Natural Gardener

February 16th, 2008
Natural Gardener

We’ve watched the weather reports all week long as it threatened possible sleet for the weekend. The forecasted temperatures kept getting revised upward but predictions of severe thunderstorms, high winds, hail and even tornadoes amended our usual prayers for rain to something like, “Please let it rain (on my garden), but spare us the tornado.” By Friday it was muggy and warm, the air heavy with pre-storm moisture, and the clouds gray and roiling.

I’ve been working so hard these last few weeks with the chore side of gardening that I decided I needed a little treat before the bad weather set in. So I took myself to the Natural Gardener purposefully to buy some organic fertilizer but also just to see what I could fall in love with this year.

Natural Gardener

Most of the display gardens have been cut back and cleaned up. Some are being remade and it looks like there are some new ones in the works. Everything should be beautiful for our Spring Fling. The herb garden looks quite nice pared down to its bones, nicer than it did when MM and I visited last October. One of the things I notice about these boney geometric gardens–they are built on a flat surface. The other is that any trees are well beyond the perimeter. If I wanted a garden like this, I’d have to cut down all our trees and bulldoze my yard. Even if I had the money to do that, I’d be reticent. I’m trying to compromise with little terraces.

The garden I am really inspired by at the Natural Gardener is the winter vegetable garden (see photo at top). Look at the size of those cabbages! The hoops are for row covers during Austin’s occasional freezes. I do better with winter vegetables than summer ones because I have a lot more sunlight in the winter and because the temperatures are more temperate. A lot of vegetables, even heat-loving tomatoes, don’t like it when nighttime lows are consistently above 70F/21C. Also the winter vegetables don’t contend so much with insect and viral pests.

The Natural Gardener has a lot of new perennials in. I keep saying that I need to plant some shrubbery and I was very taken with a white viburnum. Still, I walked away. I couldn’t imagine it in my garden–it seemed more suited for a Deep South or east coast garden. It seemed like it would stand out unnaturally. I’m going to have to read up on them first.

Of course, I walked around the rose section three times visiting all my old friends. I’m clearing space where I cut down the chinaberry tree last fall for some new roses. I haven’t decided what to get yet although I’m leaning heavily toward replacements for ‘Sombreuil’ and ‘Gruss an Aachen’.

This trip I was most impressed with the seed section. The Natural Gardener carries seeds from quite a variety of suppliers near and far: Renee’s Gardens, Botanical Interests, Territorial Seed Company, Seeds of Change, Lonestar Seed Company, Thompson & Morgan, and Baviccchi (I think). As usual, I’ve been too busy to send of a seed order and now it’s so late. I was hoping I’d find some of the things I circled in the catalogs. I’ll have to bring my list and make another trip next week.

I didn’t walk away without making a purchase of course.

Natural Gardener

I spent $36.08 as follows.: $11.95 on organic fertilizer (this is mainly for the potted plants); $9.99 on a fancy new oxalis, Oxalis pre-caprae, ‘Scotty’s Surprise’ (rumored to be discovered by and named after Scott Ogden); $6.99 on blood dock, Rumex sanguineus, because I fell in love with the foliage and need plants for my future bog garden; $1.59 on a packet of borage seed; and $1.62 and $1.19 on some of last year’s sunflowers seeds marked down 40%.

I got home in time to plant the borage and the oxalis. At 4:11 p.m. the wind shifted to the north, relieving our muggy 77.4F/25.2C high with a blast of cold air. About 20 minutes later it began to rain. Between 3:57 and 4:57 temperatures dropped 12F/6.7C degrees.

Now I can enjoy this nice rainy weekend catching up on some inside work…like reading more blogs.