Gardener's Grapevine 2016.05.11

As I’ve said many times, spring gives me a gardener’s itch. If you don’t garden it’s hard to understand; if you do I’m sure you get it. It’s that uncontrollable urge to be outside improving what you’ve already done in the garden or to get started on that vegetable garden that you just know will be better than ever before.

Art and I both love being home and having no commitments so we can just work in the gardens as we please. However, last Wednesday my surgeon threw me a curve ball. I am on next to no weight baring for the knee that he worked on. It’s just for two weeks, but seems like a life time.

I have been itching to be outside. What to do? A beautiful weekend, warm and sunny. Cue the riding lawn mower. I mowed my mother-in-law’s lawn with the rider, then while I waited for Art to pick me up, I decided to try sitting on the ground to clean out her flower beds. It worked pretty well. It’s amazing what you see when you are on the ground like a turtle on its back. 

The hydrangea bush that was planted a few years back is now huge. It has been moved once due to overgrowth. Currently it is leafing out from the bottom to the tip top. It’s about four feet tall and produces gorgeous blooms.

My mother-in-law can grow anything and not just produce a good sturdy plant, but make every plant an overachiever. So why do her hydrangeas do so much better than mine? I went to some of my favorite websites for the answers.

Hydrangeas like moist fertile acidic soil. If it is the hot months of summer they may require an extra watering every week. They like morning sun and afternoon part shade, but they will do ok in full or partial shade or full sun providing the ground stays moist. The old stems will get new growth on them, so no hair cuts unless it’s not blooming. Then a trim may reinvigorate it. What looks like dead stalks will actually become this year’s spine for the plant and also produce foliage.

Hydrangea can grow to six feet tall. They are mostly found in Asia and the Americas. There are between 70 to 75 varieties of hydrangea.

When Art and I got home he went back to working in our garden. It’s pea season at our house and we love them, so quite a few varieties went in the ground Saturday afternoon. Bring on the fresh peas creamed with new potatoes. I can already taste them!

After planting I got a really yummy surprise. The asparagus is up and ready, and since I’m the only one in our family who likes it, it’s all mine. The rhubarb is up and almost ready to harvest, and the strawberries have many blooms. Strawberry rhubarb pie is not too far away.

How can people not garden? It tastes so darn good and is very inexpensive considering the output. The fruit trees are almost ready to be sprayed and hopefully I can get some of those juicy pears before the pesky squirrels get to them. The rotten critters are whimsical to watch, but very much an aggravation when it comes to our fruit trees.

We have two apple trees, a pear tree and two cherry trees. One cherry is actually our neighbor’s, but it sits close to the property line. They don’t harvest it, but they don’t care it we do, so it gets sprayed along with ours and we harvest a lot of sour cherries for pies and just to eat. Sour cherry pits went everywhere when our kids were growing up. It was just an easy snack when they were out playing.

All this reminiscing is just making the itch to play in the dirt, worse for me.​