Friday, March 29, 2013

I'm Not Late!

I thought I was really behind on my spring garden.  This is mostly true, especially since there's a whole lotta bittercress out there getting ready to spit seeds everywhere.  The garden isn't prepped (except for my small patch of peas), onions and garlic aren't in yet, etc.  And I just started seeds on Monday. 

But, wait!  What's this in yesterday's Washington Post?

It's time to start tomato seeds this week.  And I did mine on Monday! (Ok, just four varieties I happen to already have; I'm still waiting for an order of more.)  One part of my garden is Not Late!

Afternoon update:
I even have tomato sprouts!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Exercising Restraint?

Friday afternoon I made a trip to a local garden center.  I had an expiring Groupon to use, and I planned to spend it on some seeds and bulbs.

I found some "usual" seeds, one I'd been looking for for a while (Malabar spinach), and some other new things to try:  coleus (pretty plants for cheap), celery (you can grow that?), cumin (why not?), and a seed potato.  I've toyed with the idea of potatoes for a while, now I'm finally giving it a try.
"new to me" seeds - and a potato
I also bought some bulbs/roots:  elephant ear, bleeding heart, rain lilies, and funky gladioli. 

I'm so excited about the elephant ear.  I've planted it in a big green pot (probably not big enough, but its the largest I have), and plan to use it to help "tropicalize" my back patio.  The bleeding hearts will go under the cherry/crape myrtle.  I've no plans yet for the other bulbs - they were true impulse purchases.

After picking out all my seeds and bulbs, I took a tour of the outdoor part of the garden center.  Not to buy, just to look.  I'm expecting another Groupon for this place to come out soon, and I figure if I identify what I need/want now, I'll know how many Groupons to buy.  I looked at blueberries to replace one that died a few years ago, dwarf cherries, because I really want one and I think I've even IDed where I can put it, and camellias. 

I need to pull out my one remaining nandina that grows by the front door, and want something all-season-pretty to replace it.  I've been a little obsessed with the idea that a camellia would look great in that spot, but I don't think it will thrive in my SE-facing front border.  So I just walk through the camellias and dream.

On the way out, I browsed the clearance shrubs.  Yep, there were a half dozen camellias there, for a bargain.  Also some cute mini-rhododendrons.  I have probably the only house in Virginia without azaleas (or azalea relatives).  Not for lack of trying, they just really don't like my yard.  But this one was $10.

"No!" I told myself.  "You do not have time to dig up a nandina and plant a camellia.  You also don't have any space for a rhododendron, no matter how small."  I have no free Saturdays until mid-May, so my limited garden time is already entirely spoken for with spring cleanup and garden-planting tasks.  Anything extra will languish in its cramped pot until summer, when it the weather will be too hot for transplanting.  I'll forget to water it, and it will die.

So I walked away.  I exercised amazing willpower an restraint, and went home with just my seeds and bulbs. 

I was regretting my decision even as I drove out of the parking lot.  So the next day I went back.

So much for restraint.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Snow and Seeds

I'd intended to post colorful photos of my rather stunning daffodil display.  I declared yesterday "peak" bloom for the side yard - a sea of yellow and green.  But I didn't get around to taking photos.

Then this morning I woke up to a monochromatic landscape:

The upper garden, pre-dawn today
Yes, that's more snow than all the other non-snow events this past winter, combined.  In the last week of March.  Over in the side yard (I couldn't bear to take a photo), the daffs lay prostrate under the slushy snow.  The snow had (mostly) melted by this afternoon, but the daffs still hung their heads.  Well, at least I got to enjoy them yesterday while I was out weeding the front parking strip.

Tonight I finally got around to seed-starting.  Yes, I'm ridiculously late this year.  Five varieties of peppers, three of tomatoes (There will be more, but I, um, don't have them yet.  They may have ben ordered a bit late.), assorted herbs, huckleberries, four kinds of zinnias, and some coleus.

I used up all my remaining Pro-mix, and had to try something else (Hoffman's, maybe, I don't remember now what the bag said), because my usual Pro-mix source (Bill's True-Value) doesn't carry it anymore.  Any NoVA-ites know where I can get my hands on more?

Plenty more to sow another day.

Coming up soon(ish):  a tale of my attempt to exercise willpower at the garden center

Friday, March 15, 2013

March 2013 Blooms

Is it really mid-March already?  I feel so far behind.  I haven't started seeds yet (except the peas); I haven't prepped the veggie garden (except to plant the peas); I've barely begun to cut down everything from last year.

Fortunately, my yard is a bit slower than last year to wake up, too.  The crocus are mostly done, except this little patch shaded by a euphorbia.

not yet fully awake this morning - must be the shade
 The rest of the crocus have given way to the daffodils:

The large patches of daffs I showed off this time last year are still just starting to come into bloom. 

The trailing Euphorbia myrsinites is just thinking it might be springtime:

In the front parking strip the crocus are finishing, the daffs are still budding, one anemone is opening, there are some random flowers on the moss phlox, and this:

Of the 10 or so squill bulbs I planted two falls ago, only one remains.  But it is a cute one.

Over on the north side is the periwinkle. So much periwinkle.  I planted it in two spots in my yard, before I knew better.  A few years ago, I successfully dug out one 5x5 patch (formed from just three original plants) to plant strawberries.  But this patch I haven't dealt with yet.  It has smothered a mini azalea, invaded my window well, and started to grow up the house.  But it still makes me smile when covered in flowers: 

One tree is in bloom, too.  My maple tree doesn't have showy, or even pretty, flowers, but they are there.

This time last year the plum tree was in full bloom; nothing yet this year.  I haven't been keeping records long enough to know if my yard is "late" this year, I do know it was earlier than normal last year.

I hope you'll visit May Dreams Gardens to see more March blooms. If you found me from there, welcome!  And thanks for visiting.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's a Tie!

In the annual battle between yellow and white, this year was a tie.  These daffodils didn't just pick any day to simultaneously bloom, either:  they opened during Snowquester (hence renamed Slushquester), the storm that wasn't.  Or at least wasn't here.  I know other parts of the state got plenty of white stuff.

Here are the winners, a bit droopy under the slush/snow/ice/whatever was coming down when I went out to check them.

Here's my front yard yesterday morning when it was actually snowing:
Look:  snow!
What's covering the ground?  Slush with a light snow frosting
Yesterday afternoon brought rain, which washed all the snow/slush away.  I'd hoped to do some urban skiing, but it was not to be.  I went kayaking instead.

Back to the garden, here are the daffs today, looking a bit more cheerful about blooming:

In other news: my peas have sprouted, but the ground is a bit too wet to do anything about planting them just yet.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Take THAT, Buddleia!

Perhaps I should have spent some time in the garden last month.  Or over the last three months.  Garden cleanup tasks should probably start in February, but it is cold then.  I spent the last weekend of February skiing, not gardening.

As a result, my buddleia already looks like this:

Eight feet tall and leafing out

Not just leaf buds, but leaves!
 Rather, it looked like that until I dug out my loppers.  Now it looks like this:

2 feet tall and stumpy - but with a few leaves
Sorry for your wasted leaf-making effort, buddleia.  Maybe next year you'll hold off until March, OK?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Signs of Meteorological Spring

Happy (Meteorological) Spring!

I've been mostly ignoring the yard and all things gardening-related all winter, so not it is time to come out of hibernation. Like these spring bulbs:

Purple/white crocus in the front parking strip
One of the few times in the year when my "neglected bed" is showy
Not just yet, daffs, but soon!
Tulips aren't reliably perennial here. But if these purple triumph-types bloom again, it will be year #4.

Tulip sprouts
I left some lettuce unprotected in the garden over the winter.  Looks a bit frosty, but growing!

'Tennis ball' lettuce
The tall sedum knows it is March.

This volunteer euphorbia is mostly a goner after the winter, but it made some vibrant red stems!

The butterfly bush is leafing out already.  Time to dig out those loppers!

If it starts out 8ft tall, how high will it get?

Inside, I celebrated the first day of March in my usual way, by sprouting peas.  I don't have any new seeds this year, so I'm testing out packets from 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2012.