Heaven: Inch by Inch, Row by Row: A Garden Thread

edited January 16 in Limbo
Didn't see that the garden thread had survived the jump. So for those of us in early Spring, how's the opening of garden season going? Any cool season crops popping up already? How did those new bulbs you planted last fall turn out? And for those of us in early autumn, let us know about your bountiful (or otherwise) harvest.

I have a spot in my front yard that has killed everything I have put in it. Rocky, hard packed soil, full blast sun all summer, far from the sprinkler, you name the bad condition, this spot has it. Yarrow, hummingbird mint, you name the supposedly tough perennial, I've planted it there, and it was dead within a few weeks.

So last summer, I decided to try famously indestructible catmint. I've seen this stuff thrive everywhere. And within a few weeks, nothing.

Until Saturday, when I noticed . . . catmint popping back up!

Ladies and gents, that spot may have found its match!
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Comments

  • FirenzeFirenze Purgatory Host, Host Emeritus
    As you may have gathered from other threads, Spring in Britain has been indistinguishable from Winter. There are just - just - beginning to be buds on the trees, and a few splodges of daffodil.

    OTOH the cold weather postpones the point at which the garden disappears into a jungle of buttercup, ivy, couch grass, bindweed and feral raspberry canes. I put in shrubs and trees (anything smaller disappears without trace). Last year the rowan blackened, the laurel rotted and the lilac got powdery mould.

    Frankly, I’m expecting triffids this year.
  • We are a good fortnight later than last year. This time last year the daffodils and tulips were in full bloom, they are scarcely in bud just now. The ground is sodden.
  • The snowdrops have been blooming for a solid two months now, which is nice! And the crocuses have had a good long run. But it will be May before I see a daffodil bloom in my garden. However, I was doing some tidying (I do love this time of year, when you can see in your mind's eye what it is all going to look like and your mind's eye never shows a single weed) and noticed that the Lupins are showing, as are the Columbine, which grow like weeds here. They will come again!
  • My tiny Episcopal Palace doesn't have a garden, so the grounds at Church have to take their place, IYSWIM.

    We have a modest raised flower-bed, with various shrubs etc., near the main door, and this is looking quite good so far, with croci, primulae (sp?), and tulips coming up among the rosemary, lavender, roses, and wild garlic (not a vampire to be seen anywhere near the place). Some pots and tubs, planted with spring/summer flowers by Auntie Pat, our Head Gardener, are also doing well. Later, we may try growing useful herbs again.

    Elsewhere, our policy is to let nature run its course! At the east end of the Church, we have a 'woodland glade' (two large plane trees and some grass, mown about fortnightly), but with a riot of bluebells (My Old Mum's favourite flowers) pushing their way up amongst at least three daffodils (!). This part of the curtilage is also home to a large amount of borage (those gorgeous little blue flowers), and some lesser celandines ( I think - low-growing, with star-shaped yellow flowers?).

    The west end, around the Church Hall, is left as wild grassland, with plants like clover, and nettles, allowed to flourish to a degree for the benefit of insects. I also maintain a mown path through this area for the benefit of four-footed beasties such as cats and foxes (we have a large number of urban foxes in the area, so if anyone chucks a MacDonald's burger, or Kentucky Fried Chicken remnants, over our fence, I only have the waste cardboard to pick up and recycle...a good example of co-operation between Man and Beast). This part of the grounds is mown twice a year to keep it from becoming too rampant.

    Our Place is in a densely built-up enclave of little narrow streets of little narrow terraced houses, so none of the 'garden' areas are large or time-consuming.

    Now, if the bl**dy grass would only dry off a bit....

    IJ

  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    I live in a Victorian terrace and my garden is the side return and a small courtyard at the back. It is a sun trap and I was hoping that by this time of the year we'd be having lunch out there at least once a week or so. With that in mind I planted up a large box of anemones, tulips and aliums last autumn that are just begining to look great. The weather, however, remains grim, so the only time I see them is when I go and have a look. I have some rather nice daffodils and I did have two sorts of grape hyacinth, but the paler ones have been nibbled by something. My snakes head fritillaries have all disappeared too, apart from one that is growing in the pot of one of the acers I managed to grow from seed. Not quite sure how it got there.
  • We had our garden remodelled back in January, just in the last couple of weeks we have bought a lot of plants and put them in. However we've had huge amounts of rain over the winter and our soil is a horrible clay so, despite adding a lot of organic matter, compost and grit the flower beds are still very wet though freer-draining than before. Equally our lawn is sodden and squelchy despite me having spent a lot of time and energy aerating it with a fork. Nevertheless we live in hope!
  • We have some seeds from a recent seed exchange and and just getting around to decide when to start them indoors. It's snowing again today. Just -5°C.

    Our season traditionally starts after Victoria Day (May 24) but sometimes we cannot plant until into June. Thank goodness for hybrid vegetables which mature in 60 or 70 days.

    We forced some bulbs in pots starting in Jan, the amaryllis and irises are lovely. Nice to have for Easter. Happy the Rosie the rosemary plant we got last year seems to have survived the winter in a pot. Kale and pea sprouts are very nice touch of green food on a winter day.
  • @Cathscats - I’m sure “the mind’s eye never shows a weed” could be some sort of metaphor for life. Most insightful.

    It’s still rather murky in our corner of the uk, despite it being one of the driest and warmest bits. Mid April (after the eldest’s birthday) is usually the time to plant seeds - otherwise I get altogether too keen in late March, plant stuff too early and everything dies. We have a tiny back garden and no greenhouse, so the seedlings start off in little pots on windowsills in the house, which MrJt9 loves. (Not really, he hates it).

    We should have raspberries as we do every year - they just do their own thing and get on with it. Also hoping to plant some tomatoes, dwarf French beans and possibly cucumbers and courgettes. And a few flowers - always Sweet Peas in memory of my mum, who loved them.
  • I cut the first sprigs of mint for the year from the patch I planted a year or two ago for my green smoothie (spinach, banana, mango, pineapple, and water) this morning. Later in the summer it will be basil and mint going into the smoothie.

    I have had trouble starting mint in containers in the past, and just chose a random, tucked away, fairly invisible spot that gets decent sun to put the plant in. And now, as I have always been informed that it should, it's taking over, which is nice, because I definitely find ways to use it, between the smoothies, mate, and the occasional julip or mojito.
  • AndrasAndras Shipmate
    We have some seeds from a recent seed exchange and and just getting around to decide when to start them indoors. It's snowing again today. Just -5°C.

    Our season traditionally starts after Victoria Day (May 24) but sometimes we cannot plant until into June. Thank goodness for hybrid vegetables which mature in 60 or 70 days.

    We forced some bulbs in pots starting in Jan, the amaryllis and irises are lovely. Nice to have for Easter. Happy the Rosie the rosemary plant we got last year seems to have survived the winter in a pot. Kale and pea sprouts are very nice touch of green food on a winter day.

    When I lived in Saskatchewan we used to 'seed the snow' for salad veg - as it melts, it draws the seeds neatly down into the earth for early crops.

    Even here in Wales now I tend to regard Victoria Day as the first day I can be sure of planting out runner beans without the frost ruining them.
  • LibsLibs Shipmate
    I cut the first sprigs of mint for the year from the patch I planted a year or two ago ...I have had trouble starting mint in containers in the past, and just chose a random, tucked away, fairly invisible spot that gets decent sun to put the plant in. And now, as I have always been informed that it should, it's taking over...
    I was told that mint was almost impossible to kill, but I'm sorry to say that I have managed to do so twice in recent years.

    Forsythia is out here and the camellia (a rather ghastly shade of pink) but the flowering currant is still hesitating and orange-flowered-prickly-thinggius is not yet in full flow, but looking promising. Just clearing a new patch of ground - going to try some beetroot there, and in the old patch, and see which does best.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 2018
    I've just received some seeds of bee-friendly flowers, for scattering (or whatever) about the church grounds. Not sure what the flowers are yet, but hopefully they'll be nice and colourful!

    And attractive to bees, of course. We have a number of bee-friendly plants anyway, but more bees are always Good Things.

    IJ
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    I don’t have any rows but I do enjoy gardening in tubs.

    This time of the year in the U.K. it’s just primulas, violas and daffs, but they do add a nice splash of colour.

  • The plum and quince are in bloom, just in time for heavy spring ran to knock off all the blossoms. Sigh. I hope we manage get some fruit. Weeds are dog knee high, but should be easy to pull from our wet ground this week end.
  • LibsLibs Shipmate
    And my carefully prepared beetroot bed is being used as a cat toilet.

    Water pistol on standby.
  • There is a certain fertiliser ('Silent Roar') which is made from (or includes) essence of reconstituted lion dung (I kid you not).

    It is supposed to scare off cats....
    :sunglasses:

    ....and you'll have the Bigliest Beetroots EVER!

    IJ
  • We have just returned from the splendid Cardiff RHS Flower Show. Some stunning displays and, despite intending not to, we did spend money. Pity the sun didn't shine, but it didn't rain either!
  • LibsLibs Shipmate
    There is a certain fertiliser ('Silent Roar') which is made from (or includes) essence of reconstituted lion dung (I kid you not).

    It is supposed to scare off cats....
    :sunglasses:

    ....and you'll have the Bigliest Beetroots EVER!
    Sounds good - I'd heard that Lion-dung flavoured manure was good, but had no idea it was so easily available. Thanks for the tip.

  • Dunno where you might find it - I was given a box for the garden at Church - but Google is your friend, as usual! Worth a try, at any rate.

    I've used it, and it seems pretty effective as fertiliser, (everything is flourishing) but I'm not so sure about its cat-repellent properties, as there are one or two Deposits evident. Now that Spring seems to be here, I'll put some more pellets down.

    I suspect our local cats are Tough Cookies, unfazed by visions of their larger relatives....
    :wink:

    IJ
  • 9 year old neighbor is saving up to buy a bike. His grandfather is matching him dollar for dollar. He asked if he, " could weed my front yard for $10.00?" He worked for two hours and I gave him $20. Other then knocking on the door several times to ask, "Is that a weed for a plant?" he did an outstanding job and saved my back. I am delighted to help fund his fun.
  • Today I made the first rhubarb crumble from the rhubarb I planted when we moved here in 2016.
    I resisted the temptation to pull any sticks last year to give the clump chance to build up is strength, and this year's magnificent crop has justified my restraint. Yum yum!
  • Our inherited rhubarb is thriving, Roseofsharon has reminded me that I need to make crumble again. The raspberry canes I planted last year have spread like anything, so this year we'll have tons of them - especially as we bought more canes this year. A mammoth wedding session at the weekend revealed just how much the original few have spread. Fortunately, my husband loves raspberries and assures me that there won't be a surplus. I am planning raspberry bellinis.

    Libs, can you tell me about flowering currant please? We have one, are the currants edible? Our garden is still largely inherited from the previous owner so I haven't ID'd everything, or know the details!
  • Yesterday's project was removing mulch and weeds from a small stretch of my front-yard garden beds, right next to the sidewalk, and replacing it with some flagstone that we had sitting around the back yard. (The neighbors pulled out their old porch and offered us the remaining flagstone, which we took, and have now let sit in the back yard unused for almost two years.) The dirt that was displaced went on to a spot on my lawn that desperately needs re-seeding. I'll be planting some thyme or hens and chicks between the flagstone later this spring.

    Tonight, possibly in the pitch dark after the daughter goes to bed, I'll be raking some grass seed into the displaced dirt, in preparation for rain tomorrow and snow on Saturday. Then to turn on the sprinkler system on Sunday to keep it moist until it germinates.
  • Dreaming of gardening and drooling over thoughts of rhubarb ,,,
  • Dreaming of gardening and drooling over thoughts of rhubarb ,,,
    If you're anywhere near SE London, I can donate some...

  • Managed finally to get onto the allotment. Set some veg small and large seeds. Guess what? A thunderstorm. Worst gardening year I've known in 50 years of working the soil
  • I am not wasting this fine weather, having set about te following:
    Mammoth weeding sessions of ground level beds; topping up the raised beds with the contents of last year's containers and the compost bin, plus a layer of multipurpose compost; re-filling containers with a mix of grit, multipurpose compost and water-retaining gel.
    Most of my plantlets are outside hardening-off, and two more trays of seeds are beginning to germinate on the windowsill, so I everything should be ready for planting out by May. Fingers crossed, and horticultural fleece at the ready, against the return of the cold!!
  • It's been so wet in Cardiff these months and being on red clay..................Whoever owned our garden before us had put fine plastic net everywhere under the ground!! Don't ask me why. Now my arthritic wrists and knees are killing me, but we have a reasonable top soil now (plus a load of soil improver and manure and more top soil and compost!). It's has been months of hard work but worth it.

    Lion manure!!! That's bananas! Why waste money. Actually banana skins are good for the garden. Use fish and bone meal too. It has worked for several generations of my family who have had super gardens and allotments. Better still get a compost bin and save money.

    At last the ground is getting a tiny bit warmer and dry enough to get plants and seeds in. Spent all yesterday outside - ouch!! Anyone got hands and knees transplants for me (already got one metal knee!). Or better still a new skeleton: 5'3" in good condition please; so I can spend more time gardening without the "ouches".
  • WildHaggis wrote: »
    a new skeleton: 5'3" in good condition please; so I can spend more time gardening without the "ouches".

    I'd be in line for one of those, if there happened to be two available. I used to be 5'3" once upon a time, but am now less than 5'1", so will happily accept one 1/2" shorter than my original!


  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 2018
    WildHaggis wrote: »
    Lion manure!!! That's bananas! Why waste money. Actually banana skins are good for the garden.[quote

    I didn't know that, but will bear it in mind! Actually, the box of lion dung-based fertiliser was a kind gift, which it seemed churlish to refuse or waste.
    :wink:

    IJ
  • O - bu**ered that up, didn't I? Wild Haggis' bit was the first sentence, the second was my comment thereon...

    :grimace:

    IJ
  • BTW, the front garden at Our Place is rife with ground elder at the moment.
    :angry:

    Am I right in thinking that this 'weed' can be eaten as part of a green salad?
    :wink:

    IJ
  • I have noticed a change in garden attitude this year, where once there was a flower bed in the garden, this year it has been replaced by a cot, pillow, and blanket. : )
  • BTW, the front garden at Our Place is rife with ground elder at the moment.
    Am I right in thinking that this 'weed' can be eaten as part of a green salad?
    I had ground elder, aka Bishop's weed, rampant in my then garden many years ago and had read that it could be cooked and served "like spinach".
    A new acquaintance, very in to self sufficiency and suchlike, was coming to dinner with us for the first time, so I thought it would be an appropriate vegetable to serve with the meal. It was a singularly unappetising dish, with no distinctive favour and, because I cooked it to death, not a very pleasant texture.
    It took me years to live that meal down, and it was an experiment never repeated.
    I have been very wary of foraged vegetable matter ever since

  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host
    I have been very wary of foraged vegetable matter ever since
    I had a city-raised friend who loved to graze in my yard. She had no idea that so many 'weeds' are edible!
  • BTW, the front garden at Our Place is rife with ground elder at the moment.
    Am I right in thinking that this 'weed' can be eaten as part of a green salad?
    I had ground elder, aka Bishop's weed, rampant in my then garden many years ago and had read that it could be cooked and served "like spinach".
    A new acquaintance, very in to self sufficiency and suchlike, was coming to dinner with us for the first time, so I thought it would be an appropriate vegetable to serve with the meal. It was a singularly unappetising dish, with no distinctive favour and, because I cooked it to death, not a very pleasant texture.
    It took me years to live that meal down, and it was an experiment never repeated.
    I have been very wary of foraged vegetable matter ever since

    All of which sounds like a very good reason for me to pull it up, and bin it!

    IJ

  • Dig it, don't pull it. If you pull you will almost certainly leave some root behind and with just a little bit of root left it will spread overnight. I know whereof I speak!
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 2018
    Alas, so do I. Digging is the only real solution, as you say, but unfortunately not really an option in the area to which I refer (too much disturbance to other plants).

    Is there a friendly insect, I wonder, which subsists wholly on ground elder, and which could be encouraged to visit (and stay)? That is not entirely a frivolous or rhetorical question...

    IJ
  • Tomorrow in the USA it is Mother's Day, the day when many children and husbands give mothers, cut flowers, or a potted plants. Mr Image knowing my preference during our dry season for something you can eat rather then just admire on which to use our limited water, gave me a large pot of basil, parsley, and chives instead of roses. A man after my own heart.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    jedijudy wrote: »
    I have been very wary of foraged vegetable matter ever since
    I had a city-raised friend who loved to graze in my yard. She had no idea that so many 'weeds' are edible!

    Perhaps this is a good time to mention good ol' Euell Gibbons, forager extraordinaire (Wikipedia). "Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible."
    (smile)

    PS Despite the old rumors/jokes, EG did *not* die from eating poisonous wild food. Per Wikipedia, he died of an aneurysm caused by his Marfan's Syndrome.
  • LibsLibs Shipmate
    Scots Lass wrote: »
    Libs, can you tell me about flowering currant please? We have one, are the currants edible?
    Sorry - only just seen this. No, definitely not edible! In fact, they aren't really currants at all.
    WildHaggis wrote: »
    Lion manure!!! That's bananas! Why waste money. Actually banana skins are good for the garden.
    I didn't know that, but will bear it in mind! Actually, the box of lion dung-based fertiliser was a kind gift, which it seemed churlish to refuse or waste.
    Well, it turned out to be quite a good tip – I didn't need to use very much, and it seemed to work in driving off the cats.
  • I have made significant progress with the veggies.
    The broad beans are in flower and setting well, courgettes, leeks, swiss chard, Romanesco cauliflowers, kalettes, beets, various climbing beans and salad leaves now planted. Four outdoor tomatoes in pots are growing well, with two (the ones facing south) already in flower
    Outdoor cucumber and butternut-type squash seedlings still have not got enough true leaves to be planted out, but if the humid weather of the past few days continues they should be big enough to plant next weekend.
    Various herbs coming on nicely, but I haven't sown the Florence fennel yet - waiting until after the longest day.
    Autumn fruiting raspberries are growing nicely and a few are flowering, the one blackcurrant and gooseberry we planted have baby fruitlets, but the trailing thornless blackberry seems a bit slow to get going - but they were only planted last autumn.

    This garden is very sandy, with no organic matter except for the raised beds, where we have been adding it since we moved in. Elsewhere it seems to have very low fertility and no worms as far as we can see. It is difficult to come to terms with after 40 years of gardening on clay that had been worked for over 100yrs - when I was complaining about the nettles and docks I did not realise how lucky we were!

    Slugs, snails and a fox are being a pain, so I have french marigolds treated with metaldehyde against the slugs, and have the beds netted against the fox. Any patches of bare soil in the containers have empty plant pots pegged over them. He generally only digs between the plants, but that still disturbs the roots, so I do my best to deter him.


  • APWAPW Shipmate
    About 1/3 of our half-acre is native forest. We had the arborist in yesterday to quote for some serious pruning and thinning out of some of the rubbish trees. He loves our little forest and has been hankering to work on it since he did some work for us last year on our really big trees (which aren't in the forest). But then he got onto how we could increase the number of fruit trees in the main garden and we thought he was never going to leave - it was really useful, and he doesn't charge for advice.

    The weather has turned extremely wintery today, so I'm making sure everything is mulched.
  • I have only done herb pots this year, no other annuals. We are needing to watch the amount of water we use. So far I am really enjoying popping out the kitchen door and grabbing a bit of dill, or a handful of chives. I am also saving money as often times a whole bunch of fresh herbs is expensive and a waste when you only need a few spoons full in a dish. I think I will do the same next year.
  • Our soil is wet, heavy clay. I've added grit, organic matter and we're using compost and bonemeal when we plant. And I've forked the lawn twice and tried to brush in sand. All this has helped a little.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    I have a window box with herbs on the kitchen window (first floor flat) which get used in cooking a lot.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    I love broad beans, but even I think I may have gone overboard in planting them this year. Beans, peas, potatoes are the three crops that I know will grow. Carrots will not - far too stony a soil. Courgettes sometimes, depending on the weather, so far so good this year. But every year I try something for fun. Globe artichokes, it turns out, do not do well this far north and at my altitude, nor do aubergines (in the greenhouse) though the flowers were pretty. Peppers have been reasonably successful, again under glass. But this year, on a whim, I am trying baby corn. Surprisingly, despite what the seed packet promised, every one germinated, even though the greenhouse is unheated and we were getting frost at night. Now they are outside, and while far from "as high as an elephant's eye" they are coming away nicely. Of course we have now had 8 days of unbroken sunshine - which is very rare! It remains to be seen if they actually get big enough to crop.
  • LibsLibs Shipmate
    I've gone overboard on borlotti beans. I planted some in late April (some under glass, some outdoors - no result - then again in early May - still no result. I dug up some of the April ones, which had clearly rotted. So, about two weeks ago, I put in a dozen or so, and they've pretty much all come up - and so have one or two of the earlier ones, I think.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    The only vegtable I've planted this year is some small squashes. (we have a patio garden so everything is in boxes). One of them keeps on being nibbled by I assume snails - drat. The strawberries and herbs are doing quite well thought.
  • Well, what a crazy spring, half of it like winter really, and then later some heat and rain. Hence, most things are yomping away now. I think somebody mentioned borage, which is now covering half a bed, well, the flowers are nice. My wife likes unusual plants, so we are anxiously watching over woodruff, honeyberry, and stuff I can't remember. Not much slug damage. We let love in a mist grow everywhere, and right now, it looks marvelous, like clouds of blue and white.
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