Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My garden, my friend

I am enjoying getting lost in my garden again.

I can't wait to get home from work and see what grew in those eight hours since I last checked them. It's such a welcome reprieve from the stress that I feel lately - like when I'm having a bad day at the office, or the family is driving me nuts or when life is giving me lemons and I'm too exhausted to try and make lemonade.

It is then that I turn to my good friend - my garden. She rarely disappoints me, and if she does, I'll always find a reason to forgive her. She has been with me in good times and bad and no matter what comes my way, I can always find comfort in her. And this week, I need her.

Enough of my drivel. Let's look at what's happening outside ...

This lungwort is almost blossoming and is very lush. I think the pink blossoms are a week away. I love the spotted leaves.

This terra cotta-colored yarrow is getting quite big already for being only early May. I hear these spread rapidly. God only knows what this will look like in August. Yikes!

I transplanted this perennial bachelor button (Centaurea montana) this spring. I was a little nervous having it in the backyard after all the deer feasted in their growing area so I moved it to the front of the house. It transplanted incredibly well.

My good friend Ang gave me this special breast cancer-themed dahlia. Problem is.... the tag doesn't indicate if it's a perennial or annual and I've never grown dahlias. Can someone tell me what to do with it?!?!? Is it better potted in a container or in the ground? This plant has extra special meaning to me as my mom (aunt and first cousin) all had breast cancer.

I'm trying to keep the field rock look in my backyard and took out all the pavers around this portion near the deck. For Mother's Day, my husband said he'd create a nice sunny corner for me near the deck too (pictured below). I can always use another sheltered sunny location.

Any ideas for this area?

And now to my "What is up with this?" section:

This cushion spurge is barely there - I'm afraid it has winter kill. Does this look healthy to you?

Same goes for the Russian Sage - I see it starting to come up all over town but not in my backyard. Does this look like it's gone? Is it OK to Miracle Grow these plants - or is it too early?


Connie said...

Dahlia would be an annual in your zone, but if you plant it in the ground, you can dig up the tubers in the fall, keep them over winter and then replant next year. I'm not sure how they do in containers, as I've never tried it, but you might want to pot up to a larger container.

I would give your perennials a little more time before assuming they are dead, some things just take longer to emerge.

So glad you can get out and enjoy your garden...it is indeed a great stress buster!

Susie said...

I'm with Connie on those last two things. Sometimes some plants just take a little longer to emerge than others.

I know what you mean about having bad days. This was probably the worst day I have had in a very long time. I came home(after my run) and pruned my Knock-Out roses. They looked much happier and I felt better afterward. Gardening is such great therapy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Beth,

I was just thinking about you and your gardens yesterday!! I'm patiently waiting for my lupines to bloom. I have the highest concentration of plants in the very area where I didn't plant any seeds.
What's the lesson here?

Loved your post. Glad that you have your gardens to go to for some solace.

xox Barb

ChrisND said...

The garden is always a special place -- outside of the rest of world.

This is now an exciting time. So many things are sprouting and coming back from the winter I keep checking and then informing everyone in the house what I found....funny thing is I think the excitement is rubbing off.

A new garden space will be fun. We expanded the vegetable garden this year. It will be nice to see the extra harvest.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Beth,
Agreed with Connie about the Dahlia ... if you want to keep it, dig it in the fall and store in the basement in some peat moss in a dark place and plant out in the spring after frost. We gave up on dahlias because they attract so many nasty earwigs, but they are gorgeous flowers nonetheless!

I'd give your other stuff time too ... our sage has yet to emerge here, which seems odd but we remain hopeful.

I'd say that if you're not sure what perennials to put in your new sunny beds, why not just do a bunch of Zinnias and Cosmos there for now? The Cosmos will self-seed for you and you can take the time to figure out which sunny perennials to put there, though Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) would probably be a good choice for you as well. Of course, advice is free, so do with it what you will!

And yes, the garden is the best therapy (a therapist once actually told me this, so it must be true! lol)

garden girl said...

Good morning Beth, I hope your slow-emerging plants are just that and not really gonners.

Working in the garden is good therapy, as is just sitting out there enjoying it, and poking around looking for surprises. I can't imagine life without a garden!

Kim in Fargo, ND said...

Don't get discouraged about your Russian sage, especially if this is it's first winter. I also garden in Fargo and have had new Russian sage wait until almost Memorial day before they start to leaf out. One suggestion I'd make is to not trim back the branches so severly next fall. Russian sage in my garden buds on old wood well before new stems emerge. In North Dakota, patience is a virtue. I'd also wait a while on the eurphorbia. Those things are tough as old shoe leather

Beth said...

OK, so the general concensus is that I'm probably being impatient with my perennials! :O) I'll give them a few more weeks and give another accessment.

Connie: That's a good idea on the Dahlia. I dug out my planters and that will be my Mother's Day project.

Susie: Knock-out roses would make me smile too!

Dear sister Barb: Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. A friend of mine gave me lupine seeds that I'm going to try. Lupines always remind me of Maine! As far as more plants in the area you didn't seed - do lupines self sow? That could do it ...

Chris: That's too funny! The excitement rubbed off on my family years ago. Nobody gets it ... that's why I come here for camaraderie!

IVG: So, it's just not MY sage that isn't doing anything! :O) Wow, I would think in Iowa these would be really getting going. Zinnias and cosmos is a must in my garden and they will go in that one spot that I had pictured (the longer and more narrow one). I have started the dwarf yellow cosmos which I can't wait to see how they turn out. I planted gaillardia too - but I'm not seeing much signs of life yet.

Linda: Yes, trying not to get discouraged but the growing season is so short that I want it all to bloom now!

Kim: Thanks for dropping by! Yes, it's the first winter. But you know, I don't remember chopping it down that much last fall - wondering if some of the wildlife didn't eat some of it. Maybe Memorial Day?!? :O)

The cushion spurge looked really good last year so that's why I'm a little concerned that it's not bouncing back yet.