Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Weeding, Transplanting, Pottering

A nearly perfect day for work in the garden. 
I lingered on the front porch for awhile this morning, feet stretched into a comfortingly warm pool of sunshine, library book at hand.
It was after 9 before I got  under way with gardening chores.
I had 11 pepper plants to pot on--they have been very slow growers, a mixture of sweet banana types.
With those in individual pots and tucked into the cold frame with the tomatoes, I considered the 3 rosemary plants which spent the winter in the unfinished part of the basement.
All three grew vigorously under a fluorescent fixture hung above an old table, and made the move several weeks ago to the front porch.
I found large pots for 2 of them--need to purchase another sizeable container for the third.
By then Willis had taken an interest in my doings and was being more than 'helpful.'

A few tiny weeds have appeared in the herb bed, so I tweaked those out, having to fend off Willis who was in a perverse 'attack' mode.
The photo above was taken near sundown when I had run out of steam.
I began at the far end of the lower perennial strip.
This one has had scant attention since it was created in the spring of 2010.
My rather vague plan was to plant this with shrub roses surrounded by nepetas.
This left space for a few perennials and some open spots for annuals.
The 4 rugosas, favorites from my years of Vermont gardening, haven't been as thrifty here as I expected.
Rugosas, which can endure a rugged New England winter, are apparently not as happy with
zone 6 heat and humidity.
The nepetas, on the other hand, which were quite tidy and well-behaved in Vermont, have gone on a
spreading rampage here! 
Purple coneflower and monarda lambada, both started from seed, have held their own.
Poppies--somniferum and paeony types---came up in great clumps over the winter and
should have been thinned.
I'm still struggling to root out the weeds which burgeoned in this strip during our very mild
January and February. 
You can see from the photos how dry the soil is, in spite of the showers over the weekend.

When we laid out these strips we didn't leave adequate room to maneuver the riding lawn mower along the short edge of the upper strip.
I removed some plants there and sod will be allowed to fill in.
The two peonies which were first postitioned beyond the salvia were moved last September to join the vintage pink peonies near the upper garden.
There are gaps here and there--the delphiniums disappeared after their initial flowering--not liking the intense heat of July.  I'm trying to justify the expense of experimenting with the New Millenium hybrids which are more heat tolerant.
When the promised greenhouse becomes a reality I will have space to start more perennials from seed--much more cost effective.

J. had an errand mid-day at Tractor Supply, one of my favorite places.
I went along to buy another sack of potting soil.
I had noted this field of wild mustard earlier in the week when I didn't have the camera.

In the little herb garden Lambs Ear has spread aggressively  in one season.
A purple sage is being crowded, so I will divide the Lambs Ears.
Moving carefully in the small space to do the minimal weeding required, I found two tiny plants of
Lemon Balm which had self sown.
Lemon Balm delights me.  I'll let the plantlets grow on a bit and find another place to tuck them in.

In 2010 one of these lovely apricot Iris bloomed in the tangle of daffodils.
It had no blossoms last season, so I was pleased at its reappearance this year.
This morning I discovered a second apricot bloom, this one in a group of iris which rings the base of a maple tree near the drive.
For some perverse reason, Willis has barreled into this plant three times today.
I  scolded him [totally ineffective] but he repeated his performance for D.'s benefit this evening.

Iris which I transplanted last fall to the peony strip near the upper garden.

This pale lavender iris is growing in a shady corner of the upper garden.

Another pale stripey iris in the fence corner.
This is just beyond the rock walled garden which D. created.
There is a tangle of wild black raspberries here, as well as the tough-rooted stringy shrub which we battled to remove on the other side of the fence.

Golden achillea [yarrow] starting to show color.
This hardy plant is another of my favorites.

My darling Teasel, watching me from the dappled shade of the cat enclosure which is on the far side of the basement steps.  When I work in the herb garden the cats are only a few yards away
across the cement stair well.
A long day.  Much accomplished--so very much more to be done!


  1. Oh my goodness, an apricot Iris. How beautiful. "Hello Teasel. What gorgeous eyes you have." Looking forward to watching your garden grow and meeting more of your felines. Deb

  2. Your garden is beginning to look really good.
    Cat's can be wonderful helpers can't they ??????

  3. Alas - I cannot wander round my garden, camera in hand, just at the moment as we have fairly steady rain on and off throughout the day. What's not under water is still declining to flower just yet as it's been too cold. I have some colour from Heuchera etc leaves.

    Here, the Lemon Balm does very well and I have huge clumps of it. I was pricking out your baby heirloom poppies yesterday (plenty more to do!) and the Nepeta have started pricking through the soil now as well.

    Achillea does well here, and its wild form Yarrow does a bit too well - I regret planting it in the main beds so will gradually remove it to the paddock where it can romp at will.

    The wild BLACK raspberries sound interesting. We have the wild red ones down the hill but they fruit small and it takes a lot to make a handful worth eating.

    Your Apricot coloured Iris has my admiration . . .

  4. What a busy, happy and productive day you had. It feels good to get things done, but there is so much more that still needs doing, especially before the heat and humidity set in.

    Your flowers are gorgeous and Teasel a dear.

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

  5. Busy lady, MM. Bottle your energy and send me some! PLEEEASEEE.
    Gardening and working in the yard never ceases. There is always something to do or attack.
    Teasel is a stellar,regal kitty.
    Have a wonderful rest of the week and upcoming weekend.

  6. Your garden is looking good, love your iris's. Our soil is so dry this year, very little rain, 3rd year in a row.

  7. Well done for gardening all day - no chance of doing that here, it's still raining cats and dogs. Your flowers are well ahead of ours, we are still seeing spring flowers rather than early summer ones. Lovely photo of Teasel, she's such a pretty little cat.

  8. The wild mustard field is so amazing to me. You remember how up here there is no flat like that!
    Teasel is the little dear who was your blog header photo for a long time, right?