A Tale of Two Bulb Beds

So here’s what happened…

I planted bulbs from the same three packages in two different beds in my yard within an hour of each other.

I even blogged about it here. This was just a few months ago, right before we experienced the most difficult winter ever recorded in eastern Massachusetts.

There was a lot of snow.

IMG_8601Here’s the backyard herb garden today.  Remember how I carefully planted bulbs along the path, in the nooks and crannies? It was going to be amazing! The herbs are slowly coming to life but there’s not a bulb in sight.

IMG_8599And then there’s the sunny front yard…same packages of bulbs, same planting time and their blooming to beat the band.

I’ve been reading about microclimates and I think that this situation is a good example of two very different climates within about twenty yards of each other. The front bed gets morning sun that’s reflected off of the house and the big windows just above it which makes warm soil, almost like a greenhouse. The herb bed in the back gets afternoon sun and it’s kind of tucked in behind the hemlock tree and shielded by the house until later in the day. As the sun rises higher in the sky this spring it will hit this spot earlier in the day. Right now, it’s still pretty cold out there.

Or maybe squirrels dug everything up when I wasn’t looking!

I don’t think so, I would have noticed.

It could also be related to the soil. That front yard soil isn’t anything special. I kind of neglect it, but it does have years of good mulch composted in. The herb bed was just dug last spring and fertilized with compost from our piles and a few bags of organic compost that I bought.

So, I’m on bulb watch! I’ll let you know if anything pops up.

How’s your garden growing? Did your bulbs come up?

Enjoy it all!

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….

IMG_8431

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

Today’s Mail… the Pinetree Seed Order!

seed order

There are so may fun things to look forward to in this envelope.

I can’t even list them all. There’s herbs and vegetables and flowers… lots of everything that I love to grow.

Among the early starts that I need to plant asap are onions… I chose Alisa Craig Exhibition and Southport Red Globe.

I also ordered Green Magic Broccoli which can be started outdoors in early spring, or indoors now. I’m torn about that because my indoor space is tight. Is anyone else direct seeding broccoli here on the coast of New England?

I have a few varieties of peppers to get going this week along with impatiens and pansies. We grew both successfully at Bass River last year so I’m looking forward to trying it at home.

Not far behind are the ten varieties of tomato, the cucumbers, the basils, the beans… the list goes on!

As you can see I had fun with this order. Pinetree Seeds was highly recommended by my friends Ed and Betsey who grow the most beautiful garden I’ve ever seen. Remember their onions?

One of the things that I like about Pinetree Seeds is that you can order a smaller quantity of seed at a much lower price than most other companies. This is great for the home gardener like me who only needs twenty plants per variety at most. I can try lots of fun creative things and still stay well within budget. The cute packaging and unexpected free gift of velcro garden ties were an added bonus. Let’s just hope these seeds germinate and thrive!

My goal is to grow almost, if not all, of our garden from seed this year. I had such a good time with my seed starting adventure last year that I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the season that’s about to begin.

Yes, the season is beginning!

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The garden may look like this, but spring is coming!

Woo Hooo!!!

Did you place your order yet? What are you thinking about growing this year?

Are you as excited as I am?

Michele

Blizzard in the Garden

It’s Wordless Wednesday but I couldn’t really do a post without words today. We just had a blizzard after all…

The official snow total for Salem is 24 inches, but honestly, I think our number is a little above that. It snowed well into the night last night, long after I read that on the internet.

IMG_7958 The garden fence is buried. Michael usually shovels through the arbor but decided to take a little break from that this time. That made me feel better about all of the shoveling that he does.IMG_7945The coop can be reached again!IMG_7946But there’s not much room to play.IMG_7949 Which is just fine with the girls who are refusing to go outside. I’m with them!IMG_7944Michael feeds the wild birds..IMG_7942The cold snowy bunny hutch doesn’t have a path yet…IMG_7955but that’s okay because Paula Tucker is happily tucked away in the chicken coop.IMG_7939 The pond is white now, and the big rock is submerged in snow. See the track across the bottom? A deer or coyote must have gone through.IMG_7935As buried as we are, all is well. Everyone stayed warm and dry.

The next storm is on Friday but nobody’s talking about that yet.

Stay warm my friends!

Love,  Michele

 

Christmas Herbs

It’s been so warm here in Salem that we have lots of fresh herbs for Christmas this year.

I consider them to be my own personal Christmas gift~IMG_7737There’s little bits of dill popping up out front… not quite enough to cook with but there may be just enough for a bowl of carrots in a day or two.
IMG_7735 I brushed my hand over lemon balm and was transported right back to July….

…in my mind, but it was very pleasant.IMG_7733a few more days like this and we could have blooming lavender again.IMG_7732 There’s fresh growth on the sage…IMG_7729 …along with the oregano.IMG_7727My rosemary plant that never quite made it inside this fall is full of beautiful fragrant foliage..IMG_7722…same with the thyme.
IMG_7719And I’m putting fresh parsley in everything..potatoes, chicken soup, you name it!

Merry Christmas to me!

Love, love, love,

Michele

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- November 2014

Happy Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day!

Sometimes I have things blooming into the fall and sometimes I don’t. This has been a pretty forgiving fall with the exception of some snow storms that lasted for a few hours so we still have some color in the garden here in Salem, Massachusetts.

IMG_7596As I posted last month our lavender is still with us.IMG_7594 The stevia flowers are sweet, both in appearance and taste.

Actually the flowers aren’t sweet but the leaves sure are!IMG_7592 The snapdragons are always pretty hardy and this year is no exception.IMG_7590 This is the last little bit of a new ivory echinacea  that I just planted. I’m pretty excited about this addition. I think it’s going to mirror the traditional purple echinacea just across from it nicely.IMG_7588 We still have rose buds but I’m worried about this one. Are those little thorns evidence of rose rosetta disease? What do you think? IMG_7587 I have lots of grasses scattered around and I love the transformation that they make at this time of the year when they “bloom.”IMG_7576And of course, I have a red chrysanthemum on the front porch. This one is still beautiful!

How’s your garden growing?  Be sure to check out the other GBBD posts on May Dreams Gardens right here!

Three posts in four days for The Salem Garden… hmmm…soccer and hockey seasons must be over!  😉

Enjoy everything!

Michele

It’s Not Too Late to Plant a Few Bulbs….

Maybe your feeling kind of done or like  you’ve missed the window to get those bulbs in the ground….

…but guess what? You haven’t!

As long as the ground isn’t frozen you can still plant bulbs.

And in a few short months when spring springs you’ll be glad you did!

IMG_7542I decided to put some daffodils and dutch iris along this little walkway in my herb garden.

IMG_7543I used simple bags of bulbs from a big box store. You can be fancy and order them, or buy organic or whatever you like… or, you can just go buy some up the street like I did.IMG_7560Here’s the key.. Read the label and plant as directed. Be sure to take note of the planting depth and light requirements.

Considering the light requirement is so important, just like it is when you plant everything else!

The correct light, soil type and water, that’s what does it!IMG_7551I like to loosen up the soil well then place my bulbs a few inches apart.  IMG_7555Next I dig holes to the depth indicated on the package and gently place the bulb in, pointed side up. In this case the daffodils are planted six inches deep and the iris 2-4 inches. I’ve also seen gardeners layer them with the deeper bulbs sitting under a layer of soil with another layer on top. I was working in and around the herbs so I planted them randomly but if your grouping them together to fill in an open space they’ll look great if you use the layering method.

Does that make sense? I hope so…

You can add a handful of bonemeal as you plant if you have some. I didn’t have any on hand but it helps!IMG_7556Fill back in with soil, and their all set!
IMG_7557I chose to scatter bulbs along the sides of this pathway, in between and around the herbs. Most of the herbs are perennials so they should be part of the arrangement when spring comes.
IMG_7547And now we just wait!

One last quick tip… don’t add manure of any kind to a bed where your planning to plant bulbs in the near future. Some lighter compost will be fine, but manure will burn your bulbs and you’ll never see them again.

Let’s just say that I learned this lesson the hard way 😉

Hope your inspired to grab a bag of bulbs off of the sale rack and spend a few minutes brightening up a corner. Look for a spot near a doorway where you’ll enjoy them often!

Hurry, before the polar vortex sinks down and gets us all!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

ps/ Since I wrote this post this week the weather systems have ramped up and the snow is coming, so I’m clicking publish and telling you to hurry! You can do this!