Like Patience, Don’t Pray for Perseverance!

I’ve said before that I am better able to abstain than moderate—chocolate, cute shoes, rich coffee, television.

I’ve learned this month that building a new garden was no different. Once I started, going full-on seemed perfectly fine.

The early stages of the garden were worked with mindfulness to my arthritic spine. Then I prayed to persevere and work steady at putting down the ground cloth, bricks, and the next day all of the mulch. Even though it is a small garden, I was laid low…for days.

That prayer has been acknowledged as pure pridefulness and lack of humility. Like patience, one should pray carefully and specifically about fortitude. The lesson of ignoring moderation cost me time in bed with ice packs, doctor visits, and medication. I encourage others with physical limitations to not be as rash.

The gaining of patience is learned through trials. Gaining the grace to persevere is learned by a steady pace through difficulty, not by a bull-headed charge to the other side!

That being said, let’s get back to the garden…click through to read the firstsecond, and third work efforts on the new Marian garden.

edging joined and mowHaving laid the ground cloth, I placed the bricks in the trench with the cloth tucked underneath. This arrangement would allow the mower wheels to ride on top and eliminate the need for hand trimming. By interspersing smaller broken bricks with the full sized, a smoother curve is created. The smaller bricks also allowed the edging to be incorporated at the end of the bed with the fieldstone walkway and hill of lavender.

poetry stonesUsing a lettering kit for making stepping stones, I made a few word-bricks “Hail holy Queen, Mother of Mercy” that I added to the line.poetry stones placed

I prefer uncolored cypress mulch. Buying a load is less expensive than bagged and a lot of work to move. The standard bagged cypress is 3 cu. ft. and kind of heavy to work with. A home improvement store in my area carries 2 cu. ft. bags, still too much for me to lift but easy enough to maneuver. The clerk stacked the bags in the back of my little Ford wagon. Once home, from there I could slide them to the bumper, split the bag length wise, and roll the contents into the dump wagon. It was easy to tip the wagon up in the garden and spread the cypress.

mulchedRecommendations are that a three inch pile of mulch be laid to prevent weeds and hold moisture. Having used a ground cloth to cut down on weeds—it also prevents the cypress from touching soil and breaking down—two inches of mulch would suffice. Leave about a palm-width of cypress away from the stems/trunk of bushes.

I was fortunate enough to find an old trellis in fair condition. By mixing outdoor paint leftover from the prayer box, I was able to paint it periwinkle blue. The trellis was placed over the late summer blooming clematis, Sprinkles, that I had planted earlier. Its a Group Three Prune, being cut back hard to about 6” in early spring, and has s a lovely 4-6” wide deep pink bloom with white freckles. Mother’s blue mantle will contrast nicely with it, don’t you think?

trellis after

trellis before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the aid of a friend, the Marian statue was loaded into the wagon and rolled from behind the tree to its new home.

The garden was completed in time for The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on May 31. Reflections on the journey, Mother’s and mine, will be posted in a couple of days. For now, the view from the porch is lovely.

Marian Rose Garden Complete

 

(All images by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB. All rights reserved.)

Jump Start Your Garden by Direct Seeding, Practical Gardening

shutterstock_138850070 Planting SeedsMost of us want our gardens to come back to life as soon as the snow is melted. Once the soil is thawed, you may be tempted to buy plants and get them in the ground, but resist the urge. For those of us in USDA Zone 5, we can still anticipate a hard frost, or freeze, until mid-May.

Another option to consider for your garden is direct seeding cold-hardy vegetables, herbs, annuals, and perennials. Many of these plants will do much better when the air and soil temperatures are cooler. And the costs of seeds are a lot less than flats of plants if you are on a tight budget.

Make sure your garden is not too wet to be worked. If you pick up a clump of soil and squeeze it and find it remains in a tight ball, or water drips out, it is too wet to be worked, so wait awhile. The soil is best worked when the clump of soil falls slightly apart after it is squeezed. Working a garden that is too wet will compact the soil and damage roots of existing plants.

As you prepare to plant, work in compost or peat moss. Lightly fertilize the soil where you plan to grow annuals and vegetables.

Direct seeding is easy. My technique is to scratch up a patch of soil to the depth as indicated on the seed packet, and sprinkle the seeds over top. I then take a handful of the soil and sprinkle this over the seeds and water lightly. To water lightly, use a misting head or fine sprinkler on the end of your hose. A spray bottle works well for small areas. I have found that a watering can with a sprinkling head often pours too harshly and the soil washes off, exposing the seeds.

If you want to plant in rows, make a shallow straight trench to the depth indicated on the seed packet—pile the soil to one side of the trench. Space the seeds as directed, and then push the piled soil over the seeds. Again, water lightly.

For seeds planted less than an inch deep, do not pat down the soil, as some gardeners do, I prefer to let the water settle the soil against the seeds instead.

Vegetables to plant by mid-April would include potatoes, onions, and garlic. You can now seed peas, plants in the cabbage family, Swiss chard, spinach, carrots, lettuce and arugula, radishes, beets, turnips and rutabaga.

It is also the time to direct seed perennial herbs such as chives, oregano, and sage.

Though still too early to plant for Zone 5, come May you can direct seed annual herbs parsley and dill. The annuals that can be direct seeded are snap dragons, petunias, calendula (some consider this an herb), stock, sunflowers and alyssum.

When it comes to perennial seeds, there are a lot to choose from. Some of the easiest to direct seed are blanket flower, black-eyed Susan, forget-me-nots (careful, these can become weedy), lupine, columbine, tickseed, coneflowers, and candytuft.

If you are someone who uses weed-inhibiting chemicals, such as Preen, remember that this product prevents any seed from taking root—including those you want to grow. Be sure to wait until after your seedlings have become well-rooted and sturdy-stemmed to spread the weed inhibitor.

It won’t be long until you see the seedlings pushing through the soil to become part of the joy you find in the garden.

(Image: Gardening – Pea Seeds by Space Monkey Pics, at shutterstock.com.)