One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Mid-May Garden Report


Back home in Orleans and there’s plenty of plant news to fill you in about. 

Sweet-PeasThose pansies and violas I had potted up Way Back When had been looking a little deflated out on the porch, despite my regular waterings.  But as you can see, our week of rain brought them right back and they are thriving now.

Here, too, I’m happy to present the five sweet pea seedlings that survived the early march planting indoors.  Sorry to say many did not germinate, and the three others which had have sadly not passed The Test.

Spearmint-PotI’ve also recently potted up a new spearmint plant.  I’m a big fan of orange slices and spearmint in my iced tea on a hot summer day, so I always like to have a pot of this stuff handy.

Anyone who’s made the mistake of releasing some mint into the garden (or tried to eradicate some that’s already taken over)  knows the stuff is unstoppable and will just spread everywhere, so for any kind of mint, potting is the way to go. 

This is a nice large planter which should give the plant plenty of room to stretch its legs.


Downstairs in the fence garden, the show continues, as the stalks of purple money plant flowers climb up to match the full height of the split rail fence.  Meanwhile, about a foot away, the pink tulips were enjoying the final moment of their song when I took the group photo down below. 

Violas-and-PansiesBy now, they have shed all their petals and their stems remain for me to cut back (leaving the foliage, of course, to suck up solar energy for next year’s flowers).  The red and purple tulips, however, seem to be hanging on a little bit longer, which is nice.

Meanwhile, the pansies and violas have been pinched back and deadheaded enough times that the plants are beginning to spread out a little and offer more flowers each day.  I haven’t moved them to shadier locations yet, as I had considered previously, but am trying to be a little more diligent about deadheading, which keeps the flowers looking pretty fresh.   Here again, the recent rains have been quite helpful.

Lily-of-the-ValleyThe lilacs in the yard here are all coming on strong this week, and its quite a  treat to catch a whiff of their sweet fragrance on the warming air.  Ahhh.

Just in case the lilacs weren’t intoxicant enough, Nature provides us a double-whammy, in that the sweet lily of the valley always coincides with the lilac blooming. 

It’s almost overwhelming how beautiful it can be to walk through the garden when these two are in full bloom!



I have to revise my count for the flower stalks I’ve spied on the garden heliotrope, aka, white valerian. 

There are a dozen of them, and they, too, have now reached the same height as the money plant stalks, though I expect of the heliotrope another foot or two before we reach full blooming.

This is one of the few plants in my traveling collection which remain of those I brought with me from New York State and it is always a special treat.  I have never seen it so promisingly prolific, though, and I’m choosing to see this news as the most delightful of omens.

Meanwhile, in last week’s old-timey slide show, I offered you a first glimpse of the antique strain of irises in the overgrown bed on the west side of the house.  I’m told that eventually, these blooms will tower, but for now these early blooms remain a little on the short-ish side.   They are no less lovely for that, however, with their reddish-brown and yellow markings.

Vintage-Rootbeery-IrisWhat beauties!

Once they are finished blooming, I have plans to divide and replant them, which should encourage an even more exciting show next year.

As always, I missed the company of My Purry Pal Who’s Fun To Be With on my recent roadtrip (though of course the trip meant opportunities to visit with my two cousin kitties, Dewey at Mom and Dad’s and Cooper at Sue and Joe’s…and that’s always fun, too!), and I was happy to return to him on Monday evening.

Lazy-Cat-in-the-SunMister Gray was pleased to see me, it seemed, but also was quite eager to get back to the Downstairses’ place, where he likes to pal around when I am away.  

He had, in my absence this time, become quite fond of their big sliding glass doors onto the back yard and the world-sized ground level view of Birdland they afford.

I’m happy to say that he has newly come around to accepting our second-story lot in life, as the week has progressed.  This lazy kitty is once again quite content to lounge in the large parallelograms of light our windows and porch door offer, as you can see.

Zinnia-SeedlingsIn another part of the Nest – two different locations, actually – those 24 zinnia seedlings are continuing to grow very nicely and before long I’ll be relocating them into the window box on the porch where they will spend the summer.

It’s that time of year when there is certainly plenty of garden activity to tell you about.  For instance, I haven’t gone on nearly long enough about lilacs yet.  And I don’t feel like I’ve given rhododendrons and azaleas much attention yet this year.  There’s also another bed or two to be rejuvenated for the season ahead, and an assortment of seeds – including sunflowers and bachelor’s buttons – to get planted pretty soon. 


NEXT TIME:  Let’s get lilacs now, everyone’s learnin’ how.  Come on Lilac Safari with me (with apologies to the Beach Boys)!


Comments on: "Mid-May Garden Report" (5)

  1. The viola are lovely Greg, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an iris those colours before. The growing season is well on it’s way now, isn’t it? Time for me to do my traditional reading of your blog backwards, ta ta for now!

  2. Your purple-violas picture is indeed lovely. And, I’m not sure I should say that, but the more the spring progresses your place get more and more this familiar improving the mood feeling again.

  3. The lilacs in my room are finally starting to make their olefactory presence known, and with Mother’s Day safely past I can buy more for about a third of the cost. So there’s that. Still not as wonderful as stumbling across the scent accidentally outdoors, but I’ll take it. The growing season here seems to be just about over for them, but I’m glad the stores still seem to have cut ones in stock.

    I’m so glad to hear your lilacs are doing what the Fifth floor needs – there’s simply nothing like the scent, is there? Glad to hear you’ll benefit from some post-Mother’s Day flowers sales. Enjoy!

  4. What a nice blog. I just sailed on to it & i am glad I did. I will be back. Great photos!
    Best wishes from a gardener in Portland Oregon.

    Hi Stephen, welcome to the Garden! I enjoyed your blog, as well!

  5. Thanks,Greg. I did not garden in the desert,but I do admire the gardens in Palm Springs.
    I enjoyed our whole- I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.

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