Saturday, June 2, 2012

Life June!

The newcomer - a rhododendron!

      I have reached the month in which I turn 60. I am quite contented with my life, compared to this time last year - and, in spite of having few dollars in my wallet I am finding life is good. Even great. How unexpectedly wonderful! I have always been a contented person, I think, but I have recently endured a lot of work-related stress and have come through it.  Life begins at 60? Who knew?
     Today I spent mostly in the vegetable garden. We have "boarded  in" three of the five beds, which means that there is more planting space. There are two beds which are - and will be for this growing season - just mounds. However, there are now three beds which are 1 metre wide and 10 metres long. The other two are just as long, but not so wide (yet). Today I specialized in onions - regular yellow, Spanish, and bunching - and I planted out the three pots of leeks which I had raised from seed. The leeks made four rows, each about 4 metres long. Mmm.
     I put all the tomato plants (except the Early Girl ones) out of the greenhouse, as I would like to harden them off. I want them in the ground soon. I have moved the hoops from the asparagus bed so I can cover the tomatoes with plastic and give them some shelter from the wind and a good warm start. We don't have any frost warnings for the next week, so this may be the propitious moment.
     I had planted zucchini seeds in the lasagne bed, and two of them have germinated. I may just put the seedlings I've raised into the other planting pockets in that bed. That will save space in the regular vegetable plot for other things. I put several more tatties into pots in the greenhouse, but I think that the rest will go into the ground. The ones I planted in the ground last week (they were Irish Cobblers) haven't shown themselves yet. We have had a cold and rainy week, which may have slowed things down. I have a few beans, and some carrots, peeking up.  Also another row of something which might be basil. I rather hope not, as I planted more of that today. (I certainly already have the memory of a 60-year-old.)
     In flower news, the white tree peony is blooming! The burgundy one is some days behind, and the pink one is suffering quite a bit - it has not put on growth like the others. It did have several suckers coming up from the root stock, which I have ruthlessly pulled away. I hope it manages to survive.
       I was listening to GQT today, and they talked again about the "Chelsea Chop" - pinching back late-blooming perennials by 1/3 to 1/2 to encourage bushing up. So I did some of the phlox and some of the sedum "Autumn Joy" - they especially recommended it, as it has a tendency to flop over. Mine certainly DOES. I hope this is the cure. I took the tips to the greenhouse and tried propagating them. Not the phlox of course. I have far too many of those.
     I have a three-day weekend, so I plan to garden and sew and generally make the most of it.


Kate/Massachusetts said...

My ears perked up when I read about your tree peonies! I planted one last year. It made it through the Massachusetts winter, but it has all sorts of bushy growth coming up from the roots. The tree part looks kind of sickly. So...those "bushy" stalks are suckers and should be pruned? Any other suggestions for helping this survive? Thanks! Kate

Mary Burke said...

As far as I know, Kate, the tree peonies are grafted on a herbaceous peony root stock, so any shoots coming from under the ground are from the root stock. I got three TPs at the same time, and the pink one was the only one to produce root suckers. It is usually a sign of too-shallow planting, I've read. Anyway, as I said, I pulled them away (recommended on a Scottish gardening show I watch faithfully - expose the root and then pull the suckers away, don't cut them - this makes a more natural wound which is more likely to heal). I've mulched around the plant to build up the level - I don't want to dig it up and replant deeper, as peonies are notorious for not liking to be disturbed. Hope this helps!