Garden Log, Week of 5/16

On Friday, I had the day off from work (being scheduled to work Saturday). While I usually spend time in the garden on these sort of days, I typically divide the time with errands and chores, but this week I did nothing but garden for 8 hours. It was WONDERFUL being out in the sun and warmth and a lot got done. Though I’m sure I’m going to regret my penchant for actively forgetting to use sunscreen…

North East Garden Bed

Picture taken in early evening shade. Need a sunny day picture.

With a 10-day forecast showing temps staying above 50 degrees even at night, I felt confident to finally clear out the remaining mulch left from over wintering. Overall I think there were 4 wheelbarrow loads. The birdbath also came out of shed-storage and was cleaned and filled – I need to replace the water-wiggler that didn’t survive winter storage.

Once the mulch was cleared, I planted the Snapdragons ‘Magic Carpet Blend’ and Lobelia ‘Crystal Palace’ seedlings as an edging along the curve of the bed near the entry. I remembered later they are annuals, so next season I’ll need to find low-growing flowering perennials to replace them with. There are also three Chamomile seedlings around the back of the Astilbe, accessible from the steps so I can snag flowers to dry for tea. One of the two pots of the Bloody Dock (red sorrel) from a friend was planted in the back corner tip of the bed. Since it’s an edible, I want to keep it accessible.

To fill the rest of the North bed, I’ll be using the seed mix “Save the Bees” from Botanical Interests. But instead of scattering and raking in the seed, I’m starting the seeds indoors to later transplant into the garden. I’m trying it this way for several reasons: consistent spread of plants, can clump together groupings of the same plant, can position them according to height as I figure out what they are, no worry of birds eating the seeds, or having to set up netting to keep off birds.

South East Garden Bed

Picture taken in early evening shadow; need a sunny shot. Sweetpea poses in the foreground.

On Tuesday, I finished filling the bed. All told, it took 60(?) bags of peat topped with 58 bags of garden soil.

On Friday, before getting anything in ground, I marked off the future gravel path using stakes and twine. The remaining space felt immediately less intimidating to fill.

To semi-mirror the rounded corner of the North East bed, I planted the remaining Snapdragons (no Lobelias left), and the other three Chamomiles. Other things that were finally put in the ground in the south East bed: a multitude of Foxglove sprouts (they are my favorite and yet there were so many I came close to being tired of planting them!) and the Hollyhock sprouts.

All the potted plants made it into ground, including the Grace N’ Grit rose, the pair of Salvias, the Meadowsweet, the other Bloody Dock, the pair of Tempo Yellow Avens’, as well as the Gardenia that was gifted to me when Gram passed.

The Tempo’s have already proved to be a bit needy with water; they seem to droop or wilt easily making me think the tag is not wholly accurate with the “full sun” declaration.

Rather than purchasing another batch of individual soaker hoses, I’ve ordered two ‘Garden Rows Snip N Drip Soaker System’ kits from Gardeners (one for this bed, and one to replace the system I set up in the North bed). In the meantime I’ve set up the one remaining soaker hose I have on hand, but as it only covers so much ground, I’ll still need to water a portion of the bed by hand for a while til the kits arrive.

The seed mix “Grandmother’s Cut Flower Garden” from Botanical Interests will fill the rest of the bed using the same method I’m using to sow “Save the Bees” in the North East garden bed. (You could say a theme is emerging for the South bed.)

Driveway Bed

I added the small batch of Canterbury Bell and Strawflower seedlings, and the pair of Larkspur seedlings. Everything looks a little sad and wilted, but I’m holding on to the memory of how worrisome my bed of foxgloves similarly looked early last season when I thinned them out by way of separating the seedlings by hand and spread them out… and now they are lush and thriving.

This bed is not as ideal soil-wise as the other two, so it requires a lot of weeding and de-grassing. It will likely be the guinea pig for making wattle-weave edging from the first crop of willow I’m growing. The ground is rather compact and needs a lot of breaking up and amending. I only had so much energy left at the end of the day Friday that I only cleared out old mulch and weeds from areas I was planting in; I need to finish cleaning up the rest of the bed.

Other Things

One of the two leftover garden soil bags filled the eight terra cotta pots to prep them for herbs. I decided to relocate the Rosemary from the driveway bed and into one of the pots, and transplanted the oregano and thyme seedlings. My other herb seedlings (sage, chives, cilantro) so far have yet to sprout… I may direct sow into the pots.

Last week I acquired a first quote for redoing walkway with pavers, asking that the work also extend down alley between shed and garage: est $4,000. Also asked about what to do with the entry steps as it’s obvious they’ve been patched before a handful of times already and have probably reached the point of being replaced (in addition to needing to be re-leveled). Since the entry is built on top of/into this massive cement block, it was recommended to call a concrete company to see if they could cut the steps portion off the block and have new steps installed. While I plan to make calls to see how much that would be and reach out for other quotes to compare, there are other projects going right now that are greater priority, so it will likely be quite some time before we approach this project given the estimated costs.

Started more seedlings – In addition to the seed mixes mentioned above, I’m trying my hand at Cosmos, Nasturiums, Bells of Ireland; there’s also Aubretia and Forget-Me-Nots to start an edging along the garden beds.

Other Buds and Blooms Not Mentioned Above

It’s been quite a week in the garden. There’s still lots to do, but I love that this is the type of effort that grants a great deal of satisfaction all along the way.

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