Glorious Day for Gardening

When I woke up this morning, I had my furry pal next to me, purring away.  He is sooooooo much better.  He might be a little lethargic still, but he's eating again, and he was my garden companion this morning while I was out cleaning up the herb garden.

It was a perfect day to be out in the garden.  The sun was shining, and a nice breeze was blowing.  It was just slightly chilly, and so I had on long sleeves.  It's good for me because I need to protect my skin from the sun.  I was also wearing a hat.  

We stopped off first in the greenhouse to see if things are looking any better in there.  Mike watered all the tomatoes with liquid fertilizer again this past weekend.  We've been fertilizing them like crazy because they keep looking so yellow and because they just aren't growing.  Finally, they are starting to look a little better.  There is new growth, not plagued with signs of insects, and I'm feeling optimistic that these will be the plants that will produce tomatoes for us this summer.

Even the smallest of them are looking much better.  I had one that had never even produced its true leaves, but that one now has new growth.  It looks as if everything is going to survive.

I started over with the dill, and that has come up now.

This is the basil I planted originally, and it too is finally starting to grow.

The butter lettuce is looking good, but the red leaf lettuce still has not germinated.  As I said in an earlier post, I used a pelletized seed for the red leaf.  It makes those teensy lettuce seeds easier to work with, but it does take a lot longer to sprout.  I'll give it until this weekend, and then I may replant with traditional seeds.

Having satisfied myself about things in the greenhouse, I turned my attention to my sad little herb garden.  Oh my goodness, what a mess!  Here's how it looked when I started.  There are a lot of weeds, and just dead sticks from last year's growth...all winter kill now.

Here's how it looked when I was finished.  We like to call this kind of gardening slash and burn gardening.  Mainly it consists of ripping out dead stuff and weeds with little regard for the plant itself.  Once the dead stuff is pulled out, the living plant underneath reveals itself.

So what's growing here?  Two kinds of thyme.  Silver thyme on the left and, um, not silver thyme on the right.  It's just traditional thyme, like what you find in the grocery store.  I had a lemon thyme plant too, but it was more dead than alive, and I pulled the whole thing out.  Its leaves are not as sturdy as the other two, and I rarely used it.  It might sprout again from any roots it might still have below ground.  And I might replace it. We'll see.

I have three lavender plants.  I don't use these for anything, but I love lavender.  I love how it looks.  I love how it smells.  And, I take back that I don't use it for anything.  I do use it to make the Bees Knees Cocktail.  Yum.

This is sorrel.  It will take over the whole garden, and so we have to whack it back a couple of times every summer.  It grows so well, I keep it in the garden, but I've never used it for anything.  I have a recipe for sorrel pesto and for a sorrel soup, but I haven't ever tried either.  Maybe this year I will.

My chives have really taken off this year and there are more little ones coming.  Erik told me that the chives would take over, but mine have been slower than that.  It took them quite a while to act as if they would survive.  These are getting ready to bloom, which means I'll be making chive blossom vinegar soon.  I still have a little left over from last year, but that's okay.  It will keep almost forever, and it makes a pretty gift.  And I'm so happy to see these thriving because we are having steaks and baked potato for dinner.  I have plenty of chives to serve with the bakers.  Yum.  ("Yum" is the word of the day.)

This is purple sage, which is no different from green sage, except that its leaves are purple.  Clever, huh?

Here's its green cousin, and more chives on the left.

This is marjoram.

This is mint.  I think this variety is spearmint, and I also have some Kentucky Colonel mint.  Beware if you get the idea to grow mint in your garden.  It will absolutely take over whatever space you put it in.  We finally dug ours up, so tenacious were the runners, and planted it in a pot buried to ground level.  That fixed its little red wagon.  Occasionally, it will put up runners outside the pot, but we can control it more easily now.  I use it all the time in the summer.

I always wonder if the tarragon has survived the winter, and it always appears faithfully each year.  It's still a little small, but it will grow quickly.

Our winter was relatively mild this year, except for the killer frost we had.  Still, my rosemary plant has survived, and that is something of a miracle.  We've been in this house since 2002, and I've replanted it every year.  I think this might be the first plant to survive into the next growing season.  It's getting ready to bloom, so it must be a happy camper.

Here's some more lavender.  This particular plant was more dead than alive, and I ended up pulling out most of it.  It will fill in soon enough.

This is oregano.  It's almost as bad as the mint about putting out runners, but not quite as prolific.  It's easier to control.

And these are some wild strawberries I put in just as a ground cover.  I literally dug them out of the field with the heel of my boot and planted them, also using the heel of my boot.  They too put up runners and would take over if I let them.  They are easy enough to control if one takes the time.  These are starting to bloom.  The wild strawberries are very small, and they aren't good for much other than picking them off the vine and popping them in your mouth...which is a pretty good deal in and of itself.  That "rock" beside them is actually a piece of garden art...a duck we got to keep the bird bath from blowing away.  It didn't work very well for that function since the duck was usually face down in the water.  It was humiliating for him.  We replaced him with a clay turtle.  The turtle likes being face down.

Here's a strawberry runner that has managed to establish itself between the cracks in the sidewalk.  I think it might have some weed killer in its future.  So sorry.

Here's the pile I pulled out of the herb bed.  I left the rake there for scale, but its still hard to tell.  The pile is about 3 feet deep and five feet across.  Mike will come by and pick it up with the bucket of the tractor.

Smitty and I cruised around the rest of the yard to see what was up there.

The first azalea blossoms are starting to open.  We have a poor white one that rarely gets a chance to bloom.  The deer eat all of its blossoms.  They don't bother the others.  Whereas they are not fond of the vanilla tulips, they do seem to enjoy the vanilla azaleas.  And what's up with that anyway?  Tulips are tender shoots.  But azaleas?  Woody stems.  I don't get it.

The clematis is starting to open too.  Now here's the thing:  I always thought it was pronounced cle-MATT-is. But Mike heard an expert on the radio one day who asserted that the correct pronunciation is CLEM-uh-tis.    But who cares what he thinks, right?

Here are some more blossoms starting to open.  I love this when it is completely in bloom.  So pretty.  The previous owner planted it, and so it was a delightful surprise to us.

A single red tulip missed by the squirrels last year.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

After that, I came inside and stripped off my dirty clothes, sat down with a tasty refreshing beverage, and read my email.

We've picked out our carpet and all the work is set up to commence during the week of May 13th.  Here's the carpet we picked...for as accurate as the color can be in a photograph.  Still it gives you an idea.  I wanted something light, something neutral, and something speckled that wouldn't show dirt and threads.  (Threads.  Now who leaves those around?)

To my monitor, the color looks pretty true.  And I pulled back the nap so that you can see that the threads are twisted with two colors, kind of like baker's twine.

We're carpeting in the living room and dining room where we have wood floors currently.  I know.  Don't fall over dead at the idea of carpeting over wood.  I have always hated the wood.  Besides, it hurts my tender feet to walk on it.  I'm looking forward to having nice cushy carpet that I can vacuum instead of mopping.  Which I hate doing--mopping, I mean.  We're leaving the wood in the kitchen and the entry way, but it is going to be refinished.  They'll refinish the floors on Monday, and then I'm told we will be able to carpet on Thursday.  Hopefully, it will all go smoothly.

Finally, I finished the dog house for the Gardener's Journal quilt.  Yahoo!  It took me forever to do the two stitcheries I've been working on, although the dog house was quick.

And now, I'm off to do some sewing.  My day is going great.  I hope yours is too.

18 comments from clever and witty friends:

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I have arthritis in my feet, so, I can't walk barefoot on my hardwood floors, only the carpeted areas. I like carpet. It doesn't show the dog fur and stuff as bad as the hardwoods do. Hardly any green here yet, maybe by the time I get back from son's graduation, in a few weeks. I'm ready for my Thyme to come back, so we can have citrus Thyme chicken. Yum! Glad Smitty is better. Bet a piece of that plastic went down wrong.

Linda said...

Oh that Smitty is so darn cute!
Thanks for sharing>guess I gotta get me a cat!!!!


WoolenSails said...

Your gardens look wonderful and I am glad smitty was feeling good enough to enjoy it with you.


Donna said...

So happy to hear Smitty is on the mend. Your garden looks wonderful.

Donna said...

So happy to hear Smitty is on the mend. Your garden looks wonderful.

Lee said...

Very happy to hear Smitty is perkier and eating, I'd sure be upset if something happened to that little squirt! Lovely herb garden, especially after clean up, makes me want to go out and...on second thought, nah, not down here! There was carpet already in the dining room when Marty & I got married, it was very light. It was also very dirty & stained and it wasn't that old...bachelors! We now have tile and it is hard on the feet, but with us carpet is a NO GO...solid surfaces are much easier to clean.

Lynne said...

You certainly had a busy day in the garden but it looks great now!

When we moved in, and for many years afterwards, we had carpet in the dining room and cork in the kitchen, family room and hall but no more -- we have floating timber floors in all those places; and carpet in the bedrooms and living room!

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

Great post - I'm starving for green/spring and love seeing it!

Denise :) said...

Sounds like you had a marvelous and productive day!! I'm *so* very glad to hear that Smitty's back to his old self! I love lemon thyme -- it smells so good. And lavender. I've never planted it--I've got basil, chives, parsley, oregano, thyme and ??something else going. This may be the year I go ahead and give lavender a try! Happy sewing tonight! :)

Junebug613 said...

We're thrilled to hear thst Smitty is feeling better. That was quite a cleaning job in your garden. The doghouse stitching is adorable. Can't say that I blame you for the carpeting, but we did the opposite. Well, we got laminate in the hall and living room. It cut down on the dust and helped Bruce's allergies. Then again we have more fur-kids and the dogs seemed to bring in more dirt that stayed in the carpeting. Adding our patio also cut down on the dirt they brought in too. I do prefer vacuuming to mopping, though.

kc said...

Glad to hear Smitty's feeling better - sure had me worried there. Herbs look great! We too had a mild winter, but that's not what killed our rosemary - would you believe that's one of only 2 pots we'd left out from under the drip hose when we went on our little road trip? Yup, so he dried all up and now is a pot o'sticks. Everything else made out just fine.

Have to laugh at the pronunciation issue...I also pronounce it clem-MAT-is...but ya know, we watched a very reputable home landscaping show a while back...and were very intrigued when they mentioned they'd be planting "larry-rope." We couldn't imagine what "larry-rope" looked like...I mean, how is it different from tommy-rope?

Turns out, it was lariope. Lu-RYE-uh-pee. larry-rope indeed.
hugs to you all!

Podunkpretties said...

Love your herb garden and the idea for the mint. Wish I would have done that, I just pulled out that gawd awful weedlike herb. Spreads worse than a bad rumor in church. I plant my herbs in my flower beds close to the house, and that mint took over in one year and is choking out many of my flowers.

Diane Wild said...

I can't keep the lavender alive from year to year for the life of me. Can't seem to kill off the oregano. It has taken over some areas. I even find sprigs growing in the yard. I'm going to try the herbs in a long container this year. Good to see Smitty back in the yard and feeling better.

Mrs.Pickles said...

wow everything looks great!!!

Brown Family said...

beautiful yard and garden. A friend of my mothers gave me a start of mint when I was a kid. No one told me it would take over the yard, My dad was not happy!


quiltzyx said...

According to www.dictionary.com:

"clem·a·tis/ˈklɛmətɪs, klɪˈmætɪs/ Show Spelled [KLEM-uh-tis, kli-MAT-is] Show IPA
any of numerous plants or woody vines of the genus Clematis, including many species cultivated for their showy, variously colored flowers."

So there, snooty guy on the radio!

You did a lot of work out there - congrats! What do you use marjoram in/with? Not that I'm going to be rushing out to get cooking ingredients, but I just wondered. :D

Kate said...

My Guy would love your herb garden. Herbs don't grow real well here, it gets too hot for most of them.

Betty said...

I'm glad Smitty is feeling better. I have been out of town (went the AQS show in Paducah) with no internet. I didn't know he was sick, I would have been worried about him.
I'm with you about the carpet. It just seems to make a home more cozy. I have it in my sewing room. It keeps the threads corralled so they don't wind up all over the house!