outside in the garden

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Astragene, with thanks to Garden web

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Last year's container garden was so rewarding that we're doing it again this year.

As you may recall, the gardening left off last fall when the roofers descended and pretty much took over for the last part of August and most of September, making fall gardening nearly impossible.

We did manage last fall to prepare a small bed (1.5 x 3 feet) for spring bulbs at the end of the row of shrubbery that runs along the driveway, perpendicular to the street. The flowers there delighted us this spring. Now the crocuses and daffodils have gone by. A few pansies we popped in last month are blooming still, but we can expect them to die back when hot weather arrives. In anticipation of the yellowing of the bulb greens, Sandy planted some nasturtiums yesterday that, if they do well, will provide a spot of bright color there; if not, at the least we can expect some attractive greens. It may be too shady in that spot for blossoms once the ash tree leafs out. All the other trees are nearly in full leaf and the ash has only just produced some buds..

Now, as for the container gardening. We moved the old picnic table into our sunny area near the back of the house, by the shed. Using the wheelbarrow, we moved the three wooden tubs (last summer filled with tomatoes and basil) in a row at an angle to the table. They are resting on three bricks, to allow drainage.
On another page I have a photos showing part of this arrangement.

We went to Ladd's nursery and picked up a few items. They had a huge offering of pansies on display, but we were ready to start moving on. Pansies are nice to plant in last March or early April, but I wouldn't buy them now. Meandering around Ladd's greenhouse, we found a couple of good looking geraniums and some excellent foliage plants, one chartreuse and one deep reddish purple, nearly black. The latter is sweet potato vine, but I'm not sure what the chartreuse plant is - it wasn't marked and I neglected to ask. We were looking for a combination of plants that would look good in a container for the front steps, where it becomes shaded by noon or so. We also wanted to fill another container or two with sunny flowers.

So we got a soft gray fuzzy plant that probably trails nicely but does not have flowers; one that will grow quite tall with blue flowers, and a violet-blue plant. I can't recall the names of any of these! (Need to take notes, dona?) Also got nasturtium, forget-me-not and cosmos seeds.

We bought several fairly large green plastic pots, and one terra cotta herb pot (the kind with openings on the sides as well as the top).

Some of the herbs at Ladd's didn't look too good and the potting soil we wanted seemed pretty steep, so we went to Agway and bought lavender, rosemary, flat-leafed parsley, and two tomato and one pepper plants. Also a huge bag of potting soil that was about half the price of Ladd's.

Once we got all this stuff home, we had a little trouble remembering which plant was to go where! But we took heart from the idea that it would not be too hard to rearrange if we didn't likke the looks of something later. Also, I recalled that it is still early May -- it felt like June yesterday! -- and so a bit early to be planting hot weather crops like tomatoes and peppers.

Once I get my camera working, I'll take some pictures, to demonstrate our progress as the summer wears on.