May First 2005

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After weeks of unsettled weather, rain, wind, and general less than lovely conditions, this first day of May was sunny and beautiful. I spent a few hours outside getting started on tasks that should have been done last month.

I decided to plant the Yacon in a small bed beside the hoop house door, so I dug the weeds out and top-dressed with well rotted horse manure. The plants can go in about two weeks from now.

On the other side of the door, I may plant some Golden Sunrise Swiss Chard with a Mina Lobata vine trained on strings up the wall. To keep it all edible, the Pole Bean 'Trionfo Violetto' might be a pretty contrast to the golden orange chard and the flowers of the Yacon.

The bed beside the firepit is in dire need of attention, so I started on the weeding. There are a number of self sown Papaver ruprifagum seedlings; some of them will have to be moved as they will crowd other plants if left where they are.

I also found two blooming baby Viola corsica. Only one flower each, but with their mom's deep violet color and wild flower shape. That viola blooms for the longest time of any viola I have ever grown.

One of the Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies' had slid down into the lawn at the front of the bed. I moved it up above its sister and am hoping it will not resent the move too much.

The Dianthus arenarius is well budded. It will be very nice to have the fragrance of those pretty white flowers so close to the coming and going at the back door. One of the things on the to do list is to find places for more of this plant. I love the clean white of the blossoms, the rich fragrance, and the autumn rebloom. All in all, I think Dianthus arenarius is a sadly underused plant. So undemanding, and totally rewarding.

I am not certain, but it looks as if the plant of Nemisia 'Bluebird' I set behind the deep red dianthus lived over winter! Will definitely keep an eye on that spot.

I did a major whack job on the rose 'Aunt Honey', and the 'Nanho Blue' buddleia. Probably not the best time for either of them, but 'Aunt Honey's' plant is as ugly as her blooms are lovely, and the buddleia was a skeletal eyesore. The poor little thing may not survive because it is planted way to close to that wonderful big blue geranium. No way am I going to disturb the geranium! If it comes to a choice, I will replace the 'Nanho Blue'.

Agastache 'Blue Fortune' has returned for its third season. It is going to be a nice specimen this year. The 'Matrona' Sedum is finally filling out. That plant is no where as easy to grow well as others of the clan, at least in my garden, but I think it will be worth the effort.

I am not sure if the white geranium in this bed is sylvaticum, or striatum var 'Alba', but it has developed into a lovely clump. The entire end of the bed has to be reworked as the choice of Panicum 'Prarie Sky' was a total disaster in that location. It needs taller more robust companions.

I will leave the white Geranium, the Agastache 'Blue Fortune', and Alchemilla 'Auschlese', and find suitable companions so that there will be color and order in the planting again. It might be a good place for some of the poppy seedlings, and/or a few plants of 'Spanish Peaks' foxgloves.

The remaining Sempervivum are developing their colors for the new season, and that is such an interesting process. Very pretty, too. I am going to rebuild my Sempervivum collection, but will go at it a little more slowly. There is an awful problem with moles, or voles, in this bed, and I am considering large containers as permanent homes for the semps instead of open ground. Perhaps box-beds with landscape fabric or hardware cloth bottoms. Something to aid the plants in staying firmly rooted in the soil at any rate.

There are fewer dock, dandelion, and sorrel in the planting this spring, but the lamium, veronica, and ranunculus are still going strong. I think there is not as much grass returning this year either. Oh joy! Can it be? some actual progress made against these thugs?