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I’ve had some computer trouble the past couple of weeks, but here I am again. Although I don’t know why.

It’s been a busy three weeks in the garden, so this will be a long post. The single most apparent thing is that I extended the flowerbed at the front, saying goodbye to more of the hated lawn. So far I’ve planted the American hazel (Corylus americana) and the trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans). The trumpet creeper will be an interesting experiment, because it’s quite a vigorous growing vine. I recycled a trunk of the lilac shrub at the back as a post for the trumpet creeper to grow up, and then I’m going to try and see if I can get it grow into something resembling a standard. (In gardening talk, a ‘standard’ is a style of shrub or small tree, trained to grow with a single upright slender trunk and a more-or-less spherical mass of foliage and flowers at the top. Think of the lollipop looking trees that a four-year-old might draw.) There are a few more things waiting to be planted there, but I’ll talk about those when I’ve actually done so.

I also planted (most of) my tomato plants today: one dozen ‘San Marzano’ tomatoes. The radishes are coming along, as are the peas, but the cabbage seedlings are scrawny. In the herb beds, there are now peppermint, chocolate peppermint, lemon balm, stevia (as an experiment) and catnip. These are all either replacements for things that died in that last harsh winter, or completely new.

Heliotrope ‘Poseidon Blue’ and pansy ‘Black moon’ are in planters, and my seeds for nicotiana ‘Chocolate Smoke’ and poppy ‘Black Peony’ are waiting to be sown. I know none of those is native, but I’m a total sucker for very dark-coloured flowers, so I justify it by growing them in planters (and most of those are annuals anyway).

At the back is now planted a western blue clematis (Clematis occidentalis), which is one of only two species of clematis native to this region (the other one, Clematis virginiana, is rather boring-looking in my opinion). And I finally got my tub garden going! I now have two fragrant white waterlilies (Nymphaea odorata) and a marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) in tubs of water. The original plan was to beg, borrow, or steal some floating bladderwort (Utricularia sp.) to keep the mosquitoes down – bladdwort is a carnivorous aquatic plant – but I don’t know if/when that will happen, so I might be making the trip to the petshop for a couple of fish soon. Again, I have a few more things to plant that I’ll mention when they actually get in the ground.

Another ash (Fraxinus sp.) sapling has been turned into a bonsai. It’s pretty much the very end of the window for the necessary severe root-pruning, so I’m not sure if it will pull through.

And jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)! I finally have jewelweed!

Finally, all the odd empty spaces along the pathways and corners are filling up with incoming plants for the upcoming Master Gardener plant sale. I live closest to the venue, so I ‘volunteer’ to act as a collection and holding point for everyone. It’s actually a real learning experience, because it means I have to learn how to look after a lot of things I would never otherwise have, without actually having to plant them. It also means that if there’s anything I’m interested in, I get first pick. On the downside, there is the possibility that any diseases or pests in the other Master Gardeners’ gardens could also end up in mine…

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