May 17: fertilized, sowed seeds, and got a new bird bath

The weather this weekend was glorious, and I celebrated in the garden. I hate fertilizing, so I did that first to get it out of the way. Then I played with plants. I divided black eyed Susans that were encroaching on other plants, and I moved the divided clumps to the back bed where they can spread as much as they want. I sowed zinnia, cosmos, and blanketflower seeds, and I finished filling our raised bed. When I was finished with all of that, I tied on a handmade mask my friend Pam made, drove over to our local nursery during a time of day I thought it wouldn’t be crowded, and picked out a new bird bath.

I’m happy for winter to be over.

Front yard

Front bed with new bird bath

Back yard

The back bed starting to grow; I sowed seeds on the far right. It’s shaded in the morning, but hopefully gets enough afternoon sun for the full-sun seeds I sowed. The tree inside our yard, to the right of my chair, is the tree in the closeup below.
This tree was in our back yard when we moved in and has grown quickly. I think it might be a black cherry. The flowers smell sweet like candy. It is heavenly to sit under and inhale deeply.
They’re hard to see, but this is supposed to be a photo of goldfinches at the feeder. One is perched on the strap holding the feeder.
Our raised bed! I put four tomatoes and an haba├▒ero plant in today, plus some green onions I’ve been keeping in a glass of water to encourage roots. We’ll see if they do anything next year.

May 15: lilac, salvia, and working from the garden

It was warm enough today that I was able to take my laptop outside and work from the garden. Before I settled down with my afternoon coffee and the rest of the day’s work, I took a walk around the garden to check on what’s coming in and what’s blooming.

Dwarf lilac in bloom. It only has this one flower cluster this year.
The yarrow is almost there. Any day now and its flowers will be yellow as buttercups.
Salvia so fresh and pretty ­čśŹ
Volunteer dill coming up out back. I’m always happy to see dill come back. I love it with salmon. The swallowtails love it, too.

May 6: all the seeds are sown

I’ve been simultaneously eager about and dreading the final round of seed-sowing. Seeds are a lot of work, and while I want the seeds to be in the ground and the plants to be grown and flowering, I didn’t want to have to put the seeds — all the many scores of them — in the earth myself.

But I did. What cost us $50 in seeds will give us an enormous number of plants that probably would cost $300-$400 to buy them fully formed at a nursery. ┬áThe past two days I did a ton of tiny things in the garden that are currently invisible — I sowed seeds directly in the flower beds:

I also did the equally unexciting job of transplanting seedlings that I started indoors several weeks ago:

And, because all of those things require tons of waiting, and I want instant gratification, I took a trip to the nursery. Actually, I think I went to the nursery every day — Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I got caught in a spring shower there yesterday, which was fun. The plants look so pretty in the rain.

spring storm at crow's nest
Spring shower at Crow’s Nest nursery in Blacksburg, VA

In addition to the seeds I sowed, and the seedlings I transplanted, I also bought some already flowering plants (and an ornamental grass I’ve been waiting for) and put them in the ground:

  • Lollipop vervain
  • Straw flowers
  • Purple Haze Nepeta
  • Nepeta Junior Walker
  • Muhly grass
  • Dwarf hummingbird mint (agastache)

As far as everything else going on in the garden, the indigo Salvia is in bloom — the first of the perennials to flower — and our buttery snapdragons look adorable against the blue. The yarrow has fat flower buds now, and the new veronica I bought a few weeks ago is starting flower spikes as well.

All the perennials I moved from the front to the back hill beds seem to be surviving, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they continue to survive and thrive out there. I spend a lot of time now sitting on the table on our back deck so I can watch the garden grow, and watch the birds at the bird feeder. We saw an indigo bunting yesterday! It was a gorgeous deep teal, almost a peacock-blue color, but a little less green.

The hardest work is done now: killing the grass, mulching more than 2000 square feet of flower beds, digging in rocky soil, transplanting dozens of plants, nursing seeds for weeks indoors before moving them outside, prepping the earth to sow seeds, actually sowing seeds in.

I’ve only got a few more things left to do (besides the constant weeding) — a few more transplants, starting some basil seeds. I think my gardening from here on out will primarily consist of maintenance, watching things grow, and enjoying it :-).

Here are some photos from early May. I always like to compare later in the season — it looks so bare now compared to how it’s likely going to look in July.