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Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Visiting Gardens

I just figured out something about visiting gardens while reading more of the letters in Becoming Elizabeth Lawrence: Discovered Letters of a Southern Gardener edited by Emily Herring Wilson.

Elizabeth wrote a letter to Ann Preston Bridgers in April 1945 about her visit to Lob’s Wood, the gardens of Carl Krippendorf, where apparently a late freeze had blackened the magnolias and lilacs and all the daffodils were wilting. She wrote,

“He was exactly like you about the frost, and I felt I could not bear to begin all over again. After we had walked over the thirty acres of daffodils, all wilted or wilting, and several miles of blackened lilacs and daffodils, he said, “You are very sweet. But you know and I know that it was not worth your coming.” I said I had come to see him, and did not care about the lilacs or daffodils, which was perfectly true but he was not listening.”

What did I figure out? That I much prefer to visit a garden with the gardener there, telling me the story of their garden, than to visit a garden just to see a collection of plants and how they are arranged and never find out how it all came to be.

Now, I do love to see a good collection of plants in a garden that is well-thought out, but seeing it with no background or story makes it one dimensional, like looking at a picture in a magazine with no other information.

I want to see a garden in all its dimensions, to hear the gardener describe it. I don’t care if the garden was recently blackened by frost, baked by the sun, half-planted, or full of weeds.  Of course, many gardeners would prefer not to let others see their gardens in those conditions, but it isn't just the garden we want to see. We also want to hear the story of the garden, and the story of the gardener.

And if the gardener is there to tell the story of their garden, or if I’ve read the story of it, I can see past weeds and frost damage, beyond overgrowth and unplanted areas and imagine it as the gardener planned for it to be, how they want it to be, and enjoy it so much more.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When A Flower Blooms That You Just Don't Like: Happy Ending

The logistics are a bit complicated, but they involved two twin mattresses, my truck, some passalong hostas, finding a window of opportunity (WOO) to haul the mattresses from my sister-in-law to my sister (in my truck), plus finding time to dig up some hostas I had, recently dubbed the "Martha Hostas" because they originally came from a friend of my sister-in-law's named Martha who passed away last fall, and taking those to my sister-in-law, who is creating a memory garden for her friend. 

With me so far?

Unexpectedly, but expectedly, my sister called me yesterday morning and asked if I could get the mattresses after work. Sure, why not.

Then my sister-in-law sent me a text to ask if I could bring some plants. Sure, why not.

My plan was to go home, dig and divide as many plants as I could in one hour, including the Martha hostas, take those in the truck to my sister-in-law's house, plant those plants, load the two mattresses on my truck and take those to my sister. Approximate distance between those two locations, by the way, is 25 miles.

And the first plant I dug up?

The columbine that I didn't like in my own garden.

Now it lives in my sister-in-law's garden where it has been elevated from a plant that I bought on a whim and then didn't like in my garden to a passalong plant.

A passalong plant. A special plant. A plant with a history. A plant with memories involving mattresses, hostas, special friends, the image of me with two mattresses on the back of my truck deciding to drive all the way through the city because I had visions of that top mattress sliding off while I was on the interstate even though I had it all tied down tight, and a full moon that was low in the sky and quite beautiful.

Grow well, flower long, and enjoy your new home, you lucky, lucky columbine!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When A Flower Blooms That You Just Don't Like

Out in the garden, the quamash is starting to bloom. This particular one is Camassia leichtlinii coerulea 'Blue Sky'.

I planted bulbs for it last fall after seeing quamash in bloom the previous spring at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

I like these blooms, so these are keepers in my garden.

Elsewhere a new columbine has started to bloom.

This picture doesn't really show how red the flowers are, and how plastic-y they look.

I bought this on a whim at a garden center. I'm pretty sure I bought it because all their perennials in one gallon pots were $9.95 each, or buy three for $27.00. To save that three dollars, I probably searched high and low and found this and got it.

I don't like it. It looks fake. It is too red.  I think it is going to clash with other columbine flowers in my garden. Horrors, it might cross with some of them and who knows what those flowers will look like if I let this go to seed and self-sow?

What I really want is a pale yellow columbine. Wouldn't that look great with the quamash? Sure it would!

Now the question is... what should I do with this columbine?

a) Leave it. I might change my mind and like it.
b) Dig up the plant and give it away.
c) Move it someplace else in the garden where I don't see it so often.
d) Compost it. (I could do that if there were oodles of this plant all over the garden, and actually do compost rampant self-sowers... don't we all? But there is just one of these.)

Following any of these actions, I will then renew my oath... "Only buy plants I truly love. Do not buy to fill the cart." Oh, and my other oath when buying perennials "Do not buy 'one of 'anything." Unless of course it is a special  specimen type plant. Or it looks like I could divide it before I plant it. Or if I really want it and they only have one. Or if it is realy expensive.

It seems I'm having trouble with that "one of" oath...

Anyway, the answer to the question of what to do with that columbine is...
b) Dig up the plant and give it away.

I must know someone who thinks this is the prettiest columbine they've ever seen.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dear Friends and Gardeners: April 26, 2010

Dear Dee and Mary Ann and Gardening Friends Everywhere,

I’ll start off by announcing that the “salad days” have begun here at May Dreams Gardens, beginning with the first salad pictured here.

It included mostly spinach and thinnings that I picked on Sunday from the lettuce patch, plus a few slices of those green onions from the garden. I added just the tiniest bit of salad dressing to it because it was all so tender and delicious, it didn't need to be smothered in dressing.

All it needed to be absolutely perfect was a few sliced radishes from the garden, but those won't be ready to harvest for another few days, at least.

I checked my garden journal, and noted that last year I didn’t pick the first spinach and lettuce until May 3rd. Based on that, the garden this year is about a week ahead of last year. I didn’t check other years, but did notice that I wrote that last April was one of the wettest in Indianapolis history with 7.25 inches.

This year I think everyone thinks it is a bit dry for April, until yesterday when it rained all day long. I even saw some neighbors running lawn sprinklers earlier in the week, which I think is absolutely ridiculous and wasteful this early in the spring. They are why so many people think that those of us with lawns behave irresponsibly.

Anyway, enough about lawns…

You would think I’d take advantage of a rainy day like yesterday to get caught up on stuff inside the house, like cleaning, which is what gardeners are supposed to do, right? Well, I didn’t. Instead I drove to a garden center clear on the other side of the city to look at their selection of containers.

Rosie’s Garden Center has more containers than you can imagine, and they are big, too. I am looking for one to put in the front garden as a focal point, per the garden designer’s instruction. She also mentioned I could put a specimen plant in that spot, so I’m mulling it over now. Container or plant? Of course, the container will have plants in it, so maybe that’s the way to go? I don’t know. I still have awhile to decide, I think.

I’d love to write more, and tell you all about my trip on Thursday and Friday to Cincinnati for a Garden Writers’ Association regional meeting, but the hour grows late. I did post earlier about visiting Lob’s Wood while touring the Cincinnati Nature Center, and will post some other updates from the visit later in the week. It was a fun meeting and I got to meet up with some people I hadn’t seen in awhile, plus meet some more garden writers.

It’s getting late now, so I'll close as always with…

Hortifully yours,
Carol

P.S.

Here’s a picture of the garden taken late afternoon on Sunday. It got quite a soaking from the all day rain. The pea vines are about a foot tall and little strawberries are starting to form in the strawberry patch.

I need to do some weeding, I see, and... look down there at the end of the garden on the right - the snowball bush (Viburnum opulus 'Sterile') is in full bloom - early, of course.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Practice Multiple Types of Weeding, Sometimes All At The Same Time

Is weeding in flower beds that are hopefully going to be dug up and expanded soon sort of like dusting the furniture in a house right before you plan to tear down walls for remodeling? No?

Good, because I spent quite a bit of time yesterday weeding in my flower beds, beds I hope will soon be dug up and enlarged significantly with the new garden design.

What else was I supposed to do while I waited for it to rain?

Actually, I weeded because there were weeds and I’m a gardener. It was instinctive, compulsive, necessary. Plus, it immediately made those flower beds look so much nicer and I don’t know when they will be dug up, and I don’t want to look at a weedy mess until then.

There are several types of weeding that gardeners do, including…

Self-inflicted weeding. This is when we are weeding out the "weedlings" of flowers that we purposely planted in our gardens and swore we would deadhead so they didn’t self-sow all over. In my garden, I pulled out plenty of spiderworts (Tradescantia sp.), ox-eye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) and perennial sweet peas (Lathyrus latifolius), plus for good measure a few tansy seedlings (Tanacetum vulgare).

To my knowledge, the last time any tansy flowered in my garden was at least back in the late 90’s, so those seeds are quite long-lasting.

Of all those plants, I only wish to keep a few ox-eye daisies, pictured above with some species tulips. The rest can go to… the compost pile.

Faux weeding. We’ve all done faux weeding, admit it! We pull out dandelions and thistle getting very little root, hoping that it will at least slow the plant down. We may even be so bold as to hope that maybe this time it will actually stop those pernicious weeds. But deep down inside us, as deep down inside the ground as those roots still are, we know we’ll see those weeds again, and have to pull them again. It is faux weeding, and gives us false hopes.

Therapeutic weeding. Did I mention how good it felt to get those weeds out of the garden?

Waiting weeding. Ever find yourself standing around waiting for something to happen, and then you see a weed and decide to pull it out? Then you pull out another weed, and another? Then you see a big ol’ thistle so you go get some gloves and maybe a weeding tool or two, and something to throw the weeds into. Next thing you know, you are weeding the garden and have completely forgotten what you were actually waiting on. (For the record, I was waiting for it to rain yesterday.)

Save-yourself-from-embarrassment weeding. At some point, the weeds become so bad that we just have to weed, in case someone should stop by to see our gardens. I have unfortunately been to this point more than once, and I’ll probably be at this point again some day.

I was very close to it the other day, when I knew the garden designer was returning to mark some of the new beds. She had last seen the garden in a more “early spring” state, when there were a few weeds and I could use the excuse, “I’m just getting started on spring clean up, so please excuse the weeds”.

Now here in mid spring, it was to the point that the weeds might indict me as a lazy gardener. I sure didn’t want that, so I ran around and did all kinds of save-yourself-from-embarrassment weeding to make it all look just a little nicer.

Yesterday, I practiced all four kinds of weeding. Self-inflicted weeding, faux weeding, waiting weeding, and save-yourself-from-embarrassment weeding.

Someday, I hope the garden is all under control and I can just occasionally do regular weeding, whatever that is.

Friday, April 23, 2010

An Unexpected Pilgrimage: Lob's Wood

And suddenly, I found I was on an unexpected pilgrimage.

In the preface to her book The Little Bulbs: A Tale of Two Gardens, one of my favorite garden writers, Elizabeth Lawrence, wrote,

“This is a tale of two gardens: mine and Mr. Krippendorf’s. Mine is a small city back yard laid out in flower beds and gravel walks, with a scrap of pine woods in the background; Mr. Krippendorf’s is hundreds of acres of virgin forest."

My unexpected pilgrimage was to the Cincinnati Nature Center which includes the hundreds of acres of virgin forest that was Carl Krippendorf’s garden, Lob's Wood, much of it still full of the thousands of daffodils, Lycoris, and other bulbs he planted wherever he could.

The Cincinnati Nature Center was one of several stops planned for a regional meeting of the Garden Writers Association. In the back of my mind, I had wondered if this nature center was anywhere near Lob’s Wood, which I came to know of through reading books by Elizabeth Lawrence, including her memoir of Mr. Krippendorf and his garden, Lob’s Wood, which is based on their ten years of correspondence.

I didn’t do any advance research about the gardens we were going to visit for the regional meeting because I hadn’t really taken to heart the lesson I learned last fall when I visited Montrose and other gardens in and around Raleigh, North Carolina. Do your research about a garden ahead of time, so that when you are there, you’ll know what you want to see in the limited time you will have.

That’s why I wasn’t sure what awaited us at the nature center. I just walked in to their visitor’s center early in the morning and saw several stacks of Lawrence’s book, Lob’s Wood, on a table.


Then I realized and confirmed that I was unexpectedly going to see the garden of Mr. Krippendorf, one of the many people Elizabeth Lawrence corresponded with extensively about flowers, bloom times, plant hardiness, and gardening in general.

We enjoyed a guided tour through the woods, now known as Rowe Woods, down limestone paths that Mr. Krippendorf had supervised the installation of, through woods that had just a few weeks before been filled with daffodil blooms, to the house known as Krippendorf Lodge that he built for his wife, Mary.

We had just a few minutes to tour the lower level of the lodge, where I looked out through leaded glass windows, into the woods.


I imagined Mr. Krippendorf and Elizabeth Lawrence enjoying the same view when she visited Lob’s Wood. And I was reminded of how she concluded her preface to The Little Bulbs:

“It is not enough to grow plants; really to know them one must get to know how they grow elsewhere. To learn this it is necessary to create a correspondence with other gardeners, and to cultivate it as diligently as the garden itself. From putting together the experiences of gardeners in different places, a conception of plants begins to form. Gardening, reading about gardening, and writing about gardening are all one; no one can garden alone.”

Soon we were leaving Lob’s Wood, Krippendorf Lodge, and the Cincinnati Nature Center to go on to the next garden. Though this pilgrimage was unexpected and brief, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Once home, I pulled my copy of The Little Bulbs off the bookshelf and put it on top of my stack of books to read next. Over the summer, I’ll browse through it, cross referencing plants in the book to what's available in bulb catalogs and picking more bulbs to order for my new gardens. Then next spring I can enjoy their blooms and compare notes with other gardeners, near and far, past and present, on when these little bulbs bloom and how well they grow.

Truly, no one does garden alone. We garden with gardeners of the past and gardeners of our present, and for the gardeners of the future.

And every once in a while, we go on an unexpected pilgrimage to visit those gardeners, and gardens, of the past...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Early Harvest Report: Spinach and Lettuce in the Raised Beds

I will say it again and again and again. The best way to grow vegetables is in raised beds. Once you’ve set the bed up, you won’t have to wait each spring for conditions to be “just right” to till up the garden.

You can just waltz out to the garden in the early spring, rake the bed up a little bit and sow seeds for peas, lettuce, spinach, and radishes. Then before you know it, it’s time to harvest.

First to be picked from my vegetable garden is Spinach ‘Pelican’, shown above. It looks good, and I’ll bet it is. I sowed the seeds for it on March 17th, along with the seeds for Spinach ‘Bordeaux', which looks much the same but has red stems.

A week later, on March 23rd, I sowed seeds for several varieties of lettuce, including ‘Marvel of Four Seasons’.


And ‘Tango’.



In the next few days, I'll thin out the lettuce and pick some spinach, too, for a tasty salad that is all you could dream of in a salad...fresh, crisp, and even a bit on the sweet side.

Then this weekend I’ll sow more lettuce seeds to extend the lettuce harvest as far into summer as I can before it gets too hot for lettuce. Yes, the moon is waxing now, favorable for sowing seeds for above ground crops.

The vegetable garden is still my favorite garden and I plan to spend a lot of time out there this summer as the rest of the garden gets made over with the new garden design. Then this fall, I’m hoping to change up the vegetable garden, too, using the “keyhole” concept to increase the actual planting areas without enlarging the overall garden.

In the meantime, I'll say it again. Raised beds is the best way to grow vegetables, and it isn’t too late to start your own vegetable garden this spring with a raised bed or two or ten.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Already

Welcome to the "already" stage of spring.

Already the Baptisia has buds on it. These grayish buds will soon be spikes of purple blooms.

Already I'm getting ready to mow the lawn for the sixth, or is it seventh, time?  I'll have to check my garden journal to know for sure because I'm one of those types of people who writes stuff like that down for no good reason. Then once I decide to do something like keep records of when I mow the lawn, I like to keep doing it, so I have a complete record.  For that same reason, I don't like to start something I don't think I can finish.

Already, two of my neighbors have hauled out hoses and sprinklers and are watering their lawns.  I love my lawn, but I don't water my lawn unless circumstances become dire.  I let it go through the natural cycles that a lawn should go through, which means in the hot days of summer, I make it tough it out. I make it send down deeper roots looking for water.  We get an average of 40 inches of rain a year around here. It is supposed to rain Friday going into Saturday and off and on through the weekend.  It is just wrong to water your lawn right now.

Already, there is some spinach ready to pick in the vegetable garden.

Already, one of my sisters called me three times last night to ask me gardening questions. The answers were damping off, too much shade, and why did you let your radishes go to seed last year?

Aleady, I'm looking for more gardening WOO's  and more garden shopping WOO's to get out to garden centers near and far to find the perfect accent container for my new front garden design. 

Already, it is fully spring.  I am all ready for it, too.

Already.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Garden Design Update: A Guest Post From the Garden Fairies

A guest post by the garden fairies...

We garden fairies are in a real tither here at May Dreams Gardens. You would not even believe what is going on around here!

First of all the other morning, on Saturday, one of our very own, Columbine Goblinfly, was sleeping off an early spring party, all nestled deep within a tall sedum, when “WHACK”, a big old shovel blade came down and nearly took off her bonnet! She was so startled she didn’t know what to do, but managed to get her wits about her in the knick of time and ran out of there just as fast as she could. When she turned around, Carol, the gardener around here, had dug the whole plant up and was putting it into a plastic bag.

Tangle Rainbowfly wasn’t so lucky! He was taking his usual nap in a clump of hostas and was so out of it that we think he never did wake up when Carol dug that clump up and threw it into a plastic bag. Next thing we know, she put that bag on the back of her truck with a bunch of other bags of plants and we haven’t seen ol’ Tangle since. We think he’s over at Carol’s sister’s garden and can only hope he’s okay. They’ve got some dogs and cats and kids over there… let’s just say it isn’t the safest place for a garden fairy.

And you wouldn’t believe the mess Carol left behind after two days of digging! There are holes everywhere. Some of them are so big that it isn’t safe for us to just be out and about at night like usual. A fairy could fall a long way into some of those holes!

Fortunately, we’ve discovered that the vegetable garden seems to be a safe place, a sanctuary of sorts. Carol is actually moving some of the plants back there. That was sure good news for Ivy Iceglitter, who was trying to get to some petals of a new geranium flower to make a new hat with when the whole plant got moved. Poor Ivy hung on for dear life as that clump of geraniums was tossed into the wheelbarrow. She reports it was a bumpy ride but overall she feels lucky not to have ended up in a bag like Tangle.

Come Monday morning, things had more or less settled down around here, so we garden fairies were catching up and trying to figure out what had happened over the weekend. Suddenly without warning, there were some people in the garden that we didn’t quite recognize. Then Oak Leafweb recognized the woman as the same person who had been here a few weeks ago, walking around the garden with a camera and a notebook. We’ve since learned she’s a garden designer. She had returned! And this time there was someone else with her.

Well, before we knew what was going on, they started digging and marking stuff and since we’d never seen anyone but Carol work in the garden, we were quite alarmed. Alarmed! We were just about ready to organize ourselves to launch a full scale attack when what do you know – Carol comes out of the house and starts talking to them, all nice like, and then she leaves. We thought for sure she was going to go after them with a hoe for messing in her garden!

We don’t know what to make of all of these goings on, but Carol seems to be okay with it, even happy about it. She was back this evening, digging up our own miniature garden and transplanting everything from it into four big containers.

That might be the last straw for us garden fairies.

Out front, there are are now four big bags full of some shrubs and a bunch of Liriope spicata that got ripped out. Tonight we are going to organize ourselves a bit, which as you know is the last thing we garden fairies like to do, and start moving everyone to the vegetable garden. For some reason, it seems like it is the safest place to be right now, while these people “tear up jack”, as Carol’s grandmother used to say. Once we are all in the vegetable garden, we are going to try to account for everyone to make sure no one ended up in those bags. We shiver at the thought!

In the meantime, we’ll continue our watch from the sanctuary of the vegetable garden and report back about any further disturbances.

Signed
Thorn Goblinfly,
Chief scribe and typist for the garden fairies at May Dreams Gardens

(A note from Carol… Those garden fairies can be overly dramatic. Work officially started today on the new garden design for the front yard. I’m taking pictures as things change and will show the before, during, and after, when there is an “after” to show. In both the front and back, I’ve been digging and moving plants, planting some in the vegetable garden temporarily and giving others away. The garden is kind of a mess right now, but it will all sort itself out in the coming weeks. I assure you, no garden fairies are being harmed in the process…)

(Garden fairy names generated by the Fairy Name Generator.)

Dear Friends and Gardeners: April 19, 2010

Dear Dee and Mary Ann and Gardening Friends Everywhere,

By the time you read this letter, work may actually have started on the new garden design. Not just work on paper, but actual work in the garden. I’m excited to see it begin and I'm ready for it to begin.

Also by the time you read this letter, I may not be able to move because I spent all weekend, or a good part of it, digging up and moving many plants that are good plants to keep, but just aren’t part of the new design or will be growing someplace else with the new design.

You won’t believe it, but many of the plants are being moved to the raised bed vegetable garden.

When the garden designer first suggested that I use some of the raised beds in the vegetable garden as holding nurseries for the plants, I said no. I had a flashback to 1991 when I moved from my first house to my second house and convinced my mom’s neighbor to let me put a few perennials in a small section of his very large vegetable garden until I could come back and get them for my new garden. Years later, in 2008 when they finally moved, guess what was still growing in a small section of his very large vegetable garden? Those perennials.

I surely don’t want that to happen in my raised vegetable garden, but I couldn’t think of any place else to put the plants, as every other garden bed will also be dug up in the hopefully near future.

This does mean that I will have to be more thoughtful about which vegetables I grow this summer, but rest assured, I’ll grow as much as I can. Speaking of which, I am pleased to report that everything planted so far is up and growing, but seems a bit on the small side. I think it is because we haven’t gotten much rain in the last week or so. I’m going to water it all this evening and fertilize a bit and see if that helps. We are supposed to get some rain at the end of the week, so that should help, too.

As you can see from the picture above, the strawberries are blooming. We had some freeze warnings the last few nights, but luckily we seem to have been spared from any freeze or even frost, so hopefully, there will be lots of strawberries to pick in May.

I hope all is growing well in your vegetable gardens. That’s not much more to do in mine, vegetable-wise, until we are frost-free, sometime around May 10th, but that’s okay because I have a lot of plants to dig up and move or give away before work begins on the garden design in the back.

Hortifully yours,

Carol

P.S. Here’s a picture taken late Sunday before the sun set.


So far, just the long narrow beds along the fence are full of perennials. I also planted some clematis vines along the fence, but I consider them permanent plantings. In a few weeks, I expect at least two of the 4’ x 8’ beds will also have perennials in them.

P.S.S. Check out this species tulip I found blooming in my garden late Sunday.
I’m pretty sure this is Tulipa batalinii ‘Apricot Jewel’. It, too, will need to be moved!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Moving Plants

In preparation for the implementation of the new garden design, I am moving plants.

Moving plants.

For many gardeners, "moving plants" is a scary thing to consider.

Moving plants.

There are so many questions about moving plants

When should I move them? Where should I move them? Can I move them? Should I divide them when I move them? What if I kill the plants by moving them?

One question at a time!

When should you move plants? Ideally, you should move plants when there are not extremes of temperature, such as on really hot days, or when the ground is frozen. I like to move plants in early spring before they get too big, but some plants like peonies and irises do better if moved in the fall. If you decide to move plants in the fall, be sure to do it early enough to give the plants time to establish some roots before the ground freezes.

The other time to move plants is when you have to move them, such as right before the garden designer is going to show up and tell the crew where to dig and plant new plants.

Where should I move them? Presumably you are moving plants because they need to be moved and not because you just can’t make up your mind on where to plant them. Move plants to locations that will give them room to grow and provide the kind of conditions (light, water, soil type) that they will do well in.

If you are moving plants because you just need them out of the way because of a new garden design, move them to one of the raised beds in the vegetable garden which you’ve turned into a “holding nursery”, even though you told the garden designer there was no way you could do that. But once you started to move plants and realized every other place was likely to be dug up, it just made sense to use part of the vegetable garden as a plant nursery. Or if they are shade loving plants, like hostas, and you have limited amounts of shade, load them up in the truck and take them to your sister’s shady yard after making her promise that you can come back and dig them up and divide them and take some back later.

Can I move them? I don’t know, can you? With the right equipment, most plants can be moved.

If you are moving plants because of a new garden design, “can you move them” isn’t really the question anymore. Just move the small stuff yourself and let the crew dig up and move the big shrubs.

Should I divide the plants when I move them? Well, of course you should divide the plants when you move them, if they are the type that can be divided. Then you will have more for your own garden and some to share with others.

Or if you are moving plants because of a new garden design, and you don’t necessarily need more plants right now, find someone, anyone, who will take the extras off your hands.

What if I kill the plants by moving them? Ask yourself if the plants would be better where they are or better in a new location. Then start digging according to the answer. Yes, moving plants might set them back a bit, but with proper care, they should survive the move and might even do better in their new locations. Just be sure to get as much of the roots as you can, and cut back some of the foliage when you replant. In no time at all, the plants should recover and put down roots in the new location.

Or consider that you really have no choice because you’ve already made the choice to re-do all of your garden with a new design. Plants must be moved, and this is the weekend to do it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some plants to move, including some hostas to dig up and take to my sister’s garden.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hortense Answers Spring Gardening Questions

Hortense Hoelove has returned this spring to answer important gardening questions for the plant-lorn and other gardeners!

Dear Hortense Hoelove,

Can dirt get old? You know, that dirt in containers, does it get old?

Respectfully,
Lori Lovestogarden

Dear Lori,

Why, yes indeed, just like everything else, including you and me unfortunately, dirt, or potting soil as some would call it, can get old, worn out, and depleted in containers. If it is small container, dump all that old stuff out, give the container a quick brushing out, and then refill it with new potting soil. You do not have to scrub and scrub and use bleach on the container, unless the plants you had growing in it before had a terrible, awful disease or was infested beyond belief with insects. Don’t get all crazy about cleaning it out. Just dump it out, rinse it out, add new potting soil and plant. For larger containers, remove about a third of the potting soil, maybe more, then add new potting soil and mix it a bit and you are ready to plant.

Hortifully,
Hortense
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Hortense,

How do I get rid of all the thistle growing in my garden?

Help,
Exacerbated in Indy

Dear E,

You don’t get rid of thistle. It's just foolish to think that you can. Mostly you just try to control it. You can pull them and watch them come back. You can also try a vinegar-based herbicide on them, and watch them come back. I would mulch like crazy and then if you see them, keep pulling them.

Watching Thistle, Too
Hortense
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Hortense,

Can I plant outside now in Indianapolis?

Eager to garden,
Your Youngest Sister,

Dear Youngest Sister,

Don’t you read the local weekly paper? There was a column on that very subject, planting too early, this week. No, do not plant frost tender annuals or vegetables yet, even if you see them in the stores. Do not. Wait around until at least May 10th in central Indiana, and even then check the 10 day weather forecast to see if it is safe.

Hortense
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Questions above were actual questions asked by real people this week. The iris pictured is Iris pumila 'Fireplace Embers'. If you have a question for Hortense Hoelove send an email to her agent, Indygardener AT Gmail dot com or leave a comment.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - April 2010

Welcome to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day for April 2010.

If someone had told me that I would have dwarf bearded iris in bloom in mid-April, I would have had to check my zip code to see if my house and garden had moved south on me. But the proof is in the picture showing Iris pumila ‘What Again’ now blooming in my garden.

Near it is Iris pumila ‘Smart’.
What is going on around here? Spring seems so fast and frantic and in such a hurry this year! It seems that all of the blooms are a week to ten days earlier than in 2007. And earlier than in 2008. And earlier than in 2009. Many blooms that were blooming on this day in the past three years have already faded away, including Forsythia, Amelanchier, and Magnolia. You will see none of those pictured today.

In their place it seems we have everything else blooming at once, including apple trees and crabapple trees like this one in my front garden bed, Malus ‘Guinivere’.
The common and very fragrant lilacs, Syringa vulgaris, are in full bloom, too, including this one called ‘White Angel’.
Nearby is a Korean Spice Viburnum, Viburnum carlesii, which is also very fragrant. The lilac and viburnum are competing to get my attention all at the same time. Everywhere I look there are blooms on plants that I’m just not ready to have blooming! I need more time this spring.

I have decisions to make on moving and removing plants for the new garden design. Should I remove the Carolina Silverbell, Halesia carolina ‘Arnold Pink’?
Its blooms are interesting and unique and early this year – did I mention how early everything is blooming this year - and I've wanted one of these trees for the longest time, but half the tree is dead.

I don't think I'm ready to let go of it quite yet, though, so I’ll trim out all the dead wood and see what’s left.

Even the weeds are ahead of themselves, including this dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, which has taken advantage of a microclimate near the house to bloom and set seed.

With all this early bloom in April, I can hardly see straight when I go outside, trying to decide what to do, what to move, what to leave alone, what weeds to pull, wondering if the heat will affect the sweet peas and garden peas and other cool season crops like lettuce and spinach. Though they are mere seedlings at this point, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the spinach and lettuce was ready to bolt and flower with these warm, sometimes record setting hot, days of April.

All of this early bloom makes me feel frantic, like I’m Rip Van Gardener who fell asleep in early spring and woke up to find out it was summer. It makes me feel like I'm behind, like Lucy and Ethel working in the candy factory, frantically trying to keep up, but steadily falling behind.

But then I look around and I see the first buds on the Lily of the Valley, Convallaria majalis, and realize that though Spring has sprung quickly, not everything is in bloom and there will be more blooms to enjoy as the season unfolds.
I look amid the foliage of the Surprise Lilies, Lycoris squamigera, and see the tiny, dainty blooms of Summer Snowflake, Leucojum aestivum.
It isn’t the showiest bloom in the garden, shouting out “look at me” like so many other blooms in the garden right now. Nor does it lure you closer with a scent that wafts through the garden like the blooms of the lilac.

It just waits to be discovered, to be admired. It slows me down, even in a garden that seems to be in a big hurry to bloom.

~~~~~~~~~~~

What’s blooming in your garden today?

We would love to have you join in for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. It’s easy to participate and all are invited!

Just post on your blog about what is blooming in your garden on the 15th of the month and put your name and the url to your post on the Mr. Linky widget below. Then leave a comment to tell us what you have waiting for us to see so we can pay you a virtual visit!

We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Becoming Elizabeth Lawrence: A Book Review

For the past several weeks, at the end of the day, I’ve been enjoying a new book of letters, Becoming Elizabeth Lawrence: Discovered Letters of a Southern Gardener edited by Emily Herring Wilson. (John F. Blair $19.95)

Long time readers and Elizabeth Lawrence fans will likely remember that Wilson also edited Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White & Elizabeth Lawrence--A Friendship in Letters and wrote No One Gardens Alone: A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence.

In doing the research for No One Gardens Alone, Wilson discovered these letters that Lawrence wrote in the 1930’s and 1940’s to her mentor, Ann Preston Bridgers*, and recently edited them for publication in this new book.

Reading these letters is giving me even more insight into one of my favorite, perhaps my favorite, garden writer, Elizabeth Lawrence. She writes to Ann about far more than gardening, but always there seems to be something about the garden sprinkled throughout the letters.

I enjoyed reading her letter of August 20, 1940, when she wrote to Ann, “If you get back before I do… and can find time to look into my garden, will you see if Nerine undulata is in bloom, and if it is, pick it when all of the flowers are out, and put it in your refrigerator until I get back. It bloomed last year while I was gone, and I have never seen it, and it is the most exciting bulb I have. I enclose a map of where it is, and of other things that might bloom.”


On July 18, 1941, she wrote to Ann, “Mr. [William T.] Couch say that when he comes upon a book he likes, he does not read it through, but lays it aside to save for a time of despair. I said that I would not dare read any words that I had not already read (and read often) in that mood, and that I turned to Barrie or Kipling. He said he had never read Barrie. Thinking it over later, I thought, but I wouldn’t read anything. I would weed.”

Later in the spring of 1943, she wrote, “Did I tell you that Mr. Bolton [a neighbor] has cut down everything on his side of the fence and planted a Victory Garden? The garden is adorable. Mr. Bolton looks at it four or five times a day and brings friends who discuss varieties and seasons with him. He says his peas are further along than any he has seen, and they look very pretty and pale green with their white blooms.”

For Elizabeth Lawrence fans, this book is a treasure, providing further insight into how she lived, wrote, entertained, traveled, and gardened.

For anyone who loves books of letters, this book will remind you of a time when people wrote letters to one another, sent them off in the mail, and then waited for a return letter.

In that spirit, I’m taking this book at a slower pace, reading and absorbing it a few letters a time, allowing it to transport me back to Raleigh, North Carolina where Elizabeth Lawrence lived with her parents across the street from her friend and mentor Ann Preston Bridgers…


~~~~~~~~~~~

*Ann was “a founder of the Raleigh Little Theatre and coauthor of Coquette, a Broadway hit starring Helen Hayes and a film for which Mary Pickford won an Oscar. Elizabeth and Ann were two women of different generations who did not conform to popular images of the Southern lady. Ann encouraged Elizabeth to find a way to live as she wished and guided her writing toward articles for women’s magazines and gardening magazines. Elizabeth found her dream life living and gardening at home as shown through her letters to Ann Bridgers.”


~~~~~~~~~~~

Most readers of my blog are aware that I am fascinated with Elizabeth Lawrence and enjoy reading her books, the compilations of her newspaper columns, her letters, and her biography. Most are also aware that a quote from Elizabeth Lawrence inspired me one cold, snow winter day to suggest the comparison of blooms across all our gardens on the 15th of the month, now known as Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. I assume that through all the references to Lawrence sprinkled through out my blog, the publisher of this book found me and offered me a copy to read and review.


~~~~~~~~~~~

Please check out the Human Flower Project for another review of this book.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Teasers: Five Questions Unanswered

Is it my imagination, or are all the flowers of April bursting into a grand crescendo of bloom just in time for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th?

Will this be the year where even I give in to the continuing days of “June” weather in April and plant my warm season vegetable crops early?

What will I do with all of those plants I need to move to make way for the new garden design?

Will I rescue the ‘Stella D’Oro’ daylilies, now valiantly growing in the compost bins? When a plant tries that hard…

Finally…

Will Hortense Hoelove return this spring to answer questions for the plant-lorn amongst us?

There's a lot going on here at May Dreams Gardens. Stay tuned to find out the answers to these questions and more.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dear Friends and Gardeners: April 12, 2010

Dear Dee and Mary Ann and Gardening Friends Everywhere,

I can hardly believe that a week has gone by since my last letter post. And I don’t have much to show for it, at least much to show of my recent handiwork in the garden.

However, the garden is moving along quite nicely and quite quickly without me standing there hovering over it, especially the weeds.

Out in the vegetable garden, the peas and spinach are growing well, and the lettuce, radishes and onions are not too far behind. We had some nice rain last week, which combined with the warm days has made those seeds nearly jump out of the ground with their first leaves.

However, even though we have had some warm days, we also have had some cool days, too, with frost on the ground on a couple of mornings late in the week. That’s why I always tell people not to get too excited in April. We still have a lot of frost between now and mid-May.

Inside, my tomato plants are doing well, pictured above. As I sit here in the quiet writing this letter, I think that I can almost smell them. You know that good tomato-y smell? That’s the smell of summer to me.

One piece of exciting news, at least to me… this past week, I signed off on the design for the “neighbor’s view” garden, which is the front yard. “Let the digging begin”, and I think it will in another week or so.

In the meantime, there are some smaller plants in the front garden, and also in the back where I hope to expand the patio, that I need to move to new locations. I’ve been mulling over some of the logistics of those plant moves and need to just find time to start moving them. More on that later.

Elsewhere in the garden, it seems there are new blooms nearly every day. One of them is this double-flowered bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, sent to me by Kathy of Cold Climate Gardening.


It's a stunning little wildflower but probably won't be blooming for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th so I thought I'd post a special picture of it today.

Anyway... I hope you both had good weeks last week and have a good time this week in the garden!

Hortifully yours,

Carol

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Violets

The violets are blooming.

Can you believe that some people consider these to be lawn weeds? I often hear callers on a local home and garden radio program ask how to kill them because they are taking over their lawns. I shake my head and wonder what harm a few little violets could do in a yard. (Apparently a lot in the right conditions.)

I’ve purposely bought violets before, like this Viola labradorica growing in the miniature garden.
It's a nice little bloom.

I also once bought seeds for Viola mandshurica 'Fuji Dawn' because it has variegated leaves. For a few years, I did have violets with variegated leaves, but over time they died out and what is left in that location is this little violet.
It’s a pretty light purple, but has long lost the leaf variegation.

Elsewhere in the garden, there are a few places where I let violets just grow. These are what I would refer to as common woodland violets. I won’t even speculate on the species, as there are many species out there in the wild.
I dug these up from my sister’s garden. They are easy to pull out when they get too aggressive and I usually do thin them out in mid-summer.

Of course, one can not fall of into the abyss of violets and the plant family Violaceae without mentioning pansies and violas, the first bedding plants to buy in the spring.

One can also not read about the Violaceae family without coming across the term “cleistogamous”. In addition to the showy blooms we see in the spring, many violets also produce small petal-less flowers near the base of the plant in summer and early fall. These flowers never open, self-pollinate and produce lots of seeds. The larger blooms, which are chasmogamous, may also produce seeds.

Remind me this summer that I should look for the cleistogamous flowers of some of the violets around here and take a picture of them for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

In the meantime, I’m going to go out now and look at the violets blooming in my garden and scope out other blooms for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - it falls on the 15th this month, just like it does every month!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Once Upon A Garden...

Once upon a garden, there was a gardener who loved all kinds of plants, or most kinds of plants.

She bought plants that she liked and plants that she loved. She let plants follow her home and even kidnapped some plants to take home.

Then she found places to plant them in her garden. Some of the plants were long-time favorites; others were plants that just happened to catch her eye at the garden center.

Sometimes she would look at her garden and think, “I need a shrub here”. And off she would go to the garden center to look for a shrub. Though limited by what the garden centers sold, she would eventually find a shrub or three or five shrubs and bring them home and plant them right where she thought she needed a shrub. And she did the same with trees and perennials.

Soon she had lots of shrubs and trees and perennials and flowers in her garden.

And she was living happily in her garden.

Then one day, she looked at her garden and decided that something was missing. There were plenty of plants, plants that she loved amid plants she had settled for, plants that she didn’t particularly like and plants that she had gotten from others.

There were plants everywhere.

But all the plants together lacked a certain cohesiveness, a sense of place. She studied her garden and looked at her plants and realized…

She didn’t have a garden design.

Or an eye for a design.

So she sent an email to a garden designer and explained her dilemma. She wrote about how she loved plants and gardening, but needed some help. The garden designer responded to the email and came to see the gardener’s garden one evening.

She patiently listened as the gardener went around her garden talking about all of her plants and all of the flaws of her garden. The gardener explained to the garden designer what she wanted in a garden design, what she hoped to do in her garden.

Later the garden designer returned on her own and studied the garden. She looked at it and walked through it and studied it and took pictures of it. And before she departed, she left a book on a bench for the gardener to read.

Then a few weeks later, the garden designer returned with a garden design and went through it with the gardener, explaining it and describing it.

The gardener looked at the design and studied it and asked some questions. She asked for a few tiny changes, and then waited for the garden designer to come back with a quote.

For good garden design isn’t free, my friends, nor are plants or mulch or strong workers who can dig and transplant and tote and carry to turn a gardener’s collection of plants into a well-designed garden.

It didn’t take long for the gardener to decide what to do next and so she said, “Yes, let’s do this; let’s turn this collection of plants, this haphazard design, into a new garden, with all of the elements of design I asked for.”

The End
The Beginning

(Pictured above: Tulipa vvedenskyi ‘Tangerine Beauty’ in my front garden, planted where there was a spot for it, with no regard for a garden design. I had to have it after reading about it on Elizabeth L’s blog, Gardening While Intoxicated, last spring. The garden designer is incorporating experimental gardens for me in my back yard for planting many plants just like this one.)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Clothed Ladies of Spring

We often joke about Lycoris squamigera, those late summer flowering members of the Amaryllis family, Amaryllidaceae, because when they bloom, the leaves are long gone.

Some people refer to these plants as Surprise Lilies because "surprise", the blooms show up long after the foliage has died back. Others call them Resurrection Lilies because they die back and then the flowers shows up just when you've given up on them.

Yet others call them Naked Ladies because when they bloom, they consist of the bloom stalk and the bloom, but no leaves. The more genteel gardeners among us, me included, generally spell this common name as "nekkid ladies" when writing about them online in an effort to discourage people who have no interest in gardening from visiting our blogs.

We all want our blogs to be "search optimized" for the right reasons after all.

If you have Lycoris squamigera in your garden, now is the time to see the "clothes" of the plant, as pictured above. Some gardeners look at this foliage and think it is a clump of daffodils stubbornly refusing to flower. But if you look closely, you'll see that the Lycoris foliage is more rounded on the tips than daffodil foliage. And of course, you'll eventually notice daffodil blooms amongst the foliage of most daffodils.

One question that gardeners often ask is when is the best time to move a Nekkid Lady. I've moved mine twice. The first time I moved them was when I dug them out of another garden in May when they had foliage. Within a few hours of digging them up I had replanted them in my garden. The second time I moved them was when I renovated the bed they were in. That time I dug up the bulbs in September, well after they had flowered. After both moves, they went on to flower the next year.

As it turns out, though, neither May nor September is the best time to move these plants. The best time is June, right after the foliage has died back. Presumably the bulbs will be their biggest at that point. But even when moving Lycoris in June, some gardeners report that the plants sulk after the move and may not reappear for two years.

My two moves of these plants demonstrate that there is an ideal time to move a plant, and then there is the time when you have to move a plant. So you just move it and hope for the best.

The Nekkid Ladies in my garden need to be moved again for the new garden design. But this time I think I can wait until June when the foliage has died down. With this third move, I'll try my best to find them a good, long-term home so they can settle down and provide me with blooms in late summer, and leaves in spring, for many years to come.


Lycoris blooms, perfectly matched to faded coneflowers.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Dear Friends and Gardeners: April 5, 2010

Dear Dee and Mary Ann and Gardening Friends Everywhere,

While I wait for the lawn to dry out so I can mow it, I thought I’d dash off this quick letter to get you caught up on my past week in the garden.

First off, the weather. We set two new records for high temperatures this past week, with temperatures around 82 F on a couple of days. The plants are definitely noticing and some trees like my Japanese Tree Lilac, Syringa reticulata, are almost fully leafed out.

The daffodils have been going strong all week and already some of them need to be deadheaded. More species tulips are also blooming, including Tulipa humilis ‘Persian Pearl’ pictured above. I took that picture when my nieces and nephews and a few other extended family and friends were running wildly around my backyard looking for plastic eggs filled with…

Money and candy.

You can see why the egg hunt in my backyard is a popular event!

I’m sure when I go out later today to mow the lawn, which I left uncut to make it easier to hide eggs, I’ll find an egg or two. I always do, either right after the hunt or a few days or months later. Of course, what I find is mine to keep.

Out in the vegetable garden, I finally sowed seeds for radishes and planted onion sets on Friday. Since I’m planting by the moon phases, I had to wait until at least March 30th to plant these root crops, since I missed the previous period of the waning moon which ended on March 14th. This is the latest I’ve sown radishes in a while, so I’m hoping for cooler temps so they aren’t too hot when I harvest them. I’ll report back in about three weeks to let you know how they are doing, as some of them should be ready to pull and eat by then.

My peas all look good, and I’m seeing little sprouts of spinach and lettuce now, too. I’ve done nothing to protect these seedlings from rabbits so far, but I think I’ll need to do something soon before they figure out that there are “good eats’ in the garden.

I know this week as long as the temperatures stay warm, some people will ask me if it would be okay to plant tomatoes outside now. I’ll tell them emphatically no, as we will still have some frosty nights between now and our usual frost-free date of mid May. I wrote about that very subject for my weekly newspaper column this week. Don’t get fooled into planting warm season crops too early.

I hope all is well in your gardens and that you had a happy Easter weekend.

Hortifully,

Carol

P.S. My Easter gathering may have been the only one where we got out the Fiskars® Momentum™ Reel Mower for people to try out. My sister and a couple of nieces pushed it around a bit and commented how easy it is to use and how fun, too. Unfortunately, I could not get them quite organized and focused enough to mow the entire lawn, so I’ll be doing that today. That’s okay…you all know how I enjoy mowing!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Hopeful Times

I am brazenly leaving the vegetable garden unprotected as the peas, spinach, and lettuce are all sprouting. Some would look out there and see those tell-tale signs of "disturbances" in the smoothly raked beds and say that I am foolishy leaving the vegetable garden unprotected.

Truly, my indicator plant for the presence of hungry rabbits has always been not in the vegetable garden, but in the flower beds. Tulip foliage anyone?

So far this spring, all the tulips remain un-eaten, so I remain hopeful.

Hopeful that the rabbits will leave the vegetable garden alone.

Hopeful that the Easter Bunny will see all the flowers, like the daffodils pictured above, and judge my garden as a worthy location for hiding a lot of plastic candy and money filled eggs.

Hopeful that the egg hunters and gatherers will leave a few eggs for me to find later in the spring. To increase the odds of this happening, I purchased some "camo" colored eggs, purposely let some weeds grow here and there (cough) and perhaps most astounding of all, held off mowing the back yard so the grass would be tall and thick.

Hopeful that the weatherman is right. Sunny skies and 70 F would be just right, I should think, to allow some of the Easter guests to enjoy time outdoors on the patio, the patio that his hopefully going to be replaced.

Hopeful that once the Easter egg hunt is over that guests will take a few divisions of perennials from the flower beds, the ones that will be covered over with a new patio.

Hopeful.That's the story of Easter and spring. A time of great hope, renewal, and new beginnings.



Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Random Thoughts While Being Focused and Busy

A few random thoughts on a day when I should be very focused and busy. Focused. Busy.

The bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis, is starting to bloom.  Seems early to me, but it might not be.  I'll have to look back in my garden journal to see what I wrote about it in other years.

I wouldn't be surprised if it was early. We've had two days of record highs, Thursday and Friday. 

Everything seems to be exploding to life in the garden and growing inches overnight.
~~~~~~~~~

This Forsythia 'Gold Tide' almost hurts your eyes to look at it, doesn't it?
To get a good picture of this, I think I need a fancier camera, the perfect lighting, and way more "photographic skill" than I have.

I swear I've wanted to move  this shrub for several years now because it is crowding out, or being crowded out by, the tall spruce, Picea orientalis 'Green Knight', next to it. With the new garden design, I, or rather someone, will be moving this Forsythia to someplace else in the garden. The garden designer is very keen on re-using plants in better locations and not just starting over with all new plants. I like that. It will save me some money.
~~~~~~~~~

These hyacinths are getting all floppy now. I guess they overachieved on size of bloom, but I refuse to stake them. I've never heard of anyone staking hyacinths
I can report, though, that if you step on one of those blooms while you are mowing the lawn, it is very slippery. I did that yesterday when I was mowing the front lawn. I didn't fall, but I could have! And then I imagined if I had fallen and twisted my ankle or worse, having to tell the emergency room people that I slipped on a hyacinth bloom. "Ma'am, could you spell hyacinth for us?"

By the way, I did not mow my back lawn yesterday. I'm leaving it tall so that it will be easier to hide Easter eggs in it. Dr. Hortfreud approves and thinks I should occasionally let the lawn go a bit.

And that's enough random thought for a Saturday morning. I am focused and busy, did I mention that? I'm preparing for the big Easter gathering and egg hunt, eggstra'ordinaire!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Tomato Seedling Progress Report: Thank You!

Many thanks to all who read and enjoyed yesterday's post on April Fool's Day about the progress of my tomato seedlings. Some of you got it right away, some of you wanted it to be true but knew it couldn't be, and others decided perhaps  it was true.

But some of you who have been reading my blog for several years, knew to watch out on April 1st for a "tall tale". This was my fifth April Fool's Day to post something that was a made up, yet slightly believable, story.

The only part of the story that is true is the list of tomato varieties I'm growing, minus of course the "super tomato", Rielooflirpa, which is April Fool spelled backwards with an "rie" on the front of it to make it look like one of those German tomato varieties.

But believe you me, as we say here in Indiana, if such a tomato ever did show up here in my house...  well, who would ever believe me if I posted about it on April 1st?  April 2nd... maybe.

So thank you to all who read and commented, or read and laughed, or read and wondered, for allowing me to have my fun for a day.

If you are interested in other tall tales told on a certain spring day every year, you can follow the links below to see what else I've written...

2006 2007 2008 2009

And now, no fooling, we are experiencing record high temperatures, so it is time to get busy in the garden and prepare for the giant Easter egg hunt this coming Sunday!

Thank you!