Tuesday, April 21, 2009

First big outdoor garden marathon

Ooh, so much do I love it, being outdoors. I am caked in dirt and whatever. Just whatever. Crawled into bed at the kids' bedtime in my dried-off, but still once-muddy skirt and I couldn't care less.
Ooh, I love it.

Some things haven't changed, though. Got the baby all active in his outdoor "activity centre" that I set up for him with foam padding and everything ... and five minutes into his private outdoor "busy time" he was whining and screaming for me.


The outdoors is actually even more frustrating for him than it was last summer because at least indoors, we let him shuffle around on his tushie to get around. I have told him repeatedly that outside is "only for walking." So no tushie, and he can't walk yet, so there is not much for it but to cruise awkwardly from one wet object to another.

Oh - did I mention it was raining the whole time we were outside...?

Anyway.

The reason we went out in such dampish weather - after ruling out a walk to the park and grocery store! - is that my Vesey's order arrived! Not a huge order: 10 white liatris and 25 "Seascape" day-neutral everbearing strawberries.

The liatris turned out to be a hairy little corm with no serious planting instructions, ie no indication of which end goes up. What good is it to say "plant 1" deep" if you don't say which end goes up??? YM found a website that warned us of all the things that can possibly go wrong, planting liatris. Apparently, it is fraught with danger.

After almost everything - planting them upside-down, planting too deep, whatever, the site bore the stern warning: "you will get no plants." So now, of course, due to my incompetence and Naomi's overenthusiasm, I am fully expecting "no plants".
Yay.

We carefully marked the spots where the "no plants" will grow, however, just in case. They are the white tags you can barely see in this messy-looking back entrance bed picture.

If they come up, they are white liatris. They look lovely in the pictures, though they'll undoubtedly be sparse at first.

And then: the strawberries. They are a replacement for the ever-suckering variety I planted two (three?) years ago. We love strawberries, but the old ones just put so much energy into creating runners... and I didn't put enough energy last summer into pinching them off.

It probably would have been just a couple of minutes a week, but honestly, I felt kind of cheered that they were making themselves at home in my garden.

So now I have a million baby strawberry plants instead of a few nice big ones that will produce berries. Oy.

Anyway, I couldn't stand the thought of another summer of suckers and babies, so I pulled most of them out and am attempting to freecycle them and give them away before they all die. I swear, though, nothing can kill these strawberries; I'm sure of it.

These are the two biggest containers, with probably two dozen plants in each container. There are a few more in individual containers, and many more still in the ground, which I may have to dig out if they become a nuisance.

But I am definitely going to defend the virgin territory I hacked out this afternoon because... in their place I stuck nice, neat rows of the 25 Seascape plants:

Yum! Three rows, eight plants per row. Ah! Just realized why I had one left over... 3 x 8 does not equal 25 after all. :-)))
(seriously, I was wondering, and figured plant #25 was a bonus!)

My mouth waters thinking about them. Day-neutral everbearings don't give you a big crop like June-bearing berries do. If you're planning to make jam, for example, you want all your berries ripe around the same time, not in dribs and drabs over the entire summer. But if what you want is a SNACK - well, everbearing is your choice. I'm told.

I'm no expert, I'm the fool who let my plants sucker for 3 years, remember?

Oh - yet another project I'd been meaning to get to for a while. While I was out digging in the overgrown strawberry bed at the back corner of the yard, I spontaneously dug out the really misplaced astrantia (Roma?) that struggled through last year and miraculously came back nice and early this year.

The foliage is too low for a back-corner spot. That spot demands something a little flashier, I think. So now it has a front-and-centre spot in the back "hodge-podge" bed.

Okay, this is the year I name all the beds once and for all. I mean it.

The Day in Suppers!

Tonight (Tuesday):
Superstore chicken
YM-made roasty potatoes
Creamed corn
Superstore beef samosas - closest thing to a kosher beef patty; yummy...

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