Thursday, May 21, 2009

Garden Journal 5/21/09:
It's the End of Bloomin' May Already!

Busy, Busy

How did that happen? Of course I'm always asking myself that question. But where does the time go? Weren't we just snowed in a couple of weeks ago?

Last week during an emergency trip to the vet for my 12-1/2 year old beagle, Robin (who is thankfully doing well), one of the women who works there asked how my garden was doing. "Everything that's actually been planted is doing great!" I said cheerfully, and then admitted that I still had at least 150 tomato, tomatillo, pepper, eggplant (many thanks to the 46 of you who shared your experiences and tips growing and eating eggplant!), herb, and other miscellaneous seedlings—not to mention the sweet potatoes sporting 2-foot-long sprouts—still sitting in the greenhouse and desperately wishing they'd been put in the ground several weeks ago. I did feel a little better about my slacking off when it dipped down to 40 degrees a couple of times last week since it would have been a pain to cover them all up from the cold. Or at least that's how I rationalized things.

Of course all these as yet homeless seedlings didn't stop me from picking up two six-packs of locally grown basil plants at the local natural foods store yesterday. At $2.00 each I couldn't resist, especially since I (once again) haven't started any basil seeds myself yet, and I've been dreaming about big batches of pesto lately, probably because my supply in the freezer has been depleted. I bought a dozen purple basil plants a couple of weeks ago, too, since I've discovered it makes even better pesto than the green kind. Now I can't wait to make the first Savory Tomato Pesto Pie of the summer.

You'd think I would have had lots of time to catch up in the garden during our recent eight day power outage, and though I did manage to get some long overdue tasks finally completed (like clearing out the small mountain of sheets and blankets used for winter protection in the greenhouse, turning two compost piles and starting a new one, weeding another raised bed in preparation for planting), at this time of year there's simply too much to be done.

Meanwhile, once again I'm surprised by how many things are already blooming (or finished blooming!) by mid May. The irises are out, and the wonderfully low maintenance Kerria japonica Pleniflora (also called bachelor's buttons—but not to be confused with the popular pink, white, and purple easy-to-grow annual flowers called bachelor's buttons) pictured above has already been flowering for weeks and will continue to do so into autumn. That's my kind of perennial.

Comfrey is Useful, Beautiful, and Will Withstand Being Munched by Sheep

The comfrey (a fabulous, easy to grow medicinal herb I really need to write more about one of these days) is sporting its trademark purple flowers, as is my several-year-old mystery potted perennial that is not only pretty, but will put up with anything so who cares if I don't know what it is.

The lawn is dappled with those little white flowers that always make me think of fairies, and one section of the greenhouse has been taken over by three-foot-tall blooming arugula. Some of the nine varieties of onions I'm growing this year are sending up flower shoots, but I keep pinching them off so they'll be forced to spend their energy on bulb production.

The very first spiderwort flower popped out this morning, and dozens more will continue to do so for weeks. As I've mentioned before, I love spiderwort and think that every garden should have at least a clump or two growing in it. The butterflies go crazy for it.

And maybe best of all, there are various pockets around the farm that are heavy with the deliriously rich scent of wild multiflora roses.

Joe's sister, who is a professional gardener and landscaper in Ohio, told us the other day that she calls this time of year May Madness because all of her clients want their yards planted right now. I immediately glommed onto the phrase. There's so much to do and too much to do—but what's in the ground is doing well, we always eat well, and nearly everywhere you look there are flowers!

So what's blooming in your May Madness garden?

© Copyright 2009, the flower infested foodie farm blog where when it comes to gardening, we're constantly behind but always optimistic—and have already started making big plans for not only this fall garden but next spring's as well. Enjoy the present but definitely plan for the future!


  1. My basil's already trying to bolt. Ya like that? Silliness.

    Meanwhile, the lemon tree is finished blooming and starting to set fruit and the tomatoes are doing the same.

    I'll be making your Savory Tomato Pie again before long, too - but with Italian sausage because, you know, that's how we are around here.

    Happy May Madness!

  2. I love the term 'May Madness' - I think it is the perfect description! Hopefully I will get a few things planted before May is gone!

  3. I am still sitting on a few dozen seedlings up here in Massachusetts! BTW I was surprised to see my arugula flowering - does this mean the lettuce will be a bust now?


  4. Can you post a picture of your mystery plant? I'm all curious to see what you have!

  5. I've been planting...slowly...too. I just put the tomato seedlings and pepper seedlings in. I think I put the tomatoes much too close to each other. Well, I'll find out!

  6. I've planted so many things and some of them are starting to bloom, including spiderwort that I transplanted from my mums and russian comfrey that I got at an herb festival. Both are new to my garden this year. I'm adding several new things this year and am even trying snap beans and pumpkins in the vegetable garden.

    I agree with the May Madness term! There is just some much to do.

  7. Lots of things are blooming here, of course, but what's this about sheep not eating comfrey? Ours totally eradicated the out-of-control comfrey in the hollow. We were very excited about that, because it's invasive and persistent, but I wonder why your sheep don't eat it? Maybe they only eat it when there aren't a lot of other options?

  8. The blooms are starting to come out here too. Beautiful white blossoms on the strawberry plants were the first ones to show this spring, and my dwarf blueberry plant soon after that. Just last week I saw the first pale purple flower on my eggplant, and I hope the pollinators get to work soon so that the fruit sets!

    I'm so glad you adopted the new seedlings, the purple basil sounds intriguing. I've been itching to get the eggplant out in the cold frame, but every weekend seems to be rainy! Yesterday was lovely weather, warm and sunny, but I was at work - and now the long weekend starts with rain? Hoping for sun soon so that more and more of the plants can get in the ground and start blooming :-)

  9. We have had a lot of rain this spring and I have been slow at getting the garden completely. We have been rainless for the past four days so Im working on it now. No blooms yet though. Love your blog!

  10. Hi Susan - really enjoy your blog!I live on the Westcoast, B.C. Canada. We finally have good weather! Lots in bloom, poppies, irises, rosemary, lavender, forgetmenots, bachelor buttons, kiera jopponica, columbines galore! Have beans and zuchini coming up - lots of tomato varieties, swiss chard, lettuce almost ready to pick. Have lots of radishes, parsley, carrots and beets are beginning to grow! We had to dig out the veggie raised beds and lay down a commercial grade fabric because of invasive cedar tree roots! Hope it works -
    When will your cook book be out? All the best, happy gardening, Ina

  11. So far the only thing I have blooming are my weeds! I only have about half of my vegetable garden in so far, and I just planted my annual flowers from seed two days ago. Why aren't they up yet, lol !

  12. Actually, I thought that once onions decide to bloom there's not much you can do - even if you pinch it off, you're left with a flower stalk in the bulb which reduces yield and shelf life.

  13. My arugula bolted. Our harvest consisted of about two leaves. But it was 90 degrees that one day. Two nights ago it was 33 degrees. Needless to say, our tomato and tomatillo and eggplants are all growing leggy as they wait to get outside. Such is gardening in Maine...or anywhere lately.


March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.

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