Spring Greetings to our gardening friends!
We hope you are all enjoying time in your gardens, smelling the apple blossoms and other flowers that have been blooming weeks ahead of their expected time. The apricot and peach trees may have escaped the dreaded hard frost this early spring, and we are hoping for a great fruit harvest this summer. Our little apricot tree (‘little’ not because it’s so young, but because it receives no supplemental water) is loaded with tiny green baby fruits for the very first time!
In the ornamental garden, it’s time to get busy cleaning up last year’s dead flower stalks in the perennials bed, digging out unwanted tree seedlings while you can still see where they are, and cutting down warm-season grasses to let in light for the new growth (cool-season grasses have already greened-up, and should have been trimmed back in February). To keep the grass trimmings from making a mess, before you cut, wrap some twine or a short bungee cord tightly around the mass of dry blades, then cut below where they’re cinched and carry a neat bundle to the compost pile. Wait another week or two to prune your roses. If you are uncertain about how to prune your roses, you may want to register for Eve’s class ‘Fearless Pruning in the Rose Garden’, this Saturday at 1:30 pm (if we hear from you soon enough!). In fact, check the list of classes on our website and sign up now to expand your gardening skills. It’s also a good time to plant new hardy perennials, roses, shrubs and trees, and to lift and transplant perennials that you’d like to move to a new location (such as the progeny of perennials that self-sow). We are adding to our selection of plants every week now, so check in often!
In the vegetable garden, it’s time to work in your soil amendments (if you haven’t already) and put in your seeds and transplants for cool-weather crops. Down here in the valley, you can sow seeds directly in the garden for carrots, parsnips, parsley, arugula, spinach, lettuce, beets, onion, scallions, leeks, peas (if you plant right away), cilantro, radish, turnip, kale, swiss chard, rutabaga. Now is the time to plant potato ‘seed’ (we have organic Bintje, Red Sangre, and All-Blue), onion and leek plants (we have bundles of Walla Walla, Milestone and Red Zeppelin onion plants and Lancelot Leeks, and some other varieties in pots). It’s also high time to transplant starts of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, leaf-broccoli, celeriac, and celery. Harlequin’s Gardens is currently well-stocked with loads of beautiful plants of the best varieties of these veggies and more, as well as pre-planted salad boxes for continual harvests of ‘cut & come again’ lettuces, mesclun, spinach, etc. And we have plenty of seeds from Abbondanza Farm and Botanical Interests. It’s very helpful to use a light Row Cover fabric over your seed bed to protect it from drying out so fast, and also protect from critters. And Row Cover fabric is also great for protecting your new transplants from wind and direct sun while they get established. You can leave it on until harvest if you wish to protect crops from cabbage moths, leaf-miners, and such. Ask us for pre-packaged or custom-cut pieces
Now is also the time to set up your Solar Caps and warm the soil for a week or so, then begin planting your tomatoes and peppers in them for an early jump on the season. We have our first tomato and pepper starts ready for you, with a veritable avalanche of them to follow soon after! Take a look at our annotated list for this year at www.harlequinsgardens.com/plants/edibles/vegetablestarts.
Harlequin’s Gardens’ 20th Anniversary Sale
Save 20% off Selected Plants, Soil Amendments & Products
on the 20th of every month this season
Our first 20/20 Sale will be this Friday, April 20th. The ‘theme’ of this sale is planting to attract and support bees. Come in this Friday for 20% off
PLANTS: Limit: 5 sale-priced plants of each kind per customer.
Native Bee-Balm (Monarda fistulosa v menthifolia): Mint-scented foliage and stunning, nectar-rich purple-pink flowers that bring bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Leaves make a delicious tea. 2’ to 5’ tall. Very hardy perennial to zone 3, adaptable to many soils. Needs some moisture.
Native Blanket Flower/Firewheel (Gaillardia aristata): This easy, hardy 2’ perennial bears masses of large red daisies with fringed bright yellow tips. Thrives in hot dry places and blooms all summer. Keep dead-headed for more flowers and a neater look. A favorite of bees and butterflies.
Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia): Vigorous, tall and super-drought-tolerant, Russian Sage thrives in lean, dry soil, full sun, and heat. The smoky violet-blue flowers are a favorite with bees. Hardy to Zone 5.
‘Golden Baby’ Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis): A superb, compact upright native Goldenrod to 2’ tall, with golden-yellow sprays in fall. Drought-tolerant hardy perennial. Supports bees and many other beneficial insects.
Winter Savory (Satureja montana): Highly aromatic Mediterranean ‘sub-shrub’, not only great for culinary use, but its high thymol content helps bees fight off mites and diseases. Thrives on very low water and the white flowers provide late-season bee forage. Hardy perennial to 1’.
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum & A. ‘Blue Fortune’): A great drought-tolerant, native summer bloomer that supports bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Hardy perennial to 3’ tall. The flower spikes of the species are lavender, and ‘Blue Fortune’ is powder blue. The leaves make a lovely tea.
Blue Flax (Linum perenne & L. lewisii): Everybody knows this one already, yes? L. perenne is the European blue flax, with deeper blue flowers. L. lewisii is the native, with sky-blue flowers. Both very blue, very xeric. Local botanists have found that the two do not cross-pollinate.
Honeywort (Cerinthe major ‘Kiwi Blue’): This unusual annual is an excellent nectar source for bees. Very attractive foliage is a light blue-green, sprinkled with white polkadots. The clump of stems usually reaches about 1’ high and arches over with graceful nodding flower scapes that sport conspicuous blue bracts. Honeywort can self-sow moderately and make a nice colony.
SEEDS: ‘Bee Rescue’ and ‘Honey Source’ flower seed mixes from BBB Seeds, a local, Boulder-based seed company specializing in wildflower seeds and seed mixes. Limit: 2 bags of sale-priced seeds per customer.
‘Attracting Native Pollinators’ by the Xerces Society
Composted Dairy Cow Manure: this diary cow manure is from a local farm that is managed organically, and is thoroughly composted. A great locally-sourced amendment for nitrogen and carbon. Spread a layer 1” thick and work into your soil. Don’t over-do it; 1” is enough. Limit: 5 bags per customer at discounted price.
The above selected items are discounted only on Friday April 20, while supplies last.
Don’t miss our MAY DAY Festival, May 6 & 7, featuring live music, magic, Morris Dancers, Laughter Yoga, and more!
Member’s Plant Sale begins Monday 4/30 and continues through Sunday 5/6.
Please check our Spring 2012 Newsletter for the complete schedule and details of our May Day festival and Members Plant Sale.