Still cold in May, naturalized flowers in the woods, and what’s blooming now

On May 6th, I’m usually ignoring a chilly forecast (to my eventual dismay) and planting out small seedlings into the garden. I say a prayer and wish them luck and glance nervously at the sky, hoping the frost doesn’t come. This year, after having mixed success with the seedlings I’ve been babying for the last couple of months, I’m not taking any more chances. I have already planted out a few tomatoes and peppers that had close neighbors in the flats who perished to dampening off.

As I put them in the gardens, I told myself, “Don’t get to attached. You are planting dead plants.” Nevertheless, I check on these babies every day and nod in appreciation when I notice that their little leaves haven’t fallen off or they haven’t been dug up by the curious squirrels who must be wondering why the ground is disturbed in that spot.

The rest of the seedlings, the more successful starts, are still waiting in the greenhouse for their debut, the day they get planted into the garden beds and between the perennial flowers, bushes and trees which you can fix with the work from tree surgeon. As the weather warms, they seem to be shaking off the chill and are starting to look more sturdy than they did just a week ago.

And now I see a night time low temperature in the 30’s this weekend. Blast! Every year! But, fear not… this year I have multiple stacks of black nursery pots of all different sizes that I picked up on marketplace last summer. So before the temperature drops this weekend, I’ll be putting an overturned pot on top of each tender plant like a little shield, weighted down with a rock or brick, to protect them from the cold. 40 wouldn’t have me worried, but when they say 37…. that’s inching too close to freezing in my opinion and it’s time to take precautions.

Daughter and I were taking a walk yesterday when we noticed some naturalized flowers coming up in an empty wooded lot that’s for sale 2 lots away from the house. If the lot sells to a developer, they will likely clear everything before they build. This is also an area where our neighbor, who is a contractor, dumps yard waste, grass clippings, and autumn leaves in a gigantic pile (which creates the most wonderful leaf mould to add to my gardens. I assume these lilies and delphinium came from that yard waste at some point and have begun to spread and naturalize.

Today, I took a bucket and a shovel and dug up a few plants from around the outside of the patches of each kind of flower and transplanted them in to my yard. I’m excited to see the colors of the lilies as I haven’t noticed them blooming in the shady woods in previous summers.

Today, when I walk around the yard I notice what’s blooming now – apples and aronia berries. The lupines and wild geranium are just getting started. The iris are sending up flower buds and the quince buds have turned pink, but neither have opened yet. The nanking cherries are starting to swell, those flowers fell a couple of weeks ago. One of the 3 beach plums is COVERED with flowers, but the other two have barely any flowers on them at all. I’m wondering, if I graft a few branches from each plum onto the other… will the root stock determine the bloom, or the scion? Will I be more likely to get better pollination for the shrubs that have fewer flowers blooming that year?

Our renters at our old property will be moving out this weekend. I’ll have to go to that property next week and start cleaning it up, inside and outside, to get ready to sell the house. The last year with our renters has been very financially challenging and we simply can’t afford to keep the expense of that home. I plan to do a LOT of grafting of any plants, trees and shrubs that I can’t move over to this property. I’m a little nervous but very excited about assessing the plants over in that yard and cleaning up the landscape for the masses. I will be making identification signs for the perennial food crops that will be staying there and hopefully that will be an attractive landscape feature for a potential home buyer.