The last time you got to see the garden was in March. A lot of prep was completed – repositioning the highbed and the herb garden, updating the ‘Stachelbeeren’ (gooseberries) and ‘Sternjasmin’ (Star Jasmine) homes and placing them in a better spot, repotting last year’s Lavender, welcoming the ‘Pfingstrosen’ (Peonies), and a whole lot of soil enriching. Added to that was the constant battle between us and the cats for dominance of the highbed!
April brought a mix of warm sunny days, cool overcast days, and torrential rain while May announced its arrival with such a sudden drop in temps that even Hubs was glad the seedlings had a glasshouse. Here’s what the garden looks like now.
Roughly 5 or 6 neighborhood cats liked to visit my highbed/garden daily. Weeks of desperate research and material search finally seemed to pay off.
Assaulting their rather acute olfactory and tactility senses seems to be working! This visitor seems to be doing his utmost not to touch that awful straw – yeah!
Now that the cat problem was resolved and the days warmed up; in went the seedlings with their poles and irrigation system. What I love about the straw is its range of benefits; keeping the cats at bay, holding the moisture content in the soil, and later deteriorating and adding nutrients and bulk to the soil. So far, three Tomato plantlings, a Paprika, a Chili, and a few Tagetes (for soil nutrition) have been planted.
I’d been flirting with starting seedlings but the apartment isn’t conducive to such an undertaking (too warm, not enough consistent light), so I was really excited to snag this glasshouse (on sale, nonetheless!) and try my hand at self-starting seeds. Left to right, top to bottom in the small pots is a ‘Green Tiger’ tomato (seeds saved from last year), Celery, and two Okras. The large pots contain Basil started from seed – given that they die each winter; it saves a penny to be able to start them myself.
I got a little carried away once I started planting seedlings – this always happens! The small pots contain two Sunflowers, a Rainbow Chard, and a Yellow Bush Zucchini (I’d really love to know where I’m going to put that giant of a plant?!). The Calla Lilies and Jasmine continue to do well in their partially shaded part of the garden; I can’t wait for flowers!
Watching plants react to sun is always interesting; remember last year how the Sunflowers also leaned /grew away from the hedge? Our neighbors have a 6ft hedge that shades our garden starting from 3pm or so. Stretching for the sun, the plants lean into the garden and thus get a little ‘leggy’ (tall and thin). I’ve since tied the Peonies to supportive posts to save them from Hub’s lawnmower and themselves (leggy plants can be foundationally weak and easy to damage in wind).
The Gooseberries continue to amaze me (and my neighbors as well). The early warm temps, full sun to which it’s been moved, the spring feeding of compost, and the straw mulch to hold in the moisture led to lots of new growth and early fruit bearing. It should be interesting to see how it reacts to this week’s cold snap.
I’m actually pretty confused by the Rhubarb; honestly, it received a place in the garden because Hub’s loves Rhubarb pie/crumble. After seeing stalks for sale in the foodstore, I thought something was wrong with mine, but was assured that mine are right on schedule. Given that we can’t harvest the stalks for the first two years anyway, it’ll be interesting to see what it does.
Calendula was added to the herb garden. We’ve enjoyed a few young leaves in our salad already, but I’ve left it alone to flower as we want to try those in our salad next.
I finally figured out what my Spinach like and they have rewarded me immensely. A cool shaded spot, moist soil, and a dressing of grass clippings as mulch brings forth a profusion of Spinach and Ruccola. In the blue marked line are Romaine lettuce seedlings – my favorite.
The Tagetes and the edible flowers seem happy in their sunny pots; although since they’re clay, I have to water them every morning before the sun gets to them. The good news is, they’re pretty ‘drought resistant’; which doesn’t mean they’re like Cacti or Aloe plants – it just means during the summer they won’t completely die on me when the midday sun visits.
Another whim purchase because we love the taste but for which I certainly had no idea where it would live; the Artichoke seems happy in its pot. Given that this thing spreads wide and gets pretty tall (about 3 ft), I’m glad I only got one.
One of my favorite views while sipping my morning coffee. For me, the mix of European, Mediterranean, and Caribbean plants are an expression of my current personality – taking a bit of everything I’ve experienced in the past 10 years away from home and creating my own bit of an oasis.
The right-hand side of the terrace is just as lovely as the left. I love my Hibiscus and Bouganvillea so much – the expression of Caribbean warmth, color, vitality, and endurance are the centering spot of my current existence and continually remind me to “Bloom where I’m planted” despite it all.