Ground Cherry Flower

April in the Garden

I was so inspired by Meg’s post at Grow and Resist the other day, meandering us through her Seattle garden, that I decided to do something similar. We’re in the thick of spring, and plenty of things are taking off in the garden — or not.

Here’s a collection of highs and lows, starting with something that really surprised me. I am so touched by the beauty of tiny husk cherry blossoms; they don’t measure more than half-an-inch across.

Ground Cherry Flower

My brand new rhubarb died. It pushed up through the soil so earnestly, then conked out. I’m blaming our weird mix of warm and then wet weather.  It’s sad.

My Rhubarb Died

But the roses are getting started.

And my new Meyer lemon trees are almost too exuberant. I’m going to have to cull some green fruit.

Do I wish we didn’t have an entire hillside of English Ivy? You have no idea. (Or maybe you do. Have you ever had a piece of property fiercely inhabited by an invasive non-native plant?) At least it’s keeping the hill from falling on the house — and I do have plans for that new path leading up to the fence.

The plan has to do with the nursery of berries on our front deck. (Left to right: elderberries, big-potted blueberries, boysenberries.) I hope to plant the elders and b0yz way up on the hill, come fall.

Oh, the tomatoes! I have about twenty plants and space for maybe half of those.  They’re three feet high, too spindly, and hanging out in gallon pots until I can plant them out. (Mothers Day!) Next year I won’t start them quite so early.

The peppers and smaller plants suffered even more in that storm, when my mini greenhouse collapsed. I’m proud of the survivors, mostly pepperoncini, Thai hot peppers, and Chinese Lanterns.

What’s in your compost? We’ve got kitchen scraps and leaf fall mixed with spent bedding straw from a neighbor’s chicken flock and lots of used coffee grounds from Peet’s. (The worms go crazy for the coffee!) When one bin is full, we’ll start filling the next. By the time the second bin is full, the first one will be ready to harvest.

Now that we’ve got pigeons who need to eat crushed oyster shells, I decided to put some of those shells to work as a slug barrier. This little bed is seeded with greens that I plan to harvest young.

Speaking of pigeons, we’ve done a lot of work furnishing their house in the last few days. They now have a nest-box high rise (in anticipation of two more housemates) and a real tree. (Well, a real dead tree. It’s a big branch that came down in the winter storms.) We keep catching them kissing. Here they are, trying to look innocent.

I’m growing greens for them in every small container I can find.

And container greens for humans, too.

There’s a lot to do.

When I was younger, I never imagined I’d turn out to be a person who loved to garden. Then I planted a single box of orange mint outside the kitchen window of a rented apartment. I think that plant saved my life.

The lives we care for, care for us.

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