Saturday, May 1, 2010

Farm and Garden Weekly - week of April 25

The big news of the week was that amazing snowstorm. It has all melted away now, but it was pretty while it lasted.

Last year my friend Susy gave me some bloodroot (scroll down a bit to see her bloodroot) and it came up! It's such an interesting plant with big leaves and delicate white flowers. I can't get over how it bloomed even though it is so tiny - two inches tall maybe.

The lily-of-the-valley has popped out of the ground. This is the annual miracle to me. One day there is bare soil, and the very next day, there's something green showing. The bleeding heart has buds on it and in a couple sunny days it will blossom.

Last spring we didn't put cocoa mulch on and this spring we saw such a difference. Lots of 'witchgrass' and it was much harder to pull out. When we put on cocoa mulch, the weeds pull out so very easily. I know a lot of people use wood chips or wood bark mulch, but I'm just wild about cocoa mulch, though it does cause me to go inside and bake some brownies when I first put it on the flower beds. And then Tom went to all the stores in the area, and found no one is selling it anymore. So, I thought, let's just use our old manure. It is dry and 'composted.' It doesn't smell anymore. It will add nutrients and worms to the flowers, as it now does to the vegetables. And so we did.

I found another site that talks about planting according to the moon phases, which I mentioned in an earlier Farm and Garden Weekly.
Whatever the origins of these beliefs, there is no evidence to prove it true. I once tested the gardening theory by planting bean seeds from the same pack, half during the waxing moon and half during the waning moon. Both grew well and by harvest, there was no difference between the plants.
And this statement expresses why, even though over the years I've thought it would be fun, and it is a neat idea, I don't really care. I plant when the day is nice and the soil is ready and according to the last frost date.

Tom's mother gave us a hybrid called Panola, a mix of pansies and violas. I decided to plant them in these pretty little pots and put them on the terrace steps.

The dandelions have appeared! I love their cheery faces.

While I've been writing this week's report, Tom planted the onion sets, leek plants, sweet pea seeds, spinach and carrot seeds. The raised beds make vegetable gardening so much easier.

I'll close with photos of the sitting areas from which to appreciate the gardens.
And I think I've found what I want to do outside the kitchen door! Susie Vereker posted a picture, and I thought, 'that's it!' We already have some large stones in the grass, and I think we'll add some more, putting them closer together but not so close that a little grass (or maybe some thyme) can grow up in between. I think this offers simplicity (and no expense since there are rocks everywhere at Windy Poplars), and something different from either the terrace or patio. I thank you, Susie!

If you are interested in the giveaway, you still have today and Sunday to sign up for the drawing!


  1. LOVELY, NAN!!! I love your gardens and seating areas, too.

  2. Your garden in awakening Nan. I am glad you survived the big snow. What a shock getting 10inches. whew. I think the picture of the rock patio looks perfect for your space. It will be fun (work) to collect the stones.

  3. The adirondack chairs on your terrace look so cheery and inviting. Maybe it's the color... ours could use some!

  4. The violas in your header photo are lovely, Nan! And I agree with you about dandelions... the fields around here are yellow with them at the moment and look so cheery.

  5. Nan, I love lily of the valley, can't wait to see the pictures of them once they start blooming! Enjoy your weekend!

  6. I sure do love spring! I think we missed the first blush of spring here in Illinois, but many of the trees are still in bloom. I love the lighting in spring.

  7. Thank you so much, Gigi!

    Lisa, ah yes, it is like the snow never happened. :<) I'm glad you think the patio will look good.

    JoAnn, I love that color and LL Bean doesn't offer it on their chairs anymore. I did just buy the red table to go with them. I love color! It all goes right along with our front door. :<)

    Cath, thank you! Believe or not we don't have all that many dandelions. A few here and there but I'd love a whole field of them.

    Sherri, I do too. I remember someone having lily-of-the-valley perfume when I was a girl.

    Kay, so nice to see you here! What a busy girl you've been!!

  8. Bloodroot and dandelions -- two of my favourite spring things!

    Mulching does make such a difference, doesn't it? I am trying something new this year -- putting down a layer of newspaper and then wood shavings on top. We'll see how that goes.

  9. Kiirstin, the bloodroot is already double in size from this photograph, even with the snowfall!! I've been reading about the newspaper idea - also with cardboard. There's more at commonweeder's blog:

  10. Oh, how I wish we were neighbors! I'd love to come and stroll through your garden, then curl up in that Adirondack chair and soak up the sun as I sip a cocktail with you and Tom. Yes, Rod would join us, too! :)

    I can't wait to see how your kitchen patio evolves! And how nice to use the stones from your property. That will make it even more special.

    Beautiful header. Those violas are so pretty and dainty.

    My lily-of-the-valley is ready to bloom any day now. The bleeding heart is still going strong. Tulips are finished, but the azalea is bursting with color. Time to get to the nursery and get the pots filled and some impatiens in the beds. Always so much to do this time of year! :)

  11. Wouldn't that be so much fun, Les?!! We sat out last evening listening to the peepers and the birds.

  12. Great idea for the stones outside the kitchen door. We had them growing up and it always lightened the day by requiring a dignified version of hopscotch each time we went in and out.

  13. Oh, I just love that, JG!! Thank you for coming back to this older post and telling me. I loved hopscotch and I don't think girls play anymore.


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