Shaker Gardens Thread: Early May Edition

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Hello Shakers! It's May, and in this part of the world, that means lots of gardening has been going on! As you can see from the picture above, my dianthus are doing well. This is a variety I sowed last year, informally known as "Gillyflower," one of several flowers to be called by that name. (It's also one of a few different flowers called "Sweet William.") Whatever you call it--it's nice to see every morning as I step out the door!

I'm a little behind this year, due in large part to some academic work. That means I don't have vegetables like I usually do by now. We've had a cooler spring than usual, which for Southern gardeners means a longer spring than usual. Great news if you're growing radishes, or daffodils:

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I also had some later-blooming tulips this year that did unusually well. This is a peony-flowering tulip. I planted a bunch of these last fall from a Van Engelen collection and they really did look nice:

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I was really happy that they turned out so well. We had a mild winter, but I'm pleased to report that my perennials that need chilling hours seem to have gotten enough to come back. I have rhubarb coming up, and my gooseberries and jostaberry are coming out of dormancy. I know they are never going to be totally happy in this climate, but if I can get enough for pies, they will have been worth babying along with afternoon shade and lots of watering.

One plant that doesn't seem to need a lot of babying is my miniature rose bush. This was a gift from colleagues when my mother passed away in 2013. It blooms its heart out every spring and summer since, and it takes up very little in the way of space. It's disease resistant and handles bugs quite well. The colors are very intense in the right light...this picture does not so it justice. The flowers are big enough to cut and put in a bud vase.

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I've been busy planting tomatoes, peppers, cukes, zukes, luffah gourds and several kinds of pumpkins, along with lots of pollinator-attracting flowers: calendula, zinnia, allysium, marigolds, nasturtium and dill. The latter also double as kitchen herbs, so it's a win-win. I am also trying interplanting oinions with my pumpkins to discourage squash bugs. They did a number on my cushaw squash last year, and, while I can mostly keep them down by hand harvesting, I am going to see if this helps at all.

Another challenge I have set myself this year is finding a good place to plant my iris. My neighbors have iris flourishing, so it's not the climate. It's my light levels. I have a likely spot marked out; of course the test will come next spring when they are supposed to bloom. I did have some later-blooming Dutch iris to brighten things up. They are easier to grow:

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One plant I am really happy about is my "Peggy Martin" heirloom rose. This rose has an interesting story, relating to it surviving Hurricane Katrina. I bought this last year and it starting blooming the very first season. It went dormant in the winter and is blooming again--profusely. It's an old variety, clearly, and seems incredibly vigorous. Looking forward to seeing how long it blooms this early summer!

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Shakers, how does your garden grow? Whether it's a window box, an acre or two, a flower bed, or a single houseplant, feel free to share your garden stories and pictures below. If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, feel free to join in with your fall garden stories! If it's still too cold to garden where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, feel free to share your plans for the season! As a commenting reminder, please remember that everyone has different priorities and needs when gardening: cost, food production, organic, low water, etc. Please be respectful of this in comments.

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