What I Bought at The Nursery

I shop for annuals once a year, usually at the end of May or beginning of June – like most other people who live in New England. If we shop too early, the plants have to wait somewhere until all chance of frost has passed. OR, they can go into the cold ground and take their chances. All plants cost too much to risk dying in a freeze, and I can’t be bothered to go out and cover my plants. I just wait and try to get them into the ground at the correct time. And slowly but surely I am learning how to garden in the north.

potted plants on the tailgate
Home From a Trip to The Nursery

So on my recent trip to “House by the Side of the Road”, this is what I came home with (my hanging fuchsia was on the front seat):

Tray on the left: Celebrity tomatoes:  These grew the best in last years vegetable garden.  I grew 5 varieties and these and the grape tomatoes were wonderful.  (I also bought grape tomatoes).  Pink Wave petunias- I guess these are a specialty because they were quite pricey – but I will use them in my hanging baskets.  I got six and will divide them between at least 3 baskets.  (These are plastic basket hangers I have kept from previous years).

Tray with flowers:  Zinnias, 3 packs of Marigolds (always have in my veggie garden), Cosmos (faves of mine) and Red Star impatiens – reddish pink and white stripes.

On the right are the perennials:  Right in front, with that big bud, is the Oriental Poppy.  To the left is the Monk’s Hood, and to the right is the Joe Pye Weed.  In the back are two hostas.

I plan to buy more perennials this Fall when the prices come down.  I especially want more Peonies to go around my deck, or maybe some new varieties of hydrangeas.

The First Flowers of Spring: Helloborus “Emma” Picture

early spring flowers
Spring Promise “Emma”

I have never grown a helleborus in my yard until this year. I bought two of this type of perennial last fall and put them out front.   I was looking for plants that like shade and these were in the shade lovers section at the nursery.

It’s late April as I write this and both the Lenton Rose and Spring Promise (pictured) have numerous flowers. The blooms tend to droop and face downward but the leaves stayed on all winter long! I did have to trim a few of the dead leaves to clean it up, but they do seem to be very hardy.

This one called “Emma” has such pretty flowers and the other one I planted has more greenish blooms. I’m glad I have added these to my landscape. It’s nice to go outside so early in the season up here in New England and see flowers! Not even my tulips have bloomed yet.

Hydrangea Clean Up: Trimming The Dead Ends

hydrangea growth in spring
Growth on Old Wood

Now that the hydrangeas have sprung back from the weight of the snow, I realize I have some trimming and pruning to do. I leave the dead flowers on the stalks over winter, but now they need to be removed. Some branches are broken, but I know that they will fill in quickly with new growth.

Some hydrangeas bloom on new growth so you don’t want to trim those in Spring, or you may be cutting off the blooms. Some bloom on old wood – the stems that were there last year. And some will bloom on both.

This is my “Endless Summer”, a small shrub that I planted last Spring and it bloomed profusely even though it never grew very large.  This year I expect it will grow larger and lots of blue flowers.  The dead flowers are still showing at the end of the stalks and I will be cutting them off.

Vertical Bottle Gardening For Those With Limited Space

nasturtiums in glass pot
Nasturtiums in pot

If you love to grow fresh veggies but have little space or time to keep up with a garden, you might want to experiment with vertical bottle gardening.  The idea of this type of garden is to grow vegetables in recycled plastic bottles that hang or are propped over each other.  This takes minimal expense since pots don’t have to be purchased, and takes up little space since your crops grow over the tops of each other.

The video on this page shows how a man has set up his vertical bottle garden in the window of his high-rise home.  The writer of the Experiments With Mini Vertical Container Gardening page has created a stackable garden that sets on the ground.  She has so far been successful in growing lettuce and Swiss chard and she promises to keep us up to date with her future bottle growing endeavors.  She included lots of her own photos too.

Mini gardens are very popular with busy, working people as well as those of us who simply don’t have the space, or sunny area to make a regular garden.   The vertical gardens are watered from the top with water moving downward to keep all the bottom areas moist which saves time.  Weeding would be next to nothing and if your garden is inside, like the one in the video, you won’t have a bug problem either.

As for me, my gardening will be done out in the yard.  I’ll be working this May to get the soil ready for planting and I also plan to build a raised bed myself using cinderblocks.  More on that to come.  I still have a yard full of snow!


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