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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