When the weather starts to warm up, as far as the garden is concerned it is definitely holier if it’s earlier. The whole holier if it’s earlier is a familial joke having to do with my great aunts who loved mass at 6 a.m. every day during the week. It does apply to gardening too, however. When it gets warm you either water before the heat of the day, or after the heat of the day. I like before (or early morning) because I grow roses and it cuts down on rose diseases like black spot and mildew when I water first thing in the morning.
This morning I was out there a little before 7 a.m. The garden in summer is so extra beautiful in the early morning hours. The birds are at their morning songs and it’s cool and quiet. It’s peaceful and a terrific way to start your day.
This morning I had to feed everything front side and woods side so it was a process. Today I used fish emulsion. Specifically I have been using Alaska Brand Fish Fertilizer which you can buy lots of places, including Home Depot. The drawback is your garden smells like dead fish for an hour or so after you apply but the plus side is plants love the stinky stuff.
I also had to dead head the roses and some of the zinnias that bloomed early. I had to stake up some droopy plants here and there, including a few sun flowers. I don’t grow the giant sun flowers, but I choose these Italian sunflowers that are of a more compact growth habit and are a deep red. They only get 2 to 3 feet tall. These plants I bought because the Mexican red sunflower seeds I planted were duds.
This was not the year for seeds for me. The only seeds that have come up at all are the wildflower seeds I bought on eBay for the woods. Because the ice storm did mother nature pruning and opened up the tree canopy, I saw it as an opportunity to enjoy some additions to the garden.
The change in light due to this winter’s ice storm has presented me with a lot of planting opportunities, truthfully. I have had all sorts of plants pop up since spring broke that did not have the light for years to emerge. I had blood root for the first time, amazing Jack in The Pulpits, and what I think are wild hydrangeas. A plant that I thought was a wild dogwood and is about eight feet tall bloomed for the first time and it is a viburnum of some sort. I have no idea as to the cultivar.
Plants I initially thought were goners after the winter have surprised me with new growth. A couple of other viburnum and itea (Virginia Sweet Spire) have resurrected themselves and my Pistachio hydrangeas which I thought were totally dead have sprouted from the base of the plants much to my surprise- I don’t think they will bloom this year but they are alive! A mystery shrub that came with the house that I couldn’t identify until it bloomed this year is some sort of old fashioned wigelia. It was greatly overgrown when we bought the house and last year I gave it a big hair cut and it rewarded me with blooming this year even after the winter we had.
Some plants did not make it. I lost a bunch of ferns and my inherited caryopteris. Plants damaged by the hail storm we had a few weeks ago are finally starting to recover. Well except for that hydrangea named Annabelle that came from White Flower Farm. I am not sure if it will make it or I will rip it out in frustration. It may just end up as one of those failure to thrive kind of plants.
The break in my tree canopy was a good excuse to start more woods-edge planting beds. So I have started one on a slight incline that is growing well. I planted witch hazels, elderberries (I planted the dark leaved ones “Black Lace” and “Black Beauty”), oak leaf hydrangeas (I can’t remember the cultivar names but they will have white flowers.) , some ferns, hostas, lily turf, day lilies, spice bush, spider wort, and mountain mint. It sounds like a lot of plants, but everything is spread out.
A garden takes years to evolve, so I am but at the beginning of what I want to do. But I will tell you it is so satisfying. And a garden in the morning is such a slice of heaven. Of course today, heaven came with a price – something stung me around one of my eyes. It doesn’t hurt, but it is swollen and a friend to Benadryl. Yuck.
Tell me how your gardens grow! Thanks for stopping by!
Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow