Garden thread

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  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,969 Member
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    Oh, “The Explorer’s Garden” was one of the ones we read! It was fun. My goodness, it was amazing how quickly and passionately he dived into really hardcore gardening and plant expeditions.

    Have you read Margery Fish’s “We Made a Garden”? Her extremely unpleasant marriage dynamics aside, I find her intense observation of and personal attachment to her plants fascinating.

    I like Louise Beebe Wilder a lot too. She’s inspiring and kind of sad too, to read. She often refers to common gardening practices or plants of her time, and it’s startling to realize how extensive and common gardening was to Americans, 100 years ago. Her “Fragrant Gardens” is my inspiration for fragrant gardens of my own, hopefully following in the steps of countless Americans of other generations.

    Would you mind mentioning more authors that you like? My mom isn’t able to garden extensively anymore as my father progresses in Alzheimer’s and she really likes reading gardening books. She used to can extensively too, has a huge number of houseplants, and has always been an avid gardener and reader. I always like finding her more authors and books to read. She like nuts and bolts books as well as the more people oriented ones.

    I do like Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and am waiting on an order I placed from them. I haven’t heard of Timber Press, so thank you! I can’t wait to look them up.

    I personally like older gardening advice and books, because it’s tried and true. I do like new plants and approaches like Floret Farms, but appreciate thoroughly tested gardeners, as they have so many gems of knowledge.

    Honestly, it's rare for me to read "my life as a gardener" kinds of books. The Hinkley one was sort of an exception. I do see the appeal in theory, so that remark isn't any kind of criticism. Like I said, most of my gardening books are nuts and bolts, like Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs, the aforementioned Ferns for American Gardens (Mickel), and that sort of thing: Very oriented to specifics of plants and their culture. It's more topic-focused than author focused, generally.

    On the pleasure-reading front, I read a few vaguely literary mysteries, occasionally catch up on fiction (I'm probably somewhere in the 18th century, publication-date-wise), but mostly nonfiction. I like autobiographies of people very different from me, memoirs ditto, scientific books for non-specialists about neuroscience, . . . .

    It's only gardening-adjacent at best (and then only if you squint), but have you read Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, any of Rachel Carson's books, etc.?
  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,639 Member
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    @gracegettingittogether Here are a few recommendations.

    Garden books, just for the pleasure of reading:

    - Anything by Beverley Nichols, a hilarious and snarky, Oxford-educated, literary Brit who was writing in the '60s; Timber Press had reissued some of his books but it looks like they are currently out of print but available used or maybe at your library; I threw a used copy of his bio in my cart.
    - Anything by Henry Mitchell (former Wash Post garden columnist, highly regarded by Allen Lacy)
    - Michael Pollan (Botany of Desire, Second Nature are more on the plant side)
    - Thomas Christopher, In Search of Lost Roses
    - Jamaica Kincaid, My Garden [Book]; and I just threw Among Flowers (she travels to Nepal with Dan Hinckley) in my Amazon cart; she is a beautifully literary Caribbean author + Harvard professor
    - Search under "modern library gardening" on Amazon and it will bring up a series of re-issued gardening classics, such as the M. Fish book.
    - Cassandra Danz/Mrs. Greenthumbs: She is absolutely hysterical; both books available cheaply used.


    Farmers I am currently following:

    Permaculture/Veg:

    Jean-Martin Fortier: https://www.themarketgardener.com/
    You Can't Eat the Grass: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuTlZUnykBqH1uwkZocGmzw (they crack me up)

    Flowers:

    Floret: https://www.floretflowers.com/
    Love 'n Fresh Flowers: https://lovenfreshflowers.com/
    The Flower Podcast: https://www.theflowerpodcast.com/
    The Gardeners Workshop: https://www.thegardenersworkshop.com/online-courses/ (Lisa Mason Zeigler has paid courses, and also a ton of free excellent content on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/wwwshoptgwcom/featured)

    I've also watched quite a few videos of Flower Hill Farm, North Lawn Flower Farm, Garden Answer, Fresh Cut KY, and a few others but haven't found them to be as helpful.

    Also, for houseplants, Nick Pileggi: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcTxBKjsb-RAM-p4Hk6P48A

    Hopefully this gives you a few new things to take a look at!



  • carakirkey
    carakirkey Posts: 199 Member
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    Thank you both, it’s very helpful. I’ve been meaning to try this method for a year. I stumbled upon this method of starting seeds last year right after it was time to start them. I’ve gardened for years but focused on native perennials. They are great, but I’ve been lately starting to grow cottage garden flowers that need richer soil, as I’ve found that native flowers don’t tend to have the same lushness that I’m aiming for. I planted my first cutting flower garden last year but it was in the wrong spot and didn’t get enough sun, which I couldn’t tell in the spring. I also realized that if I want to grow the cooler weather annuals, I have to start earlier as we go quickly into high heat and humidity here. I don’t really have a good indoor set up to start seeds, especially as our cats eat all inside plants. I had kind of given up on starting seeds early until I found this method, recommended by the Impatient Gardener blog.

    I’m also rethinking the larkspur as I keep reading in various places that they really do best direct seeded.

    I think this has been my approach too for flower gardens- primarily focus on native perennials but also wanting some abundant blooms. Larkspur I've heard that too, and added to my seed list for the spring. I also usually plant cosmos, calendula, and zinnia. This year will also try Liatris and scented stock

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,969 Member
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    Thank you both, it’s very helpful. I’ve been meaning to try this method for a year. I stumbled upon this method of starting seeds last year right after it was time to start them. I’ve gardened for years but focused on native perennials. They are great, but I’ve been lately starting to grow cottage garden flowers that need richer soil, as I’ve found that native flowers don’t tend to have the same lushness that I’m aiming for. I planted my first cutting flower garden last year but it was in the wrong spot and didn’t get enough sun, which I couldn’t tell in the spring. I also realized that if I want to grow the cooler weather annuals, I have to start earlier as we go quickly into high heat and humidity here. I don’t really have a good indoor set up to start seeds, especially as our cats eat all inside plants. I had kind of given up on starting seeds early until I found this method, recommended by the Impatient Gardener blog.

    I’m also rethinking the larkspur as I keep reading in various places that they really do best direct seeded.

    Which gardeners are you following? I found out about Floret Farms about 3 years ago and got her book on cutting gardens. I really like the Impatient Gardener, as well as Garden Answer and the Dave’s Garden site. My mom and I got on an old gardening books kick last spring and had a great time reading Thalassa Cruso, Allen Lacy, Monty Don and the author of Island Magic. I always like hearing of other gardeners to learn from!

    By the way, I don't know much about this for your warm-weather zone, but have you experimented with foliage colors as part of creating visual lushness? There are some really fun hardy perennial foliage plants in many colors, at least for my zone (USDA 5b, -5 to -10F). I tend to go for the (near-)black- and brown-leaved ones, as a lover of oddball plants, but I know there are ones with reds and yellows as well.
  • gracegettingittogether
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    @AnnPT77 No, I haven’t read those, thank for the recommendations! I’m always a little impressed by people who go straight for the facts, because I do like a little chat myself, thrown into the mix. I do mostly read books written before the 1920’s, as I find later books often to be so depressing and I already struggle with depression anyway.

    @French_Peasant Thank you so much for the book recommendations! There’s so many new ones! We do like Henry Mitchell, I have at least one of his, and Michael Pollen is excellent! My mom, in particular, loves him. I’m excited to read Cassandra Danz and Jamaica Kincaid. I had forgotten to look for more books by Henry Mitchell too. The Flower podcast sounds really cool too! So much to look forward to!

    @carakirkey Yes, they just aren’t very lush, are they? I still do have lots of them and want more, but I’m really enjoying branching out a bit.

    @AnnPT77 I know it’s very uncultured of me, but I’m just not very interested in foliage yet. I am a little, but not much. I’m going for the abundant cottage garden look, at least right now. My mom is very interested in foliage and tried to interest me in it, and she has a little but not much. I read somewhere, maybe by Allen Lacey, that newer gardeners tend to focus on flowers but the more experienced they get, they focus more and more on foliage. And I am more interested than I used to be, but I definitely have a long way to go!
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,885 Member
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    I'm loving this discussion and buying books. Last year I fully dedicated to veg farming in my backyard (plus herbs and some berries). I have my first houseplants now. I have some nice other plants based on what the prior owner planted plus grass, of course. I'm now interested in understanding how to pick what is planted and trying to do more decorative plants.
  • gracegettingittogether
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    @lemurcat2 Did you get a good crop last year? I’ve never been very good with vegetables, except for two years when the neighboring trees hadn’t yet grown and shaded our plot. Even in our new house, I have trouble with getting enough sun. What berries do you have? I would love to have a berry bush sometime.
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,885 Member
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    @lemurcat2 Did you get a good crop last year? I’ve never been very good with vegetables, except for two years when the neighboring trees hadn’t yet grown and shaded our plot. Even in our new house, I have trouble with getting enough sun. What berries do you have? I would love to have a berry bush sometime.

    The trees can be a problem. On my block there are some big trees, and my neighbors whose yards have them/are shaded by them, have lots more trouble growing things. I'm lucky that only a small part of my yard is shaded by my neighbor's tree. (Of course, the trees are pretty.)

    I have strawberries, but they haven't yet started producing a whole lot (I planted them 2 years ago), and the squirrels or rabbits (I think squirrels) always get to them before I get anything. I also have two blueberry bushes, which are more successful. I was thinking of adding a blackberry bush last year as someone was giving them away, and I have a spot where a boxwood used to be (it didn't manage to survive the crazy cold polar vortex a couple of years ago, although most of my boxwoods made it). Didn't get around to it, but might do it this year.

    For veg, I did cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, a few types of tomatoes, and a few types of hot peppers. I alternated them, as they like different weather. I also have a couple of carts with compartments which I use to grow herbs on my back porch (convenient to my kitchen).

    I so far kill flowers.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,969 Member
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    @AnnPT77No, I haven’t read those, thank for the recommendations! I’m always a little impressed by people who go straight for the facts, because I do like a little chat myself, thrown into the mix. I do mostly read books written before the 1920’s, as I find later books often to be so depressing and I already struggle with depression anyway.

    (snip remarks directed to others, to shorten reply)

    @AnnPT77 I know it’s very uncultured of me, but I’m just not very interested in foliage yet. I am a little, but not much. I’m going for the abundant cottage garden look, at least right now. My mom is very interested in foliage and tried to interest me in it, and she has a little but not much. I read somewhere, maybe by Allen Lacey, that newer gardeners tend to focus on flowers but the more experienced they get, they focus more and more on foliage. And I am more interested than I used to be, but I definitely have a long way to go!

    At the risk of veering off topic from the thread: There's nothing uncultured about being less interested in foliage, nor any particular reason to feel the nuts'n'bolts books are somehow more impressive to prefer. Individual tastes and preferences are just that, and diversity of tastes/preferences is what makes it fun to get to know other people, IMO.

    Some of my friends totally don't understand why I have little interest in creating a beautiful gardenscape, but rather just buy my weirdo plants and plunk them in anywhere I think they'll be happy, no matter the visual effect. I don't care what they think, frankly: I'm happy, and harming no one, so it's all good.

    Your preferences are an interesting aspect of *you*, and I think that's great, personally! 🙂
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 28,028 Member
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    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    @lemurcat2 Did you get a good crop last year? I’ve never been very good with vegetables, except for two years when the neighboring trees hadn’t yet grown and shaded our plot. Even in our new house, I have trouble with getting enough sun. What berries do you have? I would love to have a berry bush sometime.

    The trees can be a problem. On my block there are some big trees, and my neighbors whose yards have them/are shaded by them, have lots more trouble growing things. I'm lucky that only a small part of my yard is shaded by my neighbor's tree. (Of course, the trees are pretty.)

    I have strawberries, but they haven't yet started producing a whole lot (I planted them 2 years ago), and the squirrels or rabbits (I think squirrels) always get to them before I get anything. I also have two blueberry bushes, which are more successful. I was thinking of adding a blackberry bush last year as someone was giving them away, and I have a spot where a boxwood used to be (it didn't manage to survive the crazy cold polar vortex a couple of years ago, although most of my boxwoods made it). Didn't get around to it, but might do it this year.

    For veg, I did cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, a few types of tomatoes, and a few types of hot peppers. I alternated them, as they like different weather. I also have a couple of carts with compartments which I use to grow herbs on my back porch (convenient to my kitchen).

    I so far kill flowers.

    People give blackberry plants away because they spread aggressively :)

    They can be kept under control, but it will take effort, throughout the year, every year.

    I planted one at Mom's, oh, more than 20 years ago, but it didn't get enough sun. It lived but never grew or fruited. A few years ago we moved it to full sun and now we get lots and lots of blackberries. They are bounded by a driveway on two sides and don't really get enough water so that helps. (I don't recommend under-watering as this degrades quality of the fruit.)
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 28,028 Member
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    AnnPT77 wrote: »

    @AnnPT77No, I haven’t read those, thank for the recommendations! I’m always a little impressed by people who go straight for the facts, because I do like a little chat myself, thrown into the mix. I do mostly read books written before the 1920’s, as I find later books often to be so depressing and I already struggle with depression anyway.

    (snip remarks directed to others, to shorten reply)

    @AnnPT77 I know it’s very uncultured of me, but I’m just not very interested in foliage yet. I am a little, but not much. I’m going for the abundant cottage garden look, at least right now. My mom is very interested in foliage and tried to interest me in it, and she has a little but not much. I read somewhere, maybe by Allen Lacey, that newer gardeners tend to focus on flowers but the more experienced they get, they focus more and more on foliage. And I am more interested than I used to be, but I definitely have a long way to go!

    At the risk of veering off topic from the thread: There's nothing uncultured about being less interested in foliage, nor any particular reason to feel the nuts'n'bolts books are somehow more impressive to prefer. Individual tastes and preferences are just that, and diversity of tastes/preferences is what makes it fun to get to know other people, IMO.

    Some of my friends totally don't understand why I have little interest in creating a beautiful gardenscape, but rather just buy my weirdo plants and plunk them in anywhere I think they'll be happy, no matter the visual effect. I don't care what they think, frankly: I'm happy, and harming no one, so it's all good.

    Your preferences are an interesting aspect of *you*, and I think that's great, personally! 🙂

    Speaking of preferences, my OH and I have been walking our cat in the woods. The trash drove him crazy and he collected a big huge pile of it and had the city come collect it. My brain barely registered the trash - I've been walking there for years and always focused on keeping the green briar and multi-flora roses under control. I tell him that at least his project is done - mine never will be.
  • MsCzar
    MsCzar Posts: 1,053 Member
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    kshama2001 wrote: »

    People give blackberry plants away because they spread aggressively :)

    They can be kept under control, but it will take effort, throughout the year, every year.

    I had some wild raspberries volunteer where I'd taken out an old overgrown shrub. At first, I thought I'd remove them after one season. Three years on, the patch is producing 5 lbs. of berries every year. Not sure how to manage them, but loving the yearly bounty. :D

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,969 Member
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    FWIW, I found red raspberries pretty easy and generally trouble-free. I did have some Japanese Beetle issues at times when those were numerous around here, but they weren't ridiculously hard on the fruit. I don't know what variety they were as they were here when we bought the place, but they were one of the modern types that will bear twice per season (everbearing), once heavier and once lighter. You do need to prune them, and the bramble-y bits are pokey when you do; and how/when to prune differs depending on type. Other than the pruning, care was minimal.

    There was a patch maybe 6-8 feet long, 2-3 feet wide, that would produce a few pints. Yeah, that's not lots, but it seemed fine for fresh eating in a fairly small space, to me.

    I'm using past tense because they died rather quickly at one point. I'm extremely suspicious that neighbor Bob had some role in that.

    Stop reading now if not interested in anything but gardens, because after this I'm just being randomly chatty, and I can touch-type. 😉

    I doubt that Bob intentionally killed the raspberries, but he has a tendency to do well-meaning but poorly-informed or poorly-executed things. He intentionally took out his own bigger patch around the same time, so I'm thinking maybe overspray of an herbicide they were sensitive to, but it's a wild guess. This is the same guy who planted the 30' of rhubarb (in my vegetable garden area, after I told him he could use it thinking he meant to plant annual vegetables). He planned to plant even more to make rhubarb wine**, but I told him to stop planting it.

    His most recent escapade was cutting back to the ground an overgrown black pussywillow (Salix gracilistylus 'Melanostachys') that I'd planted intentionally some years back, but let run wild, I assume so it was easier for him to park one of his many trailers on the driveway in front of my pole barn (he has permission for the random parking stuff).

    You may wonder why I'm not telling him to back the heck off. Three reasons: He also does lots of very nice things for me, that I appreciate. He brings me vegetables & fruit, snow-blows my driveway, etc. Also, he's a nice old guy, widowed not long ago after dealing with his wife's ill health for some years, and he's a bit at loose ends now. Finally, it's kind of like having my own personal Green Acres bemusing character (or maybe a one-man Larry, Darryl and Darryl from Newhart?): Awkward, but oddly entertaining. (No, he's not sweet on me. Not even a little. Just generous with people.)

    ** He makes many sorts of fruit wine, and gives me that, too. It's . . . unique. Not in a bad way, really - maybe more like a reduced-alcohol liqueur subjectively, than a wine - very sweet, fruity tasting. A cordial, maybe?
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,969 Member
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    kshama2001 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »

    @AnnPT77No, I haven’t read those, thank for the recommendations! I’m always a little impressed by people who go straight for the facts, because I do like a little chat myself, thrown into the mix. I do mostly read books written before the 1920’s, as I find later books often to be so depressing and I already struggle with depression anyway.

    (snip remarks directed to others, to shorten reply)

    @AnnPT77 I know it’s very uncultured of me, but I’m just not very interested in foliage yet. I am a little, but not much. I’m going for the abundant cottage garden look, at least right now. My mom is very interested in foliage and tried to interest me in it, and she has a little but not much. I read somewhere, maybe by Allen Lacey, that newer gardeners tend to focus on flowers but the more experienced they get, they focus more and more on foliage. And I am more interested than I used to be, but I definitely have a long way to go!

    At the risk of veering off topic from the thread: There's nothing uncultured about being less interested in foliage, nor any particular reason to feel the nuts'n'bolts books are somehow more impressive to prefer. Individual tastes and preferences are just that, and diversity of tastes/preferences is what makes it fun to get to know other people, IMO.

    Some of my friends totally don't understand why I have little interest in creating a beautiful gardenscape, but rather just buy my weirdo plants and plunk them in anywhere I think they'll be happy, no matter the visual effect. I don't care what they think, frankly: I'm happy, and harming no one, so it's all good.

    Your preferences are an interesting aspect of *you*, and I think that's great, personally! 🙂

    Speaking of preferences, my OH and I have been walking our cat in the woods. The trash drove him crazy and he collected a big huge pile of it and had the city come collect it. My brain barely registered the trash - I've been walking there for years and always focused on keeping the green briar and multi-flora roses under control. I tell him that at least his project is done - mine never will be.

    I'm more along your lines, though our invasives differ. Garlic mustard (ugh!) and some of the non-native honeysuckles are a couple that are major right hereabouts.

    FWIW, I'll bet your husband's trash pick-up opportunities will be replenished some with time, too (darned humans! 😉) , but slower than the invasives.
  • rhauser44
    rhauser44 Posts: 43 Member
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    @gracegettingittogether, and anyone else interested in winter-sowing using milk jugs, here is a website that will walk you through doing it.

    http://www.wintersown.org/

    Try it out, you will be amazed at what you can grow using this method.
  • L1zardQueen
    L1zardQueen Posts: 8,753 Member
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    Yep, too many plants and not enough time. It’s an affliction. Lol
  • SuzanneC1l9zz
    SuzanneC1l9zz Posts: 454 Member
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    I have big plans for our yard, that I won't be able to do anything about unless someone hires me lol. There are a couple of prickly evergreen bushes flanking our gate. No idea what they are, but I hate them and want to take them out. I'll likely have hubby chainsaw them off level with the ground and put potted something or other on the stumps. Maybe a couple of the cheap and colourful flower baskets they sell outside the grocery store in the spring. Rip out the front lawn and replace it with wildflowers. There's a place a few hours south of us that sells various mixes suitable for our climate, categorised by condition - sunlight level, water level, hardiness to being walked on etc. Put ornamental grasses in the flower bed. Three containers - a Roma tomato, an eggplant and a zucchini. I have a white box that hubby drilled drainage holes in that's going to have a few bulbs of garlic and some herbs. Still working out which ones.

    There's a raspberry patch at the side of the house. My dogs decimated it a few years ago, but it's been rebounding nicely since we've been able to keep them out of it.

    I also want to put a raised vegetable bed in the back yard, or rather three cheater ones. I'm going to level the area... landscape fabric... gravel, then three livestock water tanks with drainage holes drilled in the bottom. More gravel in the bottom of the tanks, then the soil. Three because each one is only wide enough for 2-3 rows of vegetables. Still working on what I'm planting in there, but I have some ideas. And there's a rhubarb plant by our garage that I have to transplant, as soon as I figure out where-to. Neighbours keep complaining to the city for some reason and last year they made us cut it almost to the ground before it was even ripe to salvage some of it for the kitchen. I know they're pretty hardy, but I hope that wasn't too much for it.

    Stay tuned to find out how much of this I can actually afford to implement this year....
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 13,662 Member
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    The sun came out today, and it was over 50F. So I was able to have some fun in the garden!

    I set up a system to hold the raspberries upright; two T-posts with a heavy wire strung between them. I bundled up bunches of canes and tied them together up to the wire. These are the primacanes; they were last year's floracanes, and they gave lots of fruit later in the season last year. They should be abundant this year, and I'll start thinking about what to do with the next set of floracanes. My friend suggests keeping them from getting quite so tall.... we'll see. I didn't have any of last year's primacanes to prune out; last year was really their first year of production.

    I pruned the grape vine.

    I pruned the blueberries.

    I weeded a few of the garden beds, and I found a pea plant that survived the winter as well as some greens. I might put up a couple more small T-posts and make a place for peas to climb. I need to figure out where I'm going to plant tomatoes this year. I don't want to put them back where they were the last two years, and the next best place is full of little garlic plants. Maybe I won't have tomatoes this year..... Or maybe I'll expand into a new bed.

    I did mow a portion of the lawn yesterday so it was nice to sit out in the sun with a cocktail after I got done with my work and before the sun set.

    I am taking cuttings of a native plant that I planted as a six-inch tall seedling maybe 18 years ago because the neighbor is replacing a rotting fence, and the old one wasn't on the property line. He's taking all of my landscape plants that were along the fence, and I think he's going to cut them down. So sad. This particular one is known by several names including Osoberry. It's the first native "shrub" to bloom in the spring, and it's blooming now!
    6rf2l396b7dw.jpg


    Yesterday I dug up some of the smaller plants that I could salvage, but there weren't that many. Makes me sad. I tried so hard not to stress eat yesterday because of it.

    I also happened to notice a daffodil open in my yard today. I've seen a few around town lately. I also have Galanthus (snowdrop) blooming. I dug up a hellebore last year from another neighbor who has a bunch, and she didn't mind me taking a part of one clump. I've always sort of wanted one. I adopted a Corsican hellebore a few years ago, but that's different. Anyway, this is a plain white one, and it's been blooming for a couple weeks at least.
    uhizlwuqdspx.jpg

    It's still way too wet to do any digging, but weeding I could do. There's a mustard that's a weed around here, and I usually am too late getting to it, so when I touch it the "may pops" explode sending more seeds everywhere. I got after 'em today. I also pulled a bit of dead-nettle. I don't mind it so much; it shades the soil and prevents other weeds, and it's fairly innocuous. But it was interfering with some other plants, so away it went.

    The artichokes, for some reason, didn't die back to the ground this winter like they usually do. I did something different this year, so maybe it's related.

    How does YOUR garden grow?