A Slow Start to Spring, Sort of

Like last year, this has been a cold and wet spring.  Northern New England got snow the night of May 13th, while here along the Massachusetts coast the nighttime temp last night was upper 30s to low 40s. They are calling for the same again tonight. I hurriedly put row cover over my garden to keep my peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes toasty while we wait for real spring weather.

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The cool season crops to the left should be fine, but I was a bit worried about the tomatoes in the large bed.

I have traditionally planted out my tender veggies on mothers day weekend–looks like I should have waited a bit! For now, the garden sits in a holding pattern while we wait for sun and warmer temps to get things moving along.  The doldrums this has engendered in me is exasperated by the fact that I am just now able to get back into the garden following surgery to repair my Achilles tendon.  I excitedly got rid of the cast, off the crutches, and into a walking boot, only to find myself hobbling from the couch and into a cold drizzle.  Bummer.

Late-autumn-weather-in-spring notwithstanding, we have managed to get some work done.  Before going in for surgery, we wrapped up the hardscaping and regrading at the “top” of our yard.

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Sometimes it is downright handy being married to a civil engineer–we make a pretty good design build team. We built a few more steps and retaining wall so we could level out a small area for our chairs and fire pit.
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The view down from the top of the back yard.  The veggie garden is off to the left just out of frame.

After I got off my crutches and into a walking boot I planted grass at the top of the hill.  I then planted some of the relatively shallow, rock areas around the new steps with succulents and alpine plants.

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Hooray for my walking boot
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A mix of succulents: Hens and chicks, and several different sedums like ‘Angelina,’ ‘Blue spruce,’ and ‘Voodoo.’

I’ve been obsessively watching the British gardening show Gardeners’ World (more on that at a later date) on BritBox.  They often feature scree gardens, and while I know what scree is, I had never heard of a scree garden before. I’m quite glad that I now have.  I filled in the new steps and walkway with river stone (slightly bigger than pea stone) after planting some tough alpine plants that can handle both rocky, sandy soil and moderate foot traffic.

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The scree garden, including Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink chintz,’ Veronica prostrata ‘Nestor,’ Armeria maritima ‘Morning Star Deep Rose’ and “Armada Rose,’ and Juniperus horizontalis ‘Andorra Compact’

I did finally get a holly bush moved and replaced it with one of my all time garden favorites, Viburnum

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Viburnum x ‘Burkwoodii’ or Burkwood Spice Viburnum

I also planted an homage to my father-in-law Jim, wife Hilary, and daughter Elsie’s heritage: a trio of Korean lilacs.

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Korean lilac Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’ set behind a spread of Phlox subulata. Photo taken on one of the few sunny and warm spring days we’ve had this year.

And lastly, we did get out window boxes planted.  Elsie took charge.

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Elsie is becoming quite the little gardener.  Kids like to be given tasks they can take charge of and “own.”

So, a slow start weather wise, but the garden has not been without activity.  My growing, building, and restoring activities are so tied to seasons that this late start to spring feels like a real disruption.  We plant in the spring, grow in the summer, and harvest and preserve in the fall.  After I put the garden to bed I take up my tools and spend the late autumn and winter in the woodshop. After a long New England winter I am desperate to start the cycle over again, and so the cold rainy spring has certainly dampened my mood a bit.  It will change though, and the warm weather will be here to stay, and soon enough I’ll probably be complaining about how hot it is.

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