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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gardening 2010: The Beginning

This year, I am again taking on some new challenges in the yard for my 2010 gardening. I have an empty flowerbed to fill, and I have an ongoing desire to add more color to our back flower beds. I'm also trying to make some major moves from annuals to perennials all over the place, just to keep myself sane and my pocketbook full.

So, here's how things have been so far.

Let's start with the Irises. If you recall, in the fall, I divided the irises. Here is the photo of the irises last summer:

As you can see, they were taking over!! Only 2 or 3 of them even bloomed, since they were crowding each other out too much. I divided them following some awesome internet instructions, and then sat back and decided that I'd likely killed them.

Guess what??

I didn't kill them! The picture above shows the irises, as they have started to come up this spring. They are in MUCH smaller amounts than they were before, just to control my sanity. They were in the way because of their proximity to the hose. I also want to put stepping stones in the flowerbed there, so I left space for that. If it ever happens.
Next discussion point? Vinca vines! Last year, I was impressed that the vinca vines showed up in my flowerbed after they apparently seeded there from a rogue vine in a flowerpot the year before. This year:

They're showing up all over the place, taking over!! I'm impressed with their hardiness (aren't they an annual??), but I'm going to be digging up their little bits and putting them into containers with boxwoods. I bought new containers for the boxwoods that are self-watering, and they arrived yesterday.
Also in the fall, I planted some hyacinths. I planted them specifically because I remember them blooming in very early March last year on a nearby street during a run. They smelled so good and made me think of spring. I vowed that I would plant them in my own yard so that I could see early spring flowers, too. Well, guess what happened? In early March, there was still 2 feet of snow sitting on top of where I'd planted them. I was so upset!! I thought they'd never come up! Alas, they did, just later than expected:
They're too sparse, though, and I'll have to plant more of them this fall to allow for more spring blooms in 2011! In March, I also divided some Purple Rain Salvia that grows in that same bed, and took two of the divisions and moved them to my butterfly garden in the back yard. Just like the Irises, I was certain I'd killed them, but I'm happy to report that they're greening up and coming up nicely!

Here is a shot of the ongoing front "around the tree" flowerbed that I started in the fall of 2008. The pansies that I'd planted in the fall are blooming again, some of the hyacinths were planted here as well, and the tulips were just starting to come up.

And I took this one Thursday morning. Tulips are in full bloom, things are looking good. I only wish that the tree would get leaves a little earlier in the season:

Back to the front again, last weekend I planted some Gerbera Daisies as this year's sunny mailbox annual. Last year was Zinnias, but I am angry with Zinnias.

Finally, the big new project for the year, I am growing some plants from seed. I'm using the Ultimate Growing System from Burpee, and I am happy with it so far:

You can see my cool little tags, and how the seedlings have sprouted. Some of the dirt levels are lower than others because I poured the water in too fast and the little dirt pellets they gave me expanded out too quickly in the wrong direction. Live and learn. Many of these messed up dirt pellet seedlings are sprouting anyway.

My seedlings are: Black Eyed Susan Vine, Basil, Sage, Marigolds, Strawberries, and Peppers. Some are sprouting, some are not.

I intended to grow most of those in containers. The marigolds will go in under the tree where the pansies currently are in the photos above. All of my seedlings are starting a little late, but I think they'll be fine. I'm looking forward to seeing how things go. And, I think I'll have far more basil than I need. Pesto, anyone?

And what is next? Well, obviously I'm waiting for the seedlings to grow. I received an order this week from Bluestone Perennials, whom I'm very pleased with. They sent me a catalog that I'm drooling over. Last year, I mentioned the Sedums that we have in our back flower beds that I hate and think look like weeds. Well, I intended to rip them out, but then I saw how much the bees liked them and I felt bad about wanting to rip them out. So, instead, I ripped only a few out and I'm going to add in some other perennials that I think will help make the flowerbed look less like a random smattering of flowers and more like something awesome. I'm adding Black Eyed Susans and Twilight Echinacias. (No, not that Twilight). They arrived on Thursday and I'll post some more photos of them.

I'm really preferring purchasing my perennials online. I feel like the return policies are good, I can really sit down and decide what I want, and I can order from many different places with consistent stock without wondering if Lowe's or Local Nursery happens to have what I'm looking for right now. I'm feeling good about where things are going, and while the yard is far from what I want it to be, it's getting there.


Jenny said...

Awesome! Looks great! Someday I'd like to spend more time garderning, but no time now...

One of my neighbors had vinca vines and then decided that she didn't want them anymore, and can't get rid of them - they just keep coming back! They look nice, but just a note of caution that they seem to be very hardy - but maybe that's a good thing!

marathonmaiden said...

props to you for gardening. my mom LOVES it but i definitely didn't inherent a green thumb hah. interesting though that my summer job is at a nursery/garden shop!

Mary said...

yeah, vinca vine will never go away.

I agree with you about buying online--also most online outlets tend to have better quality stock than what you can find at Home Depot or Lowe's. Which is good when you don't have a great garden center nearby.

Also, with the sedum, if you pinch them back during the summer, they won't grow so leggy and will be more attractive. Just start cutting off about half of each stem about every other week or so beginning next month until at least Independence day. You just don't want to go so far into the season that you cut off the developing blooms.

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