Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Signs of Spring

Last weekend we had beautiful weather to usher in spring in New England.  Our garden is always slow to awaken.... seemingly slower than even my neighbor's gardens.  I think because most of our yard is partial shade to shaded that we seem to be a bit behind everyone else around us.  This makes for a challenge to grow veggies and flowers with so little sun, but I keep trying!

The crocuses came up for the first time last week... (told ya things were slow in our yard).  I was surprised to see a bee on one - not a honey bee but a pollinator indeed!

Crocus are some of my favorite flowers. They bloom for such a short period of time, but always bring a smile to my face after a long winter.

I didn't plant any of the crocuses in my yard... they are all completely naturalized. Every year there are a few more and it's always so exciting to see them popping up in so many different places.

Some daffodils are coming up too.  They haven't bloomed yet in my yard although my neighbor's across the street has finished blooming.... her yard is in full sun all day.... hate her!  Ok, only kidding....

The grape hyacinths I planted in the fall are also popping up. Can't wait to see them in full bloom.

Finally a tulip shoot! I planted close to 50 bulbs last fall, but sadly only a few are popping up. We had such a harsh winter and I'm not sure if I planted them deep enough... well live and learn.

I put out most of the houseplants outside for a breath of fresh air and to soak up the warm sun. These are only some of my houseplants - I've got over 20 inside the house.

For some reason the schefflera really suffered this winter. It lost most of it's leaves, but has settled down and is coming along nicely. I leave it out all summer and in winter take it in. It usually has no problem adjusting, but this year it really struggled.... kind of feels like I did all winter.  ....notice the lovely garbage pail sitting on our porch... at least it's not bright blue and thankfully it's only there in the winter! Hubby doesn't always win! Tee Hee...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gardening for a Lifetime

I'm traveling for business this week to a warmer climate and can't help but to think about my home and garden back in Massachusetts.  I'm a homebody by nature and enjoy nothing more than puttering around the flower beds and tending to the vegetable garden.

Photo Credit:  Better Homes and Garden magazine

Lately work has consumed most of my time and when I'm not working life just seems to get in the way of what I really want to be to doing, which is diving into rich garden soil and letting all of my senses par take in the glory of mother nature.

Photo Credit:  Country Living Magazine

To pass the time on the plane ride I poured over gardening magazines and dreamed of a life where my only cares are deadheading a shasta daisy and pulling up weeds.  Right now I'm a bit of frustrated gardener as the vegetable seeds I intended to sow indoors have yet to be sown, the milk containers I collected for winter seed sowing sit empty in a back bedroom, and the tubers and summer bulbs I bought at the flower show have yet to be buried in potting soil.  Is it too late?.... Too late and the season hasn't even begun yet?  I know it's not, but I feel that way sometimes especially when I see the blogs of my gardening friends whose seeds have already sprouted and whose gardens are already bursting with blooming color... granted they are in a different zone, but I feel behind all the same. 

Am I alone in feeling so anxious? Do you feel that way as you peruse the blogs of others?  Do you wonder how they have time to do it all?  How everything seems to be done on schedule without life ever getting in the way?  Why should something that I enjoy so much make me feel so filled with angst? 

Then, in the throes of my anxiety I read a review of a gardening memoir, "Gardening for a Lifetime," by Sydney Eddison.  Althouth it focuses on the challenges of maintaining a garden as you get older, it's message is clear....  gardening should be enjoyable and easily fit into your lifestyle and if it's not... well for God's sake change it and don't worry about what other people are doing.

I can't wait to buy this book and dive into its pages.  In the meantime, I need to resolve myself to the fact that although I bought 15 seed packets for veggies and flowers not a single one may get sown.... and, well that's OK... because I can still garden and still have delicious veggies this summer.  Our local gardening center will have some fabulous seedlings in about another month and I can enjoy planting them all the same.  I may not have raised them since birth, but they will be my adopted rescues that I'll love.  After all my little dog Ellie is a rescue and look how wonderful she turned out to be!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Succulent Serial Killing

I admit..... I kill succulents..... not on purpose of course....  I absolutely love succulents!  I adore their shapes, textures, and colors.  I pretty much love everything about them, but for some reason in my possession most succulents die - even the resilient ones.  Except this kalanchoe, which I've had forever, but I don't really consider it a succulent since it seems to survive. 


It blooms every year for me and is just starting to set bloom now.  

I've even done well propagating it.  See the plant in the top center in the photo below.  This is just one of the many I've propagated from this plant - which are super easy to propagate anyway.

You'll also notice the jade plant and the Christmas Cactus - yes both still alive.  The jade plant is another succulent I seem to do well with, but the Christmas Cactus.... well I've only had it a few months so I'm not sure if that counts yet.

I bought this paddle plant (which is a member of the kalanchoe) at the Rhode Island Flower Show 2 weeks ago.  I've wanted one of these plants for a long time, but was too afraid to buy one for fear I'd kill it too.  But, when I read that it is a member of the kalanchoe family I figured that I'd give it try.  We'll see... I've only had it 2 weeks.


Here is another succulent that is doing OK.... I don't know what kind it is but I'm sure one of you wonderful bloggers does.  I bought it as a tiny plant last summer for a dish garden.... it's the sole surviving member... *sigh*.  Hey maybe it's another kalanchoe! ..... I think not.....

Here's are 2 more plants I bought at the flower show....  keeping my fingers crossed with them.  Someone please tell me what they are since they came without tags.



This one I bought about a year ago.  Is this a Hen and Chicks?  It has looked pretty bad in the past but all of a sudden it seems to have picked up and is growing babies - this was right after it bloomed!  Yup! I'm excited!

I think I'm doing all the right with these succulents.  I don't water them often...... I wait until they are very dry.  I transplant using them cactus potting soil in pots that have drain holes and they are in a west facing window.


I have the most difficulty growing varieties of sedum, which should be pretty foolproof, but sedum especially seem to die as soon as they are near me.  I've tried planting them outside, inside, in pots....  I've tried to talking to them.... begging them to stay alive..... even bribing them.... OK not really but you get the picture!  The only thing I can think of is that I may have a problem with low light. Most of my yard is partial sun and shady.  The only really sunny spots are reserved for the veggie garden and perennial flower bed.  There's not much direct sun coming through the house and I have no south facing windows - only west.  

I welcome all and any advice from you succulent experts.  Boy can I use it!