Monday, May 24, 2010

The Spring That Hasn't Sprung

No sign of sprouting bean seeds...

The vegetable garden seeds were planted a bit over a week ago...two types of cucumbers, two zucchini varieties, melon, four kinds of beans, more parsley. Every day I check to see what will come up first, but the bottom line is that when it dips into the low 40s at night seeds just don't come up very quickly. I feel as though I'm on hold...this is not our typical spring weather and it confuses me. We had some nice weather, enough to get excited about planting the garden, but then we waited and waited for the nights to warm up so that we could actually do the planting. We finally had a few warm nights and it seemed like we were back on track...then it cooled down again. I'm not wanting to approach the record temperatures we've had in the past...102 degrees in May is not required. But having highs in the 60s is just too weird. And what exactly is up with the rain every few days? Not enough to totally stop watering...just enough to confuse the issue. Frequent rain is not a usual weather pattern rain after the end of April is more common.

The tomatoes that went into the ground two weeks ago have caught up to the ones that were in the wall-o-waters for a month before that. However, I've had years where I was picking cherry tomatoes by the end of May...this year I'm hoping for the end of June.

Peppers are in pots this year as half of my garden is planted in marigolds in the hopes of discouraging the root knot nematodes that have taken over. I've put basil in with one of the peppers and it is more or less just isn't warm enough for it to take off. Oh well...I imagine in a month or so I could be complaining about the heat. While we're enjoying favas, garlic scapes, carrots and chard I dream about tomatoes, peppers and fresh green beans. I'm reminded once again that gardening is a lesson in patience.

A garden angel watches over blooming salvias.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

GBBD May 2010

It's May! And there are lots of blooms here and elsewhere as we celebrate another Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites gardeners around the world to share their blooms on the 15th of each month. I see I have lots of roses, interesting for a gardener who doesn't much do roses. Guess that's changed over the years!Rosa Flower Girl blooms almost all year..but this time of year the blooms are more abundant and darker pink. As the summer heats up the blooms will become almost white.

Alstroemeria Regina is another long bloomer. The blooms are almost unreal looking...and make great cut flowers. Although one doesn't cut them, one pulls them from the plant so it comes off at the roots. It's easy and the traditional way to harvest for bouquets.
The fountain bed has brunsfelsia (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow), Rosa Berries and Cream, Solanum jasminoides, pelargoniums, and Alstroemeria Regina blooming right now.
The German chamomile is ready for me to cut to dry for tea.Rosa Climbing New Dawn is happy in a somewhat shady corner. It's just about to climb into the adjacent privet which is fine with me!
Salvia Caradonna blooms behind Salvia Blue Hills.Rosa Demitasse, a miniature rose blooms in the front door bed.

Lavender trumpet vine is blooming on the trellis with a white banksia... the other banksia finished a couple of weeks ago so I appreciate this one holding on to join the trumpet vine.
Rosa Berries and Cream blooms across the yard on a trellis mixed with Solanum jasminoides. Both will bloom all summer but like Flower Girl, this rose will become more white as the temperature rises.
I love carnations! My dad gave us carnation corsages for Easter when we were young so the scent has good memories for me. These are in the front garden.

Other bloomers today:

Wax begonias
Scented geraniums
Society garlic
the last few bearded iris
several lavenders
several salvias

I appreciate Carol getting us in the habit of doing this monthly list. There is so much to do this time of year in the garden that it's nice to stop and, literally and figuratively, smell the roses!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Snails to You..

The snails are the happy ones this spring. And the earwigs and the armadillidiidae...more commonly known around here as roly polies. We've had cool, rainy weather off and on for far longer than normal. So much so that I have yet to plant cucumbers, zucchini or bush beans. The tomatoes just went in last week. I do have three varieties that went into wall-o-waters a while ago although two of those look less than promising. The Pantano Romanesco grown from seeds given to me by my friend Patsy does look like it will make it, though, and I took the wall-o-water off of it last weekend...just before the most recent cold rain came through.I put some of my basil starts out last weekend too and the roly polies are grateful. When I went out late one night to check for snails on them all I found was a gang of those little crustaceans that the kids like to collect. Apparently they need to collect more and I need to rethink the catch and release system we have in place. I have rings of copper scrub pad surrounding them which does help keep the snails at bay and I dust with diatomaceous earth (DT) but the rain negates the effectiveness of that. The leaves have gotten quite nibbled..I can only hope it heats up and the basil takes off in a big growth spurt outpacing the insect attack. Roly polies seem to cause more plant damage on young, tender growth.I have a few strawberry plants in a small wooden half barrel pot which I decided to move last weekend in preparation for planting the tomatoes. When I picked it up I disturbed a happy family of earwigs. I'm guessing it was an extended family gathering because there were upwards of two hundred earwigs running for cover as I lifted the barrel, which was a little too gross in my opinion. I ran and got my DT shaker (a re-purposed parmesan cheese shaker) and got some on most of them but I'm not counting on that decreasing their numbers significantly. They do, at least, become less of a pest when summer really heats up.

I am hoping to get some seeds into the ground this weekend...we are being told things are going to warm up soon. I would really rather think about fun things like seeds sprouting and tomatoes flowering than creepy crawlies in the garden.