Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spring has definitely Sprung

The cold frame on the back of the house
We got our first near 90 degree days this last week and vegetation is exploding everywhere. Haven't started the mower yet but the nursery is so crowded I don't think I can get it down the aisles... have to weed whip the burgeoning foliage. To the left is a shot of the cold frame. The plastic disintegrated on it late this winter but quite a bit survived and thrived - parsley, mints, thyme and a couple of chard plants. Have to do some plucking of the parsley before it goes to seed and cook with it.

Blooms are appearing everywhere - lots of overwintered, sky-blue forget-me-nots scattered through the gardens. The poor gardens are so neglected - quack grass growing all over them. Got to get a day (? when?) to get into the garden to do some weeding and digging.

Late on putting in the tomatoes and getting them planted for the big greenhouse. Plan on growing five gallon tomatoes, melons, cukes and zucchini in the big greenhouse as it will be hot this summer and those plants should like it. Need to pot them within the next couple of weeks.

Mum plants ready to be potted
Got a bunch of gorgeous mums in from Faribault Growers in Minnesota. They are really healthy plugs just dying to get into their new pots. Unfortunately I couldn't source the 4 1/2" pots I had been using and had to get 3 1/2" pots that come 18 per flat. I hope I can size plants up enough to make them look like they're worth $3.00 a pot. I hate to lower my price point and get even less than my usual meager profit. But the up side is that more pots fit per flat and I'll get a few more pots on the benches. The down side is that the flats are wider and only fit two per bench instead of three on the green house shelves.

Finally got all of the Walters' material potted. They send such beautiful stuff that I hate to maintain it too long in the flats they come in as they start to downgrade under my care. Planted some striking Cimicifuga 'Hillside Black Beauty' - a shade to part shade plant with the most elegant mounds of deep burgundy foliage - the bonus is a creamy white spike later in the season. Got the plumbago going for later summer sales - sumptuous deep cobalt flowers over glossy green leaves. Can't beat the price, am selling a flat of it for 18 pots - $30.00 per flat. You just can't find this in flats at the nurseries.

The globe alliums in the garden look lovely with their large, round spheres of purple. Had thought I got a picture of them but it didn't register on my camera download. Must have done something wrong. The chives, onion and allium family, are loaded with buds. Saw a recipe for chive blossom vinegar - should try making some.
Silver Mound looking very cute

The nursery plants continue to grow well. Plants, like these 'Silver Mound' Artemesia look great even though they've only had about three weeks in the pot. A few are going to market today. Am so excited to be able to offer a double pink Hellebore and can't wait to get some of these into the gardens. They bloom so early that it is so good to see them do their thing in the earliest of spring. Really need to get the seedlings transplanted as I am running out of new varieties to bring to market. I like to bring something new and exciting each week to keep my customers on their toes!

English bluebells in the garden

Pretty foliage - emerging hosta and painted fern

More foliage - variegated iris

Solomon's Seal and Epimedium leaves

The rest of the photos today are of the garden yesterday evening as the light started to wane. I love the piles of bluebells that come up in the garden. They have been there for maybe 15 years and have never failed. Another good plant is the Variegated Solomon's Seal - Perennial plant of the year for 2013. It is reliable and the foliage lasts all season. Had a devil of a time growing it in a pot though. Maybe I'll offer roots of it in the fall. Had a bunch of it overwinter by just sitting on the ground and they rooted in. Like where they've decided to grow so I'll leave them and thin them this fall.

The new foliage is at its best in early spring when it emerges pristine and very colorful. Hosta are great especially before any of the slugs get to them.

The fall-planted variegated iris look nice in their new home. Maybe they'll get enough sunshine to multiply. Got these from Alice Wiegand's garden many years ago and have been nursing them along ever since.

That's the garden tour for today. Am linking with Tootsie Time again this week for "Fertilizer Friday" - a collection of garden blogs around the world. It is so fun to go and read through them and see what the rest of the world's gardeners are doing. Thanks for visiting, see you next week or my next post!

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