Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Running Out of April

Clematis Candida, an heirloom variety moved from our first Kentucky property. This plant intrigues me at every season, from tiny flower buds through the display of blooms and then the fluffy seed heads.
I take more photos of this than any plant in my gardens.
This photo was taken last week, the flowers are now past their prime, the edges turning brown.

Duchess of Edinburgh is slower to bloom.

One last blossom on 'Jane' after frost caught her in full bloom late in March.

We woke to soggy wet snow on April 20th--the sun came out mid-morning and the snow melted quietly into the green grass.

After the snow.
Already the leaves of the Knock-Out roses have been attacked by sawfly larvae. 

Mayapple lines the edges of the south ravine. I clambered clumsily about in the rain trying for a decent photo. The flowers lurk under the shelter of the large leaves; sliding about on a muddy slope didn't seem a wise move just now.

Dogwood blossoms blown to the ground by rain and wind.
The season of dogwood and redbud bloom is fleeting--redbuds are already receding into anonymity, only a faint rusty tinge remaining to define their place. Dogwoods sheltered by larger trees still have the look of floating white petticoats; those nearer the edges of hedgerows or fields are bedraggled.

J. planted my new clematis, one on each side of the trellis. 
I used some slender fence poles to guide them, tying them in with soft garden string.
I bought pots of thyme to plant around the edges, both English and variegated lemon scented varieties. 

Violas, self-sown clumps of nigella and salvia officinalis spilling over the edge of a raised bed.

More self-sown violas, these in the raised bed near the front porch.

I planted several large pots to nasturtiums last spring; as blossoms went to seed I let some of them fall into the soil, providing a second flowering in autumn. The pots lived in the greenhouse over the winter and the fallen seeds germinated there.  J. has moved this pot to the front walk--two others, slower starters, are still in the greenhouse.

Yesterday I moved rosemarys to the east porch. Today I clipped off lank trailing growth.

Shelby-the-kitten has decided that the railings of the east porch are her personal gym.

The railings are inside screening.
Last year we cut a slit in the screen to reach through and hang the hummingbird feeders.
Our other cats are aware of the hummers, but not particularly interested.
Shelby watches them avidly, balancing on the railing on her hind legs, swatting at the screen with her front paws. This doesn't bode well for the screen, the hummingbirds or for Shelby, so we think she can only be on the porch when a human is there to restrain her birding efforts.

We think that Shelby will never be a large cat. She is long-legged and slender with dainty paws and a long tail.

J. has been working in the veg garden, setting out tomato and pepper plants. The beets and Swiss chard have emerged. Today he sowed carrots and butternut squash, several hills of cucumbers.  I'm remembering the mid-May frosts of last year which severely damaged tomato and cucumber plants, but J. is optimistic that May weather this year will be favorable to his efforts.

Hands and knees gardening, whacking about with a hoe, turfing up weeds and sod with my trusty garden fork, are not possible for me this year. [I've been warned that pain in my left leg from the DVT will likely be ongoing for quite some time.] 
I'm trying to be careful, to balance being 'on my feet' with resting--not an easy proposition for someone who never learned to tackle work 'in moderation.'

I've worked in the greenhouse for short bursts of time, transplanting the tiny starts of New England aster, yellow coneflower, blue sage, lemon catnip--originally intended for the planned extension of the garden at the west end of the house.  I don't see that happening this year. I also planned for a raised bed and extension of the patio bricks near the front door--to balance the planter created last year.

J. is balking a bit--he has plenty of things to do--but I've pointed out that the brave little plants in the greenhouse need a place to thrive. If nothing else, extending the paved area would allow for some large containers. I'm not overly fond of nursery 'bedding plants'--perhaps because I worked for a number of season decades ago as a 'transplanter' in a big retail greenhouse. Too many petunias and large gaudy marigolds! 
My interest for many years has been growing perennials from seed. I enjoy collecting seeds to start more plants of my favorites, or transplanting the 'babies' that volunteer around 'mother' plants. 
Seeds collected last autumn from 'blackberry Lilies [grown from purchased seed] have produced 13 new plants thus far. By mid-summer they will be sturdy enough to set out--thus a space must be provided. 

Next on my agenda: finding a way to weed without compromising my recovery!



  1. Truly an interesting post! My roses have also been attacked by the caterpillars, stripping the stems of their leaves. Usually I have a lot of iris blooms but after a freeze last week the buds are limp and won't fill out at all. So sad about things being ruined by the cold weather.

  2. Your garden is looking lovely, and that Clematis candida is so pretty - glad it carried on flowering until you were well enough to totter out and see it. (There's a David Austin rose called "Tottering by Gently" - what a wonderful name!)

    Perennials have long been my favourites - a Cottage Garden look has always been what I love most. I should grow more from seed - so far this year just Hollyhocks but now we have the Polytunnel up I shan't have to rely on windowsills.

    I have Larkspur to start off in pots outside once we are past all fear of frost (and this has been the frostiest April on record - which started 1960s). Like you I hate large Gaudy marigolds (Pot ones only need apply) and am not keen on bedding plants (though I have put some Geraniums in on the bank.)

    I hope you can work around the things you can no longer do - what's Gina like at weeding?!!

  3. Always so good to read one of your posts and see what you two and felines are doing there. I'm not crazy about marigolds either. Love your clematis. Take care of yourself dear friend. Happy gardening ~ FlowerLady

  4. I think it is a tale of cold weather in Britain at the moment, wander round my garden and the tips of new growth have succumbed to frost bite, two hydrangeas look dead. But your garden looks well, do take care though, everything will still be there next year and it is best that you look after your leg.