"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Compost, Cosmos and Clematis!

Yesterday ended up being a fairly productive day in the yard.  At first it was kind of cold and I thought I wouldn't make it outside.  There are some days I don't mind being cold while I work, but yesterday wasn't one of them.  Luckily the sun came out in the afternoon and it warmed up a bit.  I managed to get another 10 bags of compost spread.  I know I need at least 15 or 20 more, but it sure is starting to look nice now.  That black gold really makes everything stand out.  Plus after all that work I didn't feel guilty finishing off a chocolate Easter bunny!
 I had a packet of Cosmos 'Bright Lights' that I planted too.  I have an area where the colors sort of clash.  I'm hoping these will help to transition from a pink and purple flower area into a yellow and red area. If it doesn't look great I just won't plant them next year, that's the nice thing about annuals.
Recently I bought a couple of  large blue planters that I wasn't sure what to do with.  I decided to put one in the middle of a flower bed.  Sometimes a large container with a few tall plants gives some nice added height.  I planted a few of the winter sown Cosmos 'Sensation Mix' in it and I'll probably just add more annuals for now.  
I wanted to plant the winter sown larkspur and hollyhocks but I ran out of time.  I also have some other seeds that I'd like to get planted, once the frost date is past I can plant almost all of my seeds except the sunflowers and zinnias.  Those I usually wait to do until the weather is a little warmer. 
Next, I tied up some clematis.  They seem to really just come back so much stronger each year.  I really don't do anything special for them other that try to prune them at the right time.  There's almost always one that will be the perfect height for growing up a post or along a fence or over a trellis.  You can usually find different ones that can tolerate anything from shade to full sun.  I think I counted I have about 7 different varieties now, and am always adding more.  Now that I have the nice blank space on the new fence I'll be looking for a new one.  The clematis jackmanii is growing like a weed, it's really probably my best performer.  It's already getting flower buds.
I also have 'Nelly Moser' growing with it.  It doesn't grow nearly as fast.
Today is supposed to be another nice day, my best garden friend and I have plans to go plant shopping.  I have a long list of plant wants, but I'm trying to pace myself!
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  1. Mornin' Catherine, I tried to get out yesterday but it just stayed too cold here. Maybe today! I want lots of Clematis too. I have 3 right now, well 4 counting one in 2 different places. I just love them and there are so many different beautiful ones.
    Hey I wanna go shopping with you gals, you always find the best buys! ;-)

  2. Good Morning Catherine- Boy have you been busy. Definately don't feel bad about the chocolate bunny. That is just to replenish all the calories lost while working so hard!

  3. Good Morning! That Clematis looks healthy and looks just like my Mexican Flame Vine! Ah! I love the fresh smell of compost! Black Gold! Right said. I love annuals too, especially because their blooms have vibrant colors and most of 'em are easy to grow.

  4. Now aren't you glad you got outside after all! I never cut back my Clematis. I just let it do its thing. Glad you enjoyed your chocolate bunny :). Have fun out and about today

  5. Glad you did get to go outside and work some, everything is looking and sounding great....when the heck is your last frost date anyway?

  6. Hi Catherine Clearly you have been very busy.

    Jackmanii does well doesn't it but I was very surprised you pruned Nelly Moser hard back and it comes again. Normally it is recommended only light pruning mine grews up some poles and is a big clump with very large flower buds which are one of the first to flower in May.

    The Jackmanii originates from a nursery only about 5 miles away from here grown by the Jackman family between Guildford and Woking. The nursery was taken over a few years ago by a big chain who changed the name and didn't have a clue of the conection with Jackmanii. A neighbour was working there at the time and was so disillusioned that she found another job elsewhere.


  7. I got out yesterday and worked in the garden for the first time. It felt so good. I got about a 1/3 of the clean-up done. I'm hoping I can get the rest finished tonight as I did the hardest work last night.

    I've grown Bright Lights cosmos and I just love them. I think you will like them too.

  8. Have a great time shopping! I hope you get tons of plants that will look great in your garden.

  9. Have a great time shopping! I hope you get tons of plants that will look great in your garden.

  10. Hi Catherine

    Bet the cosmos will look great in the blue planter.

    I have a Clematis Jackmanii which just takes off with little or zero help from me. I forgot to prune it this year so all the growths high up. That said it isn't a problem as the new growth is toppling back over the old and I love it.


    PS are they the wintersown cosmos in the picture?

  11. Hi Catherine. You're probably on your way home by now ~ hopefully with a car full of new plants!! I have to pace myself too. It's SO hard. Discipline is not my strong suit. I'm a container lover so the idea of putting your blue container in your bed is really appealing to me. I bet it will look great. I'm glad I'm not the only person enjoying chocolate bunnies. Too bad I'm not working as hard as you!

  12. Catherine - I understand about needing to pace yourself. You have some nice stuff growing. Can't wait to see the clematis blooms.

  13. Your sidebar looks fantastic. I love all the flowers. And that compost even has a nice looking package. I would pick that up over the other bags at the store. Funny how the packaging can make all the difference.

    You are getting so much done. Are you able to eat all you want?

  14. The plant shopping trip sounds like fun. Hope you will share photos of your purchases with us.

  15. It's always good to pace yourself so you don't feel overwhelmed. Of course those plants have a way with us when in the nursery.

  16. Linda - I hope you got out today, it was pretty nice. Wouldn't it be fun to go plant shopping?!

    Heather - That's how I look at it, a reward for all my hard work :)

    Chandramouli - I think only gardeners appreciate the smell of compost, most people think it stinks. To me it smells like heathy dirt!

    Dirt Princess - I was glad, because that meant today I could play :) Most of my clematis looks dead by fall so I cut it back, I know lots of people leave it though. I can't wait to see what yours looks like.

    Darla - Our last frost date was April 8th. The Seattle area is strange, so many microclimates just 10 or 20 miles away. We're a little further from the water so it's a little later.

    Joanne - That's very interesting about jackmanii. How could they not know I wonder? It' such a popular clematis. Your friend must've known they weren't very knowledgeable about plants.
    The Nelly Moser has never been cut down. It usually dies and breaks off. This is the healthiest it's ever looked so maybe this year I'll get some flowers.

    Dottie - Don't you just love getting the clean up done? Even though it's hard work it's also so exciting to think of what's to come. I'm glad to hear you liked the 'Bright Lights'. I've never seen it other than the picture on the packet. I love Cosmos though anyway!

    Tina - I did have fun, no heucheras though, they only had a couple, not the ones I wanted :(

    Rob - They are the winter sown Cosmos, I think the pink and blue will look good together. Isn't jackmanii great? So easy and yet it gives so many flowers for so long.

    Kathleen - I was pretty good today, mostly because I couldn't find what I was looking for, although that didn't stop me from buying other plants :) I hate for chocolate bunnies to go to waste, don't you :)

    Becca- Thanks, I don't think it'll be too long before some of the clematis bloom.

    Anna - Thanks, I've been trying to "spruce it up" a little :) They do have nice packaging for this compost. It's a pretty popular brand here. Sometimes we get it delivered by dump truck.
    As long as I'm hauling compost and digging up plants and doing hard work I think I can eat a little extra candy now and then :)

    Mildred - I will share pictures tomorrow :)

  17. Susie - Pacing myself is hard this time of year. It's just so exciting to see all those tables of plants isn't it? I always come home with a couple I didn't really plan on buying :)

  18. Ohhhh, plant shopping! Even more tempting than chocolate! Hope you got some lovely new plants and look forward to seeing them!

  19. You deserve the bunny!

    I love how everything greens up/perks up soon after an application of compost.

  20. Sounds like quite the productive day. Yay, I love cosmos but have yet to get mine started. Do you think it's too late? I like that trellis thing. I think I need more stuff like that around the garden. Are you going to SAGBUTT? We'll be out of town :(

  21. Catherine, thank you so very much for participating in Anna's Gardening by Letters. I so enjoyed receiving all the wonderful cards, letters, and amazing items that everyone sent.

    Muddy Boot Dreams

  22. Phoenix - Plant shopping and eating chocolate at the same time would be best :)

    Ginger - It does seem to make a difference doesn't it, especially after a good rain.

    Melanthia - I don't think it's too late. I just planted some and they don't take that long to germinate. You should try some!
    I won't be at SAGBUTT either, we just have so much going on this weekend with soccer games and fence building, etc. I'm planning to make the next one no matter what.

    Jen - I'm glad you received them. It's been a fun project to be involved in.

  23. Catherine~~ I counted yesterday. I have 22 clematis ssp.and cultivars. It was an obsession two summers ago. They thrill me to pieces. I just found a Honeysuckle vine 'Pink Lemonade' ($7.99 one gallon @ Home Depot) to cavort with Clem. 'Josephine.' It seems there is always room for more.

    I'm a huge fan of containers smack in the middle of the border. I look forward to seeing photos of yours.

  24. Hi Catherine, I've caught up with all your previous week's posts...and I'm bummed I missed that pond book give-away! A little pond has been on my wish list for years..maybe this will be the season :) I love the Easter Eggs in the garden...so colorful and cute. Abundant life coming from your yard...all so wonderful!

  25. Grace - I can't wait to see pictures of all your clematis, 'Josephine' is one that I'm looking for. Your new vine sounds very pretty and a great deal!

    Lynn - It's not too late to join the giveaway, I'll add you to it! Glad you have your internet back.

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