Regardless of date the garden continues on its merry way. I have been ignoring the flower bed behind the garage as I've been busy working on other areas. A quick look this week told me I had better pay more attention. The exceptionally exuberant plume poppy has expanded its reach and needs to be chopped back and the weeds are putting up a strong showing too. Unfortunately the hollyhocks are not doing as well.
Yellow spots are decorating the emerging leaves, a sign of rust that will eventually defoliate the plants. I thinned out the hollyhocks back in October hoping more air circulation between the plants would help. I also cut back all the affected leaves and disposed of them in the garbage. However, it looks like it was in vain. I worry about this virus spreading to other plants and I really don't like dealing with sickly plants so I will be pulling these plants in the near future. The question of what to replace them with has been hovering in the back of my mind. I placed a Veronica in this area late last summer but it didn't survive the winter. The pow wow white echinacea I also planted is alive but not thriving. Triumphantly mother nature decided to solve the problem for me.
Funny things happen in a compost pile and when you put compost on a flower bed even funnier things occur. There are baby lupines like the one pictured above scattered throughout the bed growing happily alongside the plume poppy and in between the hollyhocks. I could not have thought of a better combination myself.
The warm weather we have been receiving lately has really moved the season along at a quick pace. The strawberry plants I put in last year are now blooming profusely with the promise of red berries to come.
We were in for a shock though this week when the temperatures started to dip and the weatherman told us a frost was forecast! Panic stricken I ran home and recruited Jody to help me bundle up the garden for the night.
A frost would kill all the precious strawberry blooms and that would mean no fruit. This large orange tarp was used to cover up the strawberry bed and various pieces of wood were used to hold it down. (and yes, if you look closely we also used gutters. We still haven't finished putting them all back up on the house).
In addition to tarps we used blankets, buckets, juice jugs, pots - whatever we could find we grabbed to cover up tender plants. Ironically I had been frantically planting tomatoes the day before thinking I was late getting them in the ground.
|There's even an overturned laundry sink protecting plants.|
Rocks - and tires - were used to weight things down so the wind didn't blow the covers off.
This red glass vase was turned upside down and placed over a cucumber to protect it from the cold. Dirt was mounded around the edges to keep out the cold and keep the vase from tipping over.
Also a worry was the apple orchard. The trees have begun to bloom and a cold snap could destroy the flowers. With no flowers to pollinate there's no chance for apples to form.
There's no blanket big enough to cover this old tree so we simply had to wait it out and hope for the best. Luck was with us as the frost never did occur. It was a lucky miss for many many farmers as strawberries, blueberries, pears and apples are all blooming right now.
Thankfully we get to enjoy the sweet scent of apple blossoms for a few more days to come.