The Garden Awakens, Part 2

Last year, I went a bit hog-wild when I was finally able to go to the garden centre after the initial lockdown.  All that pent up plant-shopping energy came out with a bang and I reverted back to type.  Instead of having a plan and a list to go by, I spent over 3 hours browsing and anything that caught my eye ended up in my cart (which quickly turned into two carts - #noguilt 😜).  After the stress of those first few months of the pandemic, I truly reveled in a good old fashioned plant shopping spree.

But you know what is even more exciting than buying new plants?  Watching the ones you planted last season come up for the first time, knowing that they will (hopefully!) put on an even better show now that they are a bit more established.  I can't wait!

June 2020
This bit of the west border was planted up in the fall of 2019 &
brought so much joy last year!  The new veggie raised beds will also be in this area
so I'm using the stones to temporarily mark the perennial bed
so that I don't inadvertently end up making it too deep.

A few of last years newbies are now coming to life.  When you plant a new perennial or shrub in the garden, the fact that it's rated to your zone is not necessarily a guarantee that it will make it to it's 2nd season.  So when I see signs of life from a new addition to the garden in the spring, I have a little mini-celebration - sometimes in my head and sometimes for all the world to see 😄.

Signs of life in mid-April...

Artemisia 'Silver Mound'

'Big Blue' Sea Holly

Baptisia 'Pink Lemonade'
Almost decimated by rabbits last year,
hence the chicken wire cage

'Lemony Lace' Elder
So interesting how the leaves start out purple before turning to lemon yellow

Variegated Japanese Iris

Penstemon 'Dark Towers'
This one stayed a deep purple all winter long, although it did get floppy.
New, firm growth is just now emerging from the centre.

Salvia nemerosa 'Swifty Rose'

'Goldfinch' Shasta Daisy

Veronica 'Purple Explosion'

This Isabella Preston lilac has not bloomed yet
and I planted it about 3 years ago.  At that time, I also planted a
"Miss Canada" lilac which has bloomed each year.  This may be one of those varieties
that takes a few years to grow out of it's 'juvenile' phase.

It's just about to leaf out...
fingers crossed this is the year we finally see some colour!

A couple of years ago I purchased two fall asters for the front porch.   Once they were done blooming, I plonked them into a raised bed, just to see what would happen.  One didn't make it but the other has pulled through the winter twice now so it's slated to be transplanted into the border.  Asters are another rabbit delicacy around here, so it's not completely out of the woods yet.

Supermarket Purple Aster

And what is waking up in the edible department?  I haven't transplanted any early greens yet, but most of the perennials are on their way.

Greek Oregano
This one is going to be potted when the raised bed is replaced.

The Dah-Ye garlic chives will likewise be potted up.

No signs of growth from the asparagus bed, but I still have to remove the straw mulch - a job for the next few days.  The garlic, however, is popping up through the straw in leaps and bounds.  This is definitely the earliest it's ever been, I would say at least 2 weeks earlier than usual.

Normally, you would barely see leaves poking out of the ground at this point.

To help the soil warm up more quickly in the spring, I used to remove the straw from the garlic bed early on, then replace it (if I found the time) once the weather warmed up and growth was really underway.  Last year I didn't bother removing it at all and the garlic did just fine, so I'll be doing the same this year.

And lastly, I brought the figs inside.  This is the 2nd year that I've overwintered them in the garage, along a back wall with zero added protection.  And they came through with flying colours - there was virtually no dieback.

Already leafing out with a baby fig,
only a few days after bringing it inside.

Sure beats lugging them into the basement cold cellar!  I repotted both figs late last year and am hopeful that they will perform better than ever this season.


  1. Margaret hello there ! .. I have to back track and read part 1 after I comment on this post ! LOL .. I so understand your pent up gardener and the wild plant spree you went on .. I'm afraid I will fall very deeply into that hole as well. The pandemic has really spurred behavior we might have better control over normally ? or not ? LOL is it an excuse we can use like an unusually severe and long winter ? LOL
    I say enjoy the plants and garden to our hearts content, life is short and seems even shorter as we age and at this stage of the game on earth right now .. we benefit the earth in fact with our gardening obsession !
    Dig in ! and take care ;-)

    1. Absolutely! Lots of lessons learned this year, esp. about what's most important in life.

  2. Wonderful start to the gardening year! I wonder if I could grow a fig treen in zone 5 and bring it into our unheated garage in the winter. Nancy

    1. I'm in Canadian zone 5 which is more or less equivalent to U.S. Zone 4. I would say that it's definitely worth giving a try. At the worst, you could even provide it with some insulation by wrapping it with a blanket or other insulating material - just make sure the soil stays moist over the winter :)

  3. You're off to a great start by the looks of it, Margaret. I'm sure you're enjoying each morning stroll through the garden - I know I would be. I never managed a planting shopping haul like that last year but I went a little crazy with mail orders ;)

  4. Oh, it's fun to see the wide shot of the ornamental garden with the rock border! It's beautiful! Plant shopping...I need to do that soon. ;-)

  5. Your garden is waking up! It is exciting to see plants emerge and fill in. Your flowerbed looks great! I did some plant shopping this weekend for some of my beds that I am revamping. It feels good to get new plants!

  6. The rabbits ate your Baptisia?? Oh no! I've got to head out to the garden right now.

    1. What's funny is that they ate the new ones I purchased last year, but the "Twilight Prairie Blues" I planted the year before wasn't touched & it's only about 15' from the new ones.

  7. We have some new beds to fill so just need to venture to a garden centre.


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