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Yesterday’s garden post was getting a bit too long so today, I finish it off. I hope the anticipation of how the herb spiral turned out didn’t keep you up at night or distract you too much from your day. But you know, it’s like going to a commercial break at a critical moment during a television drama or the chapter of a thriller ending with the hero in danger. Well no, not really. I suspect there was very little suspense. Nonetheless, forward! Oh, and as always, click on the photos to enlarge.

herb spiral

herb spiral

Building the herb spiral wasn’t all that hard, it is just labor intensive. Build and add dirt, build and add dirt. Go to Home Depot for more. In spite of putting a bit of fill in the very middle bottom of the bed we used about 560 pounds (254 kg) of soil and compost to get it just right. Each bag weighed 40 pounds (18 kg). Let me just say that after that, when we went grocery shopping and I picked up a 20 pound (9 kg) bag of cat litter, it felt incredibly light.

Herb spiral built we dug out the “strawberry moon” on one side. I think we will eventually dig part of the curve a little wider, but it will do for now since there aren’t that many strawberries in it yet (variety Honeoye). After that we were tired out. We put all of our plants in the mini greenhouse (which is awesome by the way) to protect them from the predicted frost, and spent the evening relaxing.

Sunday morning, up bright and early again, we did a few chores, discovered we have a leak in the plumbing under the sink somewhere and wanted to cry. Bookman cut away part of the cabinet underneath the sink where the pipe goes down into the floor because we thought it might have been a small hole in the hot water pipe. But we saw nothing. So plumber called on a Sunday. Yikes! Turns out it is the drain. There is an elbow in the wall and that is where it is leaking. Of course. Brilliant place to put a pipe joint because these things never, ever leak. So we can’t let water go down the kitchen sink or use the dishwasher until the plumber comes back on Wednesday morning to cut a hole in the wall under the sink to get at the elbow. He is then going to replace all the pipes from the sink drain down through the wall and into the basement and presumably there will no longer be an elbow joint in the wall. He made a point to tell us he will not fix the wall. Expensive? Yes. But there is nothing to be done about it. We are pretty handy plumbers, Bookman and I, but we know when a job is beyond our ability.

ribbit!But back to the garden. I got the solar frog fountain out of the box and all set up. It’s so perfect. I put a couple of rocks in the basin that stick up just above the water so butterflies and dragonflies can easily get some water too. The water makes a quiet splashing and I love it. I made Bookman dig up the grass in the area I wanted to put it next to the clothesline pole. Whoever set that pole used a lot of concrete so the plants I had wanted right up around the pole and next to the fountain had to be set out a little further away, but maybe once they get bigger thy will fill in the space a bit more. We put play sand around the pole and under the fountain and in front of the fountain for a little birdie beach. Then around the fountain and the pole I planted Roman chamomile, anise hyssop, and yerba buena (c. douglasii). All of these are perennials so eventually they should make a nice little area.

Next we planted the herb spiral. From top to bottom: lavender (munstead), Greek oregano, culinary sage, black cumin,

planted spiral & strawberry moon

planted spiral & strawberry moon

calendula seeds, catnip, bachelor button seeds, lemon balm, calendula seeds, French sorrel, Johnny-jump-up seeds. The flower seeds are all annual edible flowers. Everything else but for the cumin, are perennial. You can also see the strawberry moon and our overflowing compost pile and shrub pruning pile. Once we get those all under control we’ll make the moon a bit wider. In case you are wondering what is in the area with the stake in the middle of it, there is a perennial prairie sunflower we’ve had for a few years that hasn’t come up yet but will soon. Behind that is a pile of woodchips. The city dumps huge piles of woodchips at local parks throughout the spring and summer and we are free to take as much as we want as often as we want. Bookman made three woodchip trips this morning each time filling up a bunch of 5 gallon (19 l) buckets and we pretty much ended up using all that he got.

I am trying again in the tiny side garden to see what might grow there. The shady woodland plants last year were a bust, though not a complete bust because two of them that I thought dead came back, a wood poppy and early meadow rue. What I added to try this year: marshmallow (A. officinalis), lovage and peppermint. I also planted a vine, virgin’s bower, a native clematis. We’ll see what makes it this year. And yes, I know mint can go crazy. This area is well away from the rest of the garden and if the mint wants to take over, it is welcome to. I may regret saying that.

Finn, Chandler, the Duchesse

Finn, Chandler, the Duchesse

Also planted today, in what we have now decided is for frivolous ornamentals, plants and flowers just because we like them, a white peony, Duchesse de Nemours. Already in the bed is a climbing rose, William Baffin (single, pink), an Alpine clematis (pink and white), and a jackmanii clematis (purple), and a tiny chives plant that we planted last year and I didn’t expect to come back, but I forgot how hardy chives are. It is the one that gets purple flowers, onion I think.

Before planting the Duchesse, we weeded and cleared the bed of detritus and Bookman got a bit too vigorous with the jackmanii, so much so that we are not sure he left enough of it for it to come back to us. We’ll see in a few weeks. Anyway, we also planted annual flower seeds: zinnia, nicotiana, and sweet alyssum.

Next to this bed and sort of behind Boo, we put a comfrey plant. A little away from that as part of our “berryer,” we put a thornless blackberry, variety Chester. It’s name is a no brainer! On either side of Hazel the hazelnut in the back corner we put Jan and Joel, two bush cherries. Like Chester, they came pre-named. And in the space between Joel and Clifford the big (red twig) dog(wood), we put a sunchoke. This is a perennial vegetable in the sunflower family. You might also recognize it as Jerusalem artichoke. It can get up to 10 feet (3 m) tall and produces tubers that supposedly taste something like a sweet potato. We have to let it get established before we can harvest any tubers, so maybe next fall we can dig some up and give them a try.

Are you tired yet? Still more planting to do!

The veggie garden. This will be quick. Heirloom tomatoes: two Bonny bests and one hillbilly potato leaf. Interplanted with

veggies beds

veggies beds

the tomatoes are French marigolds “little hero” and Thai basil “Siam queen.” The basil is also interplanted with sweet bell peppers. There are six of them. We got the variety pack, one each of purple beauty, valencia (orange), early sunsation (yellow), white, red knight, and sweet chocolate.

Whew! No wonder we are tired! There are still a few things left to plant including warm weather seeds. We’ll get to the rest of the plants during the week and the seeds next weekend. It was a lot of work, but wow, does the garden look great. Don’t worry, I’ll take more photos as things grow and start to fill in, especially when the flowers start blooming.

But before I go, I don’t know what we have done that has drawn them to the yard, but we had a couple of yellow-rumped warblers visiting us off and on this weekend. It was mostly the female hanging around. We have never seen these birds before and I had to run and get my birds of Minnesota book to identify them. What treat the flash of yellow flitting through the yard!

Back to books tomorrow. Promise!

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