Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Garden is (Finally) Springing to Life!

In my yard sale post on Saturday, I promised to get around to an update on my other favourite thing about spring: getting back in the garden!

I've been impatiently surveying the progress of all things green and leafy in my little dominion, and with the last few warm sunny days we've had, everything has burst into life at long last.

A little tour of what's popped its head up in my yard (starting with the edible stuff, of course!):

The rhubarb is off to a decent start - I'm really anxious for a taste but I'm trying to restrain myself until it gets a bit bigger. At the top edge you can see the raspberries and lemon balm trying to encroach on the rhubarb's territory. It's nice to have food plants that grow vigorously; however, sometimes trying to keep them from overrunning the entire garden can feel like a full-time job!

Here's a closer look at the raspberries - I've already been out cutting back all the spent canes, which is always an adventure as they grow thickly and are kind of prickly (hey, that sort of rhymes). Up until a couple of years ago, I wasn't very disciplined about doing a spring pruning, but since I've been vigilant about it, my raspberry patch has produced much more than it did in the past, so this spring gardening task is really worth taking the time for.

Anyone want some lemon balm? I started out with a small transplant a couple of years ago that I received off of Freecycle, and now it's threatening to take over an entire garden bed. This is just one of the "satellite" clumps that have appeared this spring.

On the other side of the yard, the strawberries are nicely nestled in their own little raised bed just off our patio (maybe this will be the year I figure out how to stop the squirrels from eating all the berries before we do!)

I found this little fellow alive and well:

He's the only surviving member of the bunch of green onions I regrew from grocery store purchased ones last year. I have a fresh supply of green onions hanging out in glasses of water on my kitchen windowsill that I'm waiting to plant once our frost date has passed.

One of the many things I love about summer is having an abundance of fresh herbs to incorporate into our meals waiting just outside the back door. Along with the already-mentioned lemon balm, the other perennial herbs are showing signs of life:

I was happy to see the lemon thyme resurface from its winter slumber. I just planted it last year and was hoping it would make it back this year (even though thyme is perennial I've had some die off on me in the past). This stuff smells phenomenal and I usually can't resist running my fingers along it then inhaling deeply whenever I go by :) It's also a really pretty herb and adds some welcome colour and texture to my spring garden!

Unlike the thyme, I hardly have to hold my breath about the reappearance of the garlic chives - another very aggressive, invasive herb. They are so tasty, though and I use them extensively all growing season long - I just have to dig out clumps every spring to keep it from taking over my entire raised bed.

Last but not least on the edibles front is the oregano, which is just starting to wake up for a new season of growth. The mint has not yet resurfaced, but it's usually the last to make an appearance so I expect to see it burst onto the scene very soon!

A couple of ornamental plants to finish out our little tour:
 The Solomon's Seal is off to the races as usual - it grows incredibly fast once it starts to come up. My hubby and I are sure that sometimes it has doubled in size in a 24 hour period! If this weather keeps up, it should start to bloom soon.

The perennial geranium always gets itself well established early on in the season, too. I now have several clumps of it growing around the front and back yards. I love the interesting foliage, which has a pleasant scent. It is a very hardy and low-maintenance perennial - it just needs a little cutting back by the end of the season to make sure it doesn't spread too much.

We have quite a few ferns on our property; I think this guy is the first up for the season. It's always interesting to see where new "fern babies" come up every year.

In about a week and a half, we'll be putting all the annual herbs and veggies in for the season. Then my usual growing-season game of keeping all the critters out of the garden will begin in earnest.

What's growing in your garden right now?

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