The indefatigable, optimistic Ema Ema:
Inspired by JeffG166 I went to check out the bloom situation in my “garden.” Happy to report, the blooms are coming.
(cellphone pics; Gracie Mansion park and Central Park, near Columbus Circle)
I knew it had been getting warmer around here sooner every year, but it wasn’t till I saw the latest NOAA map that I realized the ‘expected last frost date’ in eastern Massachusetts has moved from ‘around Memorial Day’ to ‘the second half of April’ over the last thirty years!
What’s going on in your garden (planning / prep / memories), this week?
First crocus, always special. Thanks Ema!
I raked the leaves off the daffodils peeping up from the soil around the perimeter of my yard this week, but it’s still a couple of weeks until the north side of the yard has blooms. On the south side I may see some later this week. And yesterday I got my first plant delivery DAYS later than I should have (thanks FedEx ?) and a huge box that I though was something else. Heavy as all get out, I wrestled it inside the house and then realized it was my bale of Promix potting mix. Now I have to wrestle it back outside.
The crocuses in Hudson’s yard are up! And the first daffodils bloomed this weekend. Gorgeous weather and I should do some weeding and yard tidy but instead I take pics of the flowers and sit in the sun :)
What kind of tree is that in the second photo?
@satby: Good luck wrangling the potting mix outdoors!
I have managed to start TWO new rosemary plants, from cuttings from my old plant! Rosemary can be so finicky it seems, so this feels like a miracle.
I haven’t planted anything yet but I might bring the window boxes indoors to plant some stuff. (Yeah, I’m very sophisticated: “some stuff” is about as fancy as I get.) My back porch faces north, so I have to select seeds for shady areas.
I’d like to suggest a post: “what is THIS?” Because I have a plant, it has bloomed through the winter, shows no signs of stopping. Years ago, I rescued it and it limped along for more than a decade, then I watered it four years ago with rinse water from farm share produce, and it EXPLODED. But I have no clue what it is. But I bet there are Juicers who are way more knowledgeable who could tell me, and I’m wondering if I”m the only one who has that kind of knowledge gap. And it’s maybe a winter post, rather than a summer-gardens-about-to-start post.
Send me a photo (or photos), and I’ll do you a post!
In fact, this is the perfect time of year for a What *Is* This? post — probably more than a few of us looking askance at something we don’t recognize bursting out of the thawing ground…
Forsythia are in full bloom in the central Virginia town near me. Local garden guru Andre Viette told his radio audience that this is the time to prune “Knockout” roses, so later this week I think I’ll be pruning seven of them- a third of the stems all the way to the base, the rest to 3 feet or so. I wouldn’t have one of those thorny-ass plants myself, but they are somebody else’s.
@narya: Congratulation on the rosemary success! I’m just thrilled if I nurse mine thru a winter indoors, which I have done again. Yay me!
@Anne Laurie: Oh, thank you! I will do that! I love that dumb plant–it was a spindly, straggly-ass mess, limping along, and some better dirt and water made it SING.
@MagdaInBlack: I hear you! My old plant is in a pot that is way too small, but I have never successfully transplanted a rosemary. I planted the new ones in HUGE pots, so they can grow to their hearts’ content. I did keep one for ten years at one point, but then it finally kicked.
After a warm snap—60s and sunny—it’s back to seasonal weather here in NE Illinois, namely rainy grey 40s. Daffodils are up an inch or two, crocus sprouts have been spotted, and the Pink Fizz hellebore is sporting many buds under the leaf cover. We have a short warmup on the way, but then it’s back to cloudy 40s.
The bad thing about the warm weather bursts this time of year is that the bees revive, but there’s nothing for them to gather. My pussy willows have catkins, but they won’t bloom for a few weeks.
@narya: Maybe it’s a Mysteria. That’s what I call plants I can’t identify.
@MagdaInBlack: My experience in MEM is that rosemary quickly takes over wherever it is planted and is pretty much indestructible.
@eclare: ? Thanks, decided to drag it outside right after I wrote that, because I also had to open the box with the bare root roses that came late and get them into a bucket of water to soak. I’ve already emailed the grower multiple times about the three missed delivery days, so if I have to ask for a refund when they don’t grow they’ll be alerted well in advance.
@satby: Three missed deliveries? Wow. How frustrating. I know during the Christmas season some of the FedEx sort facilities had extreme labor shortages, I don’t know if that has been fixed.
@eclare: I’ve never (since moving to the suburbs) had a place to actually put it in the ground. When I did own actual dirt, I had success with lavender outside, but never planted rosemary. (no idea why not) This one is pretty happy in a big clay pot and even gives me flowers. It seems to prefer water, sun and benign neglect.
@MagdaInBlack: Water, sun, and benign neglect, my kind of plant! I may wander over to the orange apron place this week to get some plants for my porch planter.
I’m thinking instead of flowers, grape or cherry tomatoes and basil, my favorite herb.
Sammich in a box!
@eclare: Yeah, they still do. You can tell if when you’re tracking a shipment that it seems to circle around in an area for a few days; this one wandered around s. suburban Chicago for a few days before bypassing S.Bend entirely and going to Michigan. When that happens they’re basically playing hot potato with the package because they got so much bad press about packages sitting in holding areas at distribution centers long periods.
@satby: Not a surprise.
@eclare: If you’re looking for a good porch planter tomato, look for any of these varieties bread for hanging baskets.
@satby: Oh wow! Thanks! My porch planter sits on a wall, but hanging baskets make much more sense. And so pretty!
O. Felix Culpa
Question for the plant-knowledgeable in our midst: I started four different types of tomatoes from seed this year. They’re all growing nicely, but the leaves of one strain (Siletz) are getting purplish and curling up. None of the other tomato types are doing that. This purple-leaf-curling thing happened to some heirloom eggplant seedlings I grew last year, a number of which died before I could get them in the ground. Any idea what’s going on and what should be done about it?
I isolated the Siletz from the other tomato seedlings just in case the purple-leaf-curling thing is “catching.” Thanks for any info you might have!
@satby: Wow. I have a couple of hooks in full sun. One plant per basket?
@O. Felix Culpa: Google suggests it is phosphorus deficiency, add bone meal?
O. Felix Culpa
@MagdaInBlack: I’ll give it a try, thanks! I fertilize them with a light solution weekly, but I’ll add bone meal to their diet.
Good Morning, Everyone???
O. Felix Culpa
@rikyrah: Good morning!
@O. Felix Culpa:
@Kristine: I would say yes, tomatoes are heavy feeders and spread a lot. Plant it in the middle with a potting mix that retains moisture and let it go. (Not an endorsement of Miracle Grow per se, just an example.)
@O. Felix Culpa: Good luck, because that’s as good a guess as I could make too. I always assumed wilt or something. Good to keep the apart from the others just in case.
@satby: Thanks! My first try at growing tomatoes! My porch has hooks and is on the west. One of the few places in my yard that gets full sun.
@rikyrah: @Baud: ? howdy
@eclare: Good luck to you too! I’m also trying a porch variety this year. My entire porch doesn’t get full sun, but the sw corner does, so that’s where my experiment is going.
@MagdaInBlack: Ok, you made me look! Well done you ?
#1 reason is potassium deficiency. There could be others.
I was out in the front garden yesterday weeding all the containers (I have a gravel garden so containers are all I can do). I was delighted to discover that lots of the things I planted last year have overwintered (dianthus, gazania, daylilies). I started planting up my new planters that are by the front door (will send photos when I am done), but my body started yelling at me by about 5pm and I had to give up so I am going back out there today to finish them all up. Got a deal on 72 posti-plugs which are basically well rooted seedlings in tiny cells that can be delivered through regular post which will go into the planters, foxglove, achillea, daisy, salvia, etc. Also dahlia tubers and allium bulbs. I hope they all survive, the planters should look spectacular come summer. Got some locally made trellises too so mammoth sweetpeas and climbing nasturtian seeds going by them. My first daffodil is just about to bloom and my tulips have all got buds on them. (Again all in containers). I am just delighted that I feel well enough to get out there again and start getting dirt under my fingernails!
@Litlebritdifrnt: Sounds lovely. It should be a great place to rest and recuperate. All the best wishes!
O. Felix Culpa
@satby: Thanks for the link! I’ve got bone meal and epsom salts. Might try a bit of both on my ailing baby tomatoes.
O. Felix Culpa
@Litlebritdifrnt: I’m so glad you can get out and enjoy your nascent garden! Sending healing thoughts your way.
Snowdrops, crocuses, and some daffodils are blooming, but no forsythia yet. I wonder if that old wives’ tale about three frosts after the forsythia bloom is still true.
@O. Felix Culpa: Rock phosphate is good too. It’s slow release though. Shaking some up in water might make it more available to the plant, but that’s just a guess.
Andre Viette, the garden guru I was talking about, has a standard soil amendment recommendation for new perrenial plantings: rock phosphate, green sand,* and Plantone.
Viette has a pretty good base of knowledge. He grew up working at the nursery in Long Island that his father and uncle owned (heir father was a horticulturist who emigrated from Switzerland). Viette then studied for a degree in horticulture from Cornell before setting up a nursery operation in the Shenandoah Valley.
*Green sand comes from old marine mineral deposits and is said to have good slow-release plant nutrients. Like Plantone it’s produced by Espoma.
The windows are open, the sun is shining, Gordita is sprawled out in a patch of sun, and the robins are singing. This morning it feels like spring in the NW suburbs ?
O. Felix Culpa
@Geminid: Thanks for the suggestions! I’m out of green sand and Plantone, but will try them out if the solutions on hand don’t work.
Favorite spring song?
My daffodils started blooming about a week ago (zone 7, OK). This weekend I have been dividing my Happy Returns daylilies for the first time, I hope I didn’t kill any of them–they are all less than 6 inches tall right now. I also planted seeds for lettuce, radishes, spinach, and catnip outside, and I’m going to order my tomato plants from a local grower today for planting in mid-April. Usually our last frost is in April but I think we may have already passed that this year–it’s been crazy warm, but we also got a snow about 2 days after 80 degree weather, so fingers crossed…This is my first time to plant lettuce, etc., so I have no idea how or if they will grow for me.
During my vacation, when not stumbling through the mean streets of Naples searching for the perfect Milk of Magnesia Martini or other less than above reproach activities afoot in this self-satisfied, sunny, sandy, sinful, soulless city once the early bird hour arrives, I pedaled my old rusty Schwinn Varsity through the
tonier residential neighborhoodspalatial estates of the American oligarchical class.
I did so, not to admire the architecture of these monstrous MacMansions, that must have been designed by Peter Keating, but to enjoy the ubiquitous beautiful flowering gardens. They are extraordinary.
Of course, these impressive paeans to Eden are the result of the talent and very hard work of a virtual army of Latino men deployed “west of 41” to make it so.
As I wandered along on my bike, I wondered do these MAGA oligarchs, as they rail against immigration, ever look out the damn window to observe and appreciate who is actually doing the hard work in this country?
@O. Felix Culpa: I would guess a nutritional problem as well. Last year a friend of mine gave me a sungold tomato transplant that was every shade of yellow and purple, but as soon as I planted it outside, it started growing green leaves and ended up very productive.
Today got about two thirds of the winter compost pile move to the summer location. It needed to be turned. Not nearly as wet as it should be. Poured 6 gallons of rain water on what was moved to help it decompose faster.
Skookum in Oly
Last week we had the arborist out to cut the lowest layers of limbs off the two ginormous Douglas firs in the front shade garden – what a difference it makes for us and all the neighbors! They also ground out the stumps from a clump of ash trees that I had cut down over the last month. Now I’m ready to select and plant Japanese and vine maples beneath the first to create dappled shade. The hellebores in that garden have been looking gorgeous for weeks now, but are starting to fade – the yellow hellebore has been particularly showy, with large, upturned blossoms. The iris tenax, anemone, cyclamen, and ribes aureum are all awake and growing.
Yesterday, I dug up my ever-bearing strawberry patch and potted up 48 plants – I’m planning to build a strawberry tower. With so little space for food gardening, I have to go vertical where ever possible. The golden raspberries are waking up, and I feel like its time to get early spring greens seeds planted.
All the shrubs are waking up, magnolias are blooming (the handerkerchief variety, my fave), the big-leaf maples and the mahonia are just about to burst into bright yellow bloom, which means the Rufous humming birds are just about here. Of course, the Annas hummingbirds are here year-round, they and all the other birds are going crazy with activity and song, the squirrels all went scarce the other day (gone to nest?). For some reason, the varied thrush, who usually only descends from the forests for snowstorms, has decided to stick around this spring – their call is a lovely whistle, a long drawn out single note. They’re just a little bigger than the robins, and more boldly and brightly marked in dark brown and orange. The earthworms are very wiggly and fat.
Showers and clouds are forecast for the week, with no threat of frost and temps in the 50s, spiking up to 65 on Tuesday – great weather to play in the garden!
we’re going to weed the raised bed- and I’m going to cover it with brown paper to suppress weeds for a few weeks when we sojourn to Annie’s Annuals in Richmond CA. Their catalog is delightful yard porn! It’s going to be in the 80’s here this week after a soft day of gentle much needed rain. The orange tree is beginning to bud out so we are planning a backyard hang for a group of friends next Sunday and fire up the grills. I’m so starved for human social interaction – so long as they stay out my house! The scent of Orange Blossom should be at max smell and if that isn’t a reason to gather and glory in it, I’ll eat a bug.
Two and a half weeks ago I planted a packet of California poppy seeds just outside my caretaker cottage. This morning I examined the area from up close and saw some poppies coming up! They’re thin, wispy seedings with poppies’ characteristic sea-green color.
The driveway was reworked a month ago, and there is a lot of bare earth along it now. I scored some crimson and white clover seed from a local ag store and threw it down. That’s coming up too.
Crimson clover is a very pretty annual, and makes for a good cover crop.
Mrs Kelly plans big changes to our gardens this year. The 2020 Beachie Fire killed 18 large trees along our south property line which moved the deep shade line 50~150 feet. We finished cleanup October 2021. I stuck red flowering wild currant cuttings into the dirt on our now completely unshaded south river cliff. Looks like they’re all growing! Thrive on the shoulders of sunny gravel roads around here so they should be happy there.
Wild plums and white violets are blooming in the woods down by the river.
Hubby is retiring at the end of April and has committed to mowing himself this year and has bought a new electric battery powered lawnmower. Better him than me. I hate yard work and only work in the vegetable garden because of the payoff. And it’s only 3 by 6 feet.
Saw a male bluebird on our walk this morning here in NoVA. Gotta get the new bluebird houses up!