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The Urban Gardener – Spring 2013

The daffodils have come and gone and are now a distant memory until next year. We’re getting a late start on our herb and vegetable garden this year because the cooler temps just will not let go. Last year were were installing a new herb garden on May 7th.  We bought our new herbs today and will plant them tomorrow, May 11th.  The good news is we did not have to buy hardly any new mints this year.  They all came back, along with lemon thyme and some sage, in fact you could say they are flourishing.  Here’s what the herb garden looks like right now.  Most of that is Kentucky Spearmint, all from just one plant last year.

DSCN0038We’ve decided to spare it and will transplant some of it to our back flower bed as filler and ground covering.  It really helps keep the weeds at bay. It also blooms a pretty purple and white flower late in the season.  I pulled lots of it for my herb wreath last year, and we also made sun tea with it.  So, it will definitely go to good use.

This week we saw our first iris bloom.  It appears to be a dwarf iris which I have not identified yet even after looking back through the identification cards I always save. Sadly, it isn’t in a bright sunny position in the yard, so it could have been easily overlooked.  This is why it surprised me to have bloomed first. It currently has two beautiful deep maroon blooms and has buds for two more.

DSCN0036Our purple alliums are also starting to bloom.  Last year I moved several of these to isolated locations because they each only have one stem and the dogs were trampling them.  Well, some that I didn’t dig up are striving again.  Here’s a picture of the first big one to bloom.  I’m not going to move this one, but he’ll have some buddies next year that I will move from another spot to join him.

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The broom shrubs which are evergreens are also in full bloom already. We had planted a third one last year, but lost it in the summer.  We were afraid we’d lose these two with that late snow we got in March that was so heavy laden on them. But they made it and are doing great.  That’s both of them in the pic at the very top. And here’s the yellow one.  It’s probably about three feet tall, but has spread out quite a bit thanks to that snow weighing its branches down. DSCN0029And here’s the pink one with J next to it.  J is 5’8″ and when we bought this bush two years ago it was probably barely 3 feet tall so you can see how much it’s grown. It would probably be as tall as him had the snow not weighted it down and caused it to spread out as well.

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Lastly, I got a fire pit for my birthday!  We’ve been wanting one forever.  After putting it together two weeks ago, we cleaned up the patio and rearranged the furniture.  We are thinking of adding some more potted plants to it this year.  It’s nothing fancy and we don’t do much entertaining out there, but it is the anchor to the back of the yard so we like for it to look presentable.

Who wants s’mores?

DSCN0037What’s next?

We’ll plant the herbs and vegetable garden tomorrow.  Other than that, we’ve got more irises just about to bloom, including some of the new ones that we didn’t get to see last year because of the late April hail storm.  More pics to follow!

So what’s new in your garden?  What favorite spring flower are you looking forward to?  What are you going to plant this year?

The Urban Gardener – Week 6

Nothing to post last week for Week 5.  We’re still in the growing stages for the next round of blooms.  The mad rain and hail we’ve been getting pretty much hammered the tulips into nothing but a stalky existence.  The daffodils also passed last week. I plan to clip off the dead flowers but leave the green leaves up a bit longer just as a nice simple border around the front walkway and as filler in the back beds.

I counted the hosta yesterday in the back yard.  We have 26 just in the back thanks to splitting quite a few last year, and I believe there are about 5 to 6 different varieties.   Most are still a bit small right now, mainly the ones we split.  The more established ones are much bigger.  The picture is not of ours, but it is four of the types of hosta we do have in the yard. I believe there are at least two hosta in the front beds.  We’ve kept them to a minimum there because there isn’t much room but I may change that just to continue to fill the front beds in more.

Speaking of the front beds, the irises are more filled in and there are several blooms on one side.  I don’t think the orange ones I planted last October are going to bloom this year though.  They are still pretty small.  So the ones that are about to bloom will probably be the next picture.

In the back, there is one allium bloom almost completely open.  This is my favorite flower and one that we have a lot of.  I still have yet to see hints of any of the yellow ones I planted. These are such a strange delicate flower too.  Their leaves are almost too long and they spill out over the ground like tentacles of an octopus rather than standing up and protecting the flower.

Unfortunately, the dogs have trampled a few and snapped the stalks off so we lose a few each year before they even bloom. This will be their second year in the bed for the purple ones, the first year for the yellow if they bloom.

Hopefully, if the rain lets up I’ll have a few decent pics to post by the end of the week.