Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The wildflower garden at mid-spring

It's been a nice long cool spring. A bit rainy,  but enough sun. Best of all, the mosquitoes aren't out yet! The wildflowers are thriving.

These were among the plants blooming in my backyard a couple of weeks back:

Granny's bonnet- a  hybrid columbine
Virginia bluebells mixed in with ferns


Two varieties of trillium

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The spring vegetable garden

This year I plan to pay a little more attention to the backyard vegetable garden. This is where my cool season crops grow, as well as those that can use a little protection from summer sun. That translates mostly to greens, although actually the sun-loving perennial herbs do perfectly well here: oregano, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary.

We've put up a small fence for a part of the garden, just to ensure there will be at least one rabbit-free zone. Here I'm growing some kale, snow peas, bok choy, and broccoli raab. And volunteer potato plants are coming up! These must be from the remnants of former not so successful attempts to grow potatoes.

We've also discovered that the lettuce we've been growing indoors and that has been harvested several times can be revitalized by being planted out. Those raggedy looking plants have perked up and are ready to be harvested again.

Another surprise is the multiplier onions. These I started from seeds from historic Bartram's Garden several years ago. These perennial onions do indeed multiply. They don't really seem to form bulbs, but look more like giant green onions. I think perhaps I should have been harvesting these right along, as they are quite strong flavored, though if you use the smaller ones, or the part closest to the tip on the larger ones, they are pretty good for both salads and cooking.

A small innovation this year is a new style of trellis - something a little different from the basic tepee. I based it on a design I saw in a book, and hope to have a crop of beautiful sweet peas vining up. I'm hoping the rabbits have so many other succulent treats around the yard that they won't notice until the peas vines are thick and tough enough to be unappealing.