Dear Friends and Gardeners, Week 6

Dear Carol and Dee, my garden friends,

Happy Easter from Ranch du Bois! Hope the weather is cooperating in your towns for your Easter celebrations.

We had a terrific gathering on the veranda last night: gorgeous sunset behind the Owyhee Mountains and long clear view of the valley. Idaho grass-fed brisket on the barbie, grilled asparagus, spring rolls, several offerings of cheeses and olives, roasted new potatoes, a huge salad, luscious brownies and lemon meringue pie made us fat and happy. Today it is very quiet, save for the birdsong, and the skies are blue-blue-blue with white cotton puffy clouds. Spring’s renewal and rebirth of the spirit is at hand and in the heart.

Remember last week when I mentioned I thought I had a gopher, only to discover Cash the Wonder Dog, now named Mr. Mud, had been uprooting my newly planted perennials (with great glee and abandon)? Well, turns out, a gopher did dig his way up into the lawn, just a few feet away. Flyboy was livid. In a vicious act of retribution he stuck the hose into the hole and let it run. LET IT RUN! Of course, not a damn thing happened. I shared with him my notion of the gopher and his family doing the backstroke in their new in-ground pool. Can you say “Caddyshack?”

So, when the sun does come out (about half the time) I put my seed starting tray on the patio table to bask in the warmth of it all. I have a single Sungold tomato up, and two basils have sprouted. While that seems like a pretty small turnout, the greens I seeded into the big ornamental pots are going gangbusters. I am planning on the freshest of salads a week from today.

I have already shot any semblance of a garden budget I MIGHT have made. Truth be told, I am such a plant hound I don’t even try to muster any restraint. Not very often. So, here’s the tally for this week:

One five gallon container w/four stems of a new (to me) robinia, ‘Twisty Baby’, a contorted honey locust. Plan: to be planted in a tallish container and placed over by the fish fountain. There are no fish in said fountain, just a fish-shaped spout.

Two, one gallon containers of Pasque flowers, or pulsatilla vulgaris. One double and one single petaled. I have not grown these but have always loved their fuzziness and the wonderful purple and lilac color of the blossoms.

My pal Jeff has been whining at me to get the columbine, Leprachaun’s Gold. I bought three of them to go in the shady front perennial bed. They have a wonderful gold and green speckled foliage and dark blue flowers.

I picked up a small pot of an orange erysisum, or wallflower. Years ago, we were in England in May, and you could smell the beds of wallflower plantings everywhere you went. I just loved the color of this, so will give it a go.

Oh, and I picked out some Yukon Gold potatoes, nice eyes on them, and will get those in tomorrow. I am chitting them today. Tomorrow they will go in the ground along with the Russian sugar snap peas. I checked the soil temp and its finally up to 54.

Yesterday, FedEx brought me two swell boxes of newbies for the garden, one ornamental and one edible. Twenty ‘Espresso’ glads came from Select Seeds, and finally, FINALLY!, the spendy trendy French ‘Mara des Bois’ strawberry plants were delivered.

All in all, I have a few daffodils blooming, a handful of grape hyacinths, one species tulip in a color I don’t remember buying, and the apricot tree is in full bloom.

My two small assignments today: get the strawberries in and prune the raspberries. The raspberries that have been in a couple years have multiplied in abundance… to my delight!

Have a good week in the garden and know I’ll be thinking of you both. Carol, keep a watchful eye for rabbits. I know your peas are up and looking good and if I know it, the rabbits know it.
Dee, I hope your poor roses and Japanese maples start to recover from the wild frost and snow you’ve had. How big are your tomatoes? Do I really want to know? When can you plant them out in Oklahoma?

Until next week,
Your sistah of the soil,

ps, I had a surprise Easter Egg hunt yesterday. How you ask? I was planting up a big urn at the Arid Club downtown Boise – getting it all fluffed up for their Easter brunch crowd. Lo and behold I turned up a beautiful blueish green egg, about the same size as an extra large chicken egg. It was just beneath the surface of the soil. I believe it belonged to a mallard hen. I accidentally broke it, and interestingly enough it was not rotten. Maybe it was a joke, but tomorrow I’ll ask the staff if ducks normally nest at the front door.

Carol, of May Dreams Gardens in Indianapolis, and Dee, of Red Dirt Ramblings, Guthrie Oklahoma, and I decided to write to each other every week, comparing the progress of our gardens across growing zones, and across the country.