From commentor JAM:
Top pic: Most plant sellers will tell you that cats don’t really like catmint.
Below: Pictures of the tomatoes and peppers I planted on 4/27. That’s actually a few weeks later than usual because of the weird cold (and dry) spring we’ve had this year.
The other bed has lettuces and radishes now, and hopefully cucumbers, beans, melons and squash later this summer. My husband helped me salvage and downsize the remains of a neighbor’s gazebo tent that was destroyed by high winds a few years back. It already has handy hooks along the top for hanging mosquito netting that I will be using for trellis netting.
I’ve also included a picture of cornflowers in my cottage garden bed, along with just-emerging perennials, annual seedlings and a lot of weeds. This in in zone 7, near Tulsa OK.
When we bought this place, catmint flourished all over the long-neglected patches of dirt. As I started gradually cleaning out the beds and improving the soil, I was careful to leave some clumps flourishing every spring, because they were just about the first blooms and the local bumblebees appreciated them. Alas, now that much of our soil is ‘sweeter’ (not to mention the Spousal Unit’s encroaching vinca armadas), I don’t see many of those brave lavendar volunteers any more…
What’s going on in your garden(s), this week?
“Vinca armadas”. Ain’t that the truth. I used the cool moist April days to yank as much of it as I could from under our Dr. Van Fleet climber. Have had to follow up – a lot – but I seem to have turned the tide.
The plus is that the rose now has some room to breathe and looks much better. The downside is that we’ve lost the purple complement to the rose’s pink.
It will be a month before the nepeta in my yard looks like that. Minus the kitty, of course. My cats don’t like it much, alas.
I am going to divide it this year, Also some yarrow. Never divided anything. Wish me luck.
Obvious Russian Troll
The neighborhood cats lie in our catmint all the time.
I guess it depends on what you consider “liking” it.
@MazeDancer: It’s hard to kill nepeta or yarrow by dividing. And believe me, I’ve tried.
Our big news is the Orioles are back. For a week or 2 anyway. Then they’ll move down into the valleys and get on with the serious business of nesting. But for now, we get to enjoy their glorious plumage as they refuel at our hummingbird feeders.
We missed them last year as we must have been in the Black Hills when they came thru. “Missed” them, that’s putting it lightly. I had no idea how much until I saw the first one 4 days ago.
@Obvious Russian Troll: I made the mistake many years ago of planting catnip in an outdoor bed. That didn’t last very long, and the neighborhood cats were testy during their withdrawal.
Catmint, otoh, seems to get a much lighter reaction. Not to the point of destroying entire plants.
I think this feline version of “Find Mr. Frog” is too easy.
@MazeDancer: I need to divide mine, too. I read that you can just sort of slice down into it like cake, but I haven’t tried it yet. I have only been planting the offsets. (There are actually two kitties, Pierre and Enzo;)
@Spanky: I tried planting some catnip out back, but unfortunately the seedlings didn’t survive being discovered by those two. Now I’m trying to start some in pots to see if bigger plants can survive them.
@JAM: Your beds are so neat and organized JAM, I’m quite envious ?! Love the recycled gazebo idea.
I sprouted catnip seeds once. My cat Chip plotted for days. Found a chance to grab the swollen peat pot off the windowsill and take it to the chain link cat patio.
Rescue was pointless. Though I did laugh at the successful heist and his puzzlement that THIS was what all the fuss was about :)
Yesterday was our first sunny day in a while. I’m trying to focus on weed control, but it seems to be a losing battle.
And the “vinca armada” is definitely a problem in my yard.
Hubby’s garden yielded this bounty just now:
My own cats like mints of all kinds, but not cray-cray like The Nip. There’s also other plants they enjoy, like honeysuckle and valerian.
Vinca Armada–ahoy, argggh.
I had no experience with this aspect of vinca. Ten years ago, upon moving into the new (old) house we currently live in, saw a few scraggly bits of vinca. I brought in good soil and compost, little anticipating the results of encouragement.
I’ve decided to surrender. I’m moving a few plants because digging out the vinca around them is futile. I’m coming to terms with the fact that soon part of the yard will be a vinca bed. It’s easy and I do like easy gardening.
Happy Spring–and Mother’s Day to those who celebrate.
@Betty Cracker: Nice!
My tomato and eggplant starters from Burpee arrived Friday, have been hardening off on the porch for two days, and will be going into their special grow bags today. I think my previous pots have been adequate but not really big enough, so trying a deeper bag type I got on clearance this year. Only 6 plants total, we’ll see how it goes.
Dorothy A. Winsor
Flowers were out all over Holland and southern France. One of our best stops was at Keukenhof Gardens, which is very large park devoted to tulips. It’s open only 8 weeks a year during the season.
Betty Cracker and spousal tomatoes are in a league beyond my gardening skills. Farmers’ Markets will help me survive.
@Lapassionara: Are you ready for the 90+ degree assault coming this week? I’m not.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: Sounds like a wonderful experience!
I’m a vinca hater, so I guess it’s a blessing there’s none around my yard. My mid-season spring bulbs have started to bloom, finally (cold and damp, gray days really stretched out spring this year), the fruit trees are in bloom, and my shrubs are leafing out. I’m in that happy place where the weather is mild and enjoyable and gardening still is too. By August it will be miserably hot and humid and the garden will be on it’s own ?
Yesterday was a good day. My @WayofCats twitter feed was followed by… animal activist Liam Neeson! The real guy!
And, bonus, I’m a big fan :)
@OzarkHillbilly: We are getting 90+ degree weather starting tomorrow, too.
Why can’t we have spring for a little while???
Good Morning, Everyone???
@WereBear: That’s a big deal!
Oh yeah. I have spent untold hours trying to pull that horrible stuff. Plus its waxy leaves and infinite runners make it is amazingly hard to kill with herbicide.
@WaterGirl: Sure is. And I was quoted in the Reader’s Digest this same month.
That didn’t seem personal, though, she said with a twinkle.
@WaterGirl: Those Chinese have gone way too far with that whole global climate change hoax this time.
Hyacinths are done for the year, bluebells are peaking, and the awkwardly sited wisteria my landlords planted is just opening. Lola digs it.
@OzarkHillbilly: I really do wonder at people who so determinedly avoid reality.
But then I remember reading that DKos anti-vaxxer thread… and I know where they wind up. It’s terrible.
But it’s worse when they are seemingly unaware the world has other people in it.
@Nancy: All credit goes to hubby. I am just the cook!
Here in MD it kind of feels like Spring isn’t fully committed to the task. We’ve had some stretches of highs in the 70s, but the lows would be still in the 40s and then we’d get hit with some highs in the 40s and lows at or near freezing. Was a pretty mild winter (never got below 10) and I guess it evens out as bud break in the vineyard happened pretty much at the usual time. I was hoping for a little earlier or later as normal bloom and fruit set is last week in May/first week in June and this year we will finally be taking a COVID delayed European trip during that time. Bloom and fruit set is a really critical time and for a high quality crop you really need to be diligent with sprays and other anti-fungal measures. Hoping for a really nice dry spell and hoping that the vines (and our dog) aren’t too mad at us for abandoning them.
My mom from 1950 to the early 90s, when she moved to assisted living, raised many flowers and vegetables in her backyard in the middle of Tulsa
I’ve never been a gardener but her yard was just fantastic!
@OzarkHillbilly: seriously, when do we get spring?
@Betty Cracker: That’s a wonderful haul of tomatoes! We haven’t been able to produce them in such abundance since we left Southern California.
Gin & Tonic
Hasn’t risen even to 50 degrees here in New England the last couple of days, and gusty winds are making it feel even colder, so not really in a gardening mood. Although I bought an apricot tree last week , and am deciding where to put it. A late frost nipped it a bit, so the nursery sold it to me for half-price, but it’s starting to look better.
Garden looks nice now mainly because I tried something new to me and started some queen Ann’s lace and then planted the large number of seedlings all over to find out where they would grow. They are huge and filling in between all the other plants making the more colorful kinds of flowers look better. A kind of filler. Just large umbrels of white lacy flowers. Friday night I cut a lot of the leaners and mad a huge bouquet of just white lace and took it to my mother. I thought she would like it as filler as she gardens for cutting flowers but she refuses to put anything with it and says it’s perfect as it is. White Shasta daisys are also in bloom. Roses are mostly past first flush and rebuilding for next bloom but some still open. Purple majesty salvia, cleome seorita and blue lobelia are doing well. Rudibekia are about to start.
The problem is spring is very dry here and things are beginning to crisp in spite of watering. Summer rains should start soon hopefully. We are a lot further along than most of the country. Florida is starting summer. I have even had a rain lily bloom and a crinum.
The local master gardener sale is next weekend and I hope to snag some real prizes. They all contribute from their own yards and grow them bigger as a group for fundraising. Since they are all plant addicts, they end up offering some really rare stuff at bargain prices. I usually help my mother by digging out divisions from hers and propagating cuttings for her to donate. She loves being a master gardener.
I have plans to start rooting some cuttings this weekend. I have a mist area set up for propagation and most of my spring projects are planted out. I have room to start more stuff for summer. Salvias, phlox etc. I also want to start more zinnia seeds.
Work is very busy and intense right now so I need my stress relief.
Gin & Tonic
OT, but Jill Biden went to Ukraine today.
@Lapassionara: Mid February 2025, for about one and a half weeks.
@Betty Cracker: I have some serious tomato envy.
@Gin & Tonic: Wow.
@R-Jud: Nice to see you here!
@WereBear: What was the reader’s digest quote?
You have to share!
@JAM: Oh, I had missed gray kitty. Still envious of your cats liking the stuff.
And luck to you, too, on the dividing. Hope @Spanky is right and murder is impossible.
@Gin & Tonic: Here is video of Dr. FLOTUS meeting Ukraine’s First Lady. Very sweet moment:
Obvious Russian Troll
@Spanky: I shudder to think about what would happen if we planted catnip. My neighborhood has a huge number of outdoor cats.
They all like to hang out either in the catmint patch or on the front porch to say hello to my indoor cats and to watch for my neighbor (who puts out food for them).
@Gin & Tonic: A very special trip.
We had 48 hours of non-stop rains, gusty winds, sub-60 temps. Rain’s s’posed to stop soon. I am bummed as I had hoped to prepare some beds, plant flowers, maybe get some tomatoes in….
It’s tulip time here in west Michigan. Also time for the first mowing of the front lawn. I’m not looking forward to the hot weather later in the week, but today should be a good day to mow!
Dorothy A. Winsor
@MazeDancer: Didn’t Cole once post a video of one his cats rolling the stuff and then staggering away?
@Dorothy A. Winsor: Not sure. Cole has only had 2 blog cats, right? Tunch and Steve.
All my cats love catnip. But the fresh stuff, not so much. Even if I dry the fresh stuff, no interest.
We have a Wisteria in the back yard (yes it is too close to the house).
The last 2-3 years it was wiped out by frost just before it would bloom.. Bummer.
Well this year we dodged the bullet on April 27th (34 degrees) and now it is LOADED with blossoms… the bees are happy.
Otherwise my wife is working on rose beds and pots. She has over 100 rose bushes so there is always maintenance.
@WaterGirl: (Why can’t we have spring for a little while???)
Last week I defined the exceedingly brief Spring experienced here in the Twilight Hardy Zone as the period of time that elapses from the moment I slowly rise from my over-stuffed leather chair, shuffle across the hardwood floor to the thermostat, turn-off the furnace and turn-on the AC.
Still sitting in my over-stuffed leather chair listening to the furnace humming, but the forecast is for a high of 90 degrees on Tuesday. So, our aphoristic Spring will soon arrive in this wild, wondrous, wind-swept land near the intersection of dreams and nightmares.
I always thought it was named catmint because it smells like old cat pee and cat’s don’t like it.
@MazeDancer: I dug up a catmint to move it and discovered one side had lawn grass in it, so I chopped off that 2/3 of it and figured “oh well, I’ll try to plant the remainder and see what happens” . I don’t think it even wilted and is growing happily now, so don’t worry. I did it awhile ago and I am sure the moderate temperatures then helped a lot to move it along without heat stress while rebuilding it’s root system. Just monitor the moisture while it gets reestablished and it should be no problem.
@RA: No, cats do like it though the rumour where I grew up was that you planted it around your veg garden to keep the deer out. Continue reading once you’ve stopped laughing.
The trick with catmint is some varieties are aggressive self seeding, and some are sterile and much better behaved. Walkers Low is much better and rarely makes new seedlings.
@StringOnAStick: Thanks for tips. Will wait til end of week heat wave.
JR in WV
We have a ton of at least 4 or 5 different amphibians’ tadpoles in the tiny pond.
It rained so much day before yesterday that the pond overflow ran down the stone steps like a loonngg waterfall. Sedum in bloom, wild geraniums in bloom, ajuga in bloom, ferns coming up with vinca growing below the much taller autumn ferns, ostrich ferns up as giant fiddleheads, native hostas in full growth, will bloom much later.
White violets are doing well, plants I don’t know the names of are doing well too, white blooms along the ground beside the steps…
Ramps beginning to yellow and die back, they are spreading well and establishing thick beds all along the hillside where I planted some years ago.
Wife is doing well, recovering from her surgery, follow-up appointment with neurosurgeon Monday morning. I’m pretty pooped myself…
I’m finally feeling confident enough about the weather that I’m keeping all the plants outside, even overnight. I’ll plant out the warm weather plants this week.
Looks like my flowering perennials all survived the winter. They’re all up and growing now, and so is the bindweed. So much to do.
Catmint is one of the few plants I have put in that seems to thrive here, so far. Cat, however, is totally indifferent. Catnip will interest her a little, but not like any of her predecessors who went bananas for it.
I try to please her, but she is the archetype of finicky.
@kmax: Wisteria is a good thing that one week/year when it blooms, which is just amazing. I shall not address the other fifty-one.
@MazeDancer: The variety in the picture is Walker’s Low, which is a place in England and not a description of the plant. It rarely reseeds, it just expands.