We certainly have been blessed with gorgeous weather lately. I am happy to report that I have spent more time in the last two weeks in the gardens than I have in the last six months. It has been glorious! I have been cleaning out the abundance of weeds, planting some flowers, some seeds, and some veggie starts. My hope is that the gardens are filled with color this year, and the raised vegetable beds overflow with goodness for the farm table. So far I only have kale in, as it had been so cold and wet this spring. However, now that it has begun to warm up I will be planting the peas this week and hopefully the carrots and beans next. The fruit holds great promise this year. The raspberries have been cleaned out, a new blueberry bush has been added, and the rhubarb is flourishing which brings me great joy as I love using rhubarb in the spring. We have an espalier Asian pear tree that is filled with more buds than we have ever had and the blackberries never disappoint. I anticipate some serious eating on the farm this summer!
I am also excited about the color in the gardens this year. I am continually adding perennials to the gardens as I love the simplicity and reliability of the blooms each spring. However, this year I plan to add a LOT of color – from cosmos to zinnias to hollyhocks and poppies. I want to add more lavender as I find so many uses for the fragrant blooms each summer. I also took some cuttings this past Autumn of three different hydrangea bushes – limelight, climbing, and oak leaf. Unfortunately, my favorite of the three – the limelight – didn’t take. However, the other two did – so I now I have a few of each of those to add to the gardens. I do want to add more limelight along the upper pasture fence as I dream of a long row of beautiful chartreuse blooms lining the eastern border of our property. On the western border I have been planting lilacs over the years since we have lived here. While the season for lilac blooms is short, when it is here I tend to fill every single vase I have in the house with their incredibly scented flowers. We have one old bush in the upper pasture who’s branches are laden with the most beautiful blooms every spring. I climb the ladder to the roof of our carport to cut them by the basketful. They just may be my favorite flower in the spring, as they remind me of my childhood in Minnesota – the bushes there growing so much larger than they do here.
Another thing on my garden wish list this year is tidying up the herb garden. Certain plants – and I am not naming names (although if I was, I would say that it rhymes with poregano) have taken over in the past few years – spreading out and becoming woody and unattractive. And, not to pick on “poregano”, but “flint” has become unruly, while “hives” are popping up everywhere. Thus, yesterday I spent quite a bit of time chopping everyone back to a respectable shape and size and then re-organizing them so that they are not only pretty but easily accessible. I use a lot of herbs when cooking so I need them to have order and be within easy reach. I heard on NPR that in some areas lemon verbena comes back so I have cut her back and am waiting patiently. I do plan to buy another this year though, regardless, as the leaves on the verbena are so incredibly lemony and I love using them in simple syrups. My poor rosemary took a hit again this year with the cold and are looking rather forlorn right now. I will be adding a few more of those as well as that is something I use a LOT.
All in all, I think this is going to be a wonderful year in the gardens. Admittedly it becomes easier each year to organize my plans and stay on top of the work that needs to be done. The perennials become larger and more prolific each spring and by adding a few more each year I am creating a fairly low-maintenance border inside of which I get to play with different looks and color schemes. It truly is one of my favorite ways to pass a morning or afternoon – the sound of the birds in the background, the sun on my back, and my hands in the dirt.
Have a marvelous week mes amies – enjoy spring wherever you may be~