Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Chores and my new Garden Companion

Spring chores and delight are well underway here in southern Wisconsin. I'm very much on budget, and sticking to the plan I created this winter. So proud!

I dug out a new walkway bed on the more neglected side of our house, and have begun adding plants to it already. I have busily planted some new bareroot roses and some lily bulbs throughout the garden, including a few in the new bed. With some birthday money from my 30th birthday I was able to find 28 new lily bubs for $30, and also acquire some the roses at the top of my wishlist! I was going to settle on the closest nursery and get 5 roses for $100; instead. I got online and looked up all the nuseries in my area and found I could stretch my dollar a lot further at Jung in Madison. 7 of my top picks could be found for $100 total in Jung's bareroot room. I brought home:
Ramblin' Red
John Davis
William Baffin
Henry Kelsey
Carefree Wonder
Cinco de Mayo

Not to mentioned hard to find soybean seeds! I can't wait to have steamed edamame from my own garden this summer!

I have been dividing perennials such as 'karl forester feather reed grass, goldenrod, bellflower superba, 'appleblossom' yarrow, several asters, 'david' phlox, 'chocolate' joe pye weed, maiden pinks, 'sarosta' bellflower, 'blue eyed blonde' campanula, 'georgia peach' heuchera, 'guacamole' hosta, and more...

I was most excited to see all the hard work I did spreading columbine seedlings all around the yard has paid off, and I found 2 babies so far!

And, coreopsis 'Limerock Ruby,' and 'Tofee Twist' sedge both survived the winter in my one 4/5 garden, despite being rated for zone 6. Even my 'Nikko Blue' hydrangea survived with old wood, which means it should bloom for me. I was so pleased that planting these in microclimates worked!

This year, instead of putting all my seedlings on tables in every sunny window in the house, I decided to try one of these:

I found this "greenhouse" in our local Farm and Fleet this spring. I had it on our back deck for some time, and then moved it into the vegetable bed. First we put it down without all the added supports, the ropes and such; on a particularly warm afternoon I opened it up to air it out and a huge gust of wind blew the whole thing like a wind surfer's sail, spilling 1/2 of my seeds and tearing the plastic cover, bending & breaking the metal. I returned the pile pf pieces, and had to drive to Rockford to get a new one. With all the supports in place it's very sturdy, and I don't leave it open on windy days. The added warmth from it being directly on the ground seems to help considerably. Many seeds are germinating!
I have:
hollyhock creme de cassis & nigra
catmint blue wonder
painted daisies
lavender vera, munstead, lady
prunella freelander blue
black eyed susan vine
castor bean
3 different tomatos (including an heirloom mix)
basil (3 kinds)
green peppers
cucumber in pea pots
a mix of seeds I harvested at Cambria Pines Lodge last year
and more...

On the back deck I have 2 kinds of lettuce started. I don't protect these or anything. I find it to e a common misconception that we have to wait until after frost to plant everything. Peas, radishes, lettuce, spinach, and more can be started now. This picture is about 2 weeks old, and I'm likely to be able to make a salad with these guys soon. I shared a few seedling with pal in my town.

My roses get patchy areas of powdery mildew and some blackspot, and any mulch I use over winter is exposed to the spores of those diseases: I can't put any of this in the compost pile, so I burn it. I spent two tiring days making piles, filling 2 trash cans over and over, and dumping them on the burn pile. The fire went for 2 days, too. Exhausting. So good to see my roses again, though!

The goldfinches are getting their color back! I love spring!

Last spring I blogged about our new cat, Tabatha. I got her at local nursery, Northwind Perennial Farm. They have barn cats in abundance, roaming the grounds of their beautiful nursery, and this particular litter was "free to a good home." We tried to keep her an indoor cat, but she would slip beneath our feet despite our valient attempts to trap her in. We gave up about a month ago, and have invited her outside. She is not fixed, and more than likely expecting a litter of her own soon. :) But, I love having a garden companion!! I had no idea how much fun it would be to have a cat to follow me around, watch birds with, and lay in the leaf pile with. :) Bonus, she chases the squirels out of the birdfeeders, and not a single rabbit has nibbled at my tulips yet! Tabatha is a fierce garden protector.

Finally, this spring I finally got my hubby to build a simple shade pergola on the back deck. We have had a giant wisteria planted on the left of the steps for 3 years now, just begging for something horizontal to twine around and bloom on! I can't wait to see ol' Aunt Dee Wisteria in full bloom on this pergola!! Thanks, honey!

Hope all of your gardens are doing well. I have tons of perennials coming up, and some crocus blooming. I have some great pictures to share soon.
Happy gardening!

1 comment:

cindee said...

Congrats on the new pergola. I can't wait to see the wisteria blooming!!!(-: Mine didn't do to good this year for some reason. Now I am wondering if its because we didn't have much of a winter at all.
Your kitty looks very happy. My cats are outside cats too. I am allergic to them but I still enjoy seeing them around(-: They don't scare anything away but they eat the occasional bird and mouse/rat etc.