Saturday, April 5, 2014

The difference a year makes

So, I was updating my journal about this year's beds, and dropped into last year's notes to compare.  And it turns out I had taken photos just a day earlier. 

April 5th, 2014

We had a very cold winter, and a much later frost than usual this year.  On March 3rd, we had a low of 24 and then our last frost was on March 4th with a low of 30.  And low temperatures, even when not freezing, were far below normal.

As you can see from the photo below, by this time last year, everything was in bloom.

Now, on the plus side, a closer look at my Damianita (which has grown quite a bit since last year!) has yellow tips at the end of every branch, and I have a few white rose buds just popping out.  I think it another two weeks, this bed may look a little more like the one below!

April 4th, 2013

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My new side bed

And now I have just finished putting 6 bags of mulch on the new side bed.  

Due to the unusually cold winter, I have unfortunately lost some of my new bushes... but some unexpected fighters have survived!

It's dead, Jim!

My bottlebrush is probably dead.  The optimist in me has not given up yet, but I see absolutely no sign of life.  After the first 27 degree low, this plant was looking only half alive. I kept covering it up, but even the last bits of life were lost mid-winter.  I really did love this plant and looking around the neighborhood, I see a bunch of other bottlebrushes that took a heavy hit, but are still alive.  So, I'll see if maybe I can get another one established, and making take a little more care with it on really cold days.

Another one bites the dust
Another plumbago has bit the dust.  No big surprise here, though this guy did hang on for two years and a transplant.  I have killed more of these plants than I care to remember.  At least two maybe three in the porch bed, and this is at least my second in this bed.  But I just love this guy, so I'm going to try again.  This time, I am going to purchase the biggest plumbago I can find, and see if I can't get him established.   But I promise myself, if I kill this one, it will be my last!

And my duranta in the porch planter has died.  I really love this plant, but keeping it is a planted may not be the best plan.  I think I am going to purchase another one and put it somewhere along my side bed.

I will survive!!

On the bright side, my dwarf pomegranate shows signs of life.  This year, instead of cutting it back to three inches as recommended in one of my books, I decided to leave it intact.  He looked kind of messy during the winter, but just this week, I have seen branches that looked incredibly dead spring to life.  I'll keep my eye on it to see how much it recovers!  But I'm thrilled that it shows some life!  That has got to be better than recovering from 3 inch stalks, right?

And I have been looking and looking for signs of life in my American Beautyberry. And just today, when I was mulching, I found this itty bitty sprig of green attached to the base of the plant!  It's alive!!!

And then, while mulching, I had two total surprises.  

Last year, mom and I planted two white phloxes by the bird bath.  They didn't make it through the hot summer, which wasn't all that surprising.  What was surprising was when they both came up this spring?!?  Looking better than ever! Yay!!

And my two to three year old tropicanna, that I replanted last spring is also showing signs of life.  Truth is, it also died during the heat and drought, and I had completely forgotten it, until I was laying down the mulch, and found its pretty little red head sticking up!  Yay again!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Garden is planted!! Let the vegetables begin!

I have just finished mulching the vegetable garden.  Most everything has been planted, and all of the seeds that are going to come up have come up!

Doesn't it look pretty.  Last year I discovered the joys of mulch:  it significantly reduced my weeding.  So this year I mulched over the whole bed.

Planted this year, in the back corner, one cantaloupe and one watermelon. I know, I rarely more than one melon per year, but I just have to try!

Cucumber Update
I planted lots of cucumbers.  I planted three varieties of seeds (see previous post) and then, when nothing came up, I purchased two of the Homemade Pickle cucumbers as plants as well.

Of the seeds I planted, a few of them have come up.  Perhaps the soil temperature was still a bit too cold when I first palnted them?

As of right now, both of the Armenian Burpless piles have just come up, two of the Homemade pickle have risen (one didn't) and none of the English cucumber :o(

Of the plants, one is going strong, and the other has been eaten by something, and is barely hanging on.  

The instructions I had for potatoes said to cover them up with dirt - and that the potato grows from the base of the plant downward, so if you don't cover them up, they won't grow.  

So that is what I did.  The plants look beautiful!!  No idea about the roots :o)

The Tatuma (Calabacita) have not come up at all.  I think I am going to try again.  I only dug a teeny tiny hole and dropped the seed in.  I think next time I am going to dig a deep hole, and then process the soil, and then put in the seed.

But, the container zucchini are just starting to come up!

I also relented and purchased two zucchini plants - the poor squash vine borer can't go hungry, can he?

My instructions for asparagus also said I should start covering them up.  The last time I did that, the shoot died.  But a) I might have started to early, so i waited until they were a little bigger this time and b) with all of the frosts, the death may have had nothing to do with my covering them up.

So i went ahead an starting piling dirt around the tallest of the shoots.  Please don't die!

As of right now, I have a total of 17 of the 40 crowns that are alive.  At this point, I think the other 23 are goners... but hey, 17 is better than non.  You have to start somewhere!

Everything is going along pretty well!  With the tiny bit of rain, and watering every other day, things seem to be working!  

But, as of right now, the only thing we're eating are lettuce and radishes.

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