Thursday, April 24, 2014

G is for Gardening, and Grrrrr....

It's well seen that Gardening begins with a G - G for Grrrrrr, that is. (Arms folded, bosom heaving stance.) Honestly, it's almost impossible to garden in northern US places like Chicago.

Last winter was so brutal I have so far lost one 7 year old, 8 foot high Buddleja/Butterfly bush, two 7 year old, Russian sage bushes (aren't those things meant to be indestructible?) a 3 year old sage plant, a rhodadendrum and 3 delphinium.

Completely dead Butterfly Bush.  

Somehow the chive made it through!

The added problem we had this winter (apart from the usual sub zero temps) was extreme sub zero temps, and ten feet of snow. Sometimes the snow can act as insulation, but when it melts a little and then refreezes, as it did this year, all it does is kill the roots.

I hate it when plants die.

Chicago gardening experts advise holding off any planting until the 1st of May, when we can almost safely assume there won't be another overnight frost. That means that your newly-planted garden might have a chance of looking full and bountiful sometime in September, - if the plants can make it through the heat.

I recently bought myself a cheap little miniature greenhouse, thinking that I could start my herb seeds off, and bud a few coleus plants etc. Spent last Sunday potting, put all the seed trays in the greenhouse and zipped it up.

Although there wasn't an overnight frost, next morning the two small cuttings I had included were looking decidedly droopy, so they are now back on the kitchen window sill and the greenhouse is now wearing the BBG grill cover between the hours of 5pm and 10am. We'll have to wait and see if the seeds survived.

Nice and warm in the kitchen.

Sometimes I wonder if it's worth all the effort, but I can't face a summer of desolate looking back garden either.

Sigh.

8 comments:

  1. I live in southwest Michigan, which may be in the same planting zone as you.

    Perhaps planting on May 1 is too soon. We get together at my Mom's house for Mother's day, and if the weather forecast looks fine, we plant then.

    Our yard looks horrible, but when I go out for walks I see that so do our neighbors. Lots of matted brown grass.

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  2. Carol - I still can't get used to the fact that almost everything dies in the winter. Apart from a bush here and there, there's nothing but twigs and matted brown grass, as you say.

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  3. You know, there's something about the English and their gardening . . . probably having to do with a temperate climate. I was out in my garden near Boston, MA, today, having an absolutely marvellous time but dreading the heat of the summer, and wishing it was as it is for my English relations, who have gardens where things actually grow for months and months and months rather than getting knocked off by snow and then by heat.

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  5. Oh dear...... I would hate that.
    Buddleas over here are practically indestructible and as you know, grow where you don't want them too like on a roof or somewhere that you can't get to pull it out.
    I don't know what you can do. Are there no native plants that you can grow...... that would withstand extreme temperatures.?
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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  6. Wow, I did not know that Russian Sage *could* be killed....on the other hand, the chives seem to be doing well. Maybe it's time to replant the whole place with them? ; )

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  7. I hate it when plants die to. I'm not planting much this year, I usually do veggies. I've never had luck with delphinium, the slugs always get to them. And slug/snail season here in the UK is at its height. Good luck in the garden!

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  8. I hate it when plants die to. I'm not planting much this year, I usually do veggies. I've never had luck with delphinium, the slugs always get to them. And slug/snail season here in the UK is at its height. Good luck in the garden!

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