In both the front and back gardens, the milkweed is taking off like gangbusters!
One in the front even has some flower buds on it already and I saw a Monarch apparently laying eggs last weekend. I'd say this year's Monarch Waystation is well underway!
The front border continues to be a bit of a challenge. Originally there was a row of holly bushes at the back of the bed, close to the house, but they all died.
In my post from February 2010, Little Path to Nowhere, I posted how I laid a stepping stone path through the bed, to allow me access to work on it. I even planted some more holly bushes, making sure to amend the soil in the planting holes. All to no avail, they died too.
Interestingly, the only thing that seems to thrive in the no-man's land close to the house is milkweed. Okay, so some of them are so close to paving stones they make it impossible to actually walk on the pavers, but at least last year, I remembered to snip the seed pods off before they let loose with a gazillion seeds!
The other challenge in the front border is that the Indian Hawthorn and other bushes the builder put in have grown -- a LOT. They are now shoulder to shoulder and there's no room for me to plant anything in between them. I don't really want to rip them out because they do present a nice green border for the house, and also because I think getting them out would be a nightmare.
I planted New Gold Lantana along the front of the border the year before last, and that's starting to leaf out again, so perhaps the combination of that and the milkweed in the back of the bed will provide enough color. If all else fails, I can probably nestle some containers of annuals among the bushes for some pops of color.
More signs of spring in the back garden, this Blue Salvia (salvia farinacea) is leafing out nicely. Hmmm - look closely at the label. Doesn't that say "Upright Annual"? I wonder if it knows it wasn't supposed to come back this year?
In the veggie garden, the parsley is going strong, as are the garlic chives (not shown) and I was surprised to see a flower on the strawberry plant.
We had no luck whatsoever with the cucumbers last year, so we're got going to try those this year. Instead we want to try some peas and some Roma tomatoes. And we'll see what else takes our fancy.
I had been planning to do some more clean up in the garden today but we had a soaking rain (with accompanying thunder and lightning) and now the ground is waterlogged, so the gardening will have to wait.
Think I'll sit and watch the birds instead :-)
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.