Letters to Gardening Friends, April 26, 2009

Dear Dee and Mary Ann,

Greetings from my almost weeded garden!

What do you think of this daffodil picture I included?

I believe this is the prettiest daffodil I've seen all year, bar none! The best did bloom last as this is the end of the daffodils in my Zone 5b garden, another sign of the passing of this spring season.

Is it still spring? It was unseasonably warm, actually hot, yesterday and today, so it does all of a sudden feel very summer-like. I spent most of the weekend outside weeding, trimming, and mowing, which means that next weekend I can start mulching in earnest, though I will have to mow again, of course. The lawn is growing well this spring.

Out in the garden, the spring crops probably do not like the hot weather, but don’t seem to be suffering too much from it. We are supposed to be back to normal temps tomorrow or Tuesday, which means high temps in the upper 60’s. I think the spring crops will recover nicely and in a week or so, I’ll be picking lettuce. This seems to be pretty much on schedule with last year, when I also harvested lettuce, onions, and radishes on the last day of April.

Unless I build and use a cold frame, this seems about as early as I’ll harvest anything from my vegetable garden.

In other exciting, yet somewhat mundane news, I stopped by the local Lowes yesterday to get a new string trimmer and a reciprocating saw and noticed a lot of people buying frost tender annuals. They may be sorry they are planting so soon around here, as we are still likely to have frosts in May. In fact, I thought I learned in school, back in the day, that the first ten percent of frost tender annuals sold was considered “the fool’s crop” because many of those plants would be killed of by frost. It seems almost wrong to sell them this early!

Yet people are buying them, so I guess that's why they sell them now. But they won't be selling any to me this early; I wait until at least mid-May to buy and plant frost tender plants.

Thank you, Mary Ann, for the encouragement to get the reciprocating saw to use for pruning. I also noticed that Melissa from Zanthan Gardens got one and tweeted about it and I know Cindy from My Corner of Katy got one, as did Mr. McGregor’s Daughter. It must be the new thing to have. Dee, do you have a reciprocating saw for pruning?

I’ve got my eye on a big dead limb in the middle of my white blooming lilac to prune with my new saw, maybe later today. And my neighbor has some pruning she could use some help with, and my nephew and his wife just moved to a house with a tree that I want to prune. I bet I get all kinds of offers of trees and shrubs to prune once people find out how much I love to do it. Who knows what adventures I’ll have with this new saw!

Oh, and I promise I will be careful. Gloves, eye protection, full attention at all times when I am using the saw, and I will always be sure someone is nearby to assist me.

Well, that’s about it for today. When next I write you all a letter, it will be May. May! That’s a big month in my garden, did you know that? All year I dream of the days of May

Until next time,

Flowers and veggies for all,


P.S. Okay, I couldn't wait, so after I finished this letter, I tried out the reciprocating saw on the dead lilac branch. Where has this saw been all my life? I love it for pruning! Normally I would have cut this out by hand and it would have taken me awhile and worn me out. Not with this new saw! Lickety split and hardly any energy exerted on my part.

P.S.S. I was just out in the garden and saw that the strawberries are blooming.
Who else is growing strawberries? You know they taste better when you grow them yourself, don't you?


  1. We just found our first two strawberry blossoms too! This is our first year with our own strawberries and we are looking forward to some tasty fruit. We purchased the everbearing type since we have a little boy and it will provide such excitement for him to pick his own berries. I can't wait!

  2. I dearly love strawberries. I find it amazing that you will be picking lettuce at the same time as me, and I live two zones south. Interesting isn't it? I do own a reciprocating saw, but I confess I've never used it for pruning. Pretty daffodil. Happy springtime.~~Dee

  3. Oh, I feel so trendy! I have yet to personally use the new saw, as my Very Indulgent Spouse took it from my hands to cut the downspouts. I'm going to try it out on the Barberries as soon as it stops raining.
    That Daffodil is gorgeous! What a great way to end the season. The latest blooming Daffodils in my garden opened this evening. Time seems to go much faster in spring.

  4. I've got strawberries and MAN...those little jewels are about 1000 times better than anything I've ever bought at the grocery store. Only problem is, there are so few of them (it's a first year patch) and they go from white to ROTTED in seemingly no time. Every time I think I should leave them on the vine for just another half day, they end up turning brown and mushy. :/ Is this typical? I've never really had a strawberry patch before.

    But yes! Delicious!!

  5. I think that daffodil is pretty, too. I can't believe that your last frost date is in May. We rarely get a freeze after March 1st.

    Always Growing

  6. The daffodil is pretty, and the strawberry bloom is exciting.

  7. OH! We have strawberry blossoms at the same time?? Cool. I have them on my little alpine plant. I am really disappointed w/the Maras. I may pick up some Laramies or Quinalts tomorrow.

    And lettuce? Double good.

    The daff is dazzling. Know the name?

    Doncha just LOVE that recip saw? Dang skippy~!

  8. Maybe you guys can help me- I'm in Indy too, and just established a strawberry patch this year, with 10 very small plants. Thing is, the leaves on the plants keep disappearing. luckily, the do have new growth, so plant is entirely leaf-less, but the disappearances are worrisome-- would a rabbit eat strawberry plants? Is there something else I should be looking out for?

    Hoping for blossoms next year,

  9. We have many strawberry runners so far, but no blooms just yet. The bunnies and deer, thankfully, seem uninterested in them. If you would like to see, here are some photos: http://thecluelessgardeners.blogspot.com/2009/04/blog-post.html

  10. Hi Carol, yes, this weather is silly, where did spring go? Count me as among the proud owners of a reciprocating saw, the Milwaukee Saw Zall. When our house was being renovated in 2000, the workmen offered the use of their sawzall to cut the privet that was out of control. I couldn't believe how wonderful it was. So much safer than a chain saw too. It will also cut rebar with a metal blade! Your garden looks great. The daff is Tahiti is no one else has mentioned it. An excellent late bloomer. Daffodils and strawberries blooming at the same time seem like seasons gone awry however. :-)

  11. No strawberries in this garden but i do have rhubarb which is a first in my garden. Grown from seed sown last August and as big as any I grew in canada. I do envy you those home grown delicious berries though.

  12. Hi

    Loved your blog, i am enjoying my strawberries, ( have put some pics on my blog), this year i've planted them in pots and they are doing great.

    This year i also planted the daffodils and its almost or i think its just the same daffodil in your garden too

  13. That is a gorgeous daffodil. Yum.

    You make me feel lazy. I never do much with my "vegetable garden" but plant tomatoes. Luckily my husband was more on the ball and planted broccoli. We got broccoli from the garden last year and it was so much better than store bought, it wasn't even funny.

  14. Hello,
    My strawberries already have little pink flowers on them. I love them. My daughter is allergic to red dye but when she realized that strawberries are naturally red they quickly became her favorite. Now every year we plant strawberries. She is older now and is starting her own little pot of strawberries she can take care of herself and not have to share... Yeah for strawberries. Smile
    Marilee aks Auntie Pudd's Garden


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