By LYNNE IRONS
I realize it is unpopular to want more rain but, honestly, the several days of hot, dry wind just sucked the moisture out of everything including me. Even after last Friday’s lovely shower, the soil was completely dusty a half inch down. I’m hyper-aware of this fact as I am attempting a new vegetable garden where the well has yet to be completed. I have become extremely grateful to turn on the faucet at my own place.
The potatoes I planted on Saint Patrick’s Day have finally emerged. They came up the same day as the ones I planted April 20. There you have it! The early planting of most crops only yields bragging rights. It’s all about the soil temperature. I put in another batch of late-season spuds this past week — Kennebec and Green Mountain! Hopefully they will produce enough for winter storage. I have several volunteer plants in an area that held potatoes three years ago. I love that.
I’m crazy about the bridal wreath Spirea. I know it is a shrub rarely used in contemporary landscapes but it takes me back to my youth in Rew, Pennsylvania. My great-grandmother, Mum Armstrong, had planted one on the family property. We children used to play under it, shaking the branches until we were covered with white. The smell takes me directly back to that time. Smell is connected to memory more than the other senses, it seems.
I ate my first sugar snap pea. The variety was Sugar Ann. I didn’t realize it was so much earlier than some of the other sugar snap varieties. My English and China snow peas are blooming but no sign of pods as yet.
Time for a commercial break. I have been using North Coventry Organics for several years: Pro-holly for the ever greens and hydrangeas, pro-start for seeding, and pro-gro for everything else. About a month ago I set out quite a number of Brussels sprout seedlings which had been started in the unheated greenhouse. They were nicely hardened off and looked great. I put them in the aforementioned new vegetable plot along with a generous amount of pro-gro in the trenches. One row was an afterthought when another few six-packs were discovered at the end of the day. Apparently they were planted without the fertilizer. A month later they looked fabulous — over six inches tall with leaves the size of wooden spoons. The neglected row is barely an inch taller than at planting time with pale tiny leaves. It is difficult to recognize them as the same family group. Show and tell always works. Those who saw — believed. The products can be purchased at SBS or the Allen farm. It’s worth the price.
Take a trip down Skiff avenue towards Lagoon Pond Road and notice the Golden Rain tree as you make the corner. Simply breathtaking! Check it out!
Gena Stanley from the Art Cliff diner gifted me with a Garden Scoot. It is a stool on wheels with a rotatable tractor seat. it might be the world’s most comfortable seat into which to lower one’s bottom. It came from Master Manufacturing in Sioux City, Iowa. If you google Garden Scoot you will find one for $90 which has a handle, steers, has a basket and a height-adjustable seat. Any time I can sit down gardening is a good thing. I’m sick of bending over.
One needs to be on the ball to notice everything in the garden. Most things are so fleeting. The oriental poppies and bearded irises are happening like crazy but will not last.
I have a Princess Victoria Louise-salmon-colored poppy next to a tangerine iris which boggles the mind with it’s beauty. I started some orientals from seed but they won’t bloom until next year.
Diane Rehm interviewed Ray LaHood, the Republican pick for the department of transportation secretary position. She brought up some of the criticisms that the Republican Congress has towards President Obama’s spending tactics. She asked if Secretary LaHood was taken to task by some of his colleagues because of his apparent switch in policy. He replied, “They’ve been calling — hoping to get their own transportation projects funded.” I love political irony!