Saturday, June 6, 2015


Ah, spring--with the up and down roller coaster ride of uncertain weather.  First, we bake with unseasonably hot and humid weather so early in the season. Then the winds shift, cool air comes off the ocean and we're parked under a system that releases rain at regular intervals over several days.  The thing I find striking is how often during this spring season, that we've had temperature fluctuations of 20-25 degrees on two successive days.  That's a huge change for a 24 hour period.  We were very lucky here in escaping the severe weather--high winds and hail during the recent batch of wet weather.  We got the rain (the upside) without the downside.

After the hot, dry start to the season, things really appreciate the replenishing rain.  I can see that recently planted herbs and flowers have taken hold after the soaking rain.  Established plants burst forth with flowers after sitting unhappily under the hot sun.  There are some real beauties in the garden right now. The several types of roses I grow have all popped out beautiful fragrant flowers. In perfect timing with the roses, part-shade loving lady's mantle has produced its spikes of yellowish-green flowers.  I do dry lady's mantle flowers, but my favorite use is as a very attractive filler for cut flowers--particularly roses.   Two of my best reblooming perennials--catmint and jupiter's beard are in their first bloom.  Catmint edges the bed in front of the greenhouse. With it's vertical, spikey, purple flowers, many people think it's lavender until closer inspection.  Jupiter's beard has a rosy-pink flat headed flower.,  When blooming has finished and the bees are done with it, I'll cut them back hard.  First, new foliage pushes out and later in the season, I'll be rewarded with a second bloom for both.

Tall, pinky-white valerian is in bloom, along with the many colors of sweet william--wine red, salmon, pink, white, bi-color pink and white--interspersed with roses, jupiter's beard and snaps in the victorian garden--what a show!  Sweet williams are biennial dianthus.  Only foliage the first year--no flowers till year 2.  I let flowers die on the stalk and make sure to shake the seed down.  They are very reliable reseeders.  Magenta pink rose campion are just starting to bloom along with the sturdy stalks of clary sage.

Several varieties of thyme are blooming in the gardens and thyme walk.  Usually, they are worked heavily by honeybees.  Unfortunately, I have seen only two honeybees so far this season.  That's pitiful, considering the numbers (dozens and dozens) we used to see.  I was glad to read that the federal government is finally putting resources and manpower into the problem of the rapidly disappearing honeybee population.  Everyone who likes to eat should be concerned about the dwindling numbers of these important pollinators.

Spring rains have brought color and lushness to the gardens.  But they've slowed down gardening tasks.  Weeding will be much easier when the rain stops.  Additional watering is unnecessary.  But I'm anxious to harvest both roses and lavender for drying.  They'll have to dry out thoroughly before the harvest can proceed.  And the culinary herbs I've harvested and have drying on screens can't be finished off and stored until it stops raining and they dry out completely.  Ah, spring!


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