Sprung has sprung. Maybe

I look back now on my casual comment about a worse winter than usual, and wonder whether I jinxed myself. It was the worst winter in many years, and it just wouldn’t go away. In fact, parts of the country are still under snow. I went through all of this year’s firewood and most of next year’s too.

But it’s finally warm enough to start planting. All I’ve managed to get in the ground so far is two varieties of potatoes. If nothing else interferes today, I’ll plant turnips and beets. The seedlings are doing well in the greenhouse–tomatoes, peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, pumpkins, watermelons, cucumbers. The comfrey came back just fine after looking as though it was never going to make it through the winter, and the bees are loving the purple blossoms. Unfortunately–and it was my own stupid fault–the rosemary and lavender did not survive. I could have put them in the greenhouse, but they’ve done fine outside in previous winters and I just didn’t think about doing it.

My goal this year is to make things pretty. I’ve spent four years building infrastructure–barns, fencing, greenhouse, workshop, etc. Some things still need to be done, or improved. But I feel as though I have permission now to spend time and money on aesthetics as well as fundamental basics. With that in mind, I planted two PeeGee hydrangeas outside the workshop/farm store, one under each window. Then my grandson helped me plant 25 gladiolus bulbs (okay, let’s be honest, I helped him, not the other way around, lol). Most of them have come up, and I’m looking forward to seeing them bloom. The daffodils and the redbud tree I planted several years back bloomed earlier and lifted my spirits every time I looked out the kitchen window at them. The azaleas have just finished blooming, and while I won’t be planting any more of them (they’re toxic to livestock), I’m happy to have these. As I have time, I’ll be planting a lot more flower bulbs (I do love things that come up every year by themselves!).

Speaking of which, I ate asparagus for the first time this year from my own garden. I couldn’t take much, and none of it made it into the kitchen, but wow, was it good! The other perennials are also doing well. The Jerusalem Artichokes are just beginning to poke up above the ground, but the aronias have already finished blooming and are bearing heavily. A late frost killed many of the blossoms on the blueberries, but they blossomed again and look as though they will bear at least some. The apple and pear trees I’m not so confident about, but I can see some fruit forming, just not as much as usual. The sage survived the winter, and while the annual herbs like basil and cilantro did not, of course, they self-sowed like crazy and are now coming up by themselves. The bay and lemon balm also succumbed to our crazy winter, I’m afraid. I’ve replaced the lemon balm, but don’t yet have another bay plant. I’m going to put each of those in separate planters this time, to make it easier to move them into the greenhouse next winter.

I’ve just been notified that my plant order from Horizon Herbs has shipped, so I’ll have some medicinals to add to the comfrey–yarrow, stinging nettles and a couple of others. Maypops and a mulberry tree are on the way from Raintree Nursery, my favorite place for trees and shrubs, and I just ordered two tea plants (camellias) from a nursery in Raleigh. The fig tree that overwintered in the kitchen is now occupying its own corner in the garden, with three horseradish plants nearby, and the Meyer lemon will be going in a big pot outside today. Life abounds everywhere!