Friday, April 20, 2012

April Showers at Last!

It's finally raining on the 250+ strawberry plants my mom and I planted and transplanted earlier this week. It is exciting to see them blooming so profusely this year!

Two years ago I liberated a number of older strawberry plants by planting them out in the field along the raspberry beds. This year they have taken off and are actually choking out the perennial grasses in some spots! How exciting to grow such a deliciously functional groundcover!

Now if the 100+ transplants take off like that I am going to have an amazing strawberry patch out there.

I have "liberated" all of the modern varieties, leaving my raised strawberry beds specifically for rare and heirloom varieties. The single plant pictured below (with the HUGE blossom) is of a variety first documented in the 1700s! I can't wait to have all twelve of the front raised beds planted in rare varieties. Mwahaha...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Right. I have got to get back to this.

I've neglected you, poor blog! The spring has sprung and I have let you fall by the wayside.

The nice thing about a blog is that even if you lose readers from neglect, you can always pick the blog back up and dust it off.

This spring has been an intense one here at Tanglewood. I've put in so many berry bushes I can't even count them all and I've brought the berry patch up to a total of over 1/4 acre of blackberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries and even some less common rubus like wineberry, loganberry and tayberry.

I've also been hard at work prepping strawberry beds for the impending arrival of new bareroot stock this week. I've even been in contact with another strawberry enthusiast who has hooked me up with Madam Moutot and Scarlet cultivars, both of which are incredibly old and hard to acquire.

I've decided my focus for this year is to take the heirloom gardening a little further. I plan to use a number of Victorian (and Victorian inspired) methods to grow pre-1900 era plants. In fact I'm only growing two non-heirloom plants this year, but they're modern French imports: the Mara des Bois strawberry and the Petit Pois pea, both of which are supposed to be modern kickbacks to a time when the goal of growing food was taste (and novelty) and not marketability or quantity.

Yesterday my husband and I spent a bit of time in the morning's flurries (yes, flurries... Thanks, Michigan!) gathering pea sticks to support my shelling peas. I'll be posting photos (and info, in case you are unfamiliar with pea sticks) of them soon, I promise.

I also started plotting lines in the garden using my new string winder, based on Victorian designs.

Have you been up to anything unique in the garden?

Have you all abandoned me as I have abandoned you? Lol!