Thursday Gardening


No doors today. Gardening has taken over my life right now.

The Master Gardener annual plant sale is scheduled for Sunday, May 21, and as a long time committee member it gets pretty busy the month before.

This morning I’m headed north about an hour to pick up as many plants as one Yukon can hold. How many do you think I can get crammed in?

The temps have stayed cooler than normal, and the plants we overwintered at a fellow MG’s farm aren’t coming to life as quickly as we’d hoped. So, we’re moving them down a little further south to see if we can perk them up in time for the sale.

Load, unload, plant sit and fertilize, load for the sale, unload at the sale. You get it – lots of loading and unloading of individual pots.

The raking of leaves off the beds is finally done. It took me about three hours each day for six days. Either there were more leaves this year or I’m just feeling it more. I’m thinking maybe I need to investigate a leaf blower. I hate the noise of those things, but raking, shoveling, bagging, hauling to the woods – it gets long and hard. Do you have any special removal techniques that work for you or do you leave them on your beds?

After the leaves were done, we had a wooden planter that always gets buried under feet of snow each winter, and every spring I get to repaint it. I had a feeling, this might be the last year I was planning to do that so I went to check it out yesterday and was able to pick the entire thing up in pieces – rotten to the core. I didn’t want to create another situation where I had to keep painting it so we moved rocks in to form an edging. I’m going to live with it for a while and see if I like it and might add a few other plants to fill it in. If not, we’ll be moving those rocks, digging out the plants, and calling it good.

While we are talking gardening, if you have a suggestion for a planter about the size of a full whiskey barrel please tell me. I’ve been trying to find someone to donate two barrels for planters at our Mounted Police Facility, but no luck.

When I haven’t been outside, I’m still working on my 15 apron appliqué project. I’m closing in on the end, but still need a couple of days of sewing to finish them up.

Enjoy Norm’s doors today, and I’ll let you know how many plants I can squeeze in that Yukon. Happy gardening, sewing, or whatever quickens your pulse. 🌺

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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50 Responses to Thursday Gardening

  1. Wow! You have been busy! Clearing leaves are by far my pet hate.. we do have a leaf blower, purely because we have hundreds of trees and a lot of gravel areas. In the borders it’s all by hand like you, and we like to clear all beds of leaves because we like the tidy look, it also helps some plants to see the light of day, also we make leaf mulch from them. Hope you find an alternative planter. x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The trick to perking up the plants is warming their soil. If you have room to sit them on a paved surface like a driveway, which will share it’s heat, they will come along faster. Our MG plant sale is this weekend, but I’ll be at a meeting in Indiana…sad to miss it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. joey says:

    A Yukon. My in-laws have a Yukon. I’d think you could get 100 plants in there, depending on size!!! 😀 Enjoy!
    There are speedwell in my whiskey barrels. I didn’t plant them there, they self-seeded. I had wanted to put caladium in them, because I’m rotten at digging things back up and I could surely I could remember them…. But now that the speedwell is there, they make quite the dramatic statement come August, and so, nature wins.
    I do leave my leaves in the beds over winter, and I take the bags TO the beds in spring, much less labor. I toss the weeds, vines, and leaves — all the debris from the flower beds. But, there’s a shaded area where I leave the leaves to decompose, around the shade plants. So dense, I don’t think anyone notices, curb appeal wise, but midsummer, I think the leaves are perfect for keeping them wet, yeah? I till in the leaves in the veggie beds though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What kind of leaves do you leave on your flower beds? I have huge oak leaves that come from our trees and the neighbor’s into this one bed that is packed solid with them. That area I had to rake four times. I’d get a top layer off, but the rest was wet and I couldn’t move it. I’d come back, it would be dry on the top, and I’d get another layer off. I didn’t think I was ever going to get to the bottom. Speedwell is beautiful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • joey says:

        I have maple, oak, walnut, and aspen. I’d venture 80% of it’s maple. I think maybe ours are drier than yours, making them lighter? Given the change in weather, I bet I also rake in later than you — mid-November this last year.
        In the spring, I use the hand rake, section by section, and pull it off like a blanket, probably averaging about 6 inches thick. More around the shrubs and less by the walkways.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Laurie Graves says:

    Removing leaves is arduous, especially as the body ages. Because we live in the woods, we can dump them among the trees, which saves a little time. Spring is busy, busy, busy. Good luck getting the plants, good luck with the sale, even thought it’s a month away.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joyce says:

    I can sense the new energy in your voice that comes along every spring when gardening projects begin to poke their heads from beneath the earth! Have fun setting your sale up! Wish I could join you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nancy says:

    A busy gal you have been… Looking forward to pictures of you and the Yukon! Good Luck and take some Ibuprofen for all that lifting!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my, you’ve been busy! I’ve just been trying to keep up with the weeds, and some type of plant or tree that has seeded all over my flower/plant bed. I don’t have any idea what is trying to put down roots all over the length of my back fence but suspect it’s my neighbors orange tree.

    Best of luck warming up the soil, and at the MG sale!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dan Antion says:

    Good luck with the sake, Judy. Pay attention to your back. All of that loading and unloading can take a toll on you. I don’t have garden beds, per se, but I have areas that need to be cleared of leaves that were either not picked up in the fall or blew onto our property from that owned by others. Such is the life in a small residential neighborhood. I use a leaf-blower and a yard vacuum. My wife tills some leafs into her veggie garden, along with some compost from a nearby dairy farm. Some leaves get bagged or trailered to the town brush dump.

    I hope you have pictures to share, next week, after the show and I wish your group success!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ogee says:

    You’re excused from doors…what a list! I confess to using a leaf blower in the beds in spring. Otherwise, the rake damages the tiny shoots and I am NOT hand picking leaves out of all those beds! Is a used/worn wheelbarrow too small for your wine barrel project? Just drill some holes in the bottom if it hasn’t already rusted through. Good luck with the sale! And get some rest!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You are busy indeed. I can’t think of a whisky barrel substitute off-hand unless it would be some outrageously expensive thing from a garden center

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’m ready for planting, but it got really chilly, so it’ll wait until next week. I have a nice big metal tub that’s going to become home for some flowers on the back deck. Depending on caterpillars, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Gee, I can’t understand why you don’t have time for Thursday Doors this week, Judy! 🙂 I bet you can get quite a lot of plants in your Yukon. I’ll look forward to reading the actual number soon. Have fun and, as Dan says, take it easy on your back.


    Liked by 1 person

  13. Norm 2.0 says:

    No time for #ThursdayDoors? Pfft…slacker 😀
    Thanks for the mention though and good luck with the haulin’ and loadin’ and unloadin’. My first thoughts are for the lower back too, so remember to bend at the knees.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oddment says:

    How exciting! And how exhausting! When you get into spring gardening, you REALLY get into it! I will add my word of caution to everyone else’s — a gardener’s back is one fine natural resource — conserve!I am looking forward to your report on the load in the Yukon, and I hope your strategy to move the plants is successful. If the forsythia is any sign, then everything there is looking up! Finally!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Grandma Kc says:

    I am so excited because all 3 of my tomato plants are now flowering and that butterfly weed has tons of buds that look like they will open any day! Can’t wait to see how many pots you can get in the Yukon! You need pics of that, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Murphy's Law says:

    What quickens my pulse is reading about your unending projects. I’m exhausted! 😀

    Here’s hoping plant sale is a huge success. And please be mindful of your back. You should probably wear a flexible brace when doing that kind of work.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Eliza Waters says:

    Wow, 18 hours of raking – my arms would be falling off! I’ve been doing the permaculture thing for a couple of years and leaves get left on the beds. Exceptions are oak leaves that I shred with a lawn mower and blow onto island beds of acid loving plants like mt.laurel. Any extras I add lime to reduce acidity and compost. I do have to rake maple leaves off the lawn in fall, which get put through a barrel shredder, then stored under a tarp ’til spring, when I use them as mulch. Great stuff!
    Do you mean a full size barrel used as a planter or a half? Home Depot has wooden half barrels for $40 and resin for $20. We once got used, large black plastic barrels from a pickle factory, but they’ve since gone out of business. Maybe something similar near to you? How about a brewery?

    Liked by 1 person

    • In the fall, we use the John Deere to blow the leaves off the lawn. What I’m left with are the oak leaves that blow into the various perennial beds of which I have too many. 🙂 Do you remove leaves from your beds? We have a place that sells food grade barrels not too far from us, and I’m going to check those out this weekend. The local breweries, wineries, and liquor companies all refused to donate.


      • Eliza Waters says:

        Our yard is open, so most of the oak leaves blow into the woods. There is never too many on the beds that they’d be smothered. The plants pop up through the leaf litter. I cover the hellebores with extra leaves and evergreen branches, so they don’t emerge too early and get frost-bitten. I pull them off in late March. Good luck with the barrel search.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Annie says:

    Oh wow! I feel weary just hearing what’s on your plate. I know all will be accomplished in the end but hope it doesn’t take a too much of a toll on you. Good luck with the sale. Your sale sounds a lot bigger than our garden club plant sale we have later in the spring.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You’ve been a busy girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. KerryCan says:

    That’s quite a physical regimen you have! It’s good for you, I’m sure–but exhausting to read. We’ve been raking leaves out of beds, too, so I know the muscle aches and twinges you are feeling!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Nadezda says:

    A lot of work, Judy. Unfortunately here snow fell down once again…br br, April? Or no? I can’t rake, fertilize, clean, etc. I sit watching at the window.
    Happy Earth day!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Bill says:

    It’s so hard to resist buying plants this time of year. I have two trays sitting on my driveway now with no room left in the garden to plant them!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Brenda says:

    My muscles hurt just thinking of all that raking. Good luck with your barrel search and plant sale. It has been so cold and rainy here, I haven’t been able to do much of anything outside. When it finally warms up, I am going to have to do some triage!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. You might be better off not using the full wine barrels. I have a full wine barrel that I tried for three years to get plants to grow in. Everything died within six months, so I gave up and stuck a decorative stake in it instead. I have several half wine barrels that have had the same plantings in for about six years. Because of our severe drought, I let most of them just die. The plantings were looking a little worn anyway. So now that our drought is over, I decided to refresh them this year. I discovered that all the bottoms were totally rotted out, and the only way to reuse them was to place something under them to hold at least most of the dirt. I had the top to a wine barrel laying around and used that as the bottom of one barrel and for the other one, I found that an old satellite dish fit perfectly in the bottom with the concave side pointing up. My husband drilled some holes in it for drainage. The third one, I decided not to dig the old soil out totally as I had run out of junk laying around to fix it with. LOL! If it wasn’t for the fact that we live in wine country in a replica of a Spanish mission, and the wine barrels look perfectly framing my arched porch that’s topped with a bell tower, I would have dumped the barrels altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds like you have a beautiful home and those barrels fit perfect. Thank you for the first-hand advice. I sincerely appreciate it, and love your creative solutions. I’m headed north today and will stop to check out plastic barrels and see what colors are available. We’ve used these plastic, food-grade barrels for rain barrels and they last for years. So, they may be a better solution. Again, thank you.


  25. Tina Schell says:

    Good luck Judy – hope you score well at the sale.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Joanne Sisco says:

    I’m not going to complain anymore about the yard work I have to do. Yikes – you have a handful!!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. reocochran says:

    Good luck, Judy! The gardening takes priority over almost everything except: Take care of your knees and back! I drink hot green tea along with honey or lemon. Sake has a little kick to it, right? 😉 Thank you for stopping by my blog. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Rose says:

    I enjoyed reading this…I have not been accomplishing a single thing…maybe I will get inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Glad that spring has finally arrived in your neighborhood. Be careful of your back with all that loading and unloading.

    Liked by 1 person

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