Spring

How’s the weather in New England? John Hric, our fellow blogger said it best. “It is a rollercoaster ride. Please remain seated until the ride comes to a full and complete stop. Keep your seat belt fastened and your crash helmet on. Enjoy your time here in the spring amusement park.” ๐Ÿ™‚

The plants are coming to life but slowly. I’ve been moving, dividing, raking, spreading lime out near the road, and putting out solar lights, bird baths, and pots I use.

Inside there are 63 tomatoes of various sizes, cucumbers, watermelon, Mexican Sunflowers, and Zinnias. No, I haven’t lost my little mind, most of those 63 tomato plants will go to the MG plant sale. ๐Ÿ™‚ I ran out of room under the lights so I’m using tables in front of our south facing windows on the porch.

In the shed, there are three more trays with the butterfly bush, a new viburnum, wisteria, sweet peas, passion flower, and my cuttings from the forsythia, winterberry, and hydrangea. I’m hardening them off by putting them outside for several hours each day. I hope to get them planted next week.

Under the row covers in the raised beds are the bulbs which so far are not showing any growth so I’m going to take the row covers off today and see if that makes a difference.

Gardening is a learning experience so what have I learned so far this season? Blueberries will not grow under my neighbor’s big, old, ugly pines so I moved six plants and four pieces of wild Maine blueberry sod to a full sun site and mulched them all. It’s not a perfect location to get water to, but once established, they are on their own. Tulips are not for me. There, I said it out loud, and now I need to remember it. If planted in the ground, the chipmunks and squirrels eat them, and if planted in containers and stored for the winter, they just don’t do well enough for the money and work involved. In more temperate climates, containers work well, just not here in cold climate.

I watched an interesting webinar from Cornell University on creating garden art last week. The appeal wasn’t so much that I wanted to create all those glass pieces that have to be stored, but the theory behind it of when to use tall, medium, short pieces to attract your eye in the garden. This week I’m checking out a hummingbird webinar. One of the few benefits of Covid is the opportunity to participate in webinars all across the country. I always learn something that I can put to use.

Have a good last week in April. I’m still trying to figure out where the month went. Are you busy working on a outdoor project? Or have you read a really good book? Do tell.

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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70 Responses to Spring

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    It has been a varied, but mostly cool, spring. I take advantage of the sunny days to get things done…I do love the cool weather for working. It always feel like a race to get the most done before the bugs hatch out. Every year I forget how bad they can really be until they arrive!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with Eliza. I love the cool weather for working. I wear one of my fleece shirts that has a large pocket with a button. Into that pocket goes my phone, and I listen to podcasts as I work. Every dry day, I head outside and work for a couple hours, which is as much as my creaky knees will take. Still, it’s amazing how the work does get done.

    Your plants look absolutely fantastic. Wowsah!

    As for books…just started “Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading” by Maureen Corrigan. A book written by a book nerd for other book nerds. (Guilty as charged!) Next on my list is “Slow Horses” by Mick Herron. I’m watching the series on HBO, and oh do I love it. I was thrilled to discover there will be a second season. Lots of books in the series. Have you read any of them?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Murphyโ€™s Law says:

    Your plants look amazing. Iโ€™m doing some puttering around, but I donโ€™t get much done at any given time now. So I just do what I can, when I can. A couple of years ago I decreased my gardens substantially. Good thing! Who knew I would be lumbering with a cane today? ๐Ÿ˜ก I will live vicariously through your beautiful blooms. And I donโ€™t even get dirt under my nails! ๐Ÿคช

    I hope the upcoming MG Plant Sale is a huge success. Every year you put so much work into it.

    Happy Monday. Hope itโ€™s the first day of a terrific week.
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, each year I can work an hour less at a time and this year I even got out a two wheeler to help with moving containers and rocks. I have been moving more perennials out and more bushes in because of maintenance. This aging when you like to garden is a real pain in several places. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you enjoyed my adventures today in moving a huge volume of perennials from one place to another because I was filthy from head to toe, and you were probably nice and clean.

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  4. bikerchick57 says:

    Hi Judy! As you read in my post, we’re suffering from the same spring roller coaster, except I think our car is stuck at a low point. We ride up to the sun on rare occasions. I’m glad, though, that you have your hands in tomato plants and spring blooms. I laughed about the tulips and squirrels. Many years ago, I planted tulip bulbs in my then MIL’s front yard, in a nice circle around the flag pole. I don’t need to tell you how that looked the following spring – the tulips were here and there, with a few missing. The daffodils in the backyard fared much better. It seems they are not appealing to bunnies or deer. That is what I loved about gardening in an actual – lessons learned and when something grows up untouched and beautiful, it is a sight that warms the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, they leave the daffodils totally alone but decimate the tulips. The ones I put in the containers had about a 1/3 that just got soft and mushy and the other 2/3 were just sitting there with maybe an inch growth. I dug a trench and put them all in there. If they want to bloom, great, if they don’t adios. I hate not being able to grow them, but you can’t fight mother nature. Gardening is definitely an adventure. I sowed three types of tomato seeds. Every single cherry came up, hardly any of the full size germinated, I sewed a second time, and got a few. The cherry tomato seeds were a year old, and the others were bought this year. Go figure.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan Antion says:

    Your photos show some beautiful plants Judy, Weโ€™re busy trying to figure out which new trees survived the winter and which didnโ€™t. Later today, Iโ€™ll move the snow blower away from the shed door, and unfold the lawn mowers, sharpen/replace blades and clean and coat the undersides. When the grass starts growing, weโ€™ll be ready. They started picking up yard waste, so I can star raking. I hope you have a good week.

    I had to laugh at your tulip comment. I planted two bags of โ€œmixedโ€ bulbs in October. I was happy to see no one ate the bulbs. They sprouted. One tulip bloomed and then the bunny munched itโ€™s head off. Now I have a stick.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your lawn and snow equipment are lucky to have such a good owner with skills to keep them all running well. Spring cleaning in the garden is nice after a winter inside, the bugs aren’t out heavy yet, and there’s no sweating involved. I’m surprised your friendly outdoor animals are even tempted by a tulip when they are so well fed. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan Antion says:

        I think the bunnies are nibbling the tulips. We lost a bloom and a bud today. I took a picture of the blossom before I left around 5:00. When I came home at 6:30 – sticks.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. You work harder than any other gardener I know! I’m sure your hard work will pay off and you will have a beautiful garden this year and enough tomatoes to enjoy many tomato sandwiches!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s been a roller coaster here as well. It’s sunny this week so this is the week I’m going to the garden store and find something for those pots! Question if I may? How does one figure out how much soil one needs per pot? I wish you were here!

    Your flowers and new sprouts of plants look lovely. I love all the new green leaves!

    I’ve been thinking about purchasing a new Hummingbird feeder myself, but after I put out fresh orange slices hoping to attract Orioles to my yard I heard there’s bird flu going through the country. It’s not here yet in NV but, I’m kind of on the fence about a feeder now. ๐Ÿ˜ญ I’ll keep monitoring reports and see how it’s going then decide.

    I hope you have a lovely week too! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bags of potting soil usually show the number of quarts or the cubic feet that the bag contains. According to a calculation I just looked up online, you can measure length x width x depth (leave 2″ at the top where you can add some mulch to keep it from drying out) and divide that number by 27 to calculate cubic yard. I bought some 1 cubic yard bags over the weekend, and they also have 2 cubic feet bags. I’d try the calculation because it may help get you closer so you don’t have to store a lot of extra. I bought two new hummingbird feeders this year, but we do have the flu in our area so that does give me pause.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re the best!! Thank you so much! I was watching some YouTube videos on how much soil to get as well. I think I’ll use some filler on the bottom to save some $$ since these are huge pots.
        I’m watching the birds at my neighbors feeder to see how they’re behaving. So far so good; nothing strange, but I’m still on the fence about adding a Hummingbird feeder.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve used pieces of styrofoam or empty plastic pots turned upside down in the bottom of tall pots. It doesn’t add any weight but takes up some space. You can add a piece of landscape fabric if you have it over the styrofoam/pots, and the roots won’t get tangled up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s what I was thinking about using -the Styrofoam peanuts. I think I can get those up at my favorite postal store for a good price. He takes in filler and packaging stuff that people bring him and he puts it out for free for the taking. I’ll take him some airpuffs I’ve been saving to trade. Don’t you know we gave away a huge roll of landscape fabric when we moved. I was thinking perhaps an old pair of panty hose would work? I do have some of those on hand since I rarely wear them anymore. ๐Ÿคฃ
        Thankfully, He-Man kept his drill so he can put in some drainage holes for me first.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The peanuts will make a bit of a mess for you. If you have a piece of styrofoam used for packing that is easier to handle and won’t blow all around. Panty hose will work or a piece of an old tshirt.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿค— I’ll see what he has this morning that I can use.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Your plant starts look magnificent Judy! So much work, but lots of fun as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Joyce says:

    Gardening as a learning experience! Yes! I have things to tell!
    1) When the tag says โ€œfull sunโ€ they mean it! Do not purchase a bunch of cute stuff, plant it in your fully shaded yard and get mad when it struggles pitifully and straggle-ly only to die before your eyes.
    2) Enjoy your tulips, but expect โ€œsecondary marketsโ€ to pop up in the woods behind your house, courtesy of the squirrels who arenโ€™t fully satisfied with the sumptuous buffet you serve on your deck.
    3) Pumpkins you attempt to grow at edge of woods will produce luscious foliage and a handful of onion sized snacks for the deer who live in those woods. Buy pumpkins from farm stand people who know what theyโ€™re doing instead!
    4) Accept that your best bets in full shade are hostas and impatiens. Watch for the former to poke spiky little heads from the ground as your first sign of spring. Fill your window boxes with the latter and enjoy that splash of color all summer long with minimal maintenance.
    Done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You could write and illustrate a gardening book because you noted some very important guidelines.:-) Ignoring those issues is what makes gardening an adventure because we donโ€™t always learn the first time, and we repeat the experience. My neighbor told me she was taking three old gigantic pines down. They only have branches on the top half, and they are ugly trees. So, I moved my shade plants out and sun plants in. A dozen years later, those darn pines are still there, and the plants I moved in struggle to perform. Go forth and garden because youโ€™ve certainly got it figured out. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope all the family is doing well.

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  10. *hides big, old, ugly pines AND both tulips from Judy* ๐Ÿ˜ฌ lol! Husband has Spring gardening fever.. he’s a carpenter AND he’s really sick of varmints so the *raised* bed is nearly garage roof high this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ally Bean says:

    Over the weekend I started getting annual flowers into pots that’ll look pretty on the deck. Also we took out the screens in the porch, hosed everything down, then put it back together. So we are tentatively stepping into spring, prepared for it and the potential for more of its rollercoaster ride.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Did you get your new deck? Either way, all spruced up for the spring/summer season is a good thing. I was convinced I could get some of my plants in the shed out into the garden, and they now have snow flurries in the project for up north. I guess I’ll need to wait a few more days.

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  12. Today I am watching my old deck being dismantled. It’s quite satisfying. I also stopped at our local nursery and bought a hot pink creeping phlox just cause. Sometimes you need to treat yourself and I don’t have any phlox here.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. All that moving, raking, and dividing has me needing a nap now! I imagine your head hits the pillow at night and you must be asleep in seconds. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The lilac in particular is beautiful. Zinnias were the first flower I ever grew back when I was a pre-teen, so I still have a fondness for them.

    I’m finishing up “Little Green Men” by Christopher Buckley — a now dated romp from the late nineties about a government program that faked martians kidnapping citizens. The humor is juvenile, so therefore right up my alley. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • You go to the gym, I go to the back yard. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, I do fall right to sleep after several hours outside working. I can just picture you reading “Little Green Men” and guffawing now and again. I’m working on one of Patterson’s 4-day read books, so I garden, read, garden, read. It’s exhausting. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Eilene Lyon says:

    Johnโ€™s description is so apt! Pray tell, what is the purpose of the lime you spread?

    My outdoor seeds are sprouting. Asparagus and rhubarb coming along (had some of the former for dinner last night)Bulbs are sloooowly developing (no tulips or crocus to feed chipmunks). Just about to depart for a two-day camping trip, though temps have been in the 20s at night.

    Good book: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Up here in cold country, they spread a lot of liquid de-icer on the road in the winter, and it kills about 6′ of the grass closest to the road. I spread some lime to try and neutralize its effects. Between the de-icer and the sand, it is kind of a losing effort, but I try. ๐Ÿ™‚ Our asparagus is not showing any sign of life, and it concerns me. Rhubarb is up and looking good though. Happy camping, and I hope the night temps warm up just a little for you. Thank you for the book tip, I’m off to the library website to check it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Helen says:

    I have veggies growing and we are actually getting rain so might get a harvest but my busiest gardening months are usually May, June and July, the coolest months of the year here. Summer is too hot and humid to spend too much time outside.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. We have been enjoying a lovely spring here. Volunteer tomatoes (yum!) and our blueberries are starting to color. We’ve also been rebuilding our deck so most days are taken up with that… but hopefully it will be done in time for early summer get togethers.

    I just finished Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. I seldom give out “5 Stars” but I would for this one. Beautifully written. I am now reading Booth by Karen Joy Fowler, which I’m finding interesting (and long).

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is nothing better than fresh tomatoes and blueberries. I’m really hoping the blueberries here like their new home in full sun because they didn’t like their last residence. Rebuilding a deck is a big project, but it will be very satisfying to get it done and enjoy it. I will check out those books – thank you!

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  17. Oddment says:

    Everything looks beautiful — that spring roller coaster might give people the crazies, but your plants seem to be thriving in it. When I read everything you’ve been doing, I am convinced you have a clone. My heavens! I know that your gardener’s eye is seeing what it will look like this summer, not to mention how your gardener’s taste buds are imagining those blueberries and tomatoes. Such visions do keep a gardener working, but still you have done A LOT!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I work most mornings outside and then read part of the afternoon while I sit with ice packs on my back. ๐Ÿ™‚ Some day, I will need to accept ‘gardening’ means tending my raised beds and planting some annuals in pots. My mind is just not there yet, but my body is trying to convince me I am. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  18. We were 78 degrees and sunny yesterday. Today, 56 and rainy. My hostas are on a roll already and the lilies are just beginning to break ground. I photographed some daffodils on a walk through the cemetery. I’m ready for all the pretty things to pop up. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, your temps are crazy too. We’ve been having wicked winds for this part of the country, and that dries everything out and wears out the gardener trying to work. Very few of my hosta have started to come up, but a few have. Daffodils just make one smile. Hope school is going well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michigan has always been temperamental. (Puns intended.) It’s only gotten worse over the years though. I say on a consistent basis, I don’t know how someone lives in Michigan and doesn’t believe in climate change. It’s changed so much just since I was little.
        School is going well, thank you. I have my final tomorrow and then I am free for the summer. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  19. germac4 says:

    The MG’s plant sale must be very glad they have you! Your plants are looking healthy and happy and will be very popular at your plant sale. Do you have lights on them all during the winter? I’m sure you have told us the whole process, but it is so very different to ours.
    Very exciting to have spring on your doorstep…. we are going into autumn, but there is always the excitement of choosing spring bulbs and flowers. Happy gardening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a strange experience with tomato seeds this year. The cherries all germinated, and the seeds were a year old. The full sized tomatoes, two varieties, didn’t do well at all, and they were new seeds. I hope there are a lot of people looking for cherries. ๐Ÿ™‚ I use to do seeds in a big way with a large shelving unit with lights on each level. That requires getting all that equipment down from the attic. The past couple of years I used a 3.5′ folding table with two lights above it on a pvc stand my husband made me. I then lay a silver emergency blanket over the top which keeps the heat and light in. It works really well.

      Liked by 2 people

  20. pbmgarden says:

    I’m in awe of your tomato prowess, Judy! You always seem to be involved in stimulating and varied projects. Enjoy the spring–I too am wondering where April got off to! I recently enjoyed Ann Patchett’s “These Precious Days” and am loving “Thank you, Mr. Nixon” by Gish Hen (trying to finish it before it’s due back at the library).

    Liked by 1 person

  21. tonytomeo says:

    I am ALWAYS working on an outdoor project, . . . but only because that is my job. Unfortunately, have not had much time for my own. I really need to change that.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Brenda says:

    Roller coaster is right. Snow flurries here this morning! My eyes bugged out at your 63 tomatoes. Phew, glad to know they aren’t all for you, that would have been a lot of tomato sauce. We have had plenty of nice weather and I’ve been focusing on bishop’s weed eradication (I know, I know, fruitless, it will always be with me) and anti-vole strategies (fingers crossed, I know they will always be here, too, but hoping to keep them under control a little better). Everyone around here had a bad vole-mouse season last year, so perhaps the cycle will turn a little. As for books, I just finished “A Life in Nature,” a biography of Beatrix Potter, and just started “The Leopard,” an historical novel about Sicily in the 1860s by Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa–beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some of the tomatoes are 10″ tall, and I’m definitely out of room under the lights and ready to hand them off to good homes. Thank goodness I’ve only got three weeks left. ๐Ÿ™‚ Bishop’s weed is so pretty, but it sure can’t be contained. I know first hand. I’ve been working on multiflora rose, and so far she definitely stays ahead of me. We lost about 1/3 of our overwintered perennials intended for the sale to a really bad vole-mouse season. Very disheartening, and of course they took out a lot of the really nice specimen plants. Thank you for the tips on good reads. I always appreciate knowing what others are reading and enjoying.

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  23. Prior... says:

    Hi!
    How cool
    That you will sell some of those tomato plants
    And your viburnum is looking like it is ready to burst with buds- mine is not that far along yet!
    I did leek a lesson this week – I started pepper plants a month ago and put them outside in full sun for too long – lost a handful and some leaves were scorched – most will be okay and I know to go easy but just forgot I guess!
    Oh and the tulip realization can be freeing!
    I did this with roses – after having a dozen rose shrubs forced on me in our first home in 90s – and after their being so persnickety – not a flower I will ever grow again
    I did grow some tulips in containers and have the bulbs wrapped for storage but will not get a lot of them- like you said it is not worth the effort – not when other flowers and shrubs can be easier (or even hold their own like the blueberry bushes will eventually do)
    Cheers to spring
    ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ™

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been moving three trays of plants in and out of my garden shed to get use to the outside conditions, but I noticed one has a couple of sun scorched leaves. This week, they’ve almost suffered from frost bite. I love roses but switched to Knockout varieties so that I didn’t have to spend so much time catering to their needs. I do need to put a reminder on my fall calendar – no tulips! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Hi – well I thought of your post while at the garden center this weekend – because I Las have “no mandevilla” for me this year for the first time. For some reason they never do well for me – and I am tired of it. They stay alive but don’t thrive – if that makes sense – but my MIL has hers climb and go all over a trellis. I bought at least four different kinds and none work and so I am done.

        anyhow, hope your plants all make it – and isn’t that crazy – scorched leaves one day and frost bite threats the next – ahhh – spring beauty ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Glad to hear that your spring is coming along!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Quite a wonderful bloom. Springtime’s here with great force. I love it, to see flowers blossoming and plants growing with some sort of happiness.

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  26. Joanne Sisco says:

    Thanks Judy for the link to the webinar on garden art. I have added several pieces of what I call fence art to our backyard over the years, but this video has shown me that I have a long way to go! There were just so many great ideas for me to explore. One of my favourites was the coloured colanders used as flower pots. Brilliant and pretty ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello my friend to the north! It was an interesting webinar in that it made me think outside my mental box especially when it came to height and placement. I’m glad it gave you some ideas. Happy hiking and kayaking, and thank you for stopping by. You are missed.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Tina Schell says:

    LOL Judy – I hope your neighbor doesn’t follow your blog!!! Your description of the short medium and tall plants works well as a guideline for photography too ๐Ÿ˜Š. Here in the south our spring resembles your summer. While I’m enjoying temps between 70 and 80 and the beautiful sunshine, I know the high 90s are not far away! Here’s to southern spring and northern summer!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My neighbor only speaks to me about every 3-5 years. LOL During one of those conversations, she told me she was taking down those three old pines so I rearranged my plants to accommodate extra sun including moving all the blueberries. They’re still with us, and if you imagine three gigantic leaning pines (leaning in my direction) about 6′ off our property border with bare trunks until you get to the top portion, you can image the beauty of it all. ๐Ÿ™‚ Our weather has been totally strange – one day it’s 70, and the next day it is 40. Happy photo taking.

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  28. Great blog Judy. Iโ€™ve been busy weeding the garden also sowing seeds in the greenhouse and reading a lot especially when I was isolating and not well enough to garden

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