Marty’s Gardening Journal, May 16th, 2009

The garden in May 09As I walked around the garden, I discovered a few treasures. Jack in the Pulpit, a native plant received from a friend’s garden last year, came back up in all four spots where I had planted it. Two plants were large enough to flower; the other two undoubtedly will flower next year as well. The trillium, another native, continues to get bigger and flowered as well. Starting out with white flowers which last for weeks, the flowers gradually turn pink before they wither and disappear.

Having sprinkled columbine seeds all over the garden last spring and fall, I now find the paths lined by columbine plants in a range of colors. There is blue, white, blue and white combined, pink, and pink and white. I also came across a dark red variety not previously seen in my garden. The foliage of the plants is pretty to look at as well The only possible problem with this plant (aside from easy reseeding) is the fact that the leaves sometimes get invaded by leafminers. Leafminers are the tiny larvae of certain fly species which tunnel between the layers of the leaves, leaving spots and winding trails on the leaves. The easiest way to deal with it is to cut off the foliage when it looks ratty and dispose of it. Soon thereafter fresh foliage will reappear. Aside from that, the plants are easy to care for and they come back bigger and more floriferous each year. If you want to avoid an overabundance of seedlings, remove the seedheads before they release the seeds. One flowerstalk on a plant will produce many flowers over several weeks, so you will need to keep your eyes open to remove seedheads as they appear. When most flowering is done, just remove the entire flowerstalk and you will be left with a mound of foliage for the rest of the growing season.

Sometime in late April, while I was vacationing and puttering around the garden, I brought all the plants which overwintered indoors, back outside. Orchids were put back in the gazebo; fuchsias were potted up and put close to the house. On a few nights, when temperatures dipped low, I covered up the fuchsias to protect them from frost. While I took a gamble bringing plants out early, my luck held. Now, weeks later with warming temperatures, growth is evident on each plant and flowers are reappearing. The Angel’s trumpet or Brugmansia was moved up to a bigger pot and a large cutting was taking from this plant. With the cutting potted up as well, both plants were put outdoors in a sunny location on either side of the front door. With luck, and lots of warm weather, their large trumpet shaped flowers will start appearing soon.

With the sitting area in the front garden now completed, I went out and bought a few plants to provide some screening from the street. An entire flower bed will be dug up and replanted so I can lure The Spouse outside on a balmy evening, allowing him to sit in relative privacy. All this work for a city kid who hung out on the stoop with his friends, commenting on every passerby, and who is now growing shy in the suburbs. However, it enables me to kick out the bed a bit and usurp some more lawn while no one is looking, or so I hope. A new project for the Memorial Day weekend; life is good!

Spring garden coming back to lifeMother Earth iris and Dancing Butterfly peoniesClematis (unknown variety)Lupine and  pink Columbine