Spring Roll Call in the Garden

Easter weekend seemed like a good time to do roll call on the non-succulent plant life.  Believe it or not I have perennials and annuals too, and the succulents will breathe a huge sigh of relief when I can move from puttering around in the basement with them to puttering around outside.


The penstemon by the garden path didn’t get trimmed too badly in the fall, and looks surprisingly leafy.


The rosebush is a bit scraggly looking — but is budding out as well.

My dwarf bee-balm looks like it’s going to be a bit larger this year, which I’m excited about. I’d like to slowly replace all the heirloom (read: tall, floppy, messy) hot pink monarda with this deeper, darker purple variety. The new shoots look like they’re coming up nearly a handspan in front of and behind the old shoots.


Here’s some of that classic bee balm near the south facing wall of the house already rearing to go out of control – plus the blue delphinium going gangbusters for this time of year. Never doubt the warming power of the south facing brick wall.


Meanwhile, the “pink punch” delphinium by the garden path (one of my favorites that I’ve been frantically trying to reproduce via seed) is lagging behind the blue one – it’s just starting to poke out.


It’s likely too early to see any self-seeded foxgloves showing up, but I have a few that survived the winter coming out of old crowns. They’re stayed remarkably healthy looking all winter, especially after I cleaned out the dead leaves that had been mulching them in a few weekends ago.


At the other end of the patio bed is this monstrosity. At some point I will likely regret planting this sweet william and will have to concede that it’s going out of control… but for now I’m happy that there’s SOMETHING that thrives in the shade of the apple tree.


The stonecrop near the corner where the garden path meets the patio is starting to green up…


And the red stonecrop closer to the patio door is also starting to poke out, showing how much it has spread.


The larger sedum is moving from rosettes to leaves … even though each time we hit a cold night it looks like it’s regretting coming out early. The catmint next to it is also well on its way to becoming a big floppy mess.


All the daylillies are getting a good head start.


This little painted daisy makes a good effort each year, but usually gives up in short order. I’ve yet to see it thrive.


The peonies that I moved (and divided) in the fall all showed up very early, which tells me I might have planted them too high. Fortunately we had a mild winter, and they appear to be doing well — and come fall I can mound a bit more dirt around them.


Another reclaimed peony in the side bed.


And a third!


The original peony I planted in that same bed a few years ago should be more established, and yet is lagging behind the others. Likely because it’s at the appropriate depth.


It’s only slightly behind the ones in the garden near the south facing wall, however.  I think that may be some salvia coming up in the front.  I tend to plant those to fill in spots, I forget exactly where all of them are.  Also now that I see this picture, I see the trash in the fence and the violet that needs to be eradicated.  Sidenote: if you plant violets outside, somewhere down the line someone will curse your name and your family line because they are IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of.


Another appropriate depth peony from the garden, near the rear butterfly bush.


The coneflowers which have been slowly getting moved to the back of the garden have done zilch so far this year, which is concerning given how prolific they normally are. I’m sure they’ll appear soon, as I’m convinced they are indestructable.


The giant butterfly bush by the patio should get trimmed down to a few inches from the ground each year, but with my back I let them go in the fall with the intent to trim them up come spring. They normally are one of the last things to show up, and then race up to five or six feet tall in no time at all. This year, however, nearly the full height has survived and is sending out new shoots. This one is always a bit happier, as it gets more sun.


The one in the back has some growth on old wood – not nearly as much – but also has several new shoots coming up already also – so it may try to match the guy in front this year for size. (In addition to the less sun, I have accidentally damaged some of his roots occasionally planting other things, so it’s not been overly friendly to me since we moved in.


Between the large butterfly bush and the house, the main bed of white irises (“Immortality”) are thriving. This is the second spring since I divided and replanted them in the fall.  Have some forgiveness for the dog/cat toy and the bucket lid.


The extras in the back are looking healthy enough, they aren’t filling in to well but considering how littered the soil is with acidic pine needles, I’m happy enough they’re making it. Not a lot thrives back there.


The ones on the other side of the house (north facing) by the AC unit are definitely not happy. They may get too much moisture and not enough sun. They haven’t given up yet, but basically these went there because it was empty and I had a lot left over. I figured if they survived and even sent up a few new bulbs I’d be ahead.  (The tomato cage is waiting to be put back in the shed after being removed from its job tenting the lilac bushes with dead leaves all winter.  I forgot to get pictures of the lilac cuttings themselves….)


Along the driveway is everything I dug up in the fall with the intent to move but wasn’t sure where to put them or didn’t want to put them back in the ground just yet. Nearly all the lilies are poking up, I have tons of cups of coneflowers (doing better than those in the gardens), two tubers of the ponies that are far ahead of any in the ground, a few small foxglove shoots I pulled up this spring before they got trampled by dogs, a white lilac that’s been living in this pot since being dug out of Lindsay’s parents yard (a favor for which I continue to give her coneflowers from my garden in exchange for), a bucket of worm droppings and occasionally the inert trays of winter-sown seeds I tried. Nothing in any of the four trays yet. I think that experiment was a failure.


In the house, big momma Pothos had a haircut recently, with shoots rooted in water and given to a coworker.


Two of her earlier offsprings are doing okay in this spot where I forget to water them and there’s little light. Got to love Pothos for their ability to survive that.


The snake plant pots gave me two new pups each in the fall, and have basically been slowly growing those over the winter. I’m hoping for another pup or two in each pot to fill them out this growing season. The cuttings I rooted have not done much other than root, I’m waiting for the first signs of new growth when it establishes some rhizomes. I feel like it’s been long enough I SHOULD have seen some action by now, but it’s also been the off-season.


The dieffenbachia cutting I took from my sister is finally unfurling a new leaf (a first new growth sign since being planted), but it’s also looking like it’s going to drop one last large leaf it came with. (Bringing the total of lost leaves over the winter to three.) As long as it starts new growth after that, i’ll be okay since I was probably ambitious with how many leaves the non-rooted cutting would have been able to support. Meanwhile, my rooted petiole from the schefflera still looks healthy and happy, although no new growth there. I start to suspect that since I rooted a petiole that this may be what it looks like forever.


And here’s the big monster in the living room, the schefflera that will one day take over unless I find the nerve to hack it back.


In the basement, I have a tray of 72 twinny snapdragons (half appleblossom, half peach)…


Two 36-cell trays (Started two weeks apart) of double blossomed “cascade” petunias. Most have growth, a few I’ve taken extras carefully from double sprouted cells to fill in, a few I’ve had to overseed late in the hopes to not have any dud spaces.


My perennial seedling nursery (with varying success). Soon I will have to thint he penstemons out, I wasn’t expect such thick germination — I didn’t have as many astras to start from seed as I’d like this year, I may be starting the foxgloves late… but I have 3-4 delphinium seedlings, which is the first time I’ve ever managed to get delphiniums to start from seed, so that’s the most exciting thing going on there. Before long it will be time to start the morning glories!

Only five to six more weeks until our last frost date and I can start planting and pinching! No pictures of the front flower beds until they get populated with annuals or the tulips / hyacinths start blooming, and the lilacs I just straight up forgot – but fortunately there have been no rabbit sightings so far this spring, so the tulips and lilacs may actually stand a better chance this year!

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5 thoughts on “Spring Roll Call in the Garden

    1. Thank you! And on the topic of the seedlings – maybe you are who I Should ask this question. I know that you use the “Greenhouse method” of sowing in flat trays, and then transferring them to celled trays when they germinate. I still am not too terribly familiar with that method (how do you know at what point to transfer them? Is it right after germination before the roots get too large? Do you wait for the first post-cotyledon leaves?) so I’ve just taken to overseeding celled trays to start with so that I make sure that I get at least one in each cell. But it’s not a terribly efficient usage of seeds to put 3 in every cell (even though I still do a lot of careful transferring of duplicates to empty cells using a toothpick).

      When do you do your seedling transfer? what tools do you use? (Anything that I could use that makes this task easier than prying them out with a toothpick?)

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