From a gardening perspective, it is unfortunate that I didn’t begin this blog in May. It would be a better first impression, but, it is what it is–still somewhat productive at best, and at worst neglected. Maybe it’s better this way; early spring really does feel like the starting point of a new garden year.
From atop the road I can get a pretty good shot of our front gardens. Off to the left we have two more fields. One is our ‘pumpkin patch’ and ‘corn field’. The other we have yet to garden but plan to move our tunnel there this summer. The lake pictured in yesterday’s post can be seen in the distance. A close up view reveals tires and pallets and pretty much anything else of use that we can get for free and recycle.
In full bloom, the letter ‘L-O-V-E’ beds can be hard to read. This time of year the remaining kale, beetroot, carrot, celery, and herb plants leave plenty of room for the seaweed Johnny put as fertilizer in the autumn.
These shaded beds sit below the high wall that borders the end where I took the first couple of photos, about twenty five feet from the ‘LOVE’ beds. The sun is too low this time of year to shine on them. Up until a month ago, the couple on the left still had some lettuce under cover. Now all they’re growing is weeds–actually a surprise swiss chard sprouted that is sheltered enough to have survived. The other three beds have a dressing of leaf mulch on them. The only winter survivors in the heart herb bed are lemon and regular thyme, sage, and some unusable oregano and marjoram–you can almost see this bed snuggled between the ‘L’ and ‘O’ above.
We’re thankful for planting late carrots because it is one of the veg that tastes really blah when transitioning to shop bought. “These aren’t our carrots are they?” we heard last year when we tried sneaking in substitutes. We love them too much to go without. So far this year we have not run out, but the time is nearing. The tops are wind fried, but below the earth, gorgeousness.
Artichokes never really died off completely. This will be our second year with them. I got them as off shoot seedlings from a neighboring gardener. Fennel is beginning to grow and ornamental kale is still hanging in there. All surrounded by neglect…time to cut and clear, better late than never. Nasturtiums, hollyhocks, calendula, lupin, gladiola, and hydrangea share the wall (not pictured) with these and add great color throughout most of the year. Rhubarb is there too and budding (is that what it does?) but I guess I got distracted before taking those pics.
The bed on the left has lots of perennial plants–rocket, horseradish, rosemary, spearmint, bay laural, campanula, eryngium, statice, roses, borage, cornflower, and some others I can’t think of now–a colorful mixture. The low wall bordering the bed is made up of stones that were a four foot wall running snug up behind the tree. It was the first thing I did when we moved in–I freed the tree! It really needed to be climbed and hugged and loved.
As Irish a I get on the topic of the weather is commenting that “it’s a great day to line dry laundry”, which this time of year is uncommon. The sunshine can be deceiving. The near constant dampness in the air is great for a complexion, not so good for hanging laundry out though. I mention this in case you spotted them in the background. It was a great day.
The reason I ventured into the garden today was to uproot the outdoor celery and swiss chard. We had still been picking celery each Monday morning to mix into tuna or egg salad for school lunches. In our haste, and the barely there winter morning light, we only saw the withered and burnt outer stalks which we’d pick and chop down to something usable. It was a great surprise when I saw plant after plant regenerating from it’s core. So I cleaned the outer stalks away (which were not waste) and am hopeful they will last a second season. With my going away, celery might not get seeded this year.
The swiss chard outside (bye-bye) vs. the swiss chard in the tunnel (yum-yum).
The swiss chard is also growing anew from it’s center. In the middle of the bed pictured to the right is self-sowing wild garlic. We lay the garlic there to dry last year–seeds fell off and this is the result. It might not like the summer heat but we plan to move the tunnel because of…
our lovely tree that decided to grow there. Well, I planted it, but it was the only seed that germinated from an entire package of morning glories. I put it in the ground two summers ago, the plan being that it would climb up the bar there. It wasn’t long before we realized it wasn’t what we thought. We still haven’t identified it, haven’t really tried either. Alder and birch have been guesses by visitors. Both would survive without cover, but the tunnel won’t survive another summer of it growing nearly three feet per year as it will surely bust through the plastic. It is over six feet tall right now and is curving along the top of the tunnel.
So many more pictures I could add but I will end with one pretty, one not so pretty. I forgot the carrots outside so they didn’t join their dinner companions for this photo. The celery is from the cleaned up plants. The kitchen floor is muddy, a sure sign of a new gardening season.
I know many of you are still buried under snow. I hope these pictures bring you some gardening joy until the snow melts, ground thaws, and you can get out and play in the dirt too. Melissa Xx