Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The First Full Day of Spring

It's the first full day of spring, and I started 400 zinnia seeds under lights in my dining room today. I took a quick stroll around my gardens. Compared with gardeners south of here, I have few blooms. I appreciate the infrequent ones I find: crocus, hellebore, and (today) Pulmonaria's pretty pink and blue flowers. I have considerably more snowdrops this year -- thanks to Frank of Sorta Like Suburbia. Daffodil tips are appearing everywhere, and even a few tulips. Spring will be fabulous when it ultimately arrives at Astolat.

Garden planning is well underway for the new gardening year. I began, as always, with an assessment of last year's gardens for what worked and what didn't.

Four gardens that worked well in 2022. Clockwise from top left - Serenity Garden, Rain Garden, the all-white Stone Garden, and the bountiful Kitchen Garden

Although the Serenity Garden is working well, I plan a few changes: Adding more foxgloves and some lavender and replacing the lamium. The lamium ground cover is pretty in spring when blooming, but the leaves turn black when the temperature soars in July. I ordered some hardy plumbago (Ceratostigma) to begin the replacement process.

I planted more annuals in the Cottage Garden last year and the zinnias were lovely. This year I want to remove some of the aggressive gooseneck loosestrife and add the native Babtisia 'Twilight Prairieblues.' Of course, I ordered delphinium, a cottage garden must have, that behaves like an annual in my garden. In addition, I am increasing the hollihocks plants. There were few blooming last year.

 My most successful garden in 2022 was the new meadow:

I will reseed the meadow with annuals and hope some perennials make an appearance this summer.

This year, I gave seed purchases, plant purchases, and my garden design more thought than usual, as my garden must be at its best for the photo shoots for my book. I sometimes tell clients, 'Do as I say, not as I do,' but now I'm trying to match what I do with what I write in the book. For example, I include companion planting in a chapter on vegetables. Although I always rotate my crops, I am generally haphazard with what I produce and how I mix plants. This gardening season, I will grow nasturtiums in the zucchini bed because I'm writing that nasturtiums reduce the squash bug population. 

I made my kitchen garden plan. I organized seed packets according to planting dates.

My plan shows where I am companion planting, interplanting, relay planting and succession planting.

I haven't started the spring garden chores because it has been too cold to venture out. As I age, I can no longer tolerate cold and dampness. I have plant stalks to cut down in flowerbeds and the meadow, shrubs and trees to prune, and weeding to do. I plan to start this week as temperatures rise.  Have you made a start yet?

Wishing you a Happy Spring and the BEST gardening year!


Pamela x



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  1. Oh, beautiful! Thanks for sharing the bright, colorful blooms and your plans for your 2023 garden. Happy spring!

  2. I have planted tomato, pepper, and tithonia seeds. I'll start the zinnias in a couple of weeks. Before anything gets planted in the vegetable garden this year, though, I have to do more woodchuck-proofing. I need to dig down along the edges of the bed and install some wire fencing so the blasted creatures can't burrow under and destroy EVERYTHING as they did last year. Most of the snow has finally melted off my yard, so maybe I'll be able to get out there next week and start cleaning things up! Your few blooms are lovely--I don't know why I don't have pulmonaria; clearly I need to get some! I'm looking forward to seeing what your meadow garden brings through the seasons this year!

  3. Funny you would mention nasturtiums in the veggie garden, because I’m going to try that myself this year!