Sunday, April 28, 2013

In the Garden

For some reason I seem to recall hitting the garden much earlier in prior springs, but between work and the weather, it was not until this weekend that we were able to put plants into the ground.

As in previous years, we planted herbs and vegetables in the back, but no flowers this time. (C found places for new rose bushes in the front.) Between natural die-offs, the hurricane last fall, the long chilly (but not freezing) winter, and the slow-arriving spring, some of the backyard's longstanding perennial herbs didn't make it, but the African sage, the lavender (which for years we could not induce to grow, until we added lime to the soil), and the rosemary are thriving. We never planted comfrey, but its purple spears have formed a little forest beneath the lilac bush, which is now in bloom. The blackberry bush, severely cut back, also looks set both to flower and bear fruit. Among the flowers, the rose bushes, a single hyacinth, and the rhododendron bush, and the honeysuckle are also doing well.

Towering over everything is the river magnolia, with its full, healthy glossy, white-pink leaves, which are shedding, forming a carpet over everything, which I hope will have been completely laid by the end of the week so that we can rake it up and attend to the rest of the backyard. That should also give both us time to recover from the workout the gardening bestowed upon us. I am praying I'll be able to move my arms and legs tomorrow.

A few photos of the new plantings, which are mostly fruits vegetables we've had success growing in the past (broccoli, eggplant, basil) and some we've never been able to grow before (sweet peas, jalapeño peppers). We tried a new method our neighbor recommended to prevent weeds. Alongside the transfers we placed a lining of newspaper, which we covered with topsoil. Supposedly the paper admits the plant's roots but does not allow weeds (evening nightshade behind a perennial visitor along the fences) to bore through. I will try to add updates throughout the rest of the spring and summer.

The African sage
The ever-hardy African sage, which I had to cut back.
Sweet peas, onions, broccoli, eggplant, and hot peppers
Sweet peas, onions (there were wild onions
dotting the soil), broccoli, eggplant, cucumbers,
and hot peppers
Tomatoes (6 different types), basil, lemon basil, cilantro, jalapeño peppers
A bigger patch: tomatoes (6 different types), basil and
lemon basil, jalapeño peppers, cilantro
Vegetable plot
The same patch from a different perspective
Strawberry patch, cilantro, oregano, cucumbers
The strawberry patch, which was full of new shoots,
with oregano, cilantro to the left, and cucumbers
(rosemary is the far right)
Leaves remaining on the magnolia trees
The river magnolia, in bloom
(the butterfly bush is on the left,
a fir tree stands in the right distance)
Sweet marjoram, stonecrop (3 different types)
Another patch where we used to have lemon balm
and lots of other herbs, but nothing survived, so we
went with 3 types of stone crop (on the right)
and sweet marjoram on the left. We later added
a row of spearmint and peppermint behind these.

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