Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- April 2015

Yes! It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and we have a few blooms.

I can’t forget that April 15th is also the two year anniversary of the Marathon bombings. The city of Boston has declared April 15th One Boston Day.

This day will be a celebration of the resiliency, generosity, and strength of the people that make Boston the great city it is according to the Mayor of Boston’s office.

The city and region are stronger for what happened. I’m personally working toward that too. Sometimes strength comes when I least expect it, but so does weakness.

We will never forget or be quite the same, but we will  move forward and it does get a little better gradually. You can read about our marathon experience by clicking here if you want to. I have a little ptsd, but not as much as others who suffer(ed) much more.

It was quite a day, week, year, two years…

And Back to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day…

The snow is gone… totally gone…

That’s hard to believe considering that just two weeks ago the garden still looked like this:

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IMG_8552 But it’s gone and our crocus are blooming. They’re almost on their way out already.IMG_8548 A few of the anemone bulbs that I planted last fall are about to bloom.IMG_8547As I looked back at my photos from two years ago I realized that the scilla has filled in quite nicely. One of the best things about garden blogging is seeing your plant’s progress in just a few clicks.

IMG_8545These two little daffodils are the first that I’ve seen here in our garden this year.
IMG_8540 The pansies arrived (from up the street) late last night and we got them planted this morning. I haven’t planted pansies this late in the season in many years, but it happens when spring is three weeks late.IMG_8533Case in point, the snowdrops… they’ve made it, but by a thread! The snow was at the top of the six foot fence thats behind them not long ago.

Be sure to read the other GBBD posts on May Dreams Gardens, and send prayers and positive energy to the thousands of victims of the bombings here in the Boston area.

We are strong!

Love, Michele

Lettuce Plant Lettuce

LOL, I can’t stop myself sometimes…

Creating blog post titles truly amuses me.

But, the title is true, we really can start lettuce from seed now.

IMG_8530Last Saturday was cold and windy but I had lots of fun planting four varieties:

-Merveille de Quatre Saisons

-Winter Density

-New Red Fire

and Pinetree Mix

I chose each type for different, specific reasons.

I’m hoping for an early harvest from the Winter Density. It went in on the late side because the ground was still frozen but it’s an early variety that grows quickly.

The New Red Fire is said to be slow to bolt, and it’s so pretty.

Merveille de Quatre Saisons is described in the Pinetree catalog as  “truly marvelous. It was the only lettuce in our trials that remained good tasting during an exceptionally dry and hot summer years ago, and continues to impress us each year. ” I couldn’t resist that kind of high praise.

And I chose the Pinetree Mix with the hope of having a nice little bed of baby lettuces that we could pick easily and often.

We love fresh lettuce!

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I also love taking pictures of lettuce markers early in the morning in my pajamas and Michael’s mud boots. 😉

Lettuce is easy…

–You can scratch up an existing bed then add compost and seeds at about 1/4 inch depth,

–or plant it in a pot

–or open up a bag of organic soil and just add seeds to it like this (click on the link to see!)

So lettuce plant lettuce! It’s finally time!

How’s your garden growing?

Love, Michele

 

What’s Happening in the Garden- April 1, 2015

Yes, I am very brazenly beginning my “what’s happening” posts today, April 1, because I know that things are happening in the garden already, in spite of the foot of snow that still covers it.

IMG_8468 Here’s the garden today.

Do you see the progress? I believe that that’s oregano that I never deadheaded last fall. Last week it was still buried! And right below the surface everything is just waiting for that last bit of snow to melt!

IMG_8469The pond is thawing, ever so slowly, no ducks yet but they’ll be here soon…

Has anyone noticed that I’ve been changing my header pics as the pond changes? I love to mark time and changes with photos.

IMG_8470 And, the black pussy willow is blooming!IMG_8476 I’m attached to  this plant for so many reasons.

It was a Mother’s Day gift the first year that we lived here and it’s one of the very first signs of spring that I see each year. And it’s just so lush and pretty..

IMG_8481It looks like the forsythia still needs some time. This plant is behind a pine tree and next to a fence. It might be further along if it got more sun. My friend Blaire sent me a photo of forsythia blooming downtown a few days ago. Maybe it’s a few degrees warmer down there in the city.IMG_8486 Heading inside, the onions are up! I got an almost 100% germination rate with these seeds from Pinetree. I’ve read that I should trim back the taller seedlings to let the energy go to bulb formation. I’m hoping to get to that today.IMG_8491We have peppers too.
IMG_8493 Heading out to the front yard, a few of the bulbs that I planted last year are fighting their way through despite the fact that most of the ground is still frozen. I remember thinking that we’d have these blooming for Easter this year. Maybe not…IMG_8495And here’s two of the three crocus flowers that we’re enjoying so far.

The first morning that these appeared the whole family was out on the front sidewalk jumping for joy.

The little things are the best!

How’s your garden growing? I’ll bet that most of you have more going on than we do in Salem Massachusetts. That’s okay, we’ll catch up!

Love, Michele

And We’re Off! Spring Has Sprung!

Yes we are!

It’s finally here….

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The very first crocus of the year!

IMG_8435It lives right next to this pile of snow.

There will be more crocus on the way as soon as it melts.

… and there’s more good news!

IMG_8439 The first onion seedlings have popped through too!

I planted these last Sunday. Yesterday I checked them first thing in the morning and there was no change at all, just little cells full of seed starting mix.

Yesterday afternoon I saw Ed, one of my onion planting mentors, and he said that once they got going they’d just take off. I held onto that thought amid my worries about too  much moisture, not enough moisture, too much heat, not enough heat and maybe I should I have used a different seed starting mix.

I went back last night and voila… there were several little sprouts.

I am feeling encouraged, uplifted, excited, happy and most of all

READY!

Spring has officially reached Salem, Massachusetts my friends!  Woo hooo!!

How’s your garden growing? Has spring sprung? I hope so!

Michele

A Great Date at the Boston Flower and Garden Show 2015

We don’t get out on dates often, let alone for a whole day, so our day at the flower show was as romantic, relaxing and enjoyable as going to a spa.

It was all about spring. After our long, cold, difficult winter this little bit of spring felt absolutely decadent!
We were greated immediately by primroses.As we walked in to the Seaport World Trade Center the first thing we saw was this beautiful pop of spring color.

IMG_8284The primroses were circling this fire pit that we will be installing this summer…or not, but I think it’s a good idea :).

I love this settee! Who wouldn't want to sit upon a bed of moss?I love this settee! Who wouldn’t want to sit upon a bed of moss?

This light fixture hung just above the moss settee.. perfect!This light fixture was hung just above the moss settee.. perfect!BonsaiBonsai

Another beautiful seating area...Another beautiful seating area…

A whimsical birdhouseA whimsical birdhousea less whimsical but very interesting birdhouse..and a less whimsical but very interesting birdhouse…

and straight back to the whimsey!and straight back to whimsey!

I tend to like the whimsey…

There was spring everywhere!Spring was everywhere!The beautiful paper brideThe Newport Flower Show created a paper bride to publicize their upcoming show in June.

IMG_8315She was dressed with coffee filters, tissue paper, aisle runner and raffia.

It really felt like spring had sprung.Hello again spring!IMG_8324This fountain was lovely. The photo doesn’t really show it, but it’s about five feet across, so it resembles a small pond.

What's a garden show without a classic O'Keeffe peeking out?What’s a garden show without a classic O’Keeffe peeking out?I must have a bug hotel this year!I must have a bug hotel this year!And a beautiful fairy garden...And a beautiful fairy garden…

with felt birds.with felt birds,

the fairy gatea gated walkway.IMG_8342and a frog pond.

IMG_8334I loved these mushrooms. We saw them in the Marketplace at the show but Michael reminded that we have many children, many soccer balls and many pets in our garden so they would last for fifteen minutes, tops.On to bigger things... a sand sculpture..On to bigger things… a sand sculpture..

...was still being created. Love the head of broccoli!…was being created. Love the head of broccoli!

This was the first time I've seen helleborus in person.This was the first time I’ve seen helleborus in person.

IMG_8385Heres one of the first exhibits that we saw. Horticultural therapy is front and center! I love it!!Fast forward to the end of May!The Department of Corrections fast forwarded to the end of May. Thank you DOC! We needed that!

yes they do!yes, and out of air too.

IMG_8366There was a cranberry bog and farmer who explained the process of growing and harvesting cranberries, an interesting exhibit for all ages!

a lovely bouquet of rosesA lovely bouquet of roses..

IMG_8372Just behind the lovely bouquet was a hands on demonstration about arranging roses.

I was very impressed with the hands on opportunities available at the show.  It was much more interactive than I expected.

A flower birthday cakeI just had to take a photo of this pretty flower cake for my oldest daughter, the baker.

IMG_8379As the keeper of goldfish in two tanks in two locations I could only think that this interesting tank looked like a huge maintenance challenge. Really huge.

IMG_8389Here’s another interactive exhibit that was created by a group called PlantSomethingma.org. Plant Something’s goal is to encourage people to enjoy the benefits of growing things. Everyone who passed through their custom built greenhouse had the chance to plant a mystery seed to take home. The type of seed is revealed by color after visiting their web site. It’s a pretty creative way to draw people in.

IMG_8386The PlantSomethingMA.com greenhouse was decorated with cool features like this rain barrel…

and this guy.and this guy.

I love this use of succulents and ferns, an uncommon combination.I love this use of succulents and ferns, an uncommon combination. This arrangement was in the competition area which was full of beautiful arrangements.

IMG_8397Be sure to stop and see the witch hat that was decorated by our friend Dave Eng of Dave Eng’s Flowers.

It was a great way to spend the day. I agreed with Michael that we would have enjoyed seeing more garden vendors in the Market area, but those that were there had a nice selection of plants, tools and accessories. The quality of the lectures and exhibits was outstanding. I enjoyed talks by authors Neal Sanders, who blogs at The Principal Undergardener and Betsy-Ann Golon who spoke about herb garden design. They were both engaging and full of ideas and information. While the food selection was a little bit limited, the huge turkey sandwich that we shared for lunch was delicious.

All in all, it was a wonderful, inspiring, colorful spring-like day.

We couldn’t have asked for a better date than that!

Get to the flower show! It’s there through Sunday!

Take the kids, take your mom or your sweetie… there’s really something for everyone.

Happy almost spring!

Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden- April 25, 2014

I’m working on a million little projects this morning but  I’m well behind here in the blogosphere so before I move on I must do a quick garden update. I don’t know what it is about my blogging hobby but somehow publishing a post grounds me and propels me forward like nothing else.  I think it’s the sense of accountability, or maybe the creativity (not that I’m that creative), or maybe it’s the satisfaction in having finished something. Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting and helping me to keep moving!

So, after the coldest snowiest winter ever, and the coldest early spring ever, we are finally seeing a little bit of an improvement here in Salem, Massachusetts. I’m convinced that we love our gardens more in New England than anywhere else because we work so darn hard to get through the winter and into the sunshine.

IMG_5309I’m pretty sure that the lady’s mantle would agree with me. It’s been a long, long winter!

IMG_5311Just behind the lady’s mantle a clump of iris is springing into action. It won’t be long now!

IMG_5313We have lettuce! I believe that this is Black Seeded Simpson.

IMG_5314There’s also a little bit of mesclun peeking through.

IMG_5316And those onion sets that I planted two weeks ago are settling in nicely. We had a lot of rain the day after they were planted so the rocks really came up and I had to reset some of the bulbs. It’s nice to see the greens. I think I’ll add some compost around them later today to give them an extra boost.

IMG_5318The little peek of rhubarb has filled out nicely. We have several of these throughout the garden.

IMG_5320The asparagus patch looks empty and untended. I need to get Michael to take that little fence away so I can get in and out of there without incident. When you get a little older there are “incidents” when hopping over fences like this one. It was put up to keep our toddlers out and I think I can safely say that we’re well past the toddler stage now.

IMG_5321We do have teenagers though… I wonder if these will grow so I can outfit the younger kids with very expensive flip flops.

IMG_5322How about that, there is asparagus popping up on the slightly warmer other side of the garden.

IMG_5325This does my heart good…

IMG_5328This area needs some work. If I remember correctly I was choosing between Nutcracker rehearsals, soccer games and garden cleanup last fall.

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The baby girls say hi! IMG_5336Here’s a peek at the beginning of our newest project. We took out two juniper trees last fall and are planning to create a nice herb garden in this spot. I’m going to start by sifting out rocks and adding a lot of compost. I have plants that are ready to relocate and I may add a few new varieties. There’s a concrete “patio” and shingle sided wall to the left that I’m hoping to fill with containers.  I have lots of ideas and my handy dandy pinterest board is in full swing. Click on the words pinterest board to check it out.

In other news, I’m starting seeds, repotting houseplants and planting spinach later.

What’s happening in your garden?

I hope your enjoying the spring as much as I am!

Love, Michele

 

What’s Happening in the Garden– April 7, 2014

What’s happening? Well there’s a little bit of spring out there. It may not be as much as we’re used to at this point in April, but it’s coming along.

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Yesterday I dug  up the very end of a bed and planted some lettuce in anticipation of the soaking rain that we were expecting today, The rain is here, so grow lettuce grow!

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Chives are peeking through…

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The rosemary didn’t make it but I kind of expected that. For this plant to winter over in the kind of winter that we had this year was a huge stretch. I did manage to maintain a plant in the house and I consider that a huge victory!

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There’s a little bit of yarrow peeking through.

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The girls say hi!

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This guy is still perched on his rock but I think his front legs were amputated. Go figure?

IMG_5149 The pond is home to the canoe again.

IMG_4540Very different from the skating days of a few weeks ago. It’s only a foot deep and it’s been very cold so the kids skated up to the last possible second.

IMG_5158Mr and Mrs Mallard are back!

IMG_5161I love this old bench. It was given to Michael by Lucy Set, one of our old neighbors on Forrester Street. 

IMG_5176 Winnie was thrilled to be sitting in his spot while I planted yesterday. I think it’s time for a haircut.

IMG_5177 It’s good to see the markers coming back!

IMG_5137 And theres a little bit of tomato seedling started in the basement. More to come on them soon I hope! It looks like it’s time to get out my manicure scissors to thin them back a bit. I’ll cut off one of the two plants in the cell to give the remaining plant the best possible chance. I’m focusing a lot on seed starting at work this year and carrying everything I learn home. I love that the garden lessons that I learn for my job are so helpful to us here. You can read about our seed starting adventures at Bass River here. We’ve been having fun!

How’s your garden growing? Tell me about it!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

Just a Simple Crocus


I snuck out for a few minutes this morning to take photos of one of my three, yes three, crocus that are blooming.

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I think that this might be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Spring is really, truly here!

I’m sorry I haven’t been around. I was on such a wonderful chicken posting roll and then the reality of life with a large family completely took over. I’ll be back in action very soon.

Love, Michele (that blogger you know who’s getting ready for oldest daughter’s prom, planting seeds, planning several gardens, caring for chickens, pets and people, serving on various community committees and working part time).