Dear Friend and Gardener-Veg Garden in May

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“No sooner did I bend over and scratch the soil with the hoe that I began to unearth bits and pieces…of my past.  Memories forever rooted in time were clustered in my garden consciousness like potatoes, waiting, crying to be dug up….I plant flowers and vegetables.  I harvest memories–and life.”  ~Nancy H. Jordan

 

 

 

Every year I find joy and memories, learning and experience, hardships and gifts flowing from my garden.  And May is usually a wonderful month to start harvesting.  Not this year.  The heat wave we had for the first 2 weeks in May stifled the veggies that love cooler weather.  Funny how the lettuces didn’t grow, and the radishes and peas took forevergarden-badge1-1-of-1 to germinate.  

But then the weather shifted to cool, downright cold, weather giving the early veg garden a jump ahead.  So we may see a little harvest in May.

As I begin this veg garden review, I am joining in again with Dee Nash@Red Dirt Ramblings for her virtual garden club called, Dear Friend and Gardener.  You can see the badge here and on my sidebar.  

 

 

 

Flowers

I was able to get one project started even in the early heat.  With the inspiration from Christina@Creating my own garden of the Hesperides and her cutting gardens, I have wanted a cutting garden of my own.  Of course a cutting garden implies you will be cutting the flowers for arrangements.  So my plans for a cutting garden really took shape when I started getting into a regular habit of making a weekly vase….thanks to Cathy@Rambling in the Garden and other bloggers who regularly join in Cathy’s meme, In A Vase On Monday.  And I have always been inspired by the incredible arrangements made by Beth@PlantPostings.

I had originally planned to get the cutting gardens constructed in the fall due to other chores that needed to be done in spring.  But with the heat and no rain, much of my spring work was on hold so out came the plans for the Cutting Garden.

 

 

 

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I decided to site the bed in the Side Garden.  This garden needs redoing and there is room here.  My kind neighbor had some wonderful stone and brick she no longer needed.  And once we had the stones, I found the spot and laid out the bed.  It actually comes out into the grass, but that will change as we remove at least a foot of sod to expand the garden.  The grass has really grown into this garden at least a foot in the last 8 years.  The few plants growing, where I was siting the new bed, were easily moved to the left of the bricks.  I am sure I will be tweaking the layout of the Side Garden a bit more.

 

 

cutting bed collage

We had to level the stones and once in place we started the prep.  Knowing that the horsetail weed and voles are prolific in this garden, we used both landscaping fabric and screening as deterrents for both.  Then we filled it in with soil and compost.  I planted it a few days later.  I was hoping to put dahlias in here, but since I did not dig it deep enough, I had to move the dahlias into the Side Garden.  I plan to make another cutting bed in the fall in the back garden and will be digging that at least a foot deep to allow for bulbs and dahlias to grow.

We did have a few unusual frosts in late May so we covered the bed, as the flowers started from seed were up and growing.  And I decided to cover it with netting for a while to keep the deer, rabbits and birds out.  I planted cleome, sunflowers, four o’clocks, cosmos, stock and zinnia in this bed.  I will have an update, on how this bed is doing, next month.  

 

 

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The pansies and violas, I started from seed in my basement in January, are finally blooming too.  You can see some at the top of the post…and these are Johnny Jump Up violas.  They are making such a statement in my containers especially since the cooler weather hit.  

 

 

pansies

And the nasturtium seeds I planted in the containers of pansies/violas, are growing now too.  So as soon as the pansies/violas fade, I will pull them, plant them in a few spots, and let the nasturtiums take over in the pots.  Then I hope to have the pansies and violas, I pulled from containers, bloom again in my fall garden and maybe seed around a bit.

 

 

 

Vegetable Beds

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Here is the view of the back gardens in early May, including all the covered veg beds planted in April.  

 

 

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We’ll start with the portable bed on the patio.  The lettuces are barely growing as the heat was not helpful, and we realized we had it covered too tight to keep out critters.  And this portable bed seemed to hold too much heat, so we transplanted the greens to some plastic window boxes where we hope they will grow better.  The loosely covered kale, in a small container, is growing nicely so we think the other greens will too.

 

 

pea-bean collage

The peas are finally growing.  They are about a foot tall, and will soon spring up the trellis and start producing.

You can see the radishes after a couple of weeks in mild temps (on the right) and then how big they are after the heat on the bottom left.  

 

 

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It took a couple of extra weeks in cooler temps for them to finally produce some radishes.  We picked about half.  Delicious.

 

 

 

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Lastly is the squash bed that has 2 large trellises ready for squashes soon.  Growing under the trellises are the carrots, beets, chard and arugula….and lots of horsetail weed.  You can pull this weed, and it just keeps coming back.

 

 

Potatoes-onions collage

The big veg project in May was planting the potatoes and onions in containers and Grow Bags.  We plant 8 bags of potatoes now using our own mix of organic compost, organic potting soil and sand.  When planting in bags, you put in 4 inches of soil mix, lay the potatoes on the soil and cover with 3 inches of soil mix.  Once the potatoes sprout and grow 8 inches, you cover them with 4 inches of soil.  You repeat this process until the bag is filled with soil.  Then cover to keep out cold and pests, and let the potatoes grow until harvest.  

We planted a new red potato, ‘Adirondack Red’ which is red inside and out, and our favorite blue potato, ‘All Blue’.  I buy organic seed potatoes, and cut the larger potatoes into pieces.  I also use seed onions.  I only grow ‘Red Baron’ red onions, also organic.  We plant them in big trugs and small grow bags, filling them with a combo of compost and potting soil.  This year I also added scallion seeds as we love them too.

 

Well that is it for May.  We are crawling along, but making progress.  The heat finally returned, so late this week I will be planting out beans, okra, peppers, eggplant, squash and all the rest of the veggies and flowers growing in the basement that love hot weather.   I’ll highlight them next month.  

 

 

Have you started any veggies or flowers from seed outside?

 

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In A Vase On Monday 

 

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So many flowers are blooming even with the alternate hot and cold weather we are having.  But since this is the end of May, and my birthday is tomorrow, I wanted to pick my favorite May flower…also my birth month flower….lily of the valley.  

 

 

pink lily of valley

I cannot get enough of them, and they are now growing in at the back of the garden along the fence. This rare pink variety, Convallaria rosea, grows in the Center Garden.  I cannot get over its gorgeous shade of pink and delicate little bells.  I added a few leaves from Lady’s Mantle also known as Alchemilla mollis.

 

 

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I wanted more lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) for my sitting room/library/sanctuary…the green room.  But I wanted to add a bit more color to this vase.  

I placed the vase next to a very special saying about friends and a bear talisman given to me by a dear friend.  So you can see the vase is in a place of honor.  I love how it looks against the bright green wall in this room.

 

 

small lily of valley vase

I added some white daffs, surprisingly a few still blooming, that had a lovely scent.  And I found a double pink Primula vulgaris flowering near the purple Phlox stolonifera.  Both were perfect additions.  And then a bit of a more white from Bleeding Heart or Lamprocapnos spectabilis that was also still blooming.  Such delicate little blooms.

 

So there are my vases this week.  I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare this vase:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.  And I was invited to link in withMacro Monday Mixer hosted by Stephanie@allthevs.com.

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Next up on the blog:  

Friday, will be time for another Seasonal Celebrations.  I hope you will join in.  And next Monday, I will be looking back at the May garden in my Garden Journal post. 

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday. 

 

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I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2015.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only. 

96 comments

  1. Sara D.B. says:

    Beautiful, happy-looking flowers and vegetables! I admire especially your pansies and violas. Wonderful, wonderful colours!
    Your this week’s vases have a lovely, romantic look.
    Wishing you a happy week!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Sara…those lilies of the valley are romantic aren’t they….I am so pleased with the violas and pansies this year…hoping your week has warmed and spring has smiled on you!

  2. Eileen says:

    Donna, I wish you a happy birthday. I love your pretty pansies and the lovely flower in the vase. It will be wonderful to have all the veggies from your own garden. Enjoy your day and have a happy week!

    • Donna says:

      I am looking forward to a wonderful harvest this season…now if we can get a bit more water each week with the heat, the veggies will grow and produce wonderfully…so glad you enjoyed the flowers Eileen and thanks for your birthday wishes!

  3. Christina says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Donna I hope you have a lovely day.
    I love your elegant first vase Donna, the white jug is beautiful. The other vase is very pretty too.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks so much Christina….I had a wonderful birthday making a few vases for the table and to decorate my cake….I’ll show them off in a week or so.

  4. DeniseinVA says:

    Happy Birthday Donna 🙂 your pansies, violas and lilies of the valley, the daffs, those pretty little pink roses and others are quite spectacular. A lovely quote also. Always very interesting to see what is going on in your garden, and especially thankful to you for always remembering Today’s Flowers. Wishing you a great week ahead 🙂

  5. Linda aka Crafty Gardener says:

    I’m doing potatoes in bags too, and they are about 3/4 full. The frost got a few leaves but thankfully I had covered most of them with soil just before that frost. Your radishes look great, mine are just growing. I’m only planting a few seeds every week or so to spread out the harvest. Finally today we are getting a much needed rainfall. Everything is so dry. Happy gardening.

  6. Anca Tîrcă says:

    Happy birthday, Donna! Have a perfect day surrounded by flowers, family and friends! I love your vase, lily of the valley is one of my favourites, too.And that pink variety, Convallaria rosea is awesome!

  7. Janice says:

    Yes, I started chives from seed a couple of decades ago. They were quite successful. Horsetail has roots about a foot deep and spread that way! Almost impossible to eradicate. I no longer have a yard but have a small area outside my patio at our apartment. Last Monday I sowed seeds directly into the soil. Yesterday as I was planting a few things, I noticed the cosmos seeds had seedlings already about 1 inch tall! I was really surprised. Of course the soil was really warm and we had plenty of moisture this week. Have a great week!

  8. Kris P says:

    Your vases look beautiful and very spring-like, Donna. Happy birthday! My own birthday falls near the end of week so I’ll be celebrating along with you, albeit without the lilies-of-the-valley, which don’t grow here. Best wishes with the new cutting garden too!

  9. Island Threads says:

    wishing you a very happy birthday Donna, I hope you have something nice planned for tomorrow, x

    I found it interesting how in this post you talk about how much difference the temperature makes, it further confirms my believe that the low summer temperatures we experience here is why some plants do not grow much, if at all,

    I like your new cutting bed, those stones and bricks are nice, your veggies all sound interesting and despite the weather you seem to have got a fairly good head start on things, lovely flowers too, Frances

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Frances….I agree that temps do impede many plants from growing…here’s hoping both our gardens can produce this year in flower and veggie.

  10. Jen @ The Light Laughed says:

    I love the idea of a cutting garden, and have even put aside space for it…but when it comes time to cut the flowers…I can barely bear the thought. Oh I know silly of me.

    And you radishes are stunning, what’s your secret…never had anything like those in our garden.

    Jen

    • Donna says:

      Radishes are fairly easy Jen….they like well drained soil…plant early when soil has thawed and can be worked and then cover them from frost…keep well watered and fertilized and within 4-6 weeks you have radishes….I planted 3 kind. One that was fast in producing, a French Breakfast longer in size and a later white one that takes longer.

      You might want to plant a small container of seeds to cut and then try and cut those….once you start and see how wonderful they are, you become hooked. I also found that many flowers I cut are hardly missed in the garden since there are so many….and many flowers like to be cut so they keep producing too. Give it a try…take the plunge!

  11. Judith@Lavender Cottage says:

    Well Donna, I haven’t planted a veggie seed yet. Traditionally we wait until after May 24 because of frost which we did have this past weekend. I’m hoping to get my small garden in during the next day or so but now we’re getting the much needed rain.
    The pink lily-of-the-valley is pretty, wish some of mine would come up this colour and since it’s flowering, I should pick a bouquet myself. You created a lovely vase of flowers this week, thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday.

    • Donna says:

      Usually I am safe after mid month but boy we had several very cold days also this past weekend so my veggies couldn’t even harden off outside until this week…now the final seeds and all the seedlings have to go in this weekend…and we have not gotten the rain so we are now in a drought.

      Hope you had time to pick a bouquet!

  12. Stephanie Volkert says:

    I’ve never had much luck growing anything from seeds, but that’s probably because I lived in the desert until recently, and all that would grow were weeds and tomatoes. So many tomatoes!

    I planted one cherry tomato plant this year, and five strawberry plants. There’s also a blueberry bush that was already here, but it’s half dead and I’m not sure it’ll make a comeback.

    Your vase and arrangement are lovely. I was going to buy flowers the other day, then realized – I don’t own a vase. I think it was lost in the move. I think I’ll go to the thrift store when my foot is better (I hurt it yesterday) and look for one.

    Thanks for linking up with the Macro Monday Mixer and linking back to it. I appreciate it. Have a great week!

    • Donna says:

      Oh yes find a few lovely vases and plant those seeds…so many flowers, so little time once you get going Stephanie!

  13. Cathy says:

    Happy Birthday for tomorrow Donna – how lovely to have a May birthday! Lovely to see your lily of the valley too, especially as they are a little different, being pale pink. Not enough sprigs yet on my lotv to pick any but at least they are growing, which they never have before! Thanks for sharing both vases.

    • Donna says:

      It took several years for my lotv to grow in and now they are filling in nicely…May is a perfect month for a birthday indeed….thanks for the lovely birthday wishes Cathy!

  14. Susie says:

    The quote at the top of this post is such a gem. Happy Birthday! Your lily of the valley look so sophisticated in the tall vase.

  15. Diana Studer says:

    I wish you a very happy birthday.

    I am working on adding cutting flowers to this garden. Getting a little tired of picking bougainvillea for colour ;~)

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Diana….I know what you mean as I had only amaryllis to pick all winter…pretty but oh I couldn’t wait for the flowers outside to emerge…

  16. Frank says:

    Have a great birthday!
    The gardens are really coming along. Good to see winter finally turning into a distant memory 🙂
    The arrangement looks great, and the lily of the valley flowers are just perfect!
    We also keep going back and forth between cold and hot. I should be planting the tomatoes and beans, but frost struck just two days ago :/

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Frank…I hear you…the cold has kept my poor veggies in the basement…they finally made it outside this hot, hot week to harden off.

  17. Susan says:

    Donna… There’s always much to do in the garden. Your work continues to pay off beautifully…Such pretty flowers and vegetables, too! Send good wishes for a Happy Birthday!

  18. Donna says:

    Nice of your neighbor to give you the stone. You really have a lot of gardens already, but having a dedicated cutting bed is a nice addition.

    • Donna says:

      Yes I promised no more gardens but we have a new fruit bed we are installing this fall, and the cutting beds which will help me consolidate my dahlias, tulips (trying them again) and cutting flowers from seed.

  19. Michele says:

    Your sweet flowers are absolutely gorgeous. Your hard work sure pays off, doesn’t it? Thank you so much for your visit and sweet comments.

    Have a lovely week.

  20. Cathy says:

    Happy Birthday Donna! It was interesting to see how you made your new bed for cutting flowers. I have also sown sunflowers and cosmos, but in small pots in a cold frame on my balcony… they will go in containers once large enough. It seems the easiest way to protect them from the slugs and snails! Also interesting to hear how you grow potatoes. I have never tried, but I do love fresh new potatoes so perhaps one day I’ll try out this method. Your vases are so lovely this week! Lily of the Valley is such a romantic flower – enjoy its fragrance indoors, and have a lovely birthday. 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Cathy….I protect mine from the bunnies and deer with netting and also had to cover them with the recent frost….I do think a cold frame would be helpful too.

  21. Lea says:

    Love the pansies and violas, and the veggies, too!
    Beautiful arrangement of lily of the valley
    Have a great day!

  22. catmint says:

    Happy birthday,Donna. Starting a new garden bed is a wonderful project, I look forward to seeing it develop. I love the pansies, they are so sweet and yet so full of character. With the nasturtiums I am reminded nostalgically of old fashioned cottage gardens.

  23. Alistair says:

    Veg is coming away nicely Donna, I love radishes but they seem to lack the hot spiciness they had in years gone by, or it could be my taste buds are not what they were. Lily of the valley, Myras favourite, she is very happy that the few we planted last Autumn are flowering well, must get some more.

    • Donna says:

      I find the longer I keep the radishes in the ground without them getting tough, the spicier they get for me….Myrna and I love the same flower…we can never have enough.

  24. Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti says:

    I hope you had a very happy birthday! It is nice to se eyour garden coming alive! I love the quote you bagan your post with, and the johnny jump ups always make me smile!

    My daughter’s favorite flower is Lilies of the Valley but do you believe that even through she was married in May, no florist could provide us with some for her bridal bouquet? They all said “too fragile and expensive”.

    • Donna says:

      I did Pat…I can’t believe they didn’t have any in May…now in the UK you see them in bouquets all the time….I wanted certain flowers for my fall wedding and all they could say was no we can’t get these….disappointing.

  25. Jason says:

    Good luck with your cutting garden! In mine I planted just Zinnias, Cosmos, and Sunflowers – but then the rabbits ate all the Sunflowers.

  26. Nadezda says:

    Donna, love your vase with lily-of-the valley! They are such pretty flowers.
    Seeing your covered veg garden I can think it’s mine, ha ha! I covered all tomato seedlings, parsley, salad. I also keep my dahlias covered because the nights are cold.

    • Donna says:

      It is the best we can do Nadezda as the weather is just unpredictable for both of us…here’s to a wonderful warm up and much needed rain here.

  27. ann says:

    Hello. Here I am at the end of the week way down at the bottom of your list of wonderful comments. I have had a busy week thus far with more going on. May has been a funky month here, too. For us we have had rain and more and then more rain on the way. We generally try to get tomatoes in right after Mother’s Day, but it will be close to June 1 before that happens. Right now they are lingering, barely holding on in the office where they we seeded in yogurt cups. Poor pathetic little things. The weeds are popping up too. I love your cutting garden because it is small. I am always terrified at the idea of having a cutting garden because I imagine an large space filled with gorgeous flowers, but I can handle one like you have created. Love this week’s vase.

    • Donna says:

      I am with you as a small garden is much more manageable…now we have a drought and hot, hot weather….we need to flip our weather for a week. Hoping you can get your tomatoes in soon.

  28. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    Such a romantic vase Donna! Horsetail weed invades the Park where I work. I can hoe it down and it’s back two days later – job security I say, ha ha. None of my snap peas germinated! I have two shoots of purple podded peas which are beautiful and can be dried. My lettuces look pretty good. I uncovered all my beds on Monday – I use upside down nursery trays until the seeds sprout to deter cats, rabbits, birds – and was okay with the results but feel things should be bigger. I didn’t think about that little heat wave – I attributed it to lack of rain which we are getting now – yay! We’ll see – the weeds are growing wonderfully!

    • Donna says:

      Yes the weeds are growing fine with heat, cold and drought here Kathy…but I need some rain…can you believe we keep getting passed by all the storms. Hope your veg beds do better soon.

  29. Sallie (FullTime-Life) says:

    pansies and Johnny jump ups (violas) are great favorites –and memories– but it is the lilies of the valley that make me smile the most. I used to love that flower … Even as a child when I was not too interested in being outdoors. Lovely memories. (And of course no flowers like that here in Florida).

  30. nicole says:

    Your violas and pansies that you started from seed are beautiful!!! And that new bed you created with the stone looks so pretty! Glad to hear you are having happy harvests despite the crazy weather….I have 2 different lettuces growing and one was really affected by the up and down temps. Here is to good things in the garden this weekend! Nicole xo

  31. Christa says:

    Happy belated Birthday Donna. I LOVE lily of the valley too. Your arrangements are very sweet and elegant. Thank you for all the links to the cut flower blogs. I will visit them and learn from them about cut flowers.

  32. Laura Hegfield says:

    I hope you had a wonderful birthday Donna, planting seems a perfect activity to celebrate one’s life. Your Johnny Jump Ups are lovely… they grow wild in the most surprising places here. Thanks so much for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro ♥

  33. Anna says:

    Oh Donna belated birthday wishes! I do hope that your special day was full of fun and flowers. Here the cool weather is holding me back from planting my vegetables at the allotment. Your first pickings of radishes look most delicious. I must seek out a pink lily-of-the-valley. It’s most pretty.

    • Donna says:

      I did Anna…I enjoyed the garden and puttering about….it has been sufficiently hot so I hardened off the seedlings and planted them and now it is cold again….but it is not supposed to last long….at least we had rain. Yes those pink lily of the valley are the most beautiful flower.

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