This Northern Garden {Mid-May Update}


Last year I made the comment that Minnesota felt like it was about a month behind from the rest of the US and countries in the fairly same hardiness zone. Well, this year it feels like we are two months behind. The insanely temps in February and March (at times in -35F) plus late spring snow, followed by rains, really put a slow progress on anything growing in the state—unless you have a greenhouse or tunnels, which I do not.  But alas! The tides are turning and full spring is upon us, especially in our woodland garden bed and a few of our bushes, which are flowering. I’m supper happy because one of my favorite link-ups to join is In A Vase on Monday but have not been able to because there was nothing in my garden/yard! So this is the first official IAVOM of Spring 2019!

The Bleeding Heart has kicked into high gear  and it is the focal point of today’s vase— which is a Starbucks mug that I use for smaller arrangements instead of as a mug. 😊Bleeding Heart is such a dramatic plant with its heart-shaped flowers but what I really love is the leaves. I am a foliage person— loving it more than flowers at times, and this is no exception. To the vase I added some sprigs of Indian and Mountain Hawthorn. I really used it here to give the vase an airy feel and spring-y, even on this very cloudy day when I took the photos.


I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally see green everywhere. The ‘Rococco’ tulips are blooming slowly, the ‘Menton’ has not started budding, and ‘Queen of the Night’ is following right along. The ‘Drumstick’ allium started sprouting, and the Cosmo mix I direct-sowed is germinating, followed by the various types of poppies I planted. Unlike last year, I am planting a potted edible flower garden with nasturtiums, borage, calendula and pansies, as well as herbs.


This year we invested in a small tiller because we have a clay loamy soil that can be pretty compact. Last year it was back breaking work, but this year it made the job of planting the dahlia tubers so much  easier. Yesterday the tubers went in—‘Jack Frost’ (in honor of my 17 yrs old wheaten terrier of the same name who passed away in November), ‘Kasasagi’ (the first pom dahlia I have ever planted—super excited about it), ‘El Sol’ (the first orange dahlia, along with Kasasagi, that I have ever planted), ‘Dad’s Favorite’ (a lovely dahlia with an anemone shape, Chilson’s Pride (one of my top three favorite dahlias) and ‘Sheer Heaven’ (which reminds me of ‘Break Out’ dahlia).

And last but not least, I am VERY pleased with how the potted David Austin roses fared the winter in the garage. Scepter’d Isle came out of dormancy like a boss, and I was worried that ‘Alnwick’ would not make it because the canes were dry, but a little shoot started coming from under the soil. This rose came in its own root stock, so I am going to wait and see where this is going. This year I am also giving the ‘Claire Austin’ rose another chance. Last year I planted it and it died—actually, it never really coming out of dormancy. And true to their promise, David Austin replaced it for free under the terms of their warranty. So far, this baby is steps ahead of last year. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I have been stalking my favorite gardening blogs and some of them, especially those in the south are in full bloom—oh, how I miss North Carolina. To not have to dig up a tuber again. Lol.

What is growing in your garden? Are you planting anything new this year that you are excited about?

It's Looking a Lot Like Christmas... Except It Is Not

Your eyes are not playing tricks on you— that is snow. Yesterday, we received a late spring snowfall, about 2-3 inches in my area of Minnesota. The struggle for the northern gardener is truly real here. Thankfully, right now all that is planted in my little garden area are tulips and alium that I planted in the fall, and they are pretty cold hardy. Aside, from that I also direct-sowed three varieties of poppies and I am hoping they will be ok, especially because 24 hrs later and the snow has melted.

For the record, you have to understand that the two weeks prior to this snow, the temperatures were in the high 60s-low 70s. Such is gardening in the upper Midwest.


I planted some pots with herbs and snapdragons— both as ornamentals (the herbs are not for consumption), and thankfully, they got a small dusting of snow. The flakes were huge.


The tulips, as mentioned, will be ok with the snow since it actually acts as insulation. I cannot wait for them to bloom.


But all this snow really put me in a bad mood, I am being honest. So I spent the afternoon surrounded by things that remind me of Spring- my favorite Yankee Candle in the Greenhouse scent, gardening magazines and a big bunch of chamomile and twigs from our Indian Hawthorne tree. We needed to trim some branches that were too close to the window, and I just love the baby leave buds as they are beginning to open. So much promise. Instead of throwing them away, I put them with the frothy beauty of the chamomile. These little flowers just cheered me up. I got those from my friend Nola, who owns a flower shop in the next town. She gets them from a farm in California since she is a huge supporter of grown in America flowers.


It is just what I needed to cheer me up. Thankfully, this week it is supposed to warm up again to normal spring temperatures. And thank goodness for that!