Archive for May, 2010

Month of May recap

this is the real 'Tall Cool One"


"Before the Storm"


May is definitely the month of irises. The first flush of spring blossoms gave way to a more mature stance of all the perennials. Once the threat of frost was past then the tender annuals and of course seeding started. 

volunteer 'annuals'


  Well, as usual, I’m a laggard as far as the annuals go.  except for the containers I rarely get any in before June. 

I finally broke down and put in a couple of blueberry bushes.  They are surviving but still very small.  there won’t be much of a harvest this year. i placed them in front of the porch.  there’s lots of sun and maybe a little protection from the birds. 

dried grape hyacinths


Most of the spring bulbs are gone. The grape hyacinths around the front tree were gorgeous.  How come no ever saves the dried fronds? they make great arrangements and LAST!    

The early April heat pushed all the garden activity up a week or two. I have already cut some English thyme for drying.  It’s really the first year I’ve gotten to it before the blossoms appeared.  

there's lots of thyme


drying already


There has been no appreciable rain for well over a week now.  So today begins the second round of watering.  It’ll take a couple of days to get it done and then more weeding.  I think I’ll start widening the back bed.  Just a little at a time should get it done this season. 

Our first sail of the season takes precedence today. Ken left early this am to put the sails on water colors.  Then He’ll come home for lunch and we go back for that promised sail.

Busy Saturday

Another busy day in the garden coupled with the need to get the new roller furling on the boat so we can sail this summer. Ken was obviously the one concerned with the furler.  He finally called upon the perfect person to help him muddle through getting the thing ready…..His long time buddy Doug.  He’s a wiz at all things mechanical.  they breezed through the installation and actually raised the mast with the help of volunteer GYC members. Thx to BT, BR, JR and CR and Donna. 

  meanwhile I was in the garden digging up perennials, herbs, and a couple of shrubs for the upstate NY plant swap next weekend.  I actually have 14 different plants to take with. 

lettuce blend-YUM


But the nicest moment was the spring salad we had for dinner. It was made up of a lettuce blend, dill and thyme sprigs, chopped asparagus and of course scallions from the garden. YUMMY!

coming soon—June and the roses

Except this little Beauty.  It’s making its debut here in May.  It is from one of two cuttings I took at GYC in August of ’09.  It spent the intervening months under a 2 liter pepsi bottle in one of the pie gardens. Here it is the first to bloom.  Who knows if it is inherently able to thrive here in zone 6. We’ll have it to enjoy for this season at least.

Heat wave in May!

87 degrees at 3pm on the north side of the house in May! Yikes! I’m thrilled that the tomatoes have such optimal conditions to harden off prior to transplant into the garden…..however…. this is the week I had planned to create the container gardens and prepare perennials for the upstate NY garden swap on June 6th. I hate to repot and transplant under these conditions. So far I’ve got the containers done.    

Salvia May Night with yellow and coral lantana


Riger begonia with red-orange lantana and creeping coleus


Isn't this coleus a beauty!


  Of course I’m watering veggie seedlings like crazy. I put in cukes and Thai basil and Belgian Endive and more beets plus peas from a couple of weeks ago; to say nothing of the onion sets and seedlings. I could and probably should blog twice a day during this busy busy week.   

a tiny seed onion from Beryl


red scallions


scallion rows




set further apart to allow room to grow for slicers


I can’t resist showing off a couple more of the irises:    

'Tall Cool One'


'Let's Boogie'









I’ve had both of them several years and this is the first year either has bloomed.

tomato worries

Meanwhile the tomato seedlings are limping along. I planted 8 varieties in jumbo plastic beer mugs on the 15th of April.  I filled the cups about halfway full of sterile seed starter with fertilizer.  Once they had a couple of rounds of true leaves I added more seed starter.   Truthfully there hasn’t been much else different from previous years.  Same lighting, warming strip and same fan blowing to make those stems sturdy. But boy how lame.  Leaves are curling on a couple of varieties and a couple of others (well past the damp off phase) just failed.  The growth can only be described as stunted.  They are outside now hardening off in this burst of warm weather.  There’ll be enough for my meager needs but what disappointment.

Could it be the varieties? All new to me: Prudens purple(curling leaves),Caro Rich, Box Car Willie (doing OK),Green Zebra (oops, I had these before),San Marzano ( the best looking of the bunch, if smallish), Fantastic Hybrid, and Red Alert.  They have about a week before make or break into the garden.

The ‘pie’ garden in May

OMG This is the year all my work with the iris is coming to fruition.  A little background: When we moved in nine (9!) years ago I decided to plant iris and daylilies along the north side of the backyard under my neighbors aging pines and firs.  Well even though the essentially southern exposure insured sun, the shade under those trees was far more than I realized. to compound the problems, the canopy kept even the most drenching downpour to a minimum. So shade and scant moisture made this garden far more work in terms of water and ultimately debris coverage not optimal for Iris.

Turns out Iris need plenty of sun and good drainage and the corms need to be exposed to the sun also.  So long story long I moved all the iris I had accumulated over the first 3-4 years into one of the pie raised beds.  And this year (#2) its like Christmas around here.  Each day a new iris unfolds its blossoms. They are splendid.  I could become addicted.

Last year’s ‘pie’ garden

The pie garden is a series of 5 pie-shaped raised beds constructed in the footprint of a long-gone above the ground pool. The original plan called for an asparagus bed, a rhubarb bed, a garlic bed, an iris bed and one bed for heirloom tomatoes and maybe a few other veggies.  It’s been 2 years now and it’s readily apparent that the plan was way too small for all that I’d like to do.

Last year I combined the rhubarb and garlic in order to have a separate bed for misc. veggies.  It still leaves the tomato bed too small for all the heirlooms I might wish for in any given year.  Besides the irises are already on the way to be overcrowded and will have to be moved—AGAIN.