Welcome to Tea Talk in the Garden! Grab a drink, pull up a chair and join us. What is Tea Talk you ask? It's when my garden pen pal Jen of Frau Zinnie and I exchange letters virtually to each other. We discuss the latest happenings and going-ons in our yards. You, the reader, are always invited to come join us as we gab about the garden. You can join in and leave your comments below!
Jen & I both garden in New England. She is in Connecticut, and I am in Massachusetts. We both love growing edibles and flowers to make seasonal floral arrangements. Although we have similar styles, we grow different varieties and spur each other on to try new things. There's nothing like looking at Jen's mass plantings of spring bulbs to get a little kick of motivation! If you would like to see Jen's letter to me, click here.
As I sit here writing you this letter, I can hear the rain pouring down outside. So far, we have already had more rain this spring than we had all last summer! Can you believe that? The drought we had last season was definitely rough on all the plants outside. I am done with the snow as well! As I gaze upon all the gorgeous gardens down south on Instagram, I can't help but envy the early blooms a bit. I feel so behind with the daffodils just starting to poke out of the ground now! I'm starting to see tulips, hyacinths and crocus so I guess I just have to be a bit more patient.
I completely agree when you say there is a lot to do around this time of year. My yard is littered with twigs and branches from all of the winter storms. The gardens look an absolute mess and need a good tidying up. I'm working on cleaning it all up, and trying my best not to get overwhelmed. The pansies are all nestled into my spring window box, and also filling two hanging baskets. I'm happy to see some cheerful spring blooms back again! I'm also going to put some of my focus on my shade garden this year. I always find so many gorgeous varieties to fill the sun garden, and that shaded side tends to get neglected. I'm excited to try some new varieties out. My list just keeps on growing!
I completely adore growing fresh watermelon. I just can't seem to find the trick to it! What's your secret? Maybe you can share with me some of your best tips. I have tried and tried, but something always happens before they mature enough to pick them. I will definitely be following along with your growing journey this year. Since I am completely starting fresh and rebuilding my vegetable garden, many of my seeds have to wait this year. I'm usually growing an abundance of varieties by now, but I need to make sure I have somewhere to put them!
Tearing down my old garden and building new raised beds and a groundhog proof fence are my top priority. What's your secret to keeping all those unwanted animals out? I am looking forward to trying out some new 'Tiger Stripes Blend' cherry tomatoes and 'Walla Walla' onions. I absolutely love Renee's Garden seeds, and I'm dying to try the Five Color Radish Mix Garden Party.
That's great to hear your veggies are getting a new spot to grow. It's always so nice to be able to snack while you work. Total garden perk! I actually completely relate to your no tomatoes thinking. One year, I grew TONS! I actually had too many and didn't know what to do with them all. Then, I had a year where they just all did poorly due to all different kinds of problems. I got tired of dealing with early blight and root rot. I know how to deal with it, but I just wanted more time to enjoy the summer. I told myself I wouldn't plant any tomatoes, then ended up with seven different varieties. Yes, I gave in! A year without tomatoes just isn't possible. Like you, I do scale back though. Cherry tomatoes are my favorite, they never go to waste! Do you have a favorite cherry tomato variety?
I am really setting my sites on bigger and better this year. Expanding and building a smart garden design that is built to last. My chicken wire fence did what it was supposed to do and kept critters out for a few years, but eventually broke down. It is nothing close to Fort Knox anymore. If the Big Bad Wolf decided to stop by anytime soon, he would indeed blow my fence down with a mere sneeze. I can't be planting crops and putting all my time and effort into growing them just to watch them get eaten. I end up becoming heartbroken and frustrated. That's not the kind of gardener I want to be. I am going to build something strong and durable, even if that means I have to forego some of my favorite crops this year. I'll get there, even if it takes some extra planning.
I am always so impressed by your drive and love for gardening. Your vision of a front yard garden overflowing with zinnias sounds lovely. With the plethora of zinnia blooms always come the butterflies! You can do it, I know you can. I am enjoying the pollinators flitting in and out of my garden each summer. I'm trying to plant more herb varieties in my flower gardens and not just my vegetable gardens. Some, like borage and bee balm, seem to bring droves of all my winged favorites. I love your milkweed plants. I want to add more plants this year as well. I'm always keeping my eye out for more monarch friendly flowers.
As soon as you said insect hotels, a giant smile appeared on my face. The name and idea of it is so utterly amazing. I have a bat house I'm planning on putting up this year, and hopefully some insect houses as well. Any insect or critter that wants to give my garden a helping hand is welcome! I am right there with you with the wildflowers. I already have a bunch of mixes ready to go. I would love to have a whole field designated to them one day.
I am always charmed by your many hellebore photos. You have definitely swayed me to purchase some for my yard. Can you believe I've never grown a hellebore? GASP! Don't worry, I'm already on it. I hope your collections continue to grow, and keep on snapping those pictures as it gets bigger. I'll continue to tune into your fabulous Floral Friday posts on your website. We are expecting more spring like temperatures this week, so I will be outside as much as I can working away. My hopes are to stay ahead of the game this year, and also do a little at a time. I'll do my best to balance out working hard while taking that much needed time to enjoy it all.