Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Garden chores: topping up soil, planting new perennials, starting the pond

I realize this is a few days after the fact, but this past weekend was just glorious for working in the garden -- lovely and sunny, but not too warm.  Truth be told the breeze was actually rather chilly if you were just sitting out, but if you were up and about it was quite pleasant.

The cherry tree is starting to bloom and it looks like it will be covered in blossoms shortly! Nothing screams "May" to me more than cherry trees in bloom. If I can keep the birds away, perhaps I'll have another decent crop of cherries this year.  We'll see!

Meanwhile, back in March I ordered a load of perennials from Vesey's. Typical of me, I was entranced by all the gorgeous pictures and ended up ordering way more than I really needed, but they're all so stunning, at least their pictures are, that I couldn't resist!  Anyway, a week ago Tuesday, a banker's box arrived on my doorstep, firmly packed to capacity with sprouts, crowns and roots that really needed to be planted immediately, however I knew I wouldn't have time until the weekend, so following the included planting guide, I left the box in a cool shady spot under my deck in the meantime.  

I must say I am impressed with the quality of Vesey's plants as well as their packing and packaging. Bare roots and crowns were packaged in breathable plastic bags filled with sphagnum and sprouts were packaged with root balls intact in breathable plastic inside clever cardboard tubes with pushed-in locking strips that prevented the root balls from shifting and/or breaking apart.

So, here's what I got:

And they all needed to be planted a.s.a.p.!

But, of course, this wasn't just the simple task of planting roots, crowns and sprouts in the garden. No, I had garden renovation work to do first.  Several of the hostas I bought were earmarked for around the pond, but before I could plant, I needed to rebuild the waterfall and build up the soil in the rock garden behind it. The waterfall leaked terribly, so I had turned it off last year with every intent of repairing and rebuilding it then, but, as usual, other things got in the way so I never did get to it until now. 

Anyway, after much putzing around with the placement of the rocks and positioning the water hose, I got the waterfall working to my satisfaction and added soil to the top of the rock garden ready to receive the hostas.  To the left of the pond along the edge of the patio, the soil level of the garden bed had dropped a few inches over the last few years, so I needed to dig up the current residents (a rather large sedum and some coral bells), top up the soil and replant them along with more of my new purchases:  the bee balm, more coral bells, the alstroemeria and the butterfly flower, edging the bed with the pinks.  In addition, I moved an astilbe from the other garden bed where it was being crowded out by a spirea bush into this bed where hopefully it will set off the coral bells and the alstroemeria. As for the phlox, I planted them further up along the fence, joining a huge hot pink phlox I had planted years ago.

And since my deck is rather sheltered and the weather went back and forth between sun and cloud, I thought I would bring the tomato and marigold seedlings out of the greenhouse so they could enjoy the open air for a couple of days.

All in all a good day's work and even though it threatened rain off and on all day (it actually did sprinkle for a moment or two!), the garden was bone dry, so I put the sprinkler on for a few hours. The rhubarb is shooting up nicely, but so far nothing from the peas down at the bottom of the garden. The seeds I planted are a couple of years old and perhaps they are no longer viable. I do have some new seeds that I will plant this week and hopefully they will soon be sprouting up.

Now that all the crucial planting has been done, I can turn to digging the remainder of the garden this weekend and get the soil prepared for lettuce, carrots, the tomatoes and cucumbers as well as the marigolds and some more thyme to help deter the raccoons.

Spring is such a marvelous time of year. Everything is fresh, green with new life sprouting forth and it's just so wonderful to see the world waking up after a long, cold winter!

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