Saturday, April 30, 2011

Going Native: by Mail Order

I ordered a good number of plants this year by mail. Mostly because I am really interested in planting native plants and they can be difficult to find in a local nursery. (I usually have a running list in my head and if I do happen to see a native plant on that mental list in a local nursery, I purchase it.) But this year I wanted to plant my new woodland edge border and came up with a loose plan so I had a specific plants in mind.

I ordered from three sources: Amanda's Garden, White Oak Nursery and Prairie Moon. Amanda's Garden and White Oak Nursery are local to New York State. Prairie Moon I have ordered from several times. I am extremely pleased with all the plants I've received.

I stored each shipment in my shed where it would be out of the sun and remain cool. I really try to plant within a day or two upon receiving. Right now this order is waiting to be planted and tomorrow is the day. Fortunately the weather looks dry. All of the plants I received came with detailed instructions on how to plant.

Earlier shipments of plants that have been planted for several weeks now, all look great. I have buds and tiny leaves! I cannot wait to feature each of these plants in future going native posts. I become more native all the time and here's why: I love the insects and birds. I hope a toad visits my garden this year. I think my garden is ready. Going native really does make a difference when it comes to wildlife. But native plants also have beautiful flowers, and leaves, and textures, and seed heads, and fragrance, and can be stunning in the garden. With mail order you can be sure to find one to fall in love with. We'll see how my new, mainly native-designed woodland edge border grows up.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Project: Planting Trees at Zenda Farm Preserve

Today I helped plant trees at Zenda Farm Preserve. What better way to spend Arbor Day! Though conditions were not ideal, we toughed it out. The weather did cooperate today (as in no rain), but our soggy Spring sure made planting difficult.

 Zenda Farm is part of the Thousand Island Land Trust (TILT). It used to be a dairy farm but now its pastures are preserved for nesting grassland birds, as well as its agricultural history. Zenda Farm also houses a community garden of which I hope to be a part this year. To learn more about TILT and its preserves click here.

Together we planted twenty shade trees in the adjoining meadow across the road. Maples, red and pin oaks, and lacebark elms were among the varieties planted. These trees were big! Because the trees were large, we did stake them. I did learn that nurseries tend to plant trees this large deep in their pots so they will stand up straight. When planting, it is a good idea to remove the top layer of dirt to where the trunk just begins to flare. It is at this flare that the tree should be level with the ground. Fortunately for us the holes were pre-dug with a back hoe. Unfortunately, the rain for the past several days turned them into mini ponds. So, our first step was to bail out the planting holes – a very muddy business.

Towards the end, we relied on a higher power to fill in the holes. Mucky, clay soil is he-e-e-eavy. I never thought a shovel (or my feet) could weigh so much! It gave new meaning to the terms mud season and muck boots. Peat moss was added to amend the soil and each tree was mulched.

This project required a bit more physical effort than my other projects. I think I will need a bit of "medicine," (gin to be exact), to ease sore muscles. I drive by this meadow quite frequently on my way to the dump and to collect spring water. I look forward to seeing these trees grow. Before we even finished planting, a bird perched on one of the trees. Now that's a good sign. Happy Arbor Day to you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In The Garden Today

I fully intended to offer you a project of the month today anticipating yet more rain and working inside my garden shed, but the day turned out to be beautiful! Sunshine and warmth ... the warmest day we have had so far, dare I say 80° F or more? So, of course, I dropped everything and headed outside to the garden but, oh so soggy! Not much to do when the ground squishes beneath your garden shoes and splashes mud on your feet and legs. So, I dragged up some potted plants who have suffered the winter in the cellar and are now enjoying the outdoors and, yes, more rain. Thunderstorms. How I love a good thunderstorm, so it is okay. But I had to share my daffodils, a drift of sunshine and warmth much like today.

Pine siskins also visited today and enjoyed the nyger seed – do you see them? They are on the hanging feeder. You'll have to trust my identification. I ordered mulch at our local nursery. Couldn't resist a low grow fragrant sumac and bluecrop blueberry. Out they sit in their pots in the garden waiting to be planted and enjoying the thunderstorms. How I love to listen to the rain at night. Peace to you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What's Growing

Inside my seedlings continue to grow. The scarlet runner and purple hyacinth beans are really taking off. I've had to pot them up. I need to address the tomatoes next. They really should be potted up. The peppers are just starting. I had been putting all these seedlings outside on my covered front porch a couple hours a day for better sun but it has stayed so cold here that some of them actually shriveled right up and died! (Sort of like spring.) I have been keeping them indoors all day since then. Most bounced right back. Hopefully next week will warm up a bit. I am sure they can't wait to get their roots into the earth. How hopeful I am when I look at these starts and think of Earth Day. What better way to celebrate than to expand the garden, feed its soil and us, too!

Outside (in the near freezing cold) my milk jug plantings are just sprouting – so far hyssop and larkspur.

Back in the potager, things are starting to happen.


Garlic Chives & Chives

Snap Peas
This year I planted my peas really early after reading that in the Northeast, peas should be planted after St. Patrick's Day. I think that may be why my peas have not always done so well. Hopefully, this year, starting out in the cold (and it is c-c-cold), they will do better. We sure will find out!

Friday, April 15, 2011

What's Blooming

I believe these are Glory of the Snow, Chionodoxa. I planted them for the first time last fall and they are just beginning to pop up. They should naturalize over time.

The daffodils should open any minute! They are starting to fill out and form nice drifts.

Another new addition last year, scilla 'Spring Beauty,' a brilliant blue. The new, tight balls of blooms remind me of berries.

Most of my reticulated iris and early crocus are already done blooming, with the exception of Blue Pearl crocus. Blue Pearl is in its first year and I hope it naturalizes over the next few years to form bigger clumps.

Garden bloggers' bloom day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens the 15th of each month. Stop by and add your blog to the list so we can see what's springing up in your garden.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April Showers

Raindrops keep falling on my ...

... crocus blooms. And just like the guy whose feet are too big to tread in my flower bed, those raindrops keep falling ...

... and falling on my buds. So I just did some talking to the sun to shine things up and warm my bleeding hearts. But raindrops keep falling on my sedum heads. They keep falling ...

... on my blue spruce. But beautiful blue will not defeat me. It won't be long until Spring unfurls to greet me.

Raindrops keep falling and falling on my head, but that doesn't mean my iris will soon be turning red.

No my tulips will turn red instead.

So I'm not complaining that it keeps on raining because you see ...

... rabbits and deer won't eat my daffodils, so nothing's worrying me. Raindrops keep falling but I'll have May flowers from these April showers and that's fine by me.


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