Gardening Update

Turkey Tracks: May 29, 2021

Gardening Update

Sometimes what I love most in my garden is what Mother Nature designs.

Oh, I put in the ingredients, but then “life happens.”

Here, Veronica creeping blue speedwell, Lily of the Valley, and Star of Bethlehem surround a peony. All are thriving and have made the prettiest picture which is just on the left to my lower porch step to the low deck that is my front porch.

Star of Bethlehem is a small bulb that can be really invasive. The speedwell is no slouch about spreading either. And the Lily of the Valley is taking off in this spot.

I harbor a family memory—which I’ve talked about before on this blog—of my grandmother’s Star of Bethelem. Decades and decades ago as a young wife she found some of this plant down in the Flint River, Georgia, swamp and brought them to her garden. Now they cover the front lawn when they bloom in the spring—a field of white flowers. Or they did back in the day. Her home in Georgia is now owned by other people, and I have not been back there since my mother’s funeral in 2009. But my love of my childhood visits to my people in Georgia is part of what drove me to find and move to Maine in 2004.

Here’s some info on Star of Bethelem. It is part of the lily family and related also to wild garlic. The green foliage appears in early spring, then dies back, which you can see in the pic, and then the white flowers emerge. That reminds me of those pink mystery lilies that do the same thing, but in the fall.

The lettuce in the cold frame is close to bolting. I’ve cleared one side—and have delivered this beautiful lettuce far and wide to friends here. I get so much pleasure out of sharing this lettuce bounty. You may recall that I set up the cold frame in the late fall with lettuce seeds and cover it for the winter. At some point in the spring, it sprouts and grows, with me taking the cover off and on to harden it off until the weather is more reliable. I’ll put in more compost and replant soon now: filet green bush beans on one side and maybe a zucchini plant on the other side.

I’m nearing the end of the spring weeding and general flower-bed cleanup, planting, and transplanting. One more big push should do it. One is never done with weeding, of course, but this very big outside job is nearly done, and I’ve enjoyed my days outside and my body likes the physical work.

I started with the strawberry bed—and it needs a another weeding pass again. The fruit is starting to emerge and set now. Other than weeding and some thinning later in the summer, the strawberries take care of themselves. I have not had to replace strawberry plants for some years now. They will get some mulch in the next few weeks.

The new raspberries I planted last spring are thriving. I had to pull up a lot of suckers that were claiming new territory outside their bed limits. There will be fruit this year for sure.

The house and garage shingles have not been restained for the past 17 years, so it is time. That will happen this summer. The plan is to just use a natural, protective stain—which the shingles had when new.

The garden bench is feeling really rickety these days. Maybe I will replace it this summer. The Amish are making some really nice outdoor furniture pieces these days, and they weather really well here. This time of year, I really love to take a warm drink out to that bench and just to sit quietly in the sun and admire all the life in my garden.

We’ve had a cool spell, which I’m also enjoying. The cool nights make for fabulous sleeping, with all that fresh air coming through the cracked window at the head of my bed and a warm quilt over the bed. Luscious!

The black flies are on the wane now. And I’m crossing my fingers about what will happen in my yard with the dreaded brown tail moth/caterpillar. They have emerged elsewhere, but not here yet. Last year, they were bad when the blueberries were fruiting. That time is still some weeks away.

And best of all, I awoke this morning to some steady rain, which we needed in the worst way.

The cooler temps slowed down the grass a bit, but the rain will supercharge it again.

Author: louisaenright

I am passionate about whole, nutrient-dense foods, developing local markets, and strengthening communities.

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