From last Sunday through Thursday we had nothing but cold, grey, rainy days. We even managed to close out the month of April as the second rainiest one on record in the Twin Cities and those records go back 150 years so that is saying something! The rain has saved us from having to water the seeds we’ve planted but the cool and grey has kept them from being able to really get going. The week ahead will make up for it though with temperatures every day hovering around 60F (15.5C). I know to many of you that doesn’t sound like much but it only got up to 57 (14C) today and I had the windows open and was outdoors in the garden in light long sleeves. April showers bring May flowers. I am ready for the flowers now please.

I spent some time out in the garden today looking at everything to see how it was doing. I am pleasantly surprised at just how much has come back after the long, cold winter we had. The lavender didn’t make it which I am not surprised about. It is always marginal here anyway and only once have I had it survive a winter only for it to be killed off the next. So I think there will be no more attempts at lavender in my garden. The native clematis I planted last spring did not make it nor did the small peppermint. Everyone tells me peppermint is impossible to kill yet I managed to! I feel like I should get an award or something. The oregano didn’t survive either. I thought it was going to, it was looking like it was sending up little green shoots about two weeks ago but the return of cold must have done it in. And the lemon balm, it didn’t even pretend to make it. I found out just today that I should have put mulch on both of them for the winter. Well, I’ll get new plants and try again.

I was surprised that no crocus or grape hyacinth came back this year. They’ve been growing in my garden for years and poof! now they aren’t. Also not making a comeback is an alpine clematis I’ve had for about five years. I’m a little sad about it, it had such pretty pink and white bell-shaped flowers that would come on mid to late May, but it’s death has solved a problem so I can’t be too upset.

This coming Friday is the Friends School Plant Sale. Bookman and I make a day of it. We have Friday through Sunday off to tire ourselves out in the garden and we look forward to it every year. I spent time yesterday afternoon going through the plant list we put together and figuring out where we will put each item on the list. When I got to the winterberries that Bookman wants so badly I was stumped at where to put them. Bookman and I talked about it last night and decided to put them in a spot I didn’t think ideal, but when you’re desperate. Anyway, this morning it came to me that with the alpine clematis dead there is room on either side of our climbing rose into which the winterberries will fit. Hooray!

I wanted to get a grapevine this year to grow up against the south side of our deck and create a screen from the hot sun. Alas, there were only four grapes on offer and all of them were noted as being good for wine. I want table grapes thank you very much. So we talked about doing hardy kiwi instead but when it comes down to it, Bookman isn’t feeling the required trellis building this spring. He has promised to do it by the end of the summer so it will be ready for next spring though. And who knows, perhaps next year there will be a decent table grape at the sale.

Even after winnowing down the list we are still getting quite a lot of plants. The car will be full! I will have details and all sorts of photos for you next week.

I lifted up part of the fabric row cover on the polyculture bed today to see if anything might be sprouting and I did a little happy dance when I saw tiny lettuce and radish sprouts! Best of all, the fabric has really worked to keep the critters from digging in the bed. I’ll be planting corn next weekend and covering it with fabric to protect it. Last year the squirrels ate all my seed corn, but not this year! I might be a bit slow but me human and me smarter than squirrels!

Besides all the planting we will be doing in the next couple of weeks we have other garden projects ahead: a small pond and a new compost bin. The pond will be made from a plastic storage bin and dug into the ground. The compost bin will be a “two chamber” one kind of like this. The one we have now is a black plastic round thing that is impossible to turn and next to impossible to get any compost out of without taking the bin apart and moving it. The new one will take up a bit more space but it will be completely worth it.

So there it is. The birds are singing. The sun is shining. Some of the trees are beginning to have a misty green haze around them as their leaf buds start to unfurl. The garden is stretching and yawning and waking up from its winter nap and so am I.

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