I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not even June yet. It seems like the growing season started so early this year. I took some pictures around the yard so see how things are growing so far.

Spring Gardener Gable GreenhouseYesterday I removed the 2 volunteer squash I had growing in the keyhole garden. It was an emotional battle, but I chopped them down at soil level. The vines were getting very big, but each time I went to check them there were cucumber beetles all over them and I saw a couple of big squash bugs down near the base of one of the stems. Forget it! I will not sacrifice my pepper plants, which were already getting shaded by the squash, for HUGE vines that will just succumb to vine borers in a few weeks anyway. Over and out!

My friend Angela was getting rid of a few large pots she had in her yard and I decided to set them up in the greenhouse to try cucumbers and squash undercover this season. I don’t mind hand pollinating them all, I’ll be able to save the seeds, AND I might get away with no vine borers. I’m out there all the time anyway, so I don’t mind the frequent watering that the greenhouse vines will surely need. I hope this works. I’ll cry if I can’t grow cucumbers AGAIN this year. They wilted early last year because I had a problem with the cucumber beetles then too.

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I’m using the frame of an older mini greenhouse to allow the cucumbers to travel when the vines start to get big. Maybe I should ziptie some chicken wire to it so the vines can spread out… I think I’ll be less likely to get mold in there if all the leaves aren’t right on top of each other.

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Some sweet peppers, eggplant, and pole beans are planted at the base of the garden arch in the front yard. These may be my only successful eggplant this season unless I direct seed a couple into the keyhole garden.

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This clump of redish/dark green plants isn’t really a bush (though it looks like one) – they are all individual plants that have spread, strong and hardy, since I planted it 3 springs ago. The craigslist gardener SAID it was Dame’s Rocket, but I’ve seen that in garden centers, and this is not that. The foliage starts out deep purple and grows to about 2 1/2’ tall before it starts to turn dark green like this. Soon I’ll have yellow flowers all over them, about the size of a nickel. I started with 3 little plants I got for free and just look at what it spread into! Whew! Anybody want some? I think I need to divide these this fall.

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The elderberry bushes have more than doubled in size since last year (the two shrubs on either side of the picture). They are at least a foot taller than me now and I have a feeling they might just double again. EEK! They are really happy here. My lilac, on the other hand, didn’t bloom at all this year. Sad smile I wonder why??

IMG_0640IMG_0642Aren’t the Lapin Cherries just so beautiful? This tree came from Miller Nurseries and it’s been in my front yard for 3 springs now. I’m going to pick a few of them when G gets out of school. I’ll let the kids pick them. Dwarf trees are so perfect for the kids, they can reach the fruit! Last year we only got 2 cherries… we got a lot more this year!

These are lambs ear that are just starting to flower. They spread easily too. I have them in a few places in the front yard. I don’t mind dividing them because they have really shallow roots and the leaves are so touchable and soft!

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The keyhole has escarole, kohlrabi, some lettuce, cabbage, nasturtiums, borage, celery and peppers in it this year. Whew, that’s a lot of stuff for one bed, but there are still some open spaces. I’ll fill it in with volunteers as they appear in the other gardens.

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I moved this hydrangeas, along with three others, 2 years ago out of their original spots in the foundation bed. Last year they were pretty pathetic and needed almost constant care and watering. This year they seem to be holding their own and recovering nicely. I think the heavy mulch has something to do with that.

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This is part of my herb/hugulkulture bed that is next to the driveway. Rosemary is in the bottom right, oregano is just above that. There is a boxwood tucked in there, but I’ll probably move that because there isn’t much room in that spot. Lavender is at the top of the photo and on the left is a rugosa rose. I dug a small piece off a large drift of these at Island Beach State Park last year and brought it home. It’s doing beautifully! I think they spread like wildfire and since it’s soooo thorny, I’ll have to do my best to keep it in check. The little plant at the bottom of the picture is a pomegranate. I planted a seedling from a “wonderful” fruit I bought from the grocery store last year. I mulched it heavily over the winter, but it died back to the ground and I thought I lost it. It’s coming back though! Maybe I’ll wrap it, fig style, this winter and see if I can keep it going.

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This is a zebra hollyhock. The flowers are so pretty, they look like they are made of porcelain. The black blooms on the right are Black Viola. They stay low, maybe 6” high, but they have gotten markedly wider over the past 2 years. I started both of these from seed.

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Illini blackberries, also from Miller Nurseries. This will be my first harvest. Afterwards, I plan to remove the plants. They are SO thorny! I don’t know what I was thinking. Pruning is going to be tough. Even APPROACHING this bush is tough.

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The Egyptian walking onions are bizarre, but fun to grow. I think I’ll be able to share these now… there are lots of little bulbits ready for planting on top of these.