The Vertical Pallet Garden

A Pause To Enjoy The May Blooms

Spring is a busy time in the garden and I often forget to take a pause and enjoy the May blooms.   After all, I have already spent hours digging, weeding, transplanting, and sowing, so I had better sit back with a cup of coffee and relish in my achievements, before there are more weeds to pull.  Who am I kidding, there are ALWAYS weeds to pull.  Weeds or not, I thought it would be fun to talk a walk about, to photograph the plants currently in bloom, and give you a small tour of my deck, backyard, and garden.

The vertical pallet garden is the first thing you see as you walk out the patio door.  The pallet always gets lots of ooos and ahhs and is one of my favorite gardens to plant up each spring.

Only a handful of last years plants survived and it needed a lot of help.  To give it a little love, I began adding random plants I found in my landscape like creeping jenny, primroses, pansies, chives, and lamb’s ear.  They were all plants that had self seeded, or I no longer wanted in their current location, and were easy to dig up and transplant.  A few petunias and lobelia were added to fill the gaps.  I am loving how everything came together and cannot wait for the annuals to bloom.

The rhododendrons are the stars of my backyard at the moment and boy do I wish they bloomed all summer.  Their huge blossoms and vivid colors remind me of a lush, tropical Hawaiian garden and my yard wouldn’t be the same without them.  The red rhodies that are in full sun have already reached peak bloom and are dropping their flowers, but the rhodies in partial shade are just beginning to strut their stuff, giving me a couple of weeks left to savor them.

The Chinese Snowball Bush has never bloomed this insanely before.  About 4 years ago it was accidentally cut to the ground by an over zealous helper of mine and I thought for sure it was a goner.  To my delight, it is back and better than ever.  I have already cut 4 vases full of flowers from this bad boy and I may need a couple more before the blooms fade.  If you don’t already own a viburnum, I highly recommend you get to a nursery and purchase one stat.

Next up on the tour, is the hosta border that I have been cultivating for a number of years now.  Two summers ago, I had 10 hosta plants that were a decent size, but not as big as they are now.  At the time, we were revamping our backyard, so I dug the hostas up and divided them each into three plants, giving me 30 to work with.  We are now on year 3 and the hostas have never looked this glorious.   Like the gardening gurus say, “The first year perennials sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap.”  Leap they did!

Slugs don’t seem to be too much of a problem, but I did use Sluggo when they first began to grow and now I think there is just so many of them that the damage is hard to see.

As we round the corner, we come upon a perennial bed that is in the middle of being overhauled (more on that too come) but it does have a few stand outs like the lupine, iris and columbine, which will be saved and transplanted.  The blues and purples are a favorite of mine.

The honeysuckle vine in the veggie garden is just about ready to pop and the hummingbirds have been checking on it for the last 3 days now.  If we get a little sun this afternoon, I have a feeling the scent of honeysuckle will be in the air.  The clematis that is rambling up the vine should be blooming soon as well.

As we enter the veggie garden, you will notice that things are finally taking off.  The broccoli and cabbage have grown 3 inches this week alone, and the potatoes are going crazy.

The white lady turnips are new seeds for me this year, as is the French lettuce, and sadly only 1 seed germinated.  The spinach is just emerging after its first sowing was decimated by slugs (I HATE you slugs!) but luckily the lettuce is looking lovely and untouched by the little slimy bastards.

This year, I decided to start my cucumbers in a container because direct sowing hasn’t worked well for me.  We will see what happens when I transplant them.  The celery stayed an inch tall for weeks and is finally growing, as are the Red Acre cabbage.

The rhubarb plant is GIGANTIC and is the favored plant for the praying mantis’ the kids and I hatch each summer.  Stay tuned for more info on the praying mantis situation.

As for the fruit crops, things are looking promising.  The strawberry bed is loaded with budding fruit and the blueberry bush is as well.  Now, they just need moisture to plump them up into nice fat berries.

I was also excited to discover that I have 1 whole pear on my two-year old pear tree.  This pear is marked for my stomach so my family better not get any ideas.

Back on the deck, we see that the Sugar Sprint peas (my kids’ fav) are about to pod out and the chard is still in a holding pattern, but the red hot poker looks stunning.

None of the annuals I planted up in pots last week are blooming yet, but will be soon.  However, the beautiful container my parents gave me for Mother’s Day already looks lovely and is currently my favorite pot.  What a minute, why is my mom giving ME gifts on Mother’s Day?  It should be the other way around, but that is just how sweet and generous my parents are to me.  Love them!

That concludes our short tour of my humble, small town garden.  I hope you enjoyed the tour and come back later this summer to see how things are progressing.  Happy gardening!

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