Sunday, May 1, 2011

Triumphs and Tragedies

It feels like everything is revolving around the weather lately.  When there's a glimpse of sunshine I get elated but all too often the weather has been cold, windy and now rainy, putting me in a rather frustrated state of mind.  Despite the cold the plants have started to emerge from their cocoons, which is cause for celebration.

Many have made it through quite well, including the Lady's mantle pictured above.  Some are doing too well, as I discovered while weeding.  The Meadowsweet has sent runners all over the bed.  I was thinking of moving this plant to another spot and now I'm not sure I'll be able to get it out so I might be stuck with it where it is.  There were also some losses.  The Ligularia 'Osiris Cafe Noir' is nowhere to be found.  The Malva appears to be dead as well as the lily of the valley.  Several hostas have yet to make their appearance.  Overall I'm happy though with how many perennials survived.

A surprise came in the mail this week.  The last of my order from Veseys arrived. Strawberries and onion sets.

The quintessential Triumph and Tragedy.  I was delighted to have my plants but I had anticipated the strawberries would be sent after the last frost date, in say, another 3 weeks or so.  Three weeks where I would have had time to prepare new vegetable beds.  Uh oh.  Now what to do with these plants?

They couldn't stay in the house indefinitely otherwise they'll dry out and perish so on a rainy evening I got outside and plugged them into an existing bed.

This is just a temporary solution as the strawberries are very crowded and would get shaded out in this spot.  They should be towards the front of the garden facing the sun as they are so short.  There are plans to rent a sod cutter in the next week (if it ever stops raining) and create several new beds where the strawberries will reside.  Raised beds will also be constructed.  A lot of work to do in an increasingly short amount of time.  What I wouldn't give for a warm day right now.

Oh spring, I was so excited for you to come but now that you're here I find myself exhausted with too much to do.  A girl just can't win.


  1. It's so much fun receiving seeds. I'm still waiting for mine.

    We will never be contented with life. :) Always full of triumphs and tragedies.

  2. You are ages ahead of us. I wouldn't worry too much about the hostas, no matter the year, they always seem to pop up well after the rest.

    I do love the Lady's Mantle, one of my faves. :)

  3. Many strawberries are fairly hardy. Hope yours are! I think I'll only have one loss (jasmine) this year, although most of the nandina are frost damaged. It's possible we'll have some freezes over the next few weeks, so we're not out of the woods yet.

  4. we've jsut seen the last of our strawberries I think, no frost yet, but won't be long now.

  5. Hello! I have found my way to you via your comment left on Janet/Planteliscious - what a great way to find other interesting blogs.

    It really is like peeking over the garden fence to see what others are doing. Love your blog and will visit again - thank you. R

    ps please feel free to pop along to my blog.

  6. Hi Marguerite, sorry about the plant losses, but I suppose it is a "survival of the fittest" scenario - at least you are finding out what thrives in your conditions?

    I'd be happy to take your rain if you'd like to just send it over, I'm beginning to forget what it feels like... Gardeners - never happy with the weather!

  7. It's always the way, isn't it? Go out in Spring and see 'who made it'. Too early for us to judge yet, although I have taken a couple good looks at my 'Blue Moon' Wisteria!

  8. One - It's true, there's always another triumph or tragedy. That's what keeps us coming back isn't it? ;-)

    Ms. S - You're right, hostas seem to take a while to show up. I worry just a bit though because there was one established hosta when we moved here and I'm already seeing it sprout up. The two I purchased last year are nowhere to be seen though. But then that could just be microclimates in different locations. Nothing to do but wait....

    My Soapbox - I sure hope they're hardy too! I'll be keeping my eye on the nights though just in case and might take out a blanket if a hard freeze is predicted. Would hate to lose these plants before they even get started.

    I Wasn't Blogged - I'm surprised you get frost at all, which part of Australia are you at?

    Thanks Ronnie and welcome. It is fun to troll through others comments and find new bloggers, I also like blog rolls and some fantastic bloggers actually do peer reviews too (check out the monthly review of new blogs at Jean's Garden). Will be visiting you shortly.

    Janet - There's always a loss here and there it seems. Perennials I don't mind as much as they tend to be cheaper and easily replacable, unlike the trees. It also tells me something - maybe the spot wasn't right for them, too little sun, too wet, etc. I wish I could send you the rain, with all the snow melt here the ground was already wet and now rain on top it's positively sopping.

    Aagaard Farms - You're growing a wisteria! how lovely. They are such dramatic plants. I have a not so secret lust to have my own wisteria but they need the right spot that they won't destroy and I haven't figured that part out yet.

  9. Your garden looks like it is at the same stage as Jean's garden in Maine. She also had a photo of lady's mantle in her recent post. Sounds like you are planning a lot of work so I hope your weather cooperates.

  10. Lily of the valley is in the top 5 of my all-time favourites. I transplanted some from my parents' home years ago and they're still doing well. I'm going to cart them east with me too:) They're up about 5 inches or so and the bleeding heart bush has grown about a foot in the last few days. We have had one warm day (Sat.) and lots and lots of rain. TOO much moisture!! Went to my trailer on the weekend and the ground was spongy with moisture - I've been going there for 6 years and I've never seen it like this - it's like the ground just can't absorb anything more!

  11. Your way will work well. I might have potted them up so they could be growing on in the sun and then transplanted. Toss some straw mulch over them if frost threatens. Strawberries are fairly hardy. I hope you get a good crop.

  12. I feel the way you do... spring isn't the wondrous hopeful season I always imagine. It's cold, it's wet, when the sun comes out it's windy, and frost is always an overnight threat. Sigh. The season is so slow to emerge, and I am so far behind. Summer makes up for it, but spring just leaves me frustrated.

  13. Lannie: We leave Saturday for the island..we are getting excited..perhaps I'll be in time to see if I have any spring flowers. I don't usually lose perennials up here in Muskoka but have a lot of broken branches from weight of snow and ice..brought forsythia branches inside and have enjoyed blooms for 2 pasque flowers are blooming and hyacinths..I'll miss a lot this yr. being out East 3 wks..thankfully for all us gardeners, we just keep on keeping on..hope springs eternal :)

  14. Carolyn - Jean's garden and mine are very similar, same zone, atlantic climate. I often refer to her blog for ideas and tips. It's wonderful to have so many people to discuss gardens with even though they might be miles away.

    Jane - I love lily of the valley but have never had luck with them. They're supposed to be somewhat invasive and easy to grow anywhere but I've managed to buy, transplant and buy again and kill them every single time. our ground isn't saturated yet like yours but rain forecast for all week so we may get there yet.

    Thanks Nelljean. The strawberries are getting some sun right now but later when other plants come in they would get shaded so a new spot needs to be found. Hopefully the weather holds out and I'll get some digging done soon.

  15. Laurrie - isn't it funny how we long for spring but then it comes and we remember that it isn't all bright sunny days. Although this spring really is much worse than last year.

    Lanniedee - oh you must be excited to see your house. I remember last year watching all the 'new to me' flowers coming up was really exciting. I'm sure you'll find lots to look at as we're only just getting started here with bulbs only just coming into bloom and perennials still just a smudge of green on the landscape. Enjoy your trip.

  16. Hi, I just recdently discovered your blog and this is my first comment. I'm in Calgary (zone 3) and my strawberries are popping up and green. If they can make it here, no problem anywhere else in Canada :). I just finished a great book called "Weedless Gardening" by Lee Reich. I would highly recommend it to alleviate your toil in the garden. No need to rent a sod cutter at all to make new beds. Mow ground where you want the bed, cover with 4 sheets moist newspaper or cardboard, add mulch (compost) and plant.

    I don't think you have to worry about your strawberries being short too much (unless planted near corn or something really tall) if you have a "full sun" site as, in the summer, the sun is up high in the sky. Happy planting. Heather

  17. I love reading about your garden. We have strawberries but I think this year we will be getting rid of them. After more than 10 years I'm ready to try growing some other things. We have such a limited amount of space and the strawberries take a lot of it.
    We lost one of our two blueberry bushes and I think we'll lose the other. I'm going to have to research what happened I'm not sure why it died.
    The raspberries are going crazy and I have to keep cutting out runners or it would take over the entire yard :)
    Good luck with your strawberries. I hope they do well for you.

  18. This has been happening to me, too. We had a warm spell and I couldn't resist so I ordered a bunch of stuff. Now, I'm trying to grow it in a sunny window while I wait for warmer weather. :))

  19. Margeurite hang in there girl !
    We have been teasedexactly the same way .. our weekend was wonderful but Monday through to Friday there is cold rain staying .. Sunday I actually got some garden work done but I don't know if I have lost any plants yet.
    I am waiting for my Vesey order .. that special white rose .. I hope it comes soon .. I'll even plant it in the rain ! LOL
    Joy : )

  20. Hi Heather, welcome to the blog! you know I can't resist a good gardening book and goodness knows I need to find a way to do a lot in a little time here so I'll be keeping an eye out for that book. I was concerned about the strawberries being shaded by the likes of tomatoes and zinnias but it is a full sun sight so perhaps you're right and I needn't worry. I'm worried about these strawberries because they're new transplants so I thought frost might be quite dicey but who knows, maybe they're tougher than I give them credit.

    Johanna - That makes good sense. Strawberries tend to be a bit invasive and take over the joint so switching it up and enjoying other plants for a while might be kinda fun.

    Kate - I feel so foolish, my tomatoes are THAT high! There is not the window space and yet far too cold to make the trek into the great outdoors. Next year I'll keep my hands out of the seed packets and exercise some patience.

    Joy - Roses! now there's something you must be eagerly waiting for. As I turned out the driveway this morning I noticed the buds have fattened up on my wild rose bushes and there's noticeable green. exciting stuff.

  21. A garden should always yield strawberries. I had some dry out one year and it did nothing to them at all, they will show promise and no need to rush, the rain will always be here.

    I'm rushing faster going backwards, seems a girl always has lots to do. If your lily of the valley doesn't come through for you I know where you can have lots for free...along with strawberry plants as well the early variety. I'm ok with saying this as Vessey's has my pocket book this week. Let me know on the lily of the valley

  22. Cindy, thanks for visiting and for the lovely offer. I've spent oodles at Vesseys this week as well. and now I've got to figure out where to put it all! Despite the acres of lawn there's almost no established beds to put anything in.