Is it Spring yet?

Have we had enough snow yet? Will spring ever get here? I’m sure that the first weekend we have warmer weather many, many people will be outside cleaning up their yards!

Let me say – please don’t burn the pile of leaves and twigs that you rake up! All those leaves that have been hiding in the corners all winter should go in the compost pile. If you don’t have a compost pile, start one. It’s easy! Oh yes, compost making can be a science. If you like formulas and recipes and quick results then you’ll want to read up on compost making. there are lots of books and magazine articles out there that will tell you how. But you can get results almost any way you do it if you’re patient enough. The simplest way to have compost is to start a pile about 3 ft square. I like to put down a layer of sticks in the bottom. Then alternate a thinner “green” layer and then a thicker “brown layer”. The green layer can be made of veggie scraps from the kitchen, or grass clippings or green weeds that you have pulled. the Brown layer is made of dried weeds, tree leaves and twigs. Just keep adding ingredients to the pile. It doesn’t have to be true layers either. It can be all mixed up. And then you can either be patient and wait a year ( my way of composting ) or do the extra work to hurry things along by “turning “your compost pile. Which means shoveling or forking the pile into a new pile next to it, putting the top layers on the bottom and the outside edges of the compost into the middle of the new pile. Keep it moist but not soggy and it will turn into “gardener’s black gold”! there are ways and products out there to make it faster and neater, but really it’s simple to do. Once you get in the habit of using all the debris from your garden fill your compost pile , you’ll wonder how you ever let it get taken to the landfill.

Another word of advice for this time of year. don’t jump the gun on starting seeds. If seeds are started too early you’ll only have long leggy seedlings before you can plant them outside. for instance, tomatoes should be started only 6 weeks before you plant them out, which around here is Memorial Day!

Which reminds me, I want to spend a few hours this evening looking through the seed catalogs again. Bye for now

Judy

Fantastic Flower Show

I had a fantastic gardening experience last week. I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show. It was amazing! Everywhere I looked I was awed by the great landscape design and beautiful flowers. Tulips, daffodils, azaleas,dogwoods, magnolias, calla lilies and more were in full bloom. Even wild flowers (which are much harder to force into bloom at the right time), virginia bluebells, trilliums and others. There was something for everyone’s style of gardening. Formal, small lots, city lots, informal, wild and tropical and exotic. One of my favorites (and it is hard not to have a long list of favorites) was a garden depicting a wild bayou with a decrepit shack complete with an realistic alligator in the pond, and native shrubs planted as if in a back woods with 20 ft tall cypress trees and even their “knees” (those woody knobs that grow up out of the swampy ground around the cypress tree that are used by the tree to get extra oxygen). That garden was very realistic looking with all the ground covered with moss and leaves and sticks and logs here and there. Superb design! It won some awards so the judges and the people liked it too.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is held in the Pennsylvania Convention Center and covers 10 acres! A third to a half of that was the landscape designs, another third was standard flower show entries such as houseplants, floral designs, topiaries and bonsai. And another third was vendors with great gardening stuff.

We(myself and two of my hiking buddy gals) got there at 8:30 in the morning and stayed till almost 8 at night. What an experience!

http://www.theflowershow.com/home/index.html

Bye now, Judy

So many plants- so little time

It may not look like it but spring will be here soon. Now is the time to plan our gardens, before we get carried away with the routine chores of spring.

As I page thru the catalogs ( and this is especially true if you are a new gardener) I try not to pick a plant just because I love the flower. I pay attention to the descriptions of the plant. The backbone of a good garden should have plants with descriptions in the catalogs that sound like the following phrases : easy to grow,hardy and vigorous, long blooming, disease resistant, long lived, not fussy about soil, equally happy in average soil or moist soil, reliable, and easy culture. Those kinds of plants will be dependable. They won’t need lots of time consuming care and fussing with.

Sometimes it’s hard to resist putting a shade loving plant on the south side of the house because it matches the color scheme there. But I know it won’t be happy there and then I won’t be happy either. The same thing goes for putting a sun lover under the edge of a tree. You’ll probably have to move it later and that’s twice the work.

I try to pay attention to the micro climates in my yard. The spot near the driveway that I see in the sun every morning is probably in the shade most of the day. I need to remember that when I’m planning.

Here’s a short list of easy plants that I use often. For a sunny, well drained spot, plant yarrow, coreopsis, sedums, lavender, German Iris, gaillardia, agastache, daylilies and daffodils. For average soil neither very moist or always dry, plant lady’s mantle, purple coneflower, catmint, liriope and cannas.

Nows the time to dream but be down to earth about it. That’s what makes a good gardener.

Bye now, Judy