After quite a few weeks of denial that spring was coming, I managed to get going on my garden. After several years of labor intense planting and gardening and spending a nice chunk of change, I’ve decided on the following goals for my 2015 Garden:
- Embrace the Lazy. Quite honestly, I’m ready for a year of just enjoying my garden and not laboring too hard in it. To accomplish this, I’m opting for easy care plants. No big new gardening projects. Nothing that requires lots of fussy harvesting or preserving. More enjoying the perennials and flowers I’ve already planted over the past few years.
- Keep it cheap. This year, I only purchased three seed packets total. THREE. I’d also like to keep my plant purchases few this year – maybe a tomato start or two and a couple herbs. As mentioned, no big new gardening projects or the like.
- Make it beautiful. I really just want to focus on making my garden a peaceful haven to relax in. I’ve selected a number of quick growing veggies and tall, flowers to add height, visual interest, attract birds & butterflies, and perfume the air.
Given this, the focus of my garden posts may differ slightly from what I’ve posted in the past. So lazy gardeners: this year’s for you!
I wanted to share some of what’s been growing in my garden with you. Most of this stuff has grown in spite of my care of it. (There’s a funny thing to think about – if you plant the right plant in the right spot – it might not actually *need* you much! Go figure.)
I added this bleeding heart to my front yard container about three years ago. Talk about a great bang for your buck! Not only is it beautiful, it comes back every spring and it does wonderfully in shade. I’ve also had it attract hummingbirds, which is fun. In case you’re wondering, I purchased this plant at Fred Meyer for about $10 (I believe) – and I’m pretty sure I saw some more on my last visit. So if you’d like one, this would be a good time to plant it!
This is a Tall Mountain Huckleberry that I purchased last year. It was in a container, but I decided to move it to my front yard, in the same planter as the bleeding heart. I’m always a fan of edible perennials – and even more so when those edibles thrive in shady conditions! If you’ve got a shady part of your yard you’d like to devote to growing food, consider what grows in the understory of forests. Plants like huckleberries, salal, and salmonberries are not only great choices for their edibility, but also because they are native plants. You can find plants like these at Raintree Nursery, which I’ve mentioned a number of times on this blog.
Here’s another berry that’s starting to perk up for spring: gooseberry. I’m growing this one in a container. We purchased it last year, but it didn’t produce any berries. We’ll see what happens this year.
Another berry that’s growing: Jelly Bean Blueberry! This variety is apparently a very sweet and low-growing bush (so a good choice for someone with limited growing space).
The raspberries are also starting to form! I’ve lately taken to flowers that will grow quickly, are beautiful to look at, and will come back year after year. I purchased this clematis last year and it died back in the winter and has been shooting up over the past few weeks! I swear this thing is growing about 6 inches a day!
Here’s a picture of how it looks, in bloom:
I’m really excited about this beautiful jasmine plant I recently purchased at Fred Meyer. Have you ever smelled one of these? Just heavenly! Plus, it’s another tall-growing variety! I placed it near my favorite sitting area in my garden.
Here’s another plant I recently added: honeysuckle! These apparently attract hummingbirds as well. I’ll be excited to see what happens with it. Since planting it a week and a half ago, I do believe it’s already started growing!
Don’t hate me, but I’m not a fan of rhododendrons – at least, ones you plant in your yard (I love spying naturally growing ones in the forest!) The exception is when they are in full bloom, which is sadly such a short time of the year. I’ve debated taking this one out entirely, but I’ve observed many small birds using it as a perching spot, so that’s what gives me pause.
These are my son’s seaberry (or sea buckthorn) plants. You need a male and female to fruit and they do best in full sun. Aren’t they gorgeous? They are thriving quite happily in these containers, but if you look at the base of the plant, you will see there are new little ones sprouting off (ah! babies!). At some point, I’ll need to move them to larger containers or plant them in the ground.
This is another one of my son’s plants – a serviceberry. To be honest, at the end of the summer things didn’t look good for Mr. Serviceberry. All of its leaves look like they had been attacked by bugs. My son thought the plant was a loss, but I said, “let’s just wait and see.” Sometimes the wait and see approach is a good one to take. Turns out it wasn’t dead – it’s covered with little buds and there are some new shoots growing off the base of the plant. Yeah!
Did you know you can grow goji berries in the Northwest? Yeah, apparently you can – and I am! I put this one in last year and it fruited within a couple months. (Word to the wise: I quickly learned why raw goji berries aren’t a thing. Talk about a bitter, tart berry!) If you enjoy this superfood, consider adding one to your yard or garden. We found ours at Watson’s Nursery, but I suspect you could find one at any number of nurseries. The thing is already as tall as me (I kid you not).
We also added a couple salal plants this year to our garden slope. Salal is a native plant to the Pacific Northwest and produces edible berries. It also grows well in shade or sun! It would be a great plant to consider as a groundcover.
Here is how my garden slope is shaping up as of today, too. As a reminder, last year I turned a grassy/weed covered slope into growing space. I added a number of perennials – like herbs, the goji berry plant, and flowers, and found it was also an awesome place to grow large pumpkins (I just planted them at the top and let them cascade down the hill). Proof that you don’t have to have a “perfect” space to grow a garden. Just get creative! (More on how I did this and for under $100 – HERE.)
Same thing happened with these kale seedlings. This morning when I took the dog out to use the bathroom, there were two. A couple hours later, and I see a few more trying to emerge. I love observing these small miracles of nature in my garden.
Here’s a green – that’s actually a perennial! I planted this sorrel from seed last year and lookie lookie, here it is again this year! Now, this is a very strong, almost lemon-y scented green. You would not, and I repeat, NOT want to make a salad of just sorrel. Instead, use it much as you would an herb – small ribbons in a stir fry, soup, or salad. I shared a Cream of Sorrel Soup recipe on my blog last year. Curious, but not sure you want to grow it? Check your local farmer’s market when it opens in spring. You can often find it there (but not very often at grocery stores).
Phew! How’s that for a gardening post! Over the next couple months, I’ll update you on some of the progress I’m making. We have plans to plant corn, some squashes, more flowers to bring in the bees and pretty, and a few other random yums. Stay tuned!
How does your garden grow?