It could be a metaphor?

When I moved the two tons of extra gravel from the front yard to its current temp spot by the garage, the only sad thing was that it covered up a hyacinth bulb. It wasn’t a GREAT hyacinth bulb – it always fell over the same day it bloomed. So I felt bad about it for a moment, then kept pouring 20 more wheelbarrowfulls of gravel on top.

Well, this spring, who pushed up through dirt, mulch, and 2 feet of gravel, bloomed, and promptly lay face down?

I’m so impressed at this flower’s spirit, and so amused that even after all that work, blooming was so exhausting for it.


Other garden things, now that we are deep enough in Spring to be past the first wave of daffodils:

I’m starting to gather steam on the kitchen path. There’s an azalea about to bloom any second, right where the path will eventually go. I’m certainly going to pause (aka, not start?) the digging long enough to enjoy that first. I’d like to transplant it, even though it’s enormous. Maybe the front yard? It seems to really like being in a sunny spot, and I’m having trouble finding somewhere large enough in the back where it is visible from the house, compatible with the things next to it, and won’t be in the shade.

Meanwhile, my plan to dig out the monster-size hydrangea and just keep a few of the off-shoots seems to have worked beautifully. They’re green and lovely, and already growing. The hydrangea root ball is also amusing me, since it’s undaunted by being hacked to bits and out of the ground – it’s still cheerfully alive and covered in leaves. I haven’t known what to do with it at all. I can’t saw through it because of the rocks, can’t put it in the compost bin whole. Light it on fire? Replant it next to the new patio?

My calendula and hostas from Bob (a gift when he was thinning out his beds last fall) are acting very happy so far.

I love the way hostas appear in the Spring – tightly scrolled, tall, and so green.

All of our edged, weeded, mulched beds on the top shelf look lovely. I ripped out about half the sod up here (and a level ton of creeping violets) and I’m so hopeful that the mulch will keep things more-or-less in line going forward. I’m ready to get off the endless-weeding train.

The bunny fence is still in great shape, and there’s a new grouping of tulips, snowdrops and crocuses that are making a delicious, delicious meal for someone. Bunny? Squirrel? Not a single bloom has lasted more than a day. (It might be the same creature who keeps nipping green tulip heads off the top of the stem, and leaving them, whole, on the ground at the base of the plant. Squirrel with a personality disorder?)

These are the last of the early daffodils (there should be a second round in a few weeks), and the early tulips, a riot of color. The lavender along the path is looking stunning, and I’m very proud of myself for figuring out how to prune the two blueberry bushes. I watched a lot of youtube videos of farmers from Maine, and I think I didn’t do badly. I didn’t prune last year, and we didn’t really get any berries (they were little then dry, then the birds ate them. You’re supposed to prune back 50-70% per year, and I think I make a good effort.

These tulips are just SO BRIGHT. This is the view from next to our bedroom window.

I love the chairs with all their green/yellow-green/blue-green backdrop.

All those new leaves are beautiful from our bedroom, and even better from the chairs.

I need to figure out what to do with the beds in this corner. Hostas, maybe? There’s one under the lilac, I feel like two or three more would be lovely on that side of the path. I’ve been transplanting ferns there madly, and they seem to be taking off, so that’s hopeful, too. The house-side options need to be shade-loving and tolerant of dry, fast-draining, acidic soil. A tricky mix. Most of the great shade-loving, acidity-tolerating PNW plants like to be wet. I need something that can live there, cheerfully, and not need to be watered. I tried to continue the lavender/sage/thyme to the gate, knowing it probably wouldn’t get enough sun, and sure enough it’s all sad little sticks with a leaf or two – such a mad contrast to the wild growth of the sunnier spots. I’m not sure I’ll solve it this year (the kitchen side path, rock wall, and veggie gardens are probably going to be my three big projects this summer) but I will still watch for something nice.

In the garden

Here are oodles of garden pictures after the run to Molbaks yesterday. I managed to come home with 30-odd plants, but they’re all planted, watered, and lovely.

Here are the front planters. The plants in the red solo cups are Sun Gold tomatoes from our neighbor up the street David — he set up a green house this spring and had extras. A great gift, I need to get them in soil.

Meanwhile, the beans, peas and carrots are doing well. I companion-planted two pretty pink petunias. I’d planted a second row of peas and beans about two weeks ago now when the first didn’t seem to take, and those all seem really happy now, but the different planting dates explains the different heights. The carrots are still tiny but they’re producing more leaves steadily.

I MUST get trellises in soon. The peas are picking up spare pieces of dirt as they try to climb.

The scarlet runner beans and squash are looking hopeful. (Even some squash blossoms! For all of the stories of people being crushed by zucchini, I’ve never had luck, there’s always some marauding squirrel who nibbles up all of the blossoms.)

Our beets and scallions box is a thing of glory — golden beets in back, red in the middle, scallions (a huge favorite with the kids, and us) in front. The leeks and chives haven’t really taken off yet. Maybe they will later?


The side yard is just lovely right now. Roses like mad, lavender blooming, Crocosmia and Black-eyed Susans on the verge of budding, and everything else is green, growing, and lovely.

I planted a whole set of zinnias (Profusion Fire and Scarlet Magellan), plus some lovely lemon-scented marigolds, and pineapple sage and tangerine sage. So now we’re living in color. My seedlings are still growing but so slowly I wasn’t sure they would ever flower.

Lovely, on the verge of lovelier.

The sage x2, lavender, and thyme x2 border is starting to really look great and filled out. I think I’ll need to cut it back soon if I don’t want things to sprawl. I should have oregano in here too — it’s growing in pots, I’m up to three leaf sets. It needs to get bigger before it’s big enough to hold its own. One year makes a huge difference.

Love that the yellow rose is quietly, beautifully blooming.

I’d bought these pots meaning them to go in the side yard, but they were too hot there and the plants fried. On top of the table is so much better. The cilantro looks delighted, and the dill is trying its best. I bought a $2 bunch of dill at the farmers market three weeks ago, and it still had roots. I used about half of it, and rather than composting the rest of it, I decided to try to plant it. It’s not 100% happy, but it’s alive and trying, and I think that’s awesome.

New planter arrangements — the first time I think I’ve ever gone all pink. This photo didn’t pink up the salmon/orange centers in the tall flowers — they do tie the other two together well. 🙂

In the garden

So many things in our yard are interesting or wonderful right now. The irises are blooming!

I divided them last summer and gave half to Bob and moved the rest much further away from the house, but I was pretty sure that I’d planted them too deep. But lo, lots of blooms! They’re so lovely, I’m glad I didn’t kill them.

The lilacs are beautiful.

And the apple tree is covered in blossoms! A surprise, I don’t think of them as being prolific with flowers generally. Maybe they like their mulch and companion-planted foxgloves?

The rhododendron outside our window is starting to bloom! I thought it wouldn’t this year (the camellia didn’t, after being transplanted), but I think it’s just running a little late.

MAJOR excitement: the seeds in the planters are starting to really grow!! The back row is golden beets, the middle row is leeks on the left and red beets on the right, and the front row is scallions. You can also see the tubing from Kevin’s amazing automated watering system – he did the three planting beds, the new large plants (rhodies and azaleas) in front, and the front lawn. It is GREAT not to have to be out there watering!!

Scarlet runner beans! The bunnies ate a lot of them, I may have to replant.

Carrots starting to sprout! Some peas behind them.

And beans!

And, shockingly, grass!

I’m still utterly amazed by the magic of this: start with nice packed topsoil, add seed, cover thinly with peat moss, water, and suddenly we have a LAWN. I didn’t think it would work! I can’t wait until these plants are a year or two more established, it will look so pretty.

Thin little baby grass, but it really worked!