Category Archives: spring

Tomatoes / Peppers

A satisfying gardening weekend. As Fred said the Henry Ford production line was set up and tomatoes, peppers and assorted other unplanted stragglers were placed into pots. Soil repurposed and amended. Lawn (in the back anyway) mowed. Hose reattached and functioning. The fountain restored and bubbling. Huge cascading piles of blackberry canes and lilac branches from last fall finally cut to pieces and placed in the yard waste bin. Planters shifted around the deck to make space.

The hummingbirds were visiting in full force along with the chickadees and Dark-eyed juncos. We had sun for 48 hours, which after so many months of rain made me sick from being in it for just a few hours each day. That I did not enjoy and need to figure out how to get things done in the yard with such a small window. The weather folks keep saying we’re in for a hotter than average summer. Great news for the tomatoes, not so great for getting sun sick.

Plant Sale and lilacs

Vegetables have been procured from the favorite local elementary school plant sale. The lilacs are finally slowly coming to bud a full three weeks later than typical and there was a siting of the first iris. Finally!

In the weeds

The last three weekends have been weeding, weeding, weeding.

This time of year is somewhat a hurry up and wait. So much to do, not a lot of it fun. I have managed to get a head start on things I couldn’t tackle for the past few years, so that feels good.

The blackberries have been subdued for a few weeks but it is stunning how my last entire Sunday was spent taking them down from all over the front yard.

Made some in roads into getting stuff into pots and even tried out the weed torch which I’m meh about (it won’t stay lit).

The lawn mower continues to work too, so I guess that is a good thing.

We’ve had the rainiest and one of the longest and coldest winters on record and spring seems to be late this year. I am pretty sure the lilacs are usually going strong at this point every year and they are just getting ready to bust. Soon.


Photographer Nadia Sablin’s created a series about her Aunties which reminds me of everything I hope gardening, chores and persevering in daily life will bring. I keep coming back to this these poignant and touching portraits.

“In northwest Russia, in a small village called Alekhovshchina, Nadia Sablin’s aunts spend the warmer months together in the family home and live as the family has always lived—chopping wood to heat the house, bringing water from the well, planting potatoes, and making their own clothes.”

(excerpt from the book Aunties, 2015, Duke University Press)

Interview with Sablin from American Photo magazine

Plotting and Planning

Ever since we moved in to this house at the end of 2006 and subsequently started a garden in February of 2007 I’ve keep a hand written journal of projects, plants I’ve planted etc. Or so I had thought. I sat down with my black book this weekend and there was not a single entry for 2011. Just a date where the start of 2012 was. Sigh.

I also found in our shed many unopened seed packets purchased from last year (interspersed with used ones of course) that I need to sit down and figure out what is what. If all the seeds are cooperative that will be quite a score.

Thankfully I sat for a little but yesterday and wrote a few things out so the poor garden journal doesn’t feel neglected three years in a row. Thankfully there has also been the lazy-man’s route of record keeping where I have just made sets of garden activity in Flickr for each year. Perhaps it is time to give those a little review as well.

March 30, 2013

march 2013

So both 2011 and 2012 were a scratch. I neglected to write about the Milagro Garden, which the trough became the centerpiece of. I also started to put together the side garden bench area (which B built for me).

The chickadees are back today. It’s Easter weekend and I spend four hours this afternoon trying to get a very small plot back in working order.

The weather pretty much qualifies as perfect. I just moved the lawn back here and am having my first glass of wine in the green chair at 4pm.

Last Sunday the trees started popping and I spend on miserable week sneezing. On Thursday the pollen count went down and on Friday I was feeling better. The NW Asthma & Allergy site indicated it was trees versus grass/weeds. I had no idea my whole life I’ve had issues with pollan.

B washed the deck and uncovered the BBQ. It’s about 3 degrees above needing a sweater and the pattern the sun is currently making is beautiful.

The plum trees at the very top are starting to flower. My white magnolia has 8 blooms on it and 3 orange tulips are bursting underneath. Not much else is in bloom back here and there is still a mountain of work to do. Grass and dead stuff needs to be pulled.

To do list:

  • This year we will mulch.
  • I’d love to get the bench area in working order.
  • Pansies and violets need to go in.
  • Seeds should be sown.

I always dread the front yard but I have a sudden need to procure two more espaliers  and finally plant dahlias in the front bank.

  • I’d still love to have a stairway built.
  • I’d love to have a bench sitting in front of the York monstrosity.

So far I have not purchased anything and I’m trying to get things (chores) done before launching in to planting. I am trying really hard this year to not buy a bunch of plants that I won’t put into the ground.

The garden is six years old now. It so seems like it should have progressed further, but there have been years of enthusiasm followed by meh.

People (in the neighborhood) have started raised beds in their front yards this year, which I love.

I am looking in the shed and it looks like a junk pile. I’d love to get rid of that crap once and for all.

Time to get more wine and a sweater.

I can’t believe I’ve still never been able to get vines to grow in the secret garden, off of the trellis attached to the shed.

I want a black board with a Eudora Welty poem drafted in white paint. I’m happy I’ve stayed true to the original conception, which is a garden to honor Eudora.

It’s a shady spot, so I can’t grow the magnificent flowers she and her mother had, but we’ll do something in the same spirit.

  • The herb garden……
  • Finally I still want the tools to be properly hung up.

finally a bit of joy

mini iris (don't blink, it is gone)

Note to lazy, future self: please buy 100 species bulbs and plant them this fall. l think it’s the biggest pay off chore you can commit to.

The bulbs in the shed beds need replacing. The heirloom bulbs Ben gave me when we first moved here have been a delight- the tall snowdrops opened this week, as did the one white daffodil under the witch hazel.

Today was the first day since last July that I felt complete joy in the garden. Small surprises today, the Epimedium is in bloom (I had to whack away weeds to find it), The solomon seal is coming up, the red tulips on the hill opened.

I spent the day pulling weeds and ripping out sod (…if there is a hell on earth…), mowed the back lawn and weed whacked.

It is good to know the plant fanaticism returns. There is some lingering sadness over my inability to mentally remain active last summer.

I am still avoiding the front yard.

The Rugosa Rose is the biggest pay off from last year, growing so strong. I love spring.

As always, there should be better planning next year, I’ll just have to remember to take advantage of the next three months when I actually feel like doing work.

I have a hell of a lot of seeds to plant tomorrow.

I finally planted the smoke bush, I hope it gets enough sun. The cute little pink flower bush I ignored and let rot in it’s pot all winter — bit it. I should not be allowed to buy anything in August or September.

The tree peony is emerging, which excited me greatly until I looked at notes from last year that said the same thing, and we know later in the summer, no dice.

More things to put into the hill:

Japanese Butterbur, Curry plant (I need sun).

Okay, and the dahlias need to go into pots. I will not be spending my Sunday digging up sod in the front.

Just can’t do it.

Also, don’t forget to feed everyone. Hello.

**Just a note on this spring- it was the first day one would actually feel like working in the yard this year.

Sunday is supposed to be nice, and then a good old dip back down into the cold.

Fair Weather Indeed

Even with the promise of all the tulips in the world, I am having trouble being motivated.

Perhaps one could blame the rain for one more day.

And I had been thinking of taking a long weekend.