I wanted to share a great article I found on a subject close to my heart.. Creating a garden which benefits wildlife. Clicking on the photo will bring you to the article in Houzz.
Years ago I had one of those moments when I reflected on my life, asking myself, what I was doing to better the world we live in. People would say that growing and selling flowers and plants was obviously the answer to this question, but that wasn't where I was coming from. I knew the value of planting trees, renewing the landscape, using native plants to restore ecological balance, gardening for wildlife, in a time when development was destroying wildlife habitat at an alarming rate. Creating Butterfly and Hummingbird Gardens to raise awareness and bring natures wonders to our doorstep so to speak. I don't discount any of these things and believe they are all valuable and important. I was thinking more on a spiritual level.
I feel that something very special happens when we garden. When we touch the earth. When we are directly involed in the proccess of planting and nurturing. When we are on the ground, up close and personal with all that lives at that level. I believe that for humankind to stay connected to what is real and important they need to connect with nature, the energy of the earth and all its small and magnificent wonders.
At the time I was having this self reflection, vegetable gardening was at an all time low. Peoples lives were becoming more complicated and busier than ever.
It worried me that less and less people were able to connect to the earth at a time when they needed this connection more than ever. Thats when I realized my part, my purpose in my work. To provide the knowledge and the best plants to help people have positive, successful experiences in the garden. To get them excited about growing something, and touch the earth. If you are reading this you most likely know the subtle peace and joy gardening brings.
The next time you are in the garden pause, slow down, observe, smell, feel..... Take off your shoes, walk barefoot in the grass. Lie down in the grass for a moment and close your eyes. Touch the Earth!
This is the time of year the phone begins to ring with the question when can we plant? Everything has its time. Trees and shrubs, fruit trees and berry bushes can be planted as soon as you can dig in the ground. Early spring is ideal for several reasons. This is the time the nurseries are receiving their first shipments of tree and shrubs. We love getting the plants in early so that they wake up here in the nursery. They are not vulnerable to frost or late snow. We can also sell them and not have to worry that the customer will take them home and not protect tender new growth. This is the time for the best selection. Planting early gives the plant a jump on getting established, especially with the help of mother nature's watering system.
For early color pansies can be planted now. Today most pansies are greenhouse grown, therefore frosts can discolor the foliage, but it will not kill the plants.
Perennials can also be planted now, however most are dormant and if greenhouse grown are slightly susceptible to frost damage. Ask at the nursery when purchasing plants this time of year.
Planting seeds indoors to get a jump on the season and saving money on buying plants is fun and frustrating at times. I think sometimes people start too early. Now is a good time to start peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage broccoli, and cauliflower. Remember to gently harden off plants by putting them outside in a semi-shaded spot during the day when the plants are big enough.
Planting in the garden is usually dependent on the soil and the weather. The soil needs to be dry enough to work. This year the soil is drying out nicely so the target date of April 15th for Peas is right on. This is also a good time to plant seeds of lettuce, spinach, and other greens. Root crops such as radish, beets, carrots etc. can also be sown as soon as the soil can be worked. Members of the onion family can be planted early also.
If you prefer to set out plants of any of these early vegetables, around the 1st of May is a good time. they can take a few light frosts. Remember vegetables such as Tomatoes Peppers and Eggplant really need the soil to be warm and they do not tolerate frosts. Don't be fooled by a warm early spring. We often get our last frost during the last full moon in May.
If you love the bloom and scent of Sweet Peas, now is the time to plant the seed for this hardy little annual. Other flowers that tolerate light frost are Snapdragons, Petunias, Verbena, Million Bells, Osteosporum, Allyssum, Nemesia, and Diasia.
A quote from The Gardeners Bed Book, "When the Maple begins to leaf and you can plant outdoors once more, thank God that you've lived to enjoy another Spring" Enjoy!!!!
I have this great old gardening book. It is called "The Gardeners Bed Book"by Richardson Wright . Bed Book book because it can be read in snippets at night in bed. The book was published in 1929. I love the old planting wisdom and the way the gardener approached life and gardening back then. I would like to share some of Richardson's snippets . This is the one that struck me today, why not try it and give yourself an inexpensive treat. Not only the early blooms flowers, but a reason to get out and cherish the first warm days of spring.
Before The Show. Although it is commonplace of gardening. I'm amazed at the people who are unaware that Spring-Flowering shrubs and trees can be brought indoors and brought to bloom in water. It's like peeking under a curtain before the show begins. Apparently lifeless twigs of Forsythia, Apples, Plums and such will break into leaf and blossom if kept in water in a warm room. About this season of the year we always carry cumbersome bundles of them into town and set them in a sunny window. The buds stand ready to uncurl, like a diver at the end of a spring-board and in a week or ten days, they take their flowery plunge, casting a spray of cheerful blossoms over the room. Excerpt from "The Gardeners Bed Book" by Richardson Wright
It is amazing to me how quickly and early the signs of spring arrive. The songs of the birds are changing, despite the still freezing temperatures, the warmth of and power of the sun, a smell in the air. Ordering my seeds for spring is another one for me. I always leave it for last. I need to be in the mood. It gets me excited about the garden and all the possibilities of the season to come, somewhat like waking up and having the newness of another day and all it's possibilities.
My favorite seed catalogue is the Seed Savers. They are a non-profit seed company with the mission to save and disperse heirloom seeds. Seeds that have been handed down by generations and are donated to them for preservation.
Imagine you have tomato seeds that your grandmother brought to America from Italy and have been in her family for generations. They are the best tasting tomatoes you ever ate and they are very disease resistant. You share them with friends and relatives who always look forward to your harvest. These are heirloom tomatoes and their continued existence is dependent that you will continue to save those seeds.
I actually had an aunt who had seeds from her family in Italy. It was the same scenario. She would proudly bring us her surplus and they were amazing. She is now in a nursing home and I do not know if anyone saved her seeds. If not the variety is gone.
The Seed savers catalogue is fun to read. They give the heritage of the seeds along with the descriptions. It makes me feel good that by selling their seeds I can help disperse them and share the uniqueness of heirlooms with my customers. You can even save the seeds from your plants for next year. The catalogue offers guidance for doing this. I have put a link and more information on the website so if you are interested check it out.
If you have tried any of the heirloom varieties we would love to hear from you. If someone tells me they loved a variety we do not have I try to carry it and vice versa, negative information helps us weed thru the many choices that are out there.
Stay open to those hopefull signs of spring!!!!
I have fallen in love with Daylilies. Ease of care,relative lack of disease and pest issues, and last but not least, outstanding beauty and indivduality. Strolling thru the garden in the early morning, to see what new faces the plants are going to show off, has become such a pleasure.
The world of Dayliles virtually exploded upon me when Cindy Valente, owner of Valente Gardens, North Berwick, Maine, called me and wanted to know if I would like to buy any of her stock. Her husband had passed on and she had decided to close their business. Their reputation for Daylilies was well established in our area and my business was ready for a fresh new direction. Not really knowing why, I decided to purchase everything she had left. This did not include the Daylilies her husband Ron had hybridized. I advertised the new additions as Valente Dayliies. I did not realize my error until customers came in looking for the Daylilies Ron had hybridized.
This was the start of a love story for me. I fell in love with Daylillies. I started collecting hybrids of Ron Valente and developed a deep appreciation for his talent as a hybridizer.
We created a Daylily display garden and last year we had our first Daylily Festival which was a big success. My goal is to register our garden as an AHS Display Garden and to sell Northern hardy Daylilies and become a source of Daylilies bred by N Hybridizers
I would love to hear from any of you Dayliliy people.