Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spanish Bluebells

The first spring that we lived in this house, I was happily surprised to see a few Spanish bluebells growing at the edge of the walk. A year or two later when I saw them getting crowded, I decided to dig some bulbs up and spread them around out front. Now they are lining the front flower garden on two sides. They do spread like mad, so I don't worry when I go to put in a summer annual and spear or dig up several bulbs in the process. Spanish bluebells spread by growing baby bulbs and also by seed. I've decided to cut them down before they go to seed to keep them contained to certain areas. Right now I am enjoying these super easy bloomers.

These forget-me-nots put themselves here out front! I laughed when I saw a 3" pot at the nursery going for $3.49. Seriously? Maybe I should start a forget-me-not nursery business.

Here's a little view of that front flower garden. A few plants are waking up and it's looking prettier each day. I went out and seeded some dwarf Cosmos, Cosmos Sensations, German Chamomile and Pansies.

These tulips came with the house. They have, surprisingly, been naturalizing. This is unusual because tulips don't like our soggy winter soil. I think these have been happy because they are under the eaves against the house where they keep dry.

Wando shelling peas are starting to creep up. I also have spinach, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, arugula, cilantro, green onions and chives planted outside. I need to get on with the parsley but I admit I've been procrastinating due to past failures. I need help with germinating parsley seeds. Last year I just bought a parsley plant.

Here are my Seascape strawberries in the strawberry pot. This is only 10 of my 29 plants.

Indoor gardening:

I have several pepper, basil and tomato plants started inside. I have "Gypsy" pepper, which is sweet and matures to yellow, and miniature red bell peppers. I also started "Honey-Bunch Grape", "Oregon Spring", and "Roma VF" tomatoes.

I double-planted my gypsy peppers because they were being so slow that I almost gave up on the first set. I decided to put them in a warmer spot. I have a kitchen cupboard that has an old heat vent underneath. I used to use it to rise bread, but now I've found that it's a good, warm place to put basil and pepper seeds to germinate. I plant the seeds in my cell trays as usual, and keep them in the warm cupboard until I spot any growth. Then I move them into light. It works and now I have at least 9 gypsy pepper starts. It's my version of greenhouse gardening, without all the fancy supplies.

The tomatoes did fine germinating in the basement along a large south-facing window. Once it starts warming up into the mid-60's outside, I will probably start hardening off the tomatoes, peppers, and basil by putting them outside on dry days, and bringing them back in at night.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Early Spring Bouquet

I am so happy with this blend of "Tete-a-Tete" Narcissus and purple Crocuses in a back border. It looks like a little patch of Easter colors. The Crocuses have been here and gone already, but these Narcissus' just keep sitting pretty back there. I planted these in fall, actually there are several drifts just like this; the bulbs were my birthday gift from husband. Definitely the gift that keeps on giving.

More of my birthday gift peeking up for a surprise. This is Puschkinia libanotica. It is very tiny, 3-4 inches tall. I planted a mixed pack of bulbs that also came with large Crocus, Iris danfordiae and Chionodoxa luciliae. I now wish I had planted them in drifts according to kind, because now they are spaced few and far between and flower at different times. I have heard that this particular flower will naturalize in time, so I might have to wait for more. I do like this tiny flower with its dainty stripes.

This is an Anemone (windflower). It is supposed to naturalize very well, so though they are a bit thin this year, I am looking forward to them filling in over time. They've been blooming for several weeks now and keep getting more flowers.

The vegetable plot is ready to go. This year I put a little path down the center. I plan to plant more closely together this year in square plots instead of rows, and use the center path to access everything. Just waiting for some warm weather. After an unusually warm winter, spring is now COLD. Back in the warm stretch, I put up some cages for my bush peas. I planted Wando shelling peas in two cages, and Oregon Sugar Snap II in two more cages. They are finally starting to come up, and I have been sprinkling slug bait every few weeks to keep my seedlings from turning into slug-fest 2010.

I have also seeded in the garden: spinach, kale, kohlrabi and radishes.

Twenty-nine bare-root Seascape strawberry plants arrived in the mail from Nichols Garden Nursery a couple of weeks ago. I was able to plant ten of them in a new strawberry pot, and found room for the rest in borders along the back of the house. Hopefully, with this many plants, I will have so many berries, we will have to share! They are already growing fresh green leaves and look happy and healthy at their new home. I chose Seascape because my dad is growing these and said they grow fruit all summer and taste good...like real strawberries.

In other gardening news, husband planted two Olympia Blueberry bushes in the front lawn. We are slowly trying to break up that flat expanse of lawn out there with some food producing plants. It will be a while before they get very big, but they are "high-bush", so they should get up to at least six feet if we allow them to. We hope to get a few berries before the birds find them.