Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring renewal

I love spring. Mostly. Except when its rainy and gloomy. Every. Day. Which it has mostly been since February. Its teased us with a few warm and a couple HOT days, with the sun poking out maybe once a week otherwise.

It has, however, brought my "garden" in full bloom and our new lemon tree blossoming. So instead of seeing brown and dead when you come by, you see green and pink and white and yellow and purple, and smell the heavenly scent of our lavender and roses.

I had wished to have another veggie garden, and may still add some more strawberry bushes and another lemon tree, but aside from flowers in pots I dont think Im going to be doing much else. I have a lot of work to do inside before baby comes (once we actually know what baby is!).

Im a huge fan of perennials, because Im a little lazy when it comes to yard work. And because theyre less temperamental for the most part. Im an even bigger fan if they add something besides beauty, such as scent or heat tolerance or attract birds and good insects while repelling bad ones. Not to mention, fresh flowers inside to brighten a room!

What we have currently in our yard is:
Sweet broom-smells and looks just like its name. Attracts bees and grows to be quite large and can be pruned as a bush or tree.

Snapdragons are heat tolerant and fairly drought tolerant, although do better with adequate water supply. Theyre great show pieces and fillers for large or small gardens, and ok for pots. Plus, they make excellent and inexpensive bouquets in many colors. I have white, pink and yellow.
Lavender smells awesome, as you all know. Its great in home remedies, sachets, teas, cookies...I could go on. Its also very beneficial to a garden for several reasons-heat and drought tolerant once established, attracts bees, and repels certain pests. Its also very showy.
Rosemary, like lavender, has many uses. Its slightly more difficult to care for, they need less sun than lavender and prefer cooler spots, but offer too many benefits to not choose for your garden. Cooking is a huge one for me, but the scent is so amazing I would use it no matter what. And its soo pretty!!
How many people can resist a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade? That in itself is reason enough to plant a few lemon trees.
Fresh strawberries are sooooo much better than store bought. Im not going to list all the qualities of strawberries, Im just going to say- FRESH STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE! Theyre pretty easy to grow, but plant with thyme to deter pests.  
Petunias are just pretty, and they come in tons of colors perfect for spring and summer. Theyre annuals so must be planted every year, but theyre so pretty and easy to grow. Theyre great ground cover and grow fairly bushy close to the ground....look great around rose bushes. They need full sun. I keep them in pots, typically I choose the white ones.
Planning a garden can be fun, but also a little intimidating. What to buy, how much, where to put it all, do want gets a little crazy when youre surrounded by tons of flowers at the nursery, especially when you want them ALL. The best way to buy; plan ahead. Know where youre going to put it all, what the sun/shade ratio is and how much water you can or are willing to use, and know how much time and effort you are willing to put into planting and care of your plants. Dont waste your money on something like azaleas, unless you have the time to prune and baby, and lots of shade. Its a good idea to know what colors youre wanting as well, this way you can avoid buying colors that dont go well. Also, think about pots. Tons of flowers, fruits and veggies do fantastically well in them, and if you have a porch like I do, add depth and beauty closer to the front door.
I do a lot of my planning using websites/info like the following:
Just to name a few. These have loads of info on planting guides, zones, mixes, even composting. 

Gather a few supplies; hoe, rake, spade, hose, and prepare for a pretty welcome for your family, friends and neighbors. And yourself!!

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