Dirty nails

I have dirty nails which means it’s definitely gardening season here in New England. πŸ™‚

The Bleeding Hearts are starting to bloom, the other perennials are popping up, and three blisters later, I had raked 23 bags and two pickup loads of leaves.

Speaking of perennials, I also bought a new perennial for myself – Golden Varigated Sweet Iris. I had heard about it originally from Kerry Mendez when she was speaking about plants with flashy foliage and then saw it at Tower Hill Botanic Garden. So, when I visited my local nursery last week, it just jumped into my cart. I love looking out the window and seeing the flash of color amongst the green of the other leaves.

On Saturday at the Ask A MG table, we had great conversations with people about various gardening topics including soil testing, growing fruits, pruning, transplanting, growing zones, annuals versus perennials, and thwarting chipmunks. Over 200 residents showed up to sweep, rake, prune, and spread mulch around several park areas downtown.

All of the MG plants have been moved out of the little greenhouse and onto the driveway so they can get sun and rain and not quite so much intense heat.

Yesterday, I was at the UNH Greenhouse to help pot up a couple hundred tomato plants for our sale. I brought about 125 home to take care of until the sale. Do you grow tomatoes? What’s your favorite tomato variety?

I also mowed some grass, spray painted some pots, and Β planted up three hanging baskets and three containers. In two of the containers I used perennials – Boxwood, Coral Bells, Creeping Jenny, and European Ginger.

The funniest container I put together was a ‘live’ fire pit planter. I’d seen it somewhere on the net and had to give it a try.

I used three Croton plants which have spiky red, yellow, and green leaves which ‘loosely’ resemble fire flames. I put them in a round saucer-like container, sunk it in the ground, and covered the edges with small pieces of wood. No splitting of wood is needed for my fire pit just regular watering. πŸ™‚

At the end of the day, I had picked up 11,398 steps. I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep.

Happy Tuesday. We’re off to have lunch up at beautiful Alton Bay with friends. What are you up to this May 8th?

About Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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60 Responses to Dirty nails

  1. I always enjoy reading about your gardening. I don’t do as much as you but I’ve had dirty nails lately, too. I’ve been working in my butterfly garden and herb garden. I’ve got a couple of hybrid grape tomato plants I picked up somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KerryCan says:

    Endless work, this time of year, but so satisfying! You must be in 7th heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Murphy's Law says:

    I just love the “live” fire pit planter. You were worried about weight gain in SC. I think you’ve taken care of that issue already!! Lol.

    After reading this, I’m gonna try some perennials in 3 fairly large planters I have. I always assumed they wouldn’t survive winter in a planter. I’m downsizing and looking towards plants that require less maintenance. I don’t want to have to give up gardening altogether.

    My Bleeding Hearts are blooming as well. So pretty. And I like the iris plants you just got.

    Enjoy lunch with your friends.
    πŸ”Ή Ginger πŸ”Ή

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that little fire pit planting. πŸ™‚ I do take the perennials out of the planters and plot them in the ground to survive the winter, and they do every time. I could put a planted container in the barn, but the local chipmunk/squirrel congregation would probably think I was setting up a salad bar for them. I used the boxwoods last year and so they were pretty easy to lift out of the ground. πŸ™‚ Bleeding Hearts – one of my absolute favorites.


  4. Relax... says:

    My husband I both love grape tomatoes, but he always plants something bigger and I always want Beefsteak tomatoes. Any large tomato, that is — it’s like they absorb more sun to bite into in a sandwich! I wish I enjoyed gardening, but he does, and that’s good enough, lol. Enjoy your lunch and all the rest of this shortish but glorious season!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. germac4 says:

    You seem to have a wonderful gardening community if 200 people came to help clean and tidy your green spaces. I always think gardening brings out the best in people. We usually grow a few different size tomatoes, and I love little tomatoes, but our weather has been so crazy last summer, we had very few ripen.
    You have walked an impressive amount of steps…. you can enjoy your lunch tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When you turn the news on and only hear reports that make you cringe, it was a true breath of fresh air to see all those folks and many families come out to tidy up their community. I, too, love little tomatoes. We have similar ripening issues with our short growing season. Yes, I may even have something fried today. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan Antion says:

    “two pickup loads of leaves” – I bet you enjoyed that!

    Sounds like you are busy busy, Judy. I’m trying to figure out if spring is your busiest season, it sounds like it.

    My wife grows tomatoes. My favorites are the ones on the table that can be sliced for a sandwich – I’m not picky.

    I just got back from a hectic week on the road, so I’m catching up today.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Laurie Graves says:

    Yes, wonderful gardening community! I, too, am busy outside, removing leaves from the beds while my husband rakes. Should be done with that chore by Friday, then it’s all to all the other stuff—compost, fertilizer, transplanting. Onward, ho! Never seen variegated leaves on an iris. Keep us posted about how they do. As for tomatoes…Juliet. They are the only variety that does well in my part-sun/part shade backyard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, that’s a great thing to know – Juliet does well in less than full sun. Good one. Yes, I’ll let you know about the Iris. I went through all the plants and got the one that I think in the fall I can divide into three plants. My gardening friend just chuckled while I did that, but, hey, plants are expensive so if you can make more out of one plant life is good. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I was in the garden yesterday too…pruning and weeding…as things are beginning to get away from me a bit. We are well into the season and my bleeding hearts have been in bloom for almost 2 months, but I don’t expect they will last much longer. I have your pretty iris and my advice is “keep an eye on it,” as it does like to travel!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Judy, I love the fire pit idea. πŸ™‚ Our single bleeding heart has some flowers and we have a couple of parchment colored irises that are, as my m-i-l always called them, volunteers. Just discovered them yesterday. I’m hoping my perennials will all come back this year but if not, I’ll have fun replacing them. We always plant some Sun Gold cherry tomato plants that I get from a man at the farmer’s market. They’re like eating candy, even for my husband. πŸ™‚

    Today? Working around the house and going to a meeting on retirement information (Social Security and the like.)


    Liked by 1 person

  10. pbmgarden says:

    Great foliage on the iris. Glad you’re enjoying the dirt.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. lulu says:

    I can’t wait to get to Maine and begin my gardening. The rewards are so satisfying.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ally Bean says:

    I like reading about your gardening experiences. I use coral bells as annuals in a couple of pots by the front door where we don’t get much sun. It seems to surprise people that I do so, but they look great there. You mention crotons and I think of my late aunt, a master gardener, whose gardening passion was collecting antique [heirloom?] crotons she’d find in undeveloped areas. They always make me smile.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Marilyn says:

    I’m tired reading your blog. You are one busy lady. My tulips are in full bloom. I bought a bunch at the tulip festival in Holland, MI a couple of years ago. They are beautiful. My grandfather had a tulip garden. Mine remind me of him and his tulips. Plants and trees are finally flowering here in MI. Love spring with all the color.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I bet you smile when you look at those tulips and think of your grandfather. πŸ™‚ I didn’t mean to make you tired, but we have almost four acres, and it seems to take me longer each spring to get the work done. Glad spring has arrived in MI and hope you and Larry are both doing well. πŸ™‚


  14. I like your fire pit pot.

    Sounds like a turnout on Saturday, and you were so productive! I bet you slept soundly.☺

    Liked by 1 person

  15. joey says:

    Dang! You’ve really earned those blisters, eh Lady?!? So busy! Love the living fire pit! Sharin that with my mama.
    I took the girls to school, went to work, told people to do chores, did some chores myself, spent some time in the backyard — wait for it, I did a garden thing — I CUT OFF SOME LILAC for indoors, lol, and then I ate leftover chicken salad, now I’m here πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Eliza Waters says:

    Sounds like you’re a happy camper working out in your garden. I think your ‘fire pit’ is wonderful!
    What a gorgeous day it was – had lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in years. Good to catch up. Came home and planted Nigella and Calendula. Didn’t have time nor energy to plant two impulse buys- a gorgeous variegated green/white leaved Heucherella and an Aronia, which smells divine and is covered with little bees. Good native shrub I’ve always wanted.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I went to take a look. No daffodils and no buds, They are not going to bloom this year. I still have hope for the day lilies. The Solomon’s Seal is blooming and I saw two lilacs on top of the tree — and ONE wild strawberry flower. Also, there’s one white rhododendron in bloom and one big pink bud that has plans. ALSO the holly is fully of baby berries. So it’s not hopeless, just very slow. I have to go and see if I can find a couple of fuchsia to buy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Because you always have beautiful photos, I was looking at Fuchsia when visiting my local greenhouse. The prices were fairly high. But, I was at a box store over the weekend and saw smaller pots at $6 each so bought two and made my own hangar. I’ll be thinking of you all summer as I tend it. πŸ™‚


  18. Oddment says:

    Once again I wonder how many of you there are. My goodness, but you do put in the hours! But what accomplishments. And nothing speaks louder of accomplishments than dirty nails, so congratulations on those! I was admiring my own the other day and thinking how fashionable they were. Gardeners are way ahead of the fashion curve, yes? A chunk of my day was spent trying to dig up hostas from root-filled dirt. I had to use serious vocabulary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now you’re talking heavy duty work because a clump of Hosta can hold on like a non gardener cannot imagine. I have found that serious vocabulary always helps the mental status even if it has nothing positive to contribute to the physical work. I have a neighbor who works from home and keeps a window open at all times so her dog can bark at me for entertainment. I sometimes wonder how loud I say certain words and if she is covering her ears. πŸ™‚


      • Oddment says:

        Hmmm….I wonder if my vocabulary has anything to do with my neighbor’s barking dog…never thought of that. Maybe the dog’s ears should be covered. And you are so right about the hostas. It’s like trying to dig through concrete.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Brenda says:

    Dirty nails this time of year signal a kindred gardening spirit. If your weather has been as glorious as ours these past days, you must be racking up those steps. It’s a shame to spend any time inside–the heck with housecleaning! As for tomatoes, I grow all different colors and sizes and experiment with a different variety or two every year. Some of my favorites are Green Zebra, Paul Robeson, and Goldie. Yum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you on line. Yes, we have had gorgeous weather, and it’s hard to be inside at all. Love Green Zebra and Goldie but now I need to go check out Paul Robeson. Warm slices of tomatoes on white bread slathered with mayo – something to definitely look forward to. πŸ™‚ Hope the pups are doing well.


  20. Joanne Sisco says:

    Your energy in the garden is amazing. In comparison, I spent an hour weeding yesterday and called it a day πŸ™‚ I LOVE your fire pit planter. Well done!

    I laughed at your line “it just jumped into my cart” … you have that problem too!! Stuff just seems to want to come home with me πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Almost Iowa says:

    “Hurry up and wait” is what people used to complain about in the service. This year its is, “Wait….wait…wait. NOW HURRY UP!!!”

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Winter must be well and truly over now if the gardens are starting to bloom again. Mr ET grows tomatoes every summer and his favourite is Grosse Lisse. They are delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have never heard of that variety so I looked it up. Sounds like a delicious tomato that is enjoyed by many. I’m going to keep an eye out for it. πŸ™‚ My grandson came to visit today and was talking about going to a new fancy pet store in the area and how they had some gorgeous birds. I told him wait a minute, I have a blogging friend who has beautiful birds right in her garden. I pulled up some of your photos and asked him if he could imagine having those gorgeous birds flying around like we have robins. He thought that would definitely be cool. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is cool when we see these beautiful birds. We sometimes have rainbow lorikeets in our bottlebrushes. They love the nectar. Having said that, we are entranced when we see a robin in England.
        Those tomatoes are definitely worth growing. They are delicious.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Annie says:

    Oh gee, what a whirlwind for you and master gardeners just getting ready for your sale. I remember! I wonder how you found time to shop for plants and work in your own garden! That European ginger interested me. I do want some!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. You’re hired! Show up here at Fernwood on Monday, 6:00 a.m sharp. We’d love to have you!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. You can always tell the gardeners — I can never find the gloves when I need them. Back when I was a very serious gardener, I’d go to the Canada Blooms gardening show each early spring. It was too early to have dirty nails but one spring, I could tell who the bakers were at our table when we stopped for lunch — from the burn marks along the same part of their arm! (Right where the oven mitts stop, I guess.) It was one of those little surprises.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You made me smile with the burn marks above the oven mitts. When I look at my nails, half are normal length interspersed with broken ones. I came in for lunch today, washed my hands, but looked down and saw I still had dirt under a couple of nails. I think I need to pitch those gloves. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  26. tonytomeo says:

    Is that golden variegates sweet iris a type of Iris pallida?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The plant marker says: Aurea Variegata, Golden Varigated Sweet Iris. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        ‘Aurea Variegata’ only refers to the golden variegation, and might be a cultivar name. There is an Iris pallida ‘Variegata’ that is variegated with white, which looks just like yours (except with white instead of gold of course). That is why I would guess that yours is also of the same species. The color of the variegation seems to be the only difference.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. debrapugh says:

    Even with gloves the dirt gets under my nails too / I tried soaking with a baking soda paste the other day ! Like your train doors in the latest post too πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Nancy says:

    I will be doing the same as soon as we get back to the LakeHouse in Pennsylvania!
    Everything is looking beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Joyce says:

    Agility AND beauty! – the Iris that just “jumped into” your cart! πŸ™‚
    In a previous post (I’m catching up here on all the goodies I missed over two weeks in Texas) you showed two red tulips that your squirrels somehow managed to overlook. Okay, NOT funny to avid gardeners like you – but I have to laugh at my own experience. One year a random red tulip popped up in the center of the lawn at the side of the garage, and this year I see a daffodil chirping a friendly greeting a few feet into the woods! My squirrels don’t just shoplift them, they thoughtfully re-landscape for us! – we are afforded the extra courtesy probably because they are fed a sumptuous buffet every morning on the deck – 24/7/365!

    Liked by 1 person

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