Garden jewels

Spring schedule

Creeping veronicas

After the annuals and veggies were moved to their permanent location, the flower beds cleaned and the perennials spruced up, the roses pruned, the fall blooming plants divided and moved and the summer bulbs planted, one would think that the gardener can sit back with a cup of coffee in some cozy verdant nook and relax.



My delicate foam flowers, year three. One comment, don't expect these plants to fill up quickly. Gardening guides always point out these shade lovers are slow growers, and they are right about that. They will bloom no matter how small they are, though.

Guess again! Here is the list of activities for this month.

I'm waiting for the flats of perennials to show up at the nursery. Half of the borders still need prettying up, and that requires ready made lush greenery in bloom. I would like to give thanks in advance to those who work so hard at the garden centers to make it available.

The weeds are a constant battle, I'm not even spacing weeding anymore, I just added it to my daily to do list.

I think this is the last week when the garden can do without watering. If it doesn't rain, next week I have to put that on the schedule, too.

The daffodils are starting to fade and need cleaning up. This in fact applies to all the spring bulbs.

I have to treat the lawn to get rid of the tougher weeds that don't respond to regular maintenance. It's time to give the plants some food, preferably before the roses bloom.

I'm not going to be a grouch, though. The flower beds look marvelous, and they are even more gratifying because I filled many of them with cuttings and divisions from the rest of the garden.

Did I mention Jack in the pulpit came back? For real? Yes!


Blue veronicas

Creeping myrtle

When you are a new gardener it is easy to make the mistake of ignoring the small plants. A beautiful garden relies on harmony and scale, layering textures, growth patterns and blooming times. Low growing perennials are essential to its success.

I was surprised to discover that the most charming dwellers of my flower beds are the little plants, the flowering thyme, the creeping phlox draping over stone brims, the intense blue veronicas, that sparkle in the sunshine like tiny jewels.

Perennial ground covers are an easy solution for keeping weeds out of your flower beds. Most of them defend their turf fiercely and will do all the job for you, looking splendid in the process, I might add.

With this lesson in mind, I'm back to the plant nursery in search of close to the ground flowering plants.

The aromatic herbs will do in a pinch, but I like to keep the medicinals and the decorative separate, for safety. Besides, some of the aromatic lovelies have invasive tendencies.

A quick list to get started: creeping baby's breath, candytuft, thyme, Sweet William, English daisies, stone crops, ice plant, dead nettles and creeping Jenny.

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