it was!

It’s still early, and more things MIGHT pop up, and it’s probable that more self-seeded plants may appear, but I’ll think I’ll seed some extra calendula to help fill in the blank spaces…and extra vegetable plants can also be popped into the border if need be.  All in all, it’s been a pleasant couple of days tidying, and I’m thrilled to have been able to move plants outdoors.  Today it’s raining, so work in the Cutting and Fairy Gardens will be postponed.  Back to transplanting and seeding, and I think my muscles will rejoice at that!

 

About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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11 Responses to Progress!

  1. Progress is right! Impressive.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. bcparkison says:

    Oh goodness…I’m not sure I could keep up with all of that. My little plot is driving me crazy.the weeds just keep coming no matter how many time I pull up and dig out.

    Liked by 2 people

    • carolee says:

      Everything seems to be growing so slowly here….below normal temps (we’ve had half as many 60 degree days so far in 2019 as expected) and too few sunny days. But you’re right, the weeds don’t seem to mind!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So pleased to hear you can get outside at last! We had several sunny days last week and I was able to plant some hardy stuff out. Then this week we have had snow showers! I have a group coming to see the garden on Sunday so not happy to be back to cold and rain but at least most of the seedlings are still tucked up safe in the greenhouses! Hope you get sunshine and warmth soon.

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    • carolee says:

      I don’t envy your snow showers, or having a group coming to visit…my gardens certainly are not ready for visitors! We have lots of rain in our forecast, very little sunshine in our future. I helped my 93 yr. old mother plant her peas today, and there are some daffodil buds now, so spring is underway with or without sunshine!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very impressive. I have to work on my perennial gardens this year. All have to be dug up and some things moved as I do not have as much sun as when I first planted because trees have grown. Plants will be moved to other areas, given to friends and neighbors and maybe donated to garden club for sale. It is going to be quite a project, that I am dreading as well as looking forward to it.

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    • carolee says:

      That’s a hard job. I’m looking at some of my daylilies and thinking this is the year they should be divided…maybe I’ll get to it. I’ve lost so many perennials…heucheras, yarrows, perennial foxgloves, rudbeckias, even some shasta daisies! There will be lots of space for new plants, but I will fill it with annuals this year until the baby perennials I’m growing can use the space. Will you add some new things?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you again Carolee! You are such a wealth of information and I learn so much from you. You are like a little factory turning out new plants right and left.
    I covered my old snap dragon plants with hooped plastic over the winter and I think maybe one survived. Hopefully I’ll find more as it warms.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We’re still very green at starting seeds indoors, and I would have never thought that a cloudy day might be better for hardening off seedlings. Reading this also made me realize how much more I need to learn–I wasn’t even thinking about taking ours out yet until today when we had a rare 70°F day when we’ll be plunging back to 50 or less tomorrow. I’ve realized I need to do more reading up on hardening off!

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    • carolee says:

      No matter how experienced a gardener is, it seems there is always something more to learn…a new variety, a better technique, an innovative tool. pr dealing with changing weather. It’s part of the joy of the beast!

      Liked by 1 person

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