Hello hello. The snow and frost are gone and we’re back to our normal springtime weather, which is to say, it rains a lot less and sometimes the sun comes out, but it still isn’t very warm, though this weekend might creep into the 60s. OooOOOooh.
I have the greenhouse going and all’s well there, though. Lots of bareroot hostas, peonies, bleeding heart, and tricyrtis are potted up and sprouting in big pots, and I have several seed flats doing their things. I have tomato seeds sprouting on a heat mat indoors, and wow, are they ever gratifying. So vigorous compared to the perennial seeds out in the greenhouse.
I saved seeds from a punnet of Trader Joe’s “heirloom” cherry tomatoes. They came in four colors, red, orange, yellow, and chocolate, and I wanted to see if they’d 1. grow and 2. come true to their parents. So far they’ve done item 1 in abundance, with a germination rate of over 75%. If they really are heirlooms then the fruit will be like their parents and I’ll be in clover as far as tomato seed is concerned.
As far as actual blooming plants, those are still pretty thin on the ground. Hellebores and snowdrops are the main show.
The last two years, I bought half-price clearance hellebores from an online retailer I’d been used to ordering from. Their plants are quite small though, and don’t hold up well to the fungi and viruses that are so rampant around here. I haven’t lost any, but some are puny even after having a year to get their roots down. So this year I sprang for two full-price, big, healthy new hellebores from a nearby nursery. This is a better way to do it. They’ll bloom–a lot–next year, and resist disease.
The camellias are also blooming, which is the latest we’ve ever seen them do it. I think this is because I pruned them too late last summer and took off many of the developing buds, but they’re probably due for a solid dose of compost and some special feeding this year, too.
I planted a lot of fritillary bulbs last fall, but this spring I couldn’t resist buying some pots of them already in the green. Those are beginning to bloom for me now, and they make me want to grow nothing but fritillaries, everywhere, all the time.
Besides seed starting and bud-watching, gardening at this time of year is about cleaning up. The new shade garden–I call it the Secret Garden–is under a line of black pines that drop needles and sticks in the winter windstorms, so before everything begins to grow I’m raking out the big chunks, leaving the rest to rot into ericaceous compost, which is what the plants in that area like. It’s not glamorous work, but it’s necessary. Also on the docket: use sharp sand and a push broom to scrub moss off the hard surfaces; spread nutritious compost in beds that want it; and for pity’s sake, keep a record of where the spring bulbs are planted, so I know where to plant MORE in the fall.
That’s it for the garden round-up. I am writing more books, baking bread, KonMari-ing the house, and cooking up more knitting patterns, too. Look for a new sock pattern release as soon as I can finish knitting the model. I really love this one!