Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Gardening Notes

Pink primrose in bloom, April 14
I've been anxiously waiting for flowers in the garden and finally I spotted some color from the kitchen window. The first flower to bloom this year (not counting the snowdrops in bloom I bought and planted a few weeks ago) popped up yesterday in my garden - a pink primrose!  I'm hoping the warm weather forecast for the upcoming week will give the daffodils and tulips I planted last fall the push they need to push up their flower buds and bloom soon.

The day lilies, butterfly bush, raspberries, salvia, echinachea, lamium, sundrops and other perennial plants I moved north from PA to VT all survived our snowless winter without much die-off. I'm not sure the redosier dogwood we planted late in the fall survived, but it's a native plant here that grows in abundance along the brook running through the property so we'll have plenty of replacements if we need them.

Daffodils almost ready to bloom
I was tickled to find lupine seeds sprouting around the new growth from the plants I grew from seed and moved here last summer. I was never able to grow lupines more than 1 season  in Pennsylvania, but they seem to be very happy in this environment. I'll have two year plants plus new plants - both white and purple - in the garden this summer!

The soil around my house in Vermont is heavy clay, hard and compacted. Two previous owners didn't do much to landscape the property since the house was built 17 years ago, except to plant one spreading evergreen at the front left corner and stick in a few perennials near the back steps to help sell the house. The soil needs amending anywhere I plan to garden.  I started work on my long range garden plan last spring by digging along the foundation at the back of the house to lighten the soil with compost and manure and add better drainage. We built a raised bed that doubles as a cold frame/hoop house near the kitchen door, and planted all those perennials from the Pennsylvania garden on the sloping bank out back and in a couple nursery beds near the back door.
Walkway garden below driveway parking area

Yesterday I tackled double-digging the hard-packed soil along the driveway parking area. It took me more than an hour to dig it up with a garden fork, remove rocks and break up the clay clods., the dig it all again and mix up the soils. I also regraded the garden area to remove a bit of slope between the driveway garden  and the front walk, then added rocks to support the leveled section along the stone path leading to the front door. Beyond the path to the right (not visible here) the front yard drops off sharply and will need to be terraced later this spring.

Today I'll be adding Moo-Doo composted cow manure to the planting bed on the right so Bekah, Anya and I can plant veggies along the walkway. In the strip along the driveway to the left I'll plant annuals because eventually that space will be covered by a garage.

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