First Daffodils

Winter is being stubborn and not leaving that easily, but spring is slowly moving along and showing up in more open flowers. First daffodils have opened up already and forsythia is in full bloom.
First colors peaking through from hyacinths even if they are a bit lost in grass, more will bloom soon.
Also first hellebore opened up - Golden Lotus variety, and my pink lemon is starting to bloom.
Slowly but surely everything is waking up.

Springfest Flower Show

This weekend was fluries and temperatures dipped into low 20s once again, but I spent a weekend surrounded by flowers - representing Master Gardeners of Sussex in NJ Springfest Flower and Garden show. It was awesome! Ok, so my role wasn't that important but the show itself was great. Flowers and wonderful landscaping, lectures and so many people! Loved it. Even people were wearing "flowers" which you'll see below. So here are some shots that I got and you can see more here:
All of this just made me even more impatient to plant out my gardens. Of course I have to be patient and wait for winter to go away and temps to go above 30 before even venturing outside.

Gardening Journey

Can you believe how fast time flies these days? Just as you think you did something "just the other day" turns into years. Case in point - looking back on progress of my gardens.  4 years ago on the same day (St. Patrick) I was totally exhausted from shoveling loads of dirt into the newly build beds that my hubby put together for me after I nagged him that I wanted something more useful than a brown lawn on the front of the house. Or more precisely, I really wanted more space to grow something as our original 5 beds on the side of the house was just not enough. But I guess I should step even further back in time to see bigger picture. Growing up in Ukraine we all gardened - that's how you got your food. You either grow it or foraged for it. And after moving to US I've missed that part of my life. Oh of course I had plants on balconies and patios but it was never the same. So the moment we moved into our home 6 yrs ago, Peter had build be a nice little playground on the side of the house. It was only one side that had more or less sunny location as the back side was filled with very old trees and to grow anything productively you need at least partial sunlight.
He had to work around the protruding fireplace on the side so decided to get creative and build beds in semi-circle design. As we quickly realized that wild life would be an issue given all the deer and groundhogs we saw on the back yard we had to fence it it. And put two "twigs" - cherry trees with the hopes that it will be nice and pretty eventually. And they've been growing into very pretty and productive darlings over the past few years.
It even looks pretty in spring, but of course by the end of summer everything gets overgrown with  grapes sprawling on the fence and pole beans climbing up the supports and sunflowers towering over everything. Still pretty in my view but I'm biased of course :)
And as I said - 5 beds was simply not enough. So my very patient and loving hubby set out to create a new garden. Since back yard was out of question, I finally convinced him to use front lawn. Not everyone would go for this choice, but we had a line of trees separating us from main road and not very visible from sides to the neighbor so we collaborated on the design and he build it. One of the deciding factors was that trees were on the northern side of the lawn and it got a lot of sunlight from east south and some on the west side. It is partially shaded on west, but it worked to our advantage as the garden got shielded at the hottest time of the day but got the beneficial sunlight in morning and early afternoon.  This was crucial for the vegetable garden. And for the shaded part on the left side I wanted to use shade-loving greens.
It was no easy task by any means. We started in first week of March, and as indicated above by St. Patty I was shoveling. Oy. We worked non stop for several weeks, and as soon as the beds were in place and soil was in and amended with peat and perlite to make it lighter (soil was very heavy clay) I started planting. Potatoes were first.
And we kept building around it. The borders were next, then he made an Arbor for the entry. Yup, by hand all by himself. Did I mention how much I love my hubby?
 And we kept shoveling more dirt and planting more and more to make it pretty and tried to keep up with the spring planting season. It was definitely a race as I was determined to have it up and running.
 After the structures were in place and basic seeds were in soil I tried to make it "pretty". A lot of work went into it. But I also wanted to make it functional for a long term so we added grapevines to grow by the fence so we'd have our own grapes for next 30+ yrs.
 That summer it flourished! Outside the garden we paired a lot of flowers like peonies, daffodils, lavender and mixed with herbs like thyme and oregano and some annual flowers to attract pollinator bees and beneficial insects.  And of course by mid-summer it's a green maze! But I love it.
But the journey continues and I'm looking forward to cleaning up both gardens and planting them up in next few weeks and see how they'll do this year. Because this year I'll be traveling a lot more than usual I'm restricting myself on what I'll be planting and sticking to basics.  And of course still working on building out back yard patio, but update on that will be in another post. One step at the time. For now I'm just happy to move along and share all ups and downs with you :)

Spring is in the air...

Spring is slowly rolling into our area - very slowly, and at times it feels like a roller coaster with temperatures. Last week for two days it was 70+, and then down to 22 again. Nuts!  So not much of updates to really give as I'm trying to tie up some lose ends on many fronts, but here are few of them.
First is of course the seedling trays are in place and waiting, and to expand that front we got a new coldframe  
 and a new seedling "greenhouse" for the deck. It's not sturdy and not heated, but it's a walk-in and will be enough to house the cold-tolerant plants like broccoli etc. You can see how my hubby was finishing up the set up in picture.
Around the house first spring flowers are slowly trying to open up, and peaking through the ground.
Crocuses are always first to showcase their beauty, but daffodils, hyacints and tulips are right behind them growing fast.
Once they're all go into bloom my front garden will be very pretty. I also planted a lot of new bulbs around the back patio and new ponds so can't wait to see what made it through the winter.
And at home more flowers are in bloom - my orchids love this time of the year and blooms are gorgeous. My orchids at works also full in bloom and i'm loving every moment of it.