After our horribly dry spring here in southeastern Pennsylvania, we’ve been blessed with lovely weather for most of the last month: a few hot and muggy days, but some gloriously cool and dry ones too. The Japanese beetles are back with a vengeance, unfortunately, after being almost completely absent for a number of years, but otherwise, the plants are thriving, and the garden seems to have caught up to where it should be, timing-wise.
Now that we’ve finally gotten some rain again here in southeastern Pennsylvania, I decided to plant out a few pansies.
Yeah, no–just kidding, obviously. But this is part of the spring tradition around here: making the rounds of area nurseries, including Ott’s Exotic Plants in Schwenksville, PA, home of the magical mountain o’pansies. Here at home, things aren’t spectacular on the grand scale, but there are many wonderful small things happening.
After a delayed but rousing start, the promise of a glorious spring at Hayefield has pretty much fizzled out, due to the unusually dry conditions. Though other places near here have been blessed with some of the wet stuff, our little corner of the county has received exactly 0.0 inches of rain in the last 3 weeks. On the whole, I prefer a spring that’s on the dry side; if there’s regular, abundant rain through April and May, the plants produce soft stems and lush leaves, then struggle once the usual summer dry spells start. But really, no rain is tough to deal with. Instead of planting and weeding, I’ve been spending most of my gardening time hand-watering the new grass paths. It’s keeping the seedlings alive, but even after a month, there’s still just a light green haze–except for some lush green patches where the Canada thistles are thriving (sigh).
After The Winter That Wouldn’t Die, we’re finally starting to get a taste of spring here in southeastern PA. It’s going to be a bit longer before there’s anything green and growing to appreciate, though, so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking instead. Mostly, my plans for the upcoming growing season have focused on how I can reduce some of the most resource-intensive areas so I can do a better job on the parts I really enjoy. A big part of that has been figuring out where those problem areas are, and how they got that way.
In my last post, I focused on just four herbs; this time, I’ve chosen some of my favorites from the wide range of other culinary, aromatic, and medicinal species and their selections. Above is Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), which I’d planted with the intention of harvesting and drying the flowers for tea. It’s so cute in bloom, though, that I kind of hate to cut them. Here’s it’s planted with ‘Dali Marble’ burnet (usually listed under Sanguisorba menziesii, even though its height, flowers, and bloom time are far more like those of S. officinalis).
Surely it can’t still be winter? And yet, it clearly is–outside, anyway. In here, I’ve been immersed in my photo archives for the last few days, picking out photos of plant combinations for the book I’m working on. Revisiting the digital highlights of the last decade has reminded me of some plants and pairings I’d like to try again, including some old favorites that I’ve neglected over the past few years.
I still have herbs on my mind from my last post, so I decided to separate out a bunch of herb combination photos, in the hope that you too might enjoy thinking about these fragrant and flavorful beauties. There are a lot of them, so it made sense to focus only on lavenders, thymes, sages, and basils this time. Above is one of my all-time-favorite pairings: spiky ‘Provence’ lavender (Lavandula x intermedia) with wispy Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima).