Friday Garden News: May 17

Keeping a garden journal is important if you want to do well by your garden and if you have literally anything else in your life to keep track of. I have been journaling by hand this year, and so far I’ve kept it up, but to be honest I find it cumbersome to write by hand and I end up eliding information. So let’s try writing a Friday blog post every week, detailing what has happened in the garden, for future reference.

Let’s see. Last Friday was May 10. What has happened since then.

A freak heat wave of 80+ temperatures broke. High temps are back around 60-ish and last night we had a good, solid rain shower. NWS says we got half an inch, but a bucket left out overnight had a solid two inches in it. Everything is soaked and happy, except the cerastium.


I am finally picking lettuce. Red Sails leaf lettuce, three romaine mix, and radicchio Bel Fiore make an attractive and tasty salad mix. I ended up with bark chips in this batch no matter how many times I rinsed. Be more careful picking in future.
The Rattlesnake beans are germinating, which means I’m nervous about the places they haven’t germinated yet. Potatoes are coming up everywhere: where I planted them this year, where I planted them last year, and in the raised beds filled with compost. There will be lots of potatoes to dig this summer. Three of the shallot plants bolted, probably due to that freak late frost that also burned the potato leaves. Apparently shallots bolting means the bulbs won’t develop further, so I dug them and used them to make risotto. Tasty.
Other things are growing on happily: tomatoes, artichokes, kale, fava beans, basil, dill, cilantro, and leeks. Parsley and pepper seedlings are coming along nicely. Now where the hell do I put them?
Time to sow zucchini and pumpkins soon, though the weather forecast isn’t particularly warm.


Cut flowers
I am now cutting sweet peas. I planted them last fall so the plants grew on all winter and are enormous. They did not climb their supports, but they’re so huge and tangled that they sort of prop each other up. All other cutting flowers that have been put into beds are growing nicely. Seeded bachelor’s buttons Classic Romantic Mix where the lettuce was.


Sunny borders
The hardy geraniums are blooming in the sunny borders, and columbines, and saxifrages (still). Tulips, daffodils, and Italian anemones are over. Salvias and peonies are budding, and the Festiva Maxima peonies I started two years ago are startlingly huge. They might be best in the mid-back. I moved the LHB’s globe thistles to the right-and-proper back, which made me feel better about everything. Dahlias are popping up. Divided and moved three non-blooming bearded iris from the terrace into the sunny borders. Cor, I really need to get started on the RHB. The weeds are taking over. Also the rose is huge.


Lots of symbolic effort there this week. Moved two peonies from the round corral into there. Planted eragrostis Wind Dancer, Verbena bonariensis, and tons of ammi along the end of the path. Planted a swath of globe thistles and another of verbascum Southern Charm. Planted the three Humpback Whale hostas in a pod under the laurel. The regular foxgloves are sprouting up ready to bud. The strawberry foxgloves are sulking.


Shade garden
Added three maidenhead ferns and three strawberry begonias. Dug up some handfuls of bigroot geranium to spread around. Deadheaded Narcissus thalia, pulmonaria, and brunnera. Mulched some more but not finished.
Things there are *so happy*. It gives me joy. I want another trio of lady ferns. The black snakeroot is finally happy, hooray, and sending up all kinds of new fronds.


The fig twig is dead. The Italian plum is finally leafing out. I hope this rainfall did it good. Found a source for Cox’s Orange Pippin trees: Stark Bros. Best pollinator is Cortland, so will get one of those too. In the fall.


Pastures and hedgerows
Hawthorn is in bloom, hooray. Also buttercups and the teeny purple-and-yellow frondy things. Hummingbirds have nested, and give me hell.

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