Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spring 2015 - Working Hard

There's a lot of labor in getting and keeping a garden in good order, but it's sure worth completing the chores in order to see the beauty unfold and surround you after the work is done. Besides my list, Mr. P. does a fantastic job of taking care of our lawn with his methodical weeding, trimming, mowing and blowing debris. And let's not forget that nature itself is continuously working hard to show her best.
Fruits of Garden Labor - Mid-May
Sometimes the work is more than just the life cycle maintenance of the plants and lawn. Replacing two of my three weather-worn and broken gliders was on my agenda this year in April. One of the two new gliders was damaged in shipping, but that really was a good thing. The staggered, replacement shipment created a moderation of workload assemblage with a few days of waiting between the two. I tend to go at things with hurricane force, all at once, instead of pacing myself.
New Garden Glider Assemblage
Before & After: Garden Glider Replacements
Likin' the lichen: closeup of lichen growing on one of three weathered benches
Mandevilla plants purchased at a bargain in April, stored in the sunroom until nighttime temps warmed consistently, were planted the first weekend of May. They should cover the trellis by mid-summer.
Replacing Annual Tropicals (Mandevilla)
One hummingbird feeder was placed in the yard mid-April. Once the first visitor was spotted on April 26th, two more feeders were readied and placed in the yard. For important information I shared last year on the unsuspecting hummingbird's predator, along with the standard, no-fail nectar recipe, please read my post here (you could save a hummingbird's life!).

Early Spring is an especially good time to stop and admire the various structures in the garden, both living and inanimate. Caution: giving pause for very long will inevitably lead to more chores added. ;)
Structure Love in the Garden, Living and Inanimate
Anxiously waiting the arrival of my two-year effort to get poppies to grow in my garden, they bloomed on Mother's Day weekend! My first year of planting seeds was unsuccessful, but last year's planting of cuttings dug from my sister's garden proved to be this year's success.
Another welcome surprise on Mother's Day weekend were the beautiful blooms of my iris patch, a generations-old addition from a friend's garden a few years ago.
More cleanup in the garden the week following Mother's Day involved a two-part goal. First, I needed to thin out my Nandina sprouts and relocate some nearby Rozanne geraniums to just a few feet away, surrounding my clematis vine growing on a tripod structure. I also thinned out several Black-eyed Susan plants and a couple hostas from the side and back sections of the garden. The second goal involved taking all the thinned out plants to another sister's house, where she cleaned out an entire bed and replanted with the plants I gave her. Hard work? Yes, but so worth the savings and joy in seeing it completed!
Areas of transplants and thinned out Nandina, Rozanne Geraniums, Black-Eyed Susans and Hostas
Also in the week following Mother's Day was the peak blooming period for my azaleas this year. The Kousa dogwood trees were in sync, opening up right as the azaleas were at their peak. The photo below is the section, believe it or not, where I spent most of my time thinning out the Nandina (left of frame). The clematis tripod is entirely camouflaged in this photo (right behind the 2nd azalea from left), but will take the spotlight when it blooms in the next couple of weeks.
Every walk in the garden seems to show a few new surprises. I love catching the first bloom of any of my perennial plants each season. Climbing roses budding/blooming in the courtyard and lavender buds turning more colorful were the bonus rewards after mid-May's garden chores. My first lavender bouquets should be ready to cut for drying by the first of June.
First rosebud 2015, courtyard climbing roses
First rosebud in full bloom 2015, courtyard climbing roses
First flush of knockout roses and spirea blossoms are mixed among salvia, irises and growing bee balm.
Spirea blossoms, salvia, bee balm, irises and knockout roses, mid-May 2015
In the back section of the garden, the delicate blooms of the love-in-a-mist plant began their flowering, and a first bloom of yellow primrose (aka buttercups) emerged!
First love-in-a-mist bloom 2015
The buttercups are usually a sea of bright yellow in the corner of the garden right around my birthday in early June. I just wish they'd last longer, they're so pretty in their masses.
First buttercup bloom 2015
Meanwhile, the perennial hibiscus in the farthest back, western corner of the landscape seemed to be calling, "We're next! We're next!" for all the staking work that will necessarily begin in the week or so to come.
Hibiscus shoots, mid-May 2015
Soon, the photo above, showing emerging hibiscus, will demand my attention with continuous staking of the many stalks. The reward will be saucer-sized blooms like those in the photo below.
Hibiscus, full-grown, from a prior year
I haven't even begun to plant my containers yet. From the way I see it, the continuous watering of containers doesn't end until late September, and there is enough going on in the garden chores right now that there's plenty of time for containers to wait their turn.

Speaking of containers, here's the latest on my lemon plant experiment since my last update - slow and steady, they're still pushing new growth.
Lemon plant Experiment, mid-May 2015
Don't ever let anyone fool you into thinking a garden is anything other than hard work. But, oh, the rewards!

Are you getting spring-time garden chores checked off your list yet? Do you pace your work or go at it all at once? Do you stop to enjoy the process, take photos and make garden notes?

As always, thanks for your visit!
Rita C. at Panoply
(A special thanks to Kathryn at The Dedicated House, "Make It Pretty Monday", for featuring this post!)
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