Soil and Cellar

Growing and preserving foods in Seattle

Pea Flowers

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It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written about our garden, so I thought I’d drop in a quick update. Soon I will post about the construction of our raised beds; I just have to, you know, construct them. It will involve saws and drills, quite exciting!

Garden front May

Our front yard. Included are epimedium, nepeta (catmint), hellebore, columbine, lilac, spirea, stewartia (tree), Rhododendron thompsonii (with the red new growth) and peony ‘Bartzella’ back against the house.

Here’s a picture of our front yard. It’s a jungle right now, which D loves. I do too, but I also find it a bit overwhelming. It’s that first flush of spring when every plant gets a little bigger, a little closer to its neighbor, and makes me worry we have too much in too small a space. At some point things will need to be shuffled about, but not just yet. (I say that every year.)

Of note, that peony in the background was a wedding gift from a dear friend and it’s my favorite plant in our yard – Peony ‘Bartzella.’ It’s fancy but seriously worth it. It’s intersectional, which means it’s a cross between a tree peony and herbaceous peony, and the best of both worlds. The blossoms are 6-8” and just so beautiful.

Peony 'Bartzella' flowers up close.

Peony ‘Bartzella’ flowers up close.

Ok, on to the food producing plants! The peas have been growing well, are a good ways up the trellis, and are blooming. I am so excited. I realize that’s silly, they are the easiest things to grow, but it’s just so satisfying. I placed them in the ground with my fingers, and weed them and water them. I would never be so foolish to say that they are like my own little honor students, but I do feel pride. And impatience. When do I get to eat them? Not yet! Why? Because they don’t have fruit! Oh.

Pea flower. I love how it looks like an cartoon dog, or an angry old man.

Peas with flowers. I love how the blossom looks like a cartoon dog, or an angry old man.

And finally, the “orchard” is looking healthy. The fig leaves have expanded and are quite beautiful. I water it regularly because we’ve had such a warm spring and I planted it bare root. The Italian prune is also looking good, although I did have to cut back two branches that were dead. ☹ Keeping fingers crossed on that one. I feel nervous because we lost one prune a couple years ago, and I don’t want to lose this one, too. For you non-Seattleites out there, Italian prunes are nearly ubiquitous in Seattle, and are phenomenally delicious. Every summer offices all over town have bowls of prunes for coworkers to take, because almost no one can use all the fruit that one tree produces. I plan to try, but will of course have to wait a year or two for fruit. More patience.

Fig leaves, keep on chugging along little fig!

Fig leaves getting bigger. Keep on chugging along, little fig!

Hope you’re all having a great spring. What are you excited about in your garden?

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