gardenphyllisophyBy Phyllis Galowitz

By May 1st we should be well into spring. Hopefully the ground will have dried enough to work in and we can start planting onion seeds, sets, and plants; leek plants, pea, spinach, and lettuce seeds outdoors. After May 15th, we can add carrot, beet, parsnip, Swiss chard, and radish seeds, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery plants, and your garden will be on its way! (Don’t plant tomatoes or zucchini until June 1st.) It’s a busy and exciting time.

As usual, the markers that I made for each perennial (in copper this time) did not make it through the winter. They are unreadable so I’ll just have to wait and see what’s coming up, friend or foe. The only markers that seem to last are the plastic ones that come with potted plants.


Spring blooms in the garden.

Are you concerned about the clematis that you planted last year? Don’t be; just feed it with a mulch of compost, aged manure, and alfalfa pellets around their root zone. It likes an alkaline soil so you may need to add some lime. Clematis is a huge feeder. It also may take several years before it looks like the pictures in the garden books.

The lilac plants, planted on the north side of the house 5 years ago as 12” sticks, are now 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide and are full of buds. I can’t wait to see them bloom against the bare wall! The cranberry viburnum, also from small cuttings that Amy gave me from her garden, bloomed for the first time last year. This year they’ll be spectacular!  Jeff’s forsythia, a cutting from his community garden, on 14th Street in New York, is going to bloom. It just takes patience. Warren’s canna “Tropicana” lily corms have been sleeping in a blanket of peat moss in a dark corner of the basement over the winter. It’s time to plant them and I do hope they survived. I love the connections that each plant brings to my garden.

This is just the beginning of the most beautiful season. Unfortunately, insects think so too, but I’ll be well armed and prepared and covered from head to toe.

More and more species of birds have arrived and we welcome them with full feeders (against my better judgment since the bears have come out of hibernation and will remember the route.) They keep us entertained at mealtimes when we watch them through the glass doors, in front of the kitchen table. The first week in May, the hummingbirds will be back. I’ll have their feeders ready. (Last year they came on May 4th, according to my gardening journal.)

I’m looking forward to the opening of the farmer’s markets, walks on Crescent Hill, and watching the colors change on the mountaintops. Aren’t we lucky to live in this paradise with its changing seasons, each with its own beauty! ~