Saturday, May 30, 2015

In the Garden

Once upon a time when spring rolled around, I would post as soon as possible on this blog about our efforts in the backyard garden. Two winters ago, the extreme cold, which seemed to linger well past its usual , killed off such a large number of our perennials such that we had to start from new in many of the plots, though the sage, the rose bushes, the rhododendron, the lilac tree, and the honeysuckle all survived, as did the river magnolia, which we had cut back because it was creating a canopy not only over our yard, but over our neighbors' too.

This winter was not as harsh, but it was still cold and snowy enough that it devastated several of the plants, including a jasmine tree whose roots froze, and a thriving lavender bush that had flourished for several years when almost every other lavender planting we previously tried struggled. We decided we would replace some of these plants when the weather sufficiently warmed--and I would do my part once my knees were up to the kneeling gardening requires. The spring temperatures, without previous years' rains, finally did arrive and I have felt much better, so we got to work.

So far we have replaced the rosemary and lavender bushes, and C bought a new jasmine bush to implant. (We will probably have to wrap it more carefully this upcoming winter.) C additionally planted a new hydrangea in the back and a new rose bush in the front, both of which are growing, as are the hosta and elephant ears that initially appeared to have been frozen out. He also planted a blueberry plant amidst the strawberries; whether it grows only time will tell, since we've never had much luck with blueberries, except one year when one planting actually grew, only to die off after producing fruit. The blackberry bush once again is thriving, after several years of no fruit and semi-dormancy, and the strawberry patch also is vibrant, spreading its area into our neighbor's yard.

In the little vegetable plot, I have planted plum, cherry, and beefsteak tomatoes, a yearly staple; yellow squash; and pickling tomatoes. At the periphery of the plot, I added several sweet basil plantings, which seem to keep the bugs away. If there are more herbs and vegetables available this Monday at the farmer's market, I plant to get a few more squash, red peppers, cucumbers, and perhaps a few more herbs, like chives and sweet marjoram. Behind the stonecrop in the far back of the yard, lemon balm, and there and under the lilac bush, mint, have reappeared, so we should have enough for tea--and mojitos--by the middle of the summer. Below are a few photos of the garden over the last week.
Roses, in bloom
The new lavender plant
The hardy sage and rosemary
Clematis, flowering
A blood-red rose, and
a clematis flower
A new jasmine bush
(the winter slew the
previous one, behind it) 
L-r: tomatoes of differing kinds,
sweet basil at right
Yellow squash in back,
pickling cucumbers in front
Limelight hydrangea,
with honeysuckle in rear
The back of the yard, which C
transformed into something much
more presentable (climbing 
hydrangeas, elephant ears, hosta)
Rhodendrons, in bloom
Rhododendron buds 
A flame of color 
Blackberry blossoms  
More blackberry blossoms

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