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It’s time to photograph your bulbs.

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Not like this–the bulb companies have all the close-ups covered.

But bulbs disappear in the early spring and winter landscape. So take ugly pictures like these.

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Show where your bulbs are now, and where you want to add more–

Then go to your September calendar and write “Order Bulbs!!!” at the end of the month.

And make sure you can access the photos in September. Digital files do tend to wander and the bulbs and their foliage will be many months dormant by the time to order more.

Also, when thinking about bulbs, think outside the tulip-daffodil box.

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These spring star flowers dig dry shade and they lend my flagstones the “abandoned place” look that I love.

And while we’re on ugly photos, co-blogger Melissa suggested I remind everyone that cold-burned leaves are Ok on shrubs and perennials. These hydrangea leaves will come back–

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But if you have tender plants….beware. Our last average frost date in central NC is April 15th. That’s why my tomatoes and basil have taken over the dinning room. It’s too soon to put them out!

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So what’s growing at your house?

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It’s all happening! Spring that is.

Here are my absolute favorite early spring blooms!

1 – Daffodils

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I haven’t met one I haven’t liked.  My yard is exploding with these fragrant, happy spring gems.  Talk about the value of delayed gratification – you plant these little bulbs in the fall around Thanksgiving, and they are usually some of the first flowers to bloom.

2 – Forsythia

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Enjoy them now, because they don’t last long.  Forsythia is one of those plants that will be growing at the gates of hell. Hardy and delightful.  Bright yellow and with delicate attitude.

3 – Red Bud

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These little purple pearls make me smile every time I see them.  Often when you go for a walk you can see them popping in the woods.  A little dappled color among the barren deciduous forest.

4- Witch Hazel

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This one isn’t so common, but I find it to be a true delight. So danty…I have a pair in my yard because the awesome little old lady said they needed a happy home to live….it was one of the best plant decisions I made.

5 — Spyria Bridalwreath

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They call it a fountain of flowers.  It is wild and wonderful.  Thanks Kathy for this amazing pass-along plant.  Such a spring joy!

What are your top 5?

Happy Spring!

m


I am feeling the fever…the spring fever.  You?

Co-blogger Chris and I planted our annual tomato seed crop last Friday and BOOM, just like that things are popping.

Intense tomato seed sowing, this was before we broke out that wine ;)

Intense tomato seed sowing…this was before we broke out the wine 😉

One of our new test seeds, Tomato Berry, was the first to pop it’s lil sprout head.  I think it might give our fav Red Jelly Bean a run for its money this year.

Tomato Berry seeds first to sprout.

Tomato Berry seeds first to sprout. Dime inserted for size perspective.

Have no fear we planted some of our classics: Sweet Chelsea, Jelly Bean, Bella Rosa and a few others.

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There is still time to get your tomato seeds started.  You will plant your seedlings after the chance of frost is over, around April 20 for us in NC. Here’s a seed starting how to video we did last year that still holds true.

 

Go ahead…get dirty!

Happy Gardening!

melissa


Before I order my spring seeds, it’s time to toss some old ones.

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Not all of them, of course. Many seeds are viable for years if you store them in a cool dry place–I use a vintage canvas suitcase that fits under a living room bench. But why hold on to the verbascum from 2010, if I have a later crop at hand?

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Doing a seed inventory also helps me remember what did well last year and what wasn’t worth the space. (Those seeds get tossed in the trash!)

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There are two kinds of seeds in my collection: Open-pollenated seeds that I’ve collected from favorite garden plants (mostly flowers), and purchased (mostly hybrid tomato and vegetable) seeds.

It’s an important distinction–just ask anyone who has ever tried growing open-pollenated heirloom tomatoes under less than perfect conditions. It’s really, really tough.

Hybrid tomatoes and vegetables, which have been bred from two or more parents for certain characteristics, do much better at our house.

But hybrids don’t come true from home-collected seed, so I’ll need to get out the credit card.

Which brings us to $$$s…

Seeds may look inexpensive at first glance, but that shopping cart fills up quickly. I try to limit myself to 3 new varieties every season. I usually end up with about 5–

Did I mention growing plants from seed is addictive? Have you gotten hooked yet?


I’ll admit nurseries do have a lot of splendid plants. And I’ve dropped a TON of cash in them over the years.

But the summer flowers I love the most are home grown. All came from seed I purchased years ago. All continue to reseed with abandon in my garden, so lucky me, I’m never without.

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Woodland tobacco is at the top of the list. I love these upside down candelabras. Need I say that tobacco grows well in NC? Unlike the smoking cousin, these plants do well in part shade.

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This purple plume celosia is another can’t-live-without plant. It’s tall, with colorful foliage, splendid for cutting and looks beautiful in a large summer/fall vase.

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Tina James evening primrose opens fragrant lemon colored blossoms as the sun goes down. Can you say drama? Having this plant is like a having a slow-mo photography show right in your front yard. Kids and non-gardening neighbors are always amazed.

That’s my list. What about you? Any late summer flowers you can’t live without?

A long-time gardener and a passionate beginner share the dirt on their NC gardens-

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