Friday, May 10, 2013

In Gardening News

Nothing is happening in our backyard oasis-to-be. Yet. We’ve had a lot of rain recently, which prevents landscapers from working. I'm trying hard to be patient as all of the lovely spring mornings slip away and I have nowhere outside to sit with my coffee (except on the stairs, which isn't the same thing).

My irises are blooming! These are bulbs that we divided from the old house and transplanted after we moved. They originated at my husband’s childhood home in Iowa, and they bloom every Mother’s day. Last year, we got a good crop of leaves but only one or two lonely flower stalks, likely due to the transplanting shock. This year, there are dozens. But it seems that only one variety of the four that we brought from the old house has actually survived, as all of the blooms so far are the same color pattern. I have a box full of additional iris bulb parts that I ran out of room for—I may find a spot in the yard this fall and plant them and see if any will still re-grow after a two-year vacation.

We did put in one small flower bed ourselves. About 8x2 along the side of the garage, with a basic brick-like concrete paver edging. The idea was to dress up a large square of boring vinyl siding (it’s the side of the garage, so there aren’t even windows). But we also filled it with perennials in bulb form, so we might not get many blooms this year. I'd share a picture, but right now it looks like dirt, literally. We planted clematis, peonies, bleeding heart, and callas. I still need to find a trellis or two for the clematis to climb.

We had more bulbs than we could use in that small space, so we added some to a small bed we have going in one corner of the backyard. That spot got an elephant ear, two more peonies, and a rhododendron that we planted last spring in a spot that will soon be covered with patio. The sad part is that we had all the various bulbs sititng in the garage for over a month, but every time we would have free time, it would rain (and/or nearly freeze). I suppose this is better than last year’s drought, assuming the plantlings still grow.

On the subject of too much rain and recurring near-freezing temperatures: the really lovely purple basil plant in my veggie garden seems done for. Nary a leaf left. The green basil looks precarious. Rosemary and oregano are happy as clams (except that clams would be really unhappy in a Midwestern veggie garden). Two tomatoes look sickly but not dead yet . The first wave of lettuce is starting to come in. I’m betting that we’re done with the near-freezing, as I sowed various pepper varieties directly in the garden (they would produce faster if I started them indoors earlier in the spring, but I always lose them in the transplanting process).

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