April 19, 2016

Five Rainy-Day Garden To-Do's


As I was blissfully strolling about in the garden during breaks in this week's much-needed rain...whilst enjoying the garden through a foggy, hazy cameral lens...rendering the garden soft, and fragrant, and lovely...


I found myself making a mental list of the things I wanted to accomplish during this beneficent week of moisture.

Before I knew it I had a list of garden chores to attend to both during and immediately following this springtime wet weather. The sodden rose petals, dispelled by the rain, are a thing to savor...their fragrance and bridal strewn charm...ahhh.


But I also know that along with the dislodged petals are dislodged blackspot leaves that will need to be cleaned up post-haste, so as not to spread the problem further. This CHORE #1 will wait till the front completely passes by, to avoid stringing my beads with no knot on the end, so to speak.


I planted a whimsical weeping pussy willow in the middle of the circle of the potager...


and thought to myself that its charm could be enhanced with something blooming...something with floating flower heads...underneath its canopy. I gently roughed up the soil underneath, then, in the mist, scattered pink and white cosmos seed so as to bring my vision to life.  Hence, CHORE #2: Scatter seed in the moist and receptive soil, with promise of further gentle rain to speed up germination.



(In the midst of your toil, however, do remember to stop and smell the roses.)


The garden greens, lettuce, kale and chard, have been especially abundant this year during our protracted spring. But despite an early intervention, snails and pill bugs are beginning to flourish as well. Consequently, I bought an extra large, 10 lb. bag, of SLUGGO on Amazon, (prime as it were), so I will get it immediately before too much time passes and the slimey creatures have their way. 

CHORE #3 Take slug and snail precautions IMMEDIATELY following the rain. SLUGGO for snails and diatomaceous earth for sow and pill bugs (for a fascinating read... yes I said fascinating!... on pill bugs go here...who knew?!)


As you probably know, heavy, wet soil, especially clay, is not partial to aggressive digging. It ruins its tilth and texture... so transplanting a large perennial, shrub or tree is not a good idea. TINY seedlings, however, that require only minor soil disturbance to relocate, are fair game. I have relocated countless tiny feverfew, foxglove, columbine, etc., during cloudy, moist weather. Without a hiccough, they settle into their new home. Conditions devoid of harsh sun, drying heat and wind, and WITH consistent moisture are perfect for the little darlings. CHORE #4:  Relocate seedlings to their new homes and design their position in the garden.


 (Some foliage, like lady's mantle and coral bells, just takes to raindrops, don't you think?)


Along this same line, I have also had tremendous success taking non-woody stems of perennials like daisies and chrysanthemums...and removing their lower leaves to expose leaf nodes from which new roots will emerge...


then simply sticking them into loosened damp earth. Of course, when the sun returns, as it happily always does... they will complain and wilt a bit.


 But in my experience, during mild spells like the one we are now enjoying...


 about 50-75% of them endure and turn into robust plants. The entire stand of daisies below...



was started just last year using this technique. So put CHORE #5: Take Cuttings of Fleshy Plants on your rainy to-do list for an inexpensive, ever-so-easy way to increase your inventory of shrubs and perennials.


(Oh, and put down your umbrella so it doesn't blow away...and your glass tabletop gets a good rinsing :)
Today's Takeaway Tips:  Take advantage of gentle weather to sow seeds, start cuttings, and transplant seedlings. Watch out for disease and pests that also thrive in wet conditions.

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