We’ve had about 3 weeks of wet weather around here. The plants (and weeds) are loving it, and we’re loving it because it’s keeping our newly-spread mulch matted to the ground when the wind blows. But despite the soggy ground, I think it’s time for a little spring garden tour of the backyard plants! (No big picture shots yet – the big picture isn’t pretty yet!)
Plants are thriving left and right. A division of a pink phlox last fall was a dubious contender for survival….but it’s alive (above)! The lilies that got munched into nothingness last year are also cheerfully growing into neat little clumps so far this spring.
Divisions borrowed from my mom’s garden late last summer are also doing great – some Autumn Joy sedum (the one in the photo is protected from basketballs by an obelisk) a HUGE lily that looks like something tropical, and some monarda (“Bee Balm”) are doing fabulous. The Karl Foersters are doing great, too.
Casualties of transplanting and/or winter include those couple of sedum I mentioned and a poor salvia. We’re also not sure how our bamboo fared through the winter, as it’s still very yellow. There are a few green culms (stems) in the center of each clump, though, so we’ll give it a few more months before rendering a verdict.
Bubba the Rhubarb is going nuts, and other star performers are some ice plants, a Betony woundwort, and the lambs ears, which seems to be really enjoying the extreme makeover it got earlier this spring.
The ice plants are doing well….except for being stepped on by a large-footed teenager in recent days. Mud is very telling, isn’t it? Have I mentioned we’re in a perpetual struggle to keep the neighbor kids from hopping the fence to retrieve errant balls? Last year a football clobbered a coneflower. Early this spring, Bubba caught a basketball. I guess now we’re now into the “not careful enough to avoid stepping/landing on the plants” phase and it’s the ice plants’ turn to be smashed. (Yes, the parents are aware of the problem.)
We got the two new clematis in the ground as well as the new lilac (which looks a little lonely in his spot right now), so those will be fun to watch this summer. Clematis like hot heads and cool feet, so I put some large rocks at their base to keep their roots cooler.
A big, fat, FAIL turned out to be the new trellis I made for our large clematis (a Jackmanii, I believe). There are so many large rocks under our topsoil, and that plant’s root system is so large, that not only could we not get the trellis down deep enough in the ground to be sturdy, but I also couldn’t dig far enough to clear the rocks out without seriously damaging the roots. So now we have our very own leaning Tower of Pisa.
The next dry, warm day will see me out there taking the fencing off the T-posts and attaching it directly to the deck railing. “Jack” is growing so fast, I don’t even want to completely remove the trellis at this point – so I’ll have to finagle with the posts/fencing in their current spot.
My arch-nemesis-unidentified-weed is also starting to show its ugly face. I’ve been pulling/spraying these things since we moved in, and they only seem to be growing in number! Well, while planting the new, big Karl Foersters I ran into the roots of a couple of these weeds (for the first time). HOLEY BUCKETS! No wonder I couldn’t get rid of them! The roots go at least 12 inches down, and they are THICK and seem to be interconnected. Pulling is not the answer. Double-strength Round Up is the only solution I can think of.
On a happier note – the linden tree looks to be 100% alive this spring! (not sure about the maple yet…) and in a few weeks I’ll have a couple new (free) perennials from a plant swap to add to the garden as well. The pots haven’t come out of the garage yet either (we’ve been busy!), but they’ll get potting mix this year instead of garden soil, so I’m looking forward to much healthier container plants.
As for the veggie bed – well, it speaks for itself. In fact, it’s practically wailing for attention. As soon as the ground dries out for a few days, I’ll be able to till it and get some tomatoes in the ground (safely inside wall-o-waters). I emptied the compost bin into this raised bed last fall, but the compost was only partially done, so the whole bed needs tilling and raking. I think our uninvited neighbors the Kitty McPoopersons have also been having a grand time in there, so I suppose their ‘nuggets’ need to be tilled under as well.
This summer, my goal is to fill in more bare spots with a few new perennials, divide any others I can, put some annuals into the bare spots, and get some mulch down. I’m also seriously considering a few more lilacs along the fence, but we’ll see. Perhaps I need something like a climbing rose instead