Teresa Nielsen Hayden (tnh) wrote,
Teresa Nielsen Hayden


Seeds: Set out a tray of 120 Jiffy-7 peat pellets seeded with perennials: Achillea millefolium, Achillea m. var. Summer Pastels, Viola cornuta, Viola tricolor, Cheiranthus cheiri (one packet mixed colors, one packet all dark red), Centranthus ruber, Campsis radicans, Helenium autumnale, Lychnis coronaria atrosanguinea, Buddleia alternifolia, Rudbeckia grandiflora, Gaillardia grandiflora, Alcea rosea zebrina, Asclepias tuberosa, Dianthus deltoides, Dianthus superba, Echinacea purpurea, and Echinops ritro. They look cute, each with its popsicle stick on which I've written the seed name with a Sharpie marker.

Soon I'll do a second tray with the tender seedlings, mostly tomatoes and basil. I have a pleasant quantity of different basil seeds: sweet basil, of course, but also cinnamon, lemon, licorice, genovese, ruffled, lettuce leaf, globe, Greek mini, fino verde, dark opal purple, and holy basil.

Other doings: Located all (?) of last year's lilies and transplanted them to the triangle in front of the cherry tree. I'm thinking they'll do better if concentrated in a single area.

Planted two new rosebushes, both Mademoiselle de Sombreuil. Got them at Home Depot for $5.77 each. The trick is knowing that there are always one or two desirable roses in those big shipments of cheap bare-rooted roses HD gets every spring. That's how I got my Caldwell Pink last year.

Okay, the trick is also buying them from HD early in the season: shipped cold, still dormant, and there hasn't been much chance yet for HD's garden department to accumulate plant diseases. By mid-May last year even HD's premium potted roses were going yellow and dropping their leaves en masse, having one and all been zapped by something nasty. The only exception were some potted The Fairy, which I snubbed even though they'd been radically downpriced, as I didn't want to take the plague home with me.

My established roses are fine this spring, except for the miniatures, which all died over the winter. Don't know why. The chrysanthemums don't look like they made it. The Sanguisorba minor did. The horseradish has yet to show itself aboveground, but I don't believe for a minute that it all died off over the winter. Horseradish is one of those plants you'd better be sure you want in the contemplated location, because if you change your mind you'll be years getting rid of it.

The mugwort is rioting, herbaceous cockroach that it is.

Pruned the cherry tree for shape. The pruned branches are in a vase on my dining table, looking elegant.

Pruned the roses: viciously and heavy-handedly with the big red rambler in the corner, as it sends out meaty six-foot-long canes in all directions that can render that end of the garden impassable. Did the same thing to it last year and it bloomed like crazy, so it can't be too discouraged. Didn't prune its genetic twin over by the fence. Instead, switched its new eight-foot cane up into the neighbor's magnolia tree. That rose's incursions into the magnolia tree bloomed very prettily last year. Maybe the new people minding the yard next door will let it keep growing up into the tree this time.

Not sure what's going on next door. Appears the landlord hired a couple of young men to come in, clean up the yard, repaint the fence red and the patio furniture white, and generally get the place spiffed up. That's the yard that goes with the apartment where last year my next-door neighbor was murdered and then not found for a long time. Landlord's doing a complete renovation on the apartment: pretty much had to, under the circumstances.

On the other side of the yard, the Azerbaijanis have planted grapevines alongside the uprights of the crazy tottering wooden structure they put up last year. Thought that might be the idea. I'm not going to tell the city about them, but I have trouble believing their back yard construction projects would pass inspection. That sore-thumb arbor of theirs -- a story and a half tall, stretching from side to side and front to back in their yard -- is going to have a hard time escaping notice.

Next set of tasks: clean up rose prunings. Rake yard. See who wants some of that tradescantia, also some mint. I have way too much mint. Last year's experimental use of it as a groundcover was only successful from the mint's point of view.

Where in NYC can you buy tomato cages? I mean the plain wire kind, not the Deluxe Patio Tomato model HD keeps trying to sell me.
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