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A couple weeks ago I traded some lovage (Levisticum officinale) divisions for a few decorative heirloom vegetable seeds. So far I’ve started five ‘Red Burgundy’ okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) and four ‘Ip Ssam Hong’ Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa) plants. I got some red orach (Atriplex sp.) seeds too, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with them. Space in the vegetable plots gets more limited with each seed I sow.

The peas have sprouted, the onions are planted, the first crop of lettuce is sown, the radishes are ready to be harvested, and the new strawberries (Albion, Veestar and Cabot) are planted. Now I have to finish the wiring on the trellis to plant the hops (Humulus lupulus) and the ‘Blueberry’ grapevine (an ironic name if there ever was one) along. Then that just leaves the potatoes, the carrots and the beetroots to be sown, and the tomatoes and cucumbers to be planted out.

Theoretically I don’t have a problem with planting vegetables among the flowers, but in practice I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. Partly it’s that most of my ornamentals are native species, so they’re used to hot dry summers and clay soil and I don’t have to water them much. Vegetables, on the other hand, seldom appreciate either condition.

I also got a lot of new flowers in the past week. I’d thought that three of my rosebushes had died over winter, but as it turns out it was just one. The other two died back almost to the ground, but are resprouting from the bud union. Whew. So right now I have two rosebushes in pots and I’m not sure what to do with one of them. Seriously, happiness is having more roses than you know what to do with. I’ve have to update the rose page soon.

There are also yellow stargrass (Hypoxis hirsuta) for sun, trout lilies (Erythronium americanum) for the woodland bed, and ‘Lingholm’ Himalayan blue poppies (Meconopsis x sheldonii ‘Lingholm’) for the shade containers. The trout lilies are true spring ephemerals and are almost dormant already. The blue poppies I have coveted for ages untold; I’ve never had any success growing them from seed, so this year I said, “Screw it,” and ordered some plants. Also for a container in shade is the ‘Winter Dreams Black’ hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus ‘Winter Dreams Black’).

And in a couple weeks my Master Gardener group is having our spring plant sale, so I’ve been digging and potting up things to donate. There are little pots of plants all over the place now. It’s a very pleasant time to be out in the garden right now, because both my lilac bushes (Syringa vulgaris) and my neighbour’s apple trees are in bloom right now and the garden smells better than it looks.

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