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plants

peonies

On 24, Apr 2017 | No Comments | In advice, plants, scents | By All Year Garden

The peonies would have bloomed by now, the buds have been ready to burst for more than a week, but it is so unseasonably cold, weird May weather! Temperatures in the fifties, I almost have to question the wisdom of moving the basil outside, it looks miserable.
Peonies are the object lesson for why gardeners benefit from being patient. You don’t get this cascade of blooms from a plant that doesn’t ask anything of you until you put a few years into it. Three, to be specific. Read more…

seedlings

On 10, Apr 2017 | No Comments | In advice, plants, propagation | By All Year Garden

This year spared us the usual unpleasantness: no hard freezes, no long stretches of unholy temperatures, no weird weather swings. As a result the spring planting is unfolding right on schedule to my great delight.

Usually after a seedling grown in a seed pod is transplanted into the garden, one of two things happen, and I had my fair share of both: it either doubles its growth speed when exposed to the sunshine and the rich garden soil or collapses dramatically under your very eyes, making you feel like a horrible person. Who would do something like this to a little plant, you quietly ask yourself, as your heart sinks into a puddle of misery and self loathing. Read more…

sweethearts

Since they went above and beyond this spring, let’s talk about sweet violets.
These beautiful early spring bloomers love moist, rich soil and are quite sensitive to slug attacks in summer, when the bigger plants’ foliage gives those pests a place to hide.
Some gardeners suggest feeding them in spring and fall, but in my experience the last thing you want to do for those prolific seeders is to give them additional reasons to spread out. Read more…

flowering onions

On 28, Mar 2017 | No Comments | In plants | By All Year Garden

If the spirit moves you towards a romanticized view of these lovely spring bulbs let me be the one to shatter your fairy tale: they are called flowering onions. You are growing onions. In the flower border. Onions.
I don’t say that to be obnoxious, I’m sure onions are wonderful plants in their own intensely aromatic way, but just because their more refined relatives spring up giant flower balls, that doesn’t mean their needs and growth habits are much different. Read more…

plant catalogs

If you are a dedicated green thumb, all you do after winter begins is sit around and wait for it to be over. Two long months of dreary weather later, the sight of spring catalogs gracing your mailbox is a hopeful sign of better days to come. Everybody has some signs they swear by that spring is drawing near. Some people go by the buds on the trees, others by the first crocuses, I go by the arrival of spring catalogs. Read more…

little miracles

On 20, Feb 2017 | No Comments | In advice, plants, propagation | By All Year Garden

The amount of time I spend contemplating the fresh seedlings in the starting tray would probably irritate an action oriented person. I would likely have some difficulty explaining to that person the wonderment of seeing the first set of leaves emerge, or the excitement of watching the tiny shoots develop from delicate strands barely hanging on to life to healthy plants ready to withstand whatever circumstances bring. Read more…

winter, still

The snow showed up, as expected, covering the ground with thick blanket of snow. Snuggled inside the house with a hot cup of tea, I quietly looked out into the strange landscape, a blend of snow storm and wind driven fog, its milky atmosphere so thick it reduced visibility to only a few feet. From this eerie cloud that melted into the ground pulling and swirling like translucent taffy, snow kept sifting down, first icy and windswept, then thick, serene and fluffy, then windswept again. Read more…

lilies

On 23, Jan 2017 | No Comments | In plants, scents | By All Year Garden

These lilies bloom for only a few days at the height of summer, and I often miss their splendid flowers altogether, busy with other things, but not on the day I took these pictures, a day when the morning garden got blessed with a light that was simply surreal.
That being said, the most common lily varieties are almost as different among themselves as they are from the day lilies and Belladona lilies, and it is important to evaluate your expectations before planting a particular breed. Read more…

8degF

Usually the feast of St. John brings the coldest day of the year, and this year was no exception. I cozy up indoors with a hot cup of herbal tea and dreamy gardening books as the thermometer indicates 8 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

No matter how enthusiastic one is about gardening there are limits to what’s possible and temperatures approaching 0F definitely rule out any outdoor activity. Read more…

out of focus

The weather is fickle, leaning on the side of bright and sunny right now. It rained hard yesterday, and the sky was so dark it looked like dusk in the middle of the afternoon. Sunshine, rain, sunshine again.
The temperatures rose and fell with the moisture levels, trying to stabilize into a more seasonally appropriate range. Read more…