Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How Does Your Garden Grow part 2

Once everything was planted... I had a little bit of a break... sure, we've had lots of watering... morning and night sometimes... but "watching things grow" part is what came next. We put plant markers in a lot of places where bulbs/tubers or seeds were directly sown. That way we wouldn't trample on any sweet little baby plants as they sprouted, and knew exactly where to water. It didn't take too long before we started seeing a sea of green amidst all the brown dirt. The dahlias grew quickly... as did the gladiolus, and cosmos... the sunflowers needed a lot of good warmth to sprout up high. Many of the perennial plants (alyssum, speedwell, bee balms, etc.) planted along the front part of the rock wall, have taken off with growing. We also transplanted some wild flowers found among the driveway cracks or yard to the garden, for refuge (yarrow and pearly everlasting), and identified some others in our yard that we will keep in their place. It'll be interesting to see what makes it and what doesn't, through our mild winters here.

The gladiolus, were the first to grow nice and tall... and once our temps rose to typical summer temps, they bloomed... they were bright bold yellows, pinks, coral orange, and purple. A true delight to the eye. They remind me so much, of our time in Europe. They add such height and dimension to a bouquet.

The cosmos were the next to begin popping open... and they've been my most pleasant surprise. They are called double snow puff cosmos... seeds bought from Floret Flower (my favorite online shop, and farm here in Washington). The more you cut from them, the more blooms they grow... seriously, they produce a ton. Their stems also seem to be a bit thicker than most cosmos (which to me, have flimsy stems). I'll for sure be planting double the amount next year. I'm also going to hunt down a double petal colored variation of them.

The dahlias started popping around mid July... and there are still so many that we are waiting on to open up and show us what color they are. This year, I'll mark them all down, to keep them sorted, so next year, I can plant them in varieties instead of such a medley between the rows. The tubers that I picked up from the local flower farmer, have been proving to be a great investment. The colors that are opening up, and the AMOUNT of blooms, is just astounding. They for sure, aren't disappointing...  every time I pull up in my driveway, I glance over at them... and my eyes don't want to break contact. To think that in a few weeks, it'll be time to dig them up, and divide them... and see how many more I can have for next year.

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Saturday, July 27, 2019

How Does Your Garden Grow part 1

I've dreamt of a cut flower garden for a very long time... not really sure when the dream began... but the moment it entered the brain, it never left (you can read about my first garden post here).  Being tucked into the woods, you wouldn't necessarily "think" that we'd get as much light as we do... but we do. Our soil... although it's super rocky (and I definitely need to get it tested next year)... is so rich. As soon as my tiller came in the mail, I began amending the soil. Little by little..  bit by bit, square by square... turned into a few rows worth of beautiful planting soil. At the same time, we built up the retaining wall alongside the garden. Just as we were beginning to plant our summer garden, the ranunculus (the ones left, not eaten by bunnies) bloomed (FINALLY!)... there weren't too many this year, but what we cut, were beautiful. The colors were amazing, and although they were finicky to grow, they're definitely on the list for next year's spring garden. We just have to work on a way to keep the little critters out that seem to think of them as a treat instead of eye candy.

Towards the end of spring, a local garden club hosted  a "Plant Sale"... they cut back their gardens, and in doing so, they have a TON of plants ready to be transplanted into a new garden. The plants are sold at RIDICULOUSLY low prices... and in doing so, I was able to pick up a bunch of beautiful, locally grown, perennial flowers to start planting all around the retaining walls. I arrived at the sale super late in the day, but I managed to pick up some perennial sunflowers, sedum, Jerusalem sage and a lot of different irises. I'll have to keep my eyes open for more and more of these types of sales... all of the plants have been thriving and growing in the places where I've planted them. 

Part of growing a thriving, cut garden, has also been planting pollinators throughout the garden. I've begun planting bee balms, and butterfly weeds, lavenders, etc... and boy, have they been busy. 

Towards late spring, I pulled out my big bin of dahlias that I stored last year. Opening it up, felt like a Christmas present... all these tubers with eyes on them, already began growing... I wanted rows of dahlias this year, and so when planting, I kept them fairly close to one another (about 12-18 inches apart)... every tuber was planted with some extra vermiculite. A dear friend gave me a heads up that a local flower farmer was selling dahlia tubers... I waited for a bit, and just around Memorial Day, she had an incredible sale (since the tubers desperately needed to get into the ground) , 2 tubers for $1. Many of the tubers weren't labeled with what they were, but I grabbed over 30 of them to bring home and plant beside my dahlia babies. I went from 30 dahlias planted to 60 in a matter of 1 day. 

Around the same time that I got my dahlias in the ground, I planted my cosmo babies, sunflower babies, zinnia babies and snapdragon babies. I also had a bunch of gladiolus bulbs to get in the ground... every night, after dinner, before bedtime, I made my way out to the garden, and just kept planting. It became a beautiful routine, of tilling, planting and watering... 

All while planting our summer garden, we found that many of our spring wildflowers (lupine) and flower bed flowers (delphinium) began seeding themselves. We harvested and bundled up many seeds for next year... I'll have to look into when they need to be planted (I'm guessing in the fall). We also picked our first bouquet (coneflowers, salvia, yarrow, verbena, snapdragons, black eyed Susans, and an early dahlia) mid July... which was just the start of the many bouquets my beautiful garden has given us since...  

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