memorial day gardening

this weekend is typically when we start laying out plants and the like in our garden in western massachusetts.  saturday and sunday were brutally windy and cold.  and we had to make up for lost time yesterday when the sun and warm air finally broke through the clouds and cold front.

new dahlia beds on the right

i was somewhat disappointed by our lack of physical activity due to the weather.  most of monday evening was spent planting 70+ dahlia tubers -- the bending and kneeling has me walking like Quasimodo.  we're doing field planted dahlias this year.  i think having them in the box last summer restricted the ability to grow wider and instead of pushing out giant blooms, they competed for sunlight.  i'm testing my theory out with two 5' x 20' feet beds; i'm giving them more room and better staking.

i hadn't really been up to the garden since november and i'm surprised that most of the perennials made it through the winter.  three scabiosas and two poppies didn't make it though, but i replaced them two clematis instead.  i'm learning more about clematis (i love them) and how to properly care for them.  unfortunately, i missed the opportunity to hard prune these guys during the winter/early spring.  so after the first flush of this year's bloom, they're getting chopped for a stronger re-bloom in august/september. and hopefully, then i'll be able to sort out the mess of vines that i let go for too long.  i also planted annuals to shade their roots from the sun -- i'm hoping to see how that works out too.

my planting some new things this year -- i have a strawberry patch in one of the boxes.  also i'm growing a "new" columbine (new to me) called barlow which look like mini dahlias.  we'll see how it all goes....

mesabi strawberry patch  
black and pink barlow columbines