Letters to Gardening Friends, April 19, 2009

Dear Dee and Mary Ann,

Spring greetings from May Dreams Gardens. Finally, finally, we had a beautiful day, weather-wise, and lucky me it was yesterday when I was off from work. I was able to spend the entire day working in the garden. Guess what I did?

I harvested compost from my compost bins. Normally I harvest compost in the fall, but for some reason, not sure what reason, I didn’t do it last fall. I just piled on more and left it over the winter. That meant that this spring all three bins were full, plus the compost tumbler, so I didn’t have any place to put all the weeds that I need to pull around here.

It was quite an undertaking and took me the better part of the day, but I’m glad I did it. I had enough compost to add to the raised beds in the vegetable garden and to spread around most of the flower beds. I’ll probably write a post about compost because it is something that a lot of newer gardeners seem to have questions about. I think people try to make it too complicated.

So now that I have room in my compost bins, I can really get going on the weeding. I can embrace weeding! I have a lot of it to do, especially in the paths of the garden. But I can do that bits at a time and get it done eventually. I won’t need that big gardening WOO like I needed for turning and harvesting the compost.

Then when I’m done with the weeding, I need to get more mulch for the paths. This was something else I skipped last year, and I learned my lesson on that, too. I need to add some mulch to the paths every year or pay the price in weeding.

Sure sounds like there are lots of “I need to” going on here, doesn’t it? I guess that’s true of every garden in the spring.

I did enjoy seeing my apple tree in bloom this weekend, pictured above. (I took that picture with my new camera, by the way.)

I planted the apple tree in the middle of the garden several years ago and so far have picked a grand total of two apples from it. Last year it didn’t bloom at all, and the year before that, 2007, the blooms were frozen out. This spring it looks like it is trying to make up for lost time and I’m hopeful to beat the record harvest of two apples with a few more than that later this summer. I think it is a ‘Red Delicious’ variety, not my favorite, but it was what the garden center had when I decided I needed to plant an apple tree there.

My early spring crops are also doing well, too, and no, I haven’t covered them yet to keep the rabbits from getting them. I need to thin out the lettuce first. Plus, really, I haven’t seen any rabbits, so maybe they have left my garden for good?

Inside, I need to pot up the tomato and pepper plants into bigger pots, as they are getting tall and lanky and we are still a month or so from being able to plant them out into the garden.

See… more “need to” stuff… I should close this letter before I think of more!

Flowers and Veggies to all,

P.S. Dee, I need to get your advice on roses. The front of my house faces south and there is an area under my den window that I think is big enough for about three roses. The space is about six feet long by four feet wide. I’ve had some Potentilla shrubs there but I cut them back hard earlier this spring and don’t like how they are coming out of it. Do you have any recommendations for some roses that will work there in Zone 5b? With the window there, I’d like to keep them below three feet or so, and of course, I want them to bloom continuously with no diseases.


  1. I think Roses are a great replacement for Potentillas. (But then I have an unreasonable prejudice against Potentillas.) Isn't it wonderful to be able to spend a day working in the garden again? I have so missed it.

  2. Hi Carol, HA, your post/letter is full of I need tos! Your camera looks like a winner, the photos are wonderful. Compost, mulch, roses, ahhhh, gardening. :-)

  3. Great photos my friend. I have a few ideas for roses, and I'm including in my letter which will go off tonight. Soon, I hope.~~Dee

  4. You can get winter-hardy roses from Great Lakes Roses. Unfortunately, they are located in Belleville Michigan, on the east side of the state. However, perhaps you can see what varieties they offer and find the same locally. I don't even cover mine in the winter and they always come back.


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