May 2021 in the Garden

I finally figured out why I haven’t been blogging like I used to: I journal longhand instead, pasting photos of my garden into my gardening journal, creating pages for plants I’d like to research, noting which seeds germinated successfully and which didn’t (I’m looking at you, larkspur), etc.

However, I do like the convenience of being able to just search my blog and compare year to year for particular events or milestones, gardening or otherwise. So, here I am, back-blogging Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day for May 2021.

Early Spring Border / Japanese Garden

The highlights of this border are the dwarf Japanese maple and the tree peony, but it really shines in early spring, when all the bulbs come up and remind me that things will get warmer and greener.

After all these alliums finished blooming and their foliage browned, I dug them up (and LABELED THEM) in preparation for converting this border into something more minimalist that the chipmunks might not find as inviting.

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Collector of Hobbies

Japanese maple seedlings wired as bonsai

I blame the YouTube algorithm. It served me up some videos from Herons Bonsai a few weeks back, and now I’m potting up Japanese maple seedlings that would normally be destined for my (currently non-existent) compost pile.

Earlier this week, I unearthed some thin florist wire and some aluminum craft wire from my stash (I’ve also got some heavyweight picture-hanging wire around here somewhere) and made a first attempt at wiring my tiny seedlings’ trunks into the S-shape of an informal upright bonsai.

Last night, I wired a couple of the other smaller seedlings that I had dug up — the ones that seem to be thriving in their new home, anyway.

Today is Mother’s Day… and look what my two favorite guys got me.

The Bonsai Beginner's Bible by Peter Chan and a bonsai growing kit

The bonsai-growing kit contains seeds of four different plants: two conifers and two deciduous trees, one of which is a flowering tree. I’m planning to start with germinating the Norway spruce, as the insert promises that it’s a fast-growing plant.

Now that I’ve been tending the same flowerbeds for eight years, though I’m starting to understand the Long Game. I get that there’s no silver bullet to instantly grow (and maintain) the perfect garden, border, tree, whatever. I’m starting to plan ahead for what the gardens will look like in a few years, leaving volunteer tree seedlings to mature alongside older, weaker specimens that are on their way out. I’m not in a hurry to buy new plants, or to pull up “weeds” that I don’t recognize. Now that my mind has starting thinking bonsai, I’m even contemplating the weed trees and unwanted runner plants as possible future bonsai.

I also get that every year can be a new start if it needs to be. Gardens and the plants in them are living things, always growing and changing. There will always be new volunteer seedlings to shape and nurture — or throw in the landfill.

Birthday Terrarium

glass terrarium with air plants

My college roomie, Amy, sent me this classy terrarium from Gifted Glass Gardens for my birthday! It’s minimalist and exquisite at the same time, with black sand, preserved moss, Cholla wood, two air plants, a geode, and a chunk of pyrite.

Of course, all of the pieces came shipped in their own sealed bags or containers — thankfully, the terrarium came with assembly instructions and photos. It also came with care instructions for air plants, which I was also glad to see, as I didn’t realize air plants needed to be soaked in water weekly. That would explain why the one I had back in 2012 was so short-lived.

Thanks, Amy! You know me well. 🙂