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The 2012 veg garden website is up now.

Before:
tree trunk

tree crown with dead branches
Notice the various branches that have not leafed out.

bark peeling away from base of tree
Bark could be pulled off in sheets, by hand.

During:
tree worker being raised up into tree
Up he goes.

tree worker using chain saw raising a cloud of sawdust
Vrrm. Surprisingly the toddler slept through it.

large limb just sawn off
It’s away!

limb being craned away
Being lowered to the street (this is actually a different limb from the above).

the main trunk being craned away
The main trunk now going. We had this part sawed into fireplace length. Still need to get it split.

After:
the area after the tree has been removed

More afternoon sun now, which will be good for my new foundation garden.

The big dying cherry tree in the front yard comes down today. I have mixed feelings about this. It’ll make the front yard a lot sunnier, so we can put veg there and I can worry less about some of the full sun plants I’m planning to put in the foundation bed. On the other hand, it’s a venerable old tree that probably would still be fine if not for the grading work that was done when our house was built (60 years ago!). This kind of cherry (prunus serotina) doesn’t often get this big. And I’ll miss seeing the line of the trunk from the dining room window.

Also: prunus serotina is a tree with a good deal of wildlife value. It’s the larval host for a number of butterfly and moth species. I see birds perching on it all the time, and I really hope there aren’t any active nests up there :(

On the plus side, the tree guys will also be cutting down the invasive glossy buckthorn that seeds itself around everywhere.

Pics to come.

1. The direct-sowed spinach is exactly the same size as the spinach started inside and transplanted, with approximately 85% less work.

2. There’s a bit of a bloom-lull going on at the moment – basically it’s geraniums and nothing else. Find another May-bloomer, please.

Our 2011 vegetable garden website is up! Our radishes are up! Our peas are up! Our lettuce is up! And our kale seedlings have sunburn, doh.

I pulled a grocery bag’s worth of garlic mustard today. But! one of my hepaticas is blooming!! I was sure they’d all been dug up by the squirrels and chipmunks, but one of them has lived!

Here’s a plant I definitely want for the garden:

This is purple milkweed, asclepias pupurascens. It’s an endangered species in Massachusetts. I took this pic in the rare plants area at Garden in the Woods. Although endangered, it looks like it’s possible it get purple milkweed commercially, at least as seed. One day, if I have my way, a bunch of these will replace one of my many stands of orange daylilies.

You may remember that a few weeks ago I noticed a black swallowtail in the garden. Well, today we have this:

It’s a baby black swallowtail caterpillar. Hopefully it’ll survive the birds long enough to get to the chrysalis stage.

Look at these lush leaves!

What plant is it that’s made such gorgeous growth?

It’s my pathetic radishes, that’s what.

I’ve had pretty poor success with radishes. These particular ones are supposed to be watermelon radishes, white on the outside and pink on the inside. I’ve had them from my farm share, so I know they grow for somebody. But both last year and this they’ve produced huge lovely tops and tiny woody roots. And they were already starting to go to seed, so I know they weren’t going to get bigger. I wonder why this happens? Anyway, pulled them all out yesterday, which should make room for the expansion of the tomato.

In other news, the pea flowers noted previously have now begun turning into these:

Peas!

My peas are blooming. Pretty flowers :)

Today I saw a black swallowtail butterfly in our garden, hovering over our carrots and parsley. Yay!

Other butterflies seen in our garden this year:

  • cabbage whites (non-native, ubiquitous, and the first butterflies I saw this year)
  • a yellow one I think is a clouded sulphur
  • a red admiral (apparently a banner year for them)
  • a eastern tiger swallowtail just passing overhead

And it looks like monarchs have arrived in Massachusetts, so maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll see a few of them too.

Garden blog, eh, what?

Yes, so, this is my new garden blog. Welcome. Not sure how or how much I’ll end up using this. Time will tell. In the meantime you can read the lay of the land post or look at a plan of our vegetable garden.

Or ask me questions!