That is how I think of this time of year: busy. The rare spring moments of enjoying tender sunny weather, with soft fragrant breezes and the shifting clouds pierced by shafts of light, while bearing the showers that keep ground moist and sprouts growing, is crowded by my race with the earth to gain mastery over my garden. Every year the earth wins.
I make new strategies each year, while the challenges of ever changing climate conditions surprises and sometimes consternates me. This past week was a golden one… gilded with opportunity to dig and plant and prune. I made full use of every sun-filled moment. At the end of the day, aching, but happy at the visible results. This satisfaction is one thing I have always loved about gardening; the clean neat rows of vegetables, the dark cultivated spots of earth, the statuesque well pruned bushes, plush green expanses of lawn- all freshly lined with the mowing tracks.
This past weekend we all worked weeding, repairing walks and mowing. The Handyman and his helpers are making a new patio space. I weeded, pruned out the overgrown lilac and wisteria ( which sadly in twenty or more years has not bloomed for me). I put in the tomatoes and peppers, making little raised bed for them. Cherokee purple and Caspian Pink heirloom type tomatoes with Gypsy and Sweet Banana peppers are waiting for me to sow some parsley at their feet. The ground is now a little too dry due to the constant winds. I placed drain tiles around the poor little wilting tomato plants to protect them.
A large part of my efforts went into placing some new perennials in a newly cleaned bed and potting up loads of containers. I had bought a number of terra cotta pots last year on an off season sale at Lowes…now they are filled with geraniums, lobelias, fuchsias, coleus, violas, and a blue salvia. I put together the hanging porch planters- just plain red geraniums this year, renewing the spaghum liner and using moisture retaining potting soil. The front urn planters are probably the most experimental in plant and color. they contain:
- Elephants ear, ‘Illustris’, dark purple leaf
- black violas
- ‘Dolce’ mix petunias
- gold/magenta lantanas
- variegated licorice plant, Helichrysum petiolare
- hypoestes, the ‘Polka Dot’ plant
I never really know how a new combination will turn out until well into the growing season. An older (in my experience) ‘safe combination’ I put together holds:
- black violas
- Dahlberg daisies
- Angelonia ‘Alonia’
- lavender Osteospermums
- Tricolored Sage
At this time of year my garden is strongly violet, green, lavender pink, and white. It holds splashes of rose, but later there are golds, yellows, and oranges which completely change the feeling of the gardens. I try to visualize that when I put together the pots, but invariably I use too much pink for my liking.
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