Sunday, 1 May 2011

May 1st 2011: Observations and Order of Work

Rain all day today - just as well I didn't have a May Day ball to attend this year.  Since my aim with this blog was to help myself keep some notes on my garden from year to year to help me plan, a good time to catch up.


  • species tulips planted last autumn in full bloom - love them, and must buy more in the fall.  And yes, I know they look pathetic in this photo, but my north facing garden doesn't get out of bed before mid-May;
  • muscari in bud - one good day of sunshine should open them up;
  • lavender hedge planted last summer now showing good signs of growth at the base - proper pruning can commence now, with less fear of die back in cold, damp weather.  Much relieved, as they looked particularly awful coming out of winter, although this is unfortunately the way with lavender in zone 5;
  • pin-cushion spurges coming through at speed;
  • Anenome canadensis has spread like wildfire since last year.  I'll let them bloom, and then will need to tame them;
  • Japanese quinces planted last year against north wall of house looking much perkier.  They had looked very promising in late Feb/early March, with clear signs of swelling buds, but after more snow and a horribly cold spell, looked as though all signs of life had ceased and desisted.  Am pleased to report that at least one flower bud is very close to opening.  Am also excited to realize that these might also respond well to some more formalized training against the wall;

  • boxwoods showing signs of new growth, as well as some winter damage.  Need to clean them up on next dry weekend;

  • Rosemary overwintered in pots in my uninsulated mudroom are in full bloom and seemed to have thrived, even though temperatures in the depth of winter consistently registered as low as minus 16 celsius out there.  Whilst considerably better than out of doors, prolonged exposure to these temperatures still seems pretty tough for something from the mediterranean.  I did keep the pots right by the inner door and perhaps they were marginally warmed by proximity to the house.  Regardless, I've always lost rosemary when I've overwintered them in the house, so the fact that they survived out there means this is something I will plan to do again in the future.  Given that I always enjoy rosemary more in rich, wintery dishes than light, summery ones, and that I was able to harvest throughout the months since last fall, has made this experiment a major success.

Order of Work:
  • finally sowed currant tomato "hundreds and thousands" and ornamental cabbage "Osaka mixed";
  • planted herbs purchased yesterday at Richters in strawberry pot.  Selection included Blue Boy Rosemary (a trailing variety I was previously very taken with), stevia (something I've never grown before) and a Prince Rupert lemon scented geranium, whose leaves make an interesting addition to summer salads, as well as cake!
  • installed wire garden ornament "thingy" from HomeSense in 3 year old pot of variegated ivy - will train sprawling mass into a topiary; 
  • inspected and fed worms.  Vermicompost experiment started in October has been taking care of all of my green bin waste, with the exception of meat waste.  Have harvested several trays over the winter, but have been keeping the compost in a bin, waiting to go out in the garden in spring.  The worm factory is functioning well, and all 8 trays are being used.  The worms have multiplied dramatically in number, and there are always lots of near microscopic baby wrigglers in evidence, so I think they must be a happy population.
Finishing the day with a cup of tea, listening to Delius' "On hearing the first cuckoo in spring", courtesy of BBC radio 3 "Breakfast" via internet.  Very relaxing....zzzzzz.

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