Feeling so blessed that I can retreat to the potager and gardens to find sanctuary, even though it requires boots and umbrella! The rains continue, as well as the depressing news, but the sweet birds are not letting that disrupt their songs, and the earth is warming up a bit so that plants are emerging to search for sunlight. There’s not much of that to be found, but regardless the plants are hopeful, and seemingly confident that there are better days to come. It was exciting to discover the rhubarb had pushed through the ground overnight. I’d just checked yesterday when I ventured out to see if the snow peas have emerged (they haven’t.) I’m trying to be more observant of small blessings, like the tinting in the rhubarb’s green leaves and the contrasting deep red stems. Isn’t it beautiful?
Nearby, there were several hollyhocks that have survived the winter. Often they rot with our excessive rains, or are eaten by possums, who love their fleshy roots. These were planted last spring from expensive seed and were supposed to be yellow, but long-time readers will recall the first to bloom was actually pink with a maroon eye. Ugh! I’m hoping that at least some of them will be yellow! But, I’m finding with all that’s going on in the world, I’m just happy to see flowers of ANY color! And have you ever really looked at the texture of a hollyhock leaf? Nubbly and veined with frilly edges, and such a pretty shade of green!
Despite my careful attempts to harvest the chamomile, apparently I did a poor job because there are hundreds (maybe thousands!) of chamomile seedlings appearing all along the north section of the potager’s west interior border. Chamomile is SUCH a good self-seeder! They are crowding out the overwintered spinach in the bed above, and you may have noticed them being pushed aside by the burly rhubarb in the first photo, and they are carpeting the entire path. I had intended to pot some of them for the annual herb symposium next month, but of course that has now been cancelled. So, I suppose it’s the compost bin for them, but I estimate it will take two days of concentrated work to get all the excess plants removed. At least it will be a fragrant task, as even though they are small they already have that distinctive chamomile scent.
Back on March 8, when I planted peas, etc. it was dry enough that the brown strawberry leaves were crispy, so using my hands, I crumbled the brown leaves to tiny bits and dropped them on the soil as mulch. My reward is a bed that looks much tidier, and is quickly filling with green leaves. These were just planted early last autumn with runners that were attempting to root in the path around a more established strawberry bed. At the time, there was still a productive “Sun Sugar” tomato at the top end of the bed, thus the empty space, but that will fill in quickly. When the rain stops, I’ll sprinkle a bit of compost around the plants for nourishment as they begin to bloom.
The fuzzy purple leaves of anise hyssop “Golden Jubilee” just beg to be touched, and require sniffing of resulting fragrant fingers. Isn’t it a miracle how those little purple leaves push through, and later become gorgeous golden foliage? And at every stage the luscious scent prevails. The chives are growing taller. There is green showing on the winter savory and mint plants, the daylilies are pushing through the soil, and the nigella are growing their feathery leaves (those will need thinning, too!) The caraway thyme is looking great, however the other thymes are still asleep (or worse!) No signs of dill or cilantro volunteers, but I bet it won’t be long.
This weekend the greenhouse will get a cleaning in preparation for moving the first flats (violas, pansies, perennials, and onions) from the basement, hopefully on Monday after this current cold front has passed. The temperatures look good for next week, but daily rain is in the forecast…again. Sure glad I ordered those waterproof shoes! As soon as the rain stops, the Plantskydd deer repellent will be sprayed on the berry bushes behind the potager. There were five deer having brunch three days ago, so an order was placed on-line and the box arrived yesterday. Plantskydd is the only repellent that has proved effective for me, and with the tulips emerging spraying NOW is critical if there is any hope for blooms!
Meanwhile, there are several indoor tasks that need to be done before good weather allows for “real” gardening. More about those later. I hope you are able to get out to discover what lovely miracles are happening in your gardens, large or small. May you all stay safe and healthy. And keep planting!