We are in full swing spring bloom! Currently the work I am doing in the garden is simple maintenance. Weeding, fertilizing, trimming, deadheading, and watering have been the bulk of my to do list. We have a tent/garden party scheduled for May 7 and the goal is to have the garden in its best shape for it. Unfortunately, my irises are about a week ahead and the poppies are a week late, so there will be some bare spots in the landscape. I have been working very hard to keep up with the weeds. In addition, I have been using Scott’s Super Bloom fertilizer in every watering of pots and containers and window boxes to maximize the blooms. I believe that a healthy start assures a better bloom season. Once the containers are about a month old, I will fertilize once or twice a week.
Updates: The bog garden is slowly bouncing back and pitcher plants are forming roots. I still have one flat of winter started seedlings to find a home including scabiosa, salpiglossis, marigold, a six pack of vinca, and a few foxglove. I am still growing cleome, red and white double petunia, pineapple and chocolate mint coleus, zinnias, sunflower and silver falls dichondra.
New: This week a friend gifted me a Fleur Farm Dahlia gift certificate. I had watered her seedlings in her high tunnel a few weekends prior when she was out of town. While not necessary at all as she and I exchange plants often, it was a lovely gesture, I ordered 5 dahlia and am excited to see them in bloom. I ordered Zundert Mystery Fox, Jowey Martina, Arabian Night, Milena Fleur and Crème de Cassis. In addition to the dahlias I also ordered more dwarf zinnia seeds for the front of my summer borders from Swallowtail Seeds. I will start those as soon as they arrive. I love Zahara zinnias for their ability to fill containers, and spill, over the edge of my raised beds, so ordered a couple of those varieties.
All in all, the big work is winding down and the maintenance and enjoyment phase of the season is dialing up. Below are some photos of what bloomed this week:
The week was warm with daytime temps topping at 81 and evenings in the low 50’s. Certainly a bit warmer than expected. My biggest issue this week was the grow houses. Because the garage temps were so warm, the interior of the grow hut I monitor was hitting 90! Some of the seedlings were starting to become stressed so I opened the vents and turned on the in-line fan which drops the humidity and totally dries out the flats too quickly. I decided to take some of the older seedlings out to begin the hardening off process. This way, they get daytime sun and a nice moderate temperature in the garage at night. I can put them back in the grow houses if we see temps plummet, but with temps this high, I had to make the move to keep the seedlings healthy.
I spent the end of the week installing and fixing existing irrigation. Currently, the garden irrigation misses the entire back corner and, although there’s not much there, what is there is suffering. My hope is to run the irrigation once weekly during dry spells to keep that area from dying. The incrediball hydrangeas in that corner last year were really not doing well due to lack of water. I can’t drag a hose out there in the heat anymore when I see stressed plants. It’s just too much work! There are only so many showers I’m willing to take a day. If you live in the Deep South, you know!
In addition to adding a line to the back, I added a drip emitters to the olive tree on my porch and to the large planter at the end of my sidewalk. Large planters require more water than I can bother with during the summer heat. These planters are now hooked to the drip lines on our automated system. They’ll run when the lawn is watered. The shrubs out front, 2 azaleas and a yellow knockout rose, were also placed on emitters.
This week I had an aphid issue in the grow house. The schizanthous and clitoria vine as well as some peppers were covered almost overnight. I used neem and water washing, and seem to have it under control. The neem can cause burns under the light, so these plants had to come out of the grow houses too. My garage floor is slowly filling up. I put flats on a tarp and drag it in an out to harden off.
I decided to pot up schizanthous and 6 tomatoes. I saw a video this week with schizanthous that looked leggy and miserable and the person in the video did not realize that they had not provided ample lighting. Everything I’ve read about these shows beautiful more upright plants, but the video showed 2 ft long bare, droopy stems with a few leaves at the end. I’ve never grown these and really want nice full ones- not leggy, leafless ones, so decided to give them a coveted pot upgrade. Very out of character fir me as I’m a “sink or swim gardener”. I’m an avid gardener but have limited space, time and pots to pot up during my seedling growing process. I have to make decisions about what gets upgraded and what can remain rootbound until they go outside. This is why I start my seeds based on the times on the packets. Starting all at once puts plants in a situation where they are ready to go outside in winter and not spring. Not ideal!!
Lastly, I started started 3 new projects. First, I repotted some of the healthier perennial herbs from my weedy pot bound herb garden. This was formerly 3 tubtrugs in a child’s wagon. The wagon (my second new project) is now in the garden and will be home for summer succulents. The herbs are in a wine barrel on my deck where I can get to them quickly and easily while cooking. More will be added after last frost. I have dill, basil and mixed mint in my grow house.
My third project is a bog garden. I have spiral juncus from a friend and two pitcher plants I purchased as well as some iris that like wet feet. I’m using an old mini pond form about 8 inches deep to create this. It will be on irrigation and not drained to assure that it stays fairly wet. I’m still planning the details on this one.. but the form is out, to inspire me. Currently it has dirt from the irrigation dig in it… but hoping to get ideas by the next update. I’m considering putting a small solar bubbler in it to let me know when it’s too dry.