It’s all about the garden: what’s going on in April at our place


And yes, there is treasure at the end of that rainbow. More about that later, though.

I love, love, love this time of year. I want to hug spring. I’d marry spring, if I weren’t already a married woman. I might even posit that springtime is my favorite season, but one of you would undoubtedly remind me that I say that about autumn every year. Or even winter, at least during the first few, brisky-fresh, snowy days. Until it drags on for ten years, or so it seems by February. I also adore summer, at least certain days, before the humidity, the heat, and the bugs get tiresome.

Spring is it, folks. 🙂

Every day seems a gift in spring. I’m not the only one in a hurry. Spring is in a hurry to get stuff leafed out and budded out and blossomed out and well, just out there. Every day, I’m anxious to get outside to see what’s new. I know. I need to get out more. (I hear that all the time.)

This is the time of year when I can’t really afford to go out of town for more than a day or two. We are doing a lot of planting–in the garden proper, in the hoop house, and in flower beds all over the blessed place. Everything is popping out and there is growth and blossoming and new buds and fruit tree blossoms to admire. Daily walks to take it all in are necessary. We find shells from songbirds’ eggs on our walks, and take note of where the thistles (*sigh*) and new dock weeds (*doublesigh*) are coming up this year. I start to take a spade with me on my walks, so I can pause and dig up the thistle plants as I see them.

And finally, after a long wait and several days of wind, it rains. And if we were behind before the rain, after the rain we are up to the tips of our noses in catch-up mode. I’m-behind-suddenly mode. Somebody-slow-this-spring-thing-down-mode, else it’ll be summer! All green things jump ahead in their growth overnight.

But on a rainy day, it’s a snug and comforting feeling to not be able to get into the vegetable gardens because, well, they are thick in mud. If I’m feeling particularly Momish (this is one of my Mom’s tricks) I’ll go out in a raincoat and pull weeds from the flower beds after (or during) a rain, because that’s when the weeds pull easily.

There’s such satisfaction in pulling weeds easily, isn’t there?


Pulled weeds make excellent mulch, by the way, to keep other weeds from germinating, and to nourish the soil. This spring, since I’m doing some commercial growing, I’ll probably be standing on my back porch on rainy days, watching the rain and potting up hundreds of seedlings from tiny plugs to bigger pots, so they can have another week or two of growth, before I plant them out in the garden. Either that, or I’ll be in the hoop house with Mack, planting another bed of peppers or eggplants or nasturtiums. Or both. One first, and then the other. 🙂 It all is happy work to me.

It is a glorious time of year, when that persistent itch of mine, six months’ worth of longing-to-be-outside actually can be scratched. So if you need me, don’t call the house. I won’t be inside. And I more than likely won’t have my ‘phone on me, either. 🙂 Sorry, honey. *wincing*

Oh, yeah. The whole reason I started this post was to share a few pictures. So I’ll get to them, without any more yakking.

But first: I meant to share these pictures in my earlier post about my granddaughters. So, please permit me a couple of proud grandma pictures.

My granddaughter Anya is going to be a famous artist like her papa. Here she is adding a new drawing to the refrigerator art display. She draws constantly. 🙂


I particularly like this lovely young lady, with the side-swept hairstyle, coyly hiding one eye.


Okay, (and thank you for letting me do that) now on to the pictures of our place. I could post dozens, but I’ll rein myself in. I’ll do another post like this next week, and possibly the next, to catch up. (See? Catch-up mode!)

This is what happens when we have a thunderstorm: after it stops, and the skies begin to clear, we are drawn outside by the peculiarly beautiful light, and we walk around with our mouths hanging open. Just looking. The evening that I took these photos, I was out by myself for ten minutes before Mack joined me.

And then I dashed in to get my camera, natch’.


Having had breastfed six babies into toddlerhood, I always feel a peculiar kinship with mammatus clouds like these.

You nursing mothers will understand this. 🙂

Isn’t it funny, how we are influenced by other people’s gardening choices? At least I am. Of course, who wouldn’t be influenced by my mother’s flower beds? They are the stuff of legends, in their size, scope and creativity. You should see them. My mom has taken to planting lots of alliums in her flower gardens, and I admire them so much that I planted some allium bulbs myself (pictured above) last fall. I love the look of these fat, bulging flower buds and can’t wait to see them bloom!


Another plant-loving friend gave me a box full of bulbs last fall, and I planted them willy-nilly all through the season. Now I’ve got surprises coming up, everywhere, because I don’t even remember where all or what all I planted! Bless my bad memory! Serendipity all around!spring5Here are more surprises from that rash of bulb-planting: tiny yellow tulips, tightly wrapped against the stormy weather on this evening. I think I’d call these “Blushing Maidens,” if I were in charge of naming them.


Here’s an astonishing fact that you might find difficult to swallow: There were no flowers and very few trees when we moved out to our place fifteen years ago. Children had never lived here, either. Isn’t that funny? We changed things abruptly, and immediately and thoroughly. It was a very quiet, tidy place before we came. Now it’s fully the opposite.

Our house is still groaning over it all.

Back to my Mom–being an enthusiastic planter and grower of all things–she couldn’t stand the barren, lava-rock-lined flower beds (there were no flowers, just lava rock) that flanked our house. So she brought out this darling little dogwood tree that first summer. She and the kids cleaned out this one flower bed for me in the front of the house. I think it was her birthday present to me that year, and she planted the tiny dogwood tree right in the middle of it. I remember I was inside at the time, unpacking boxes with my little toddler Amalia “helping.” My, my, how things change and how quickly they do, too, eh?

The diminutive dogwood has grown very slowly, and hasn’t looked very happy about where it was planted, ever since, almost like it hadn’t decided whether it wanted to live or die. Then a year or two ago, it put out one tentative flower, or possibly two. I was in raptures. “Yes, live! Please live!” I encouraged it. We had planted flowers all around it, for company and beauty and encouragement. And because we couldn’t not plant flowers. It is in our DNA.

This year the little tree has decided–after 15 years of ‘meh’ness–that it is happy where it is, after all. It is (to coin a phrase) finally content to bloom where it was planted.

A lesson for us all, Gentle Reader, a lesson for us all. Hopefully it doesn’t take most of us a decade and a half to come to this realization that it’s okay to be content with where we are, and what we have. Who we are with. (Generally speaking, of course.)


This isn’t the best photo of this snowball bush that I’ve ever taken, but the wind was stirring it just enough . . . I’ll take more next week, when the snowballs are white and fat, and still. But I love it. Do you have a snowball bush? You probably oughta. They are delightful.


The inside of my hoop house is still fairly neat and orderly, but it won’t stay that way. You see that I’ve got two lines of closely-planted heirloom tomatoes on the right (with drip tape set up for watering, and mulch thickly applied) and trays of more plants to go in this week—peppers, eggplants, edible flowers, and more and more heirloom tomatoes, a few summer squash—I’m already looking for more space, as is my wont. Wishing I had a second hoop house this size, honestly, but please don’t tell hubby that. His head is likely to explode, and there goes my tidy hoop house.

By the way, if you are in the area, I’ll be selling my extra heirloom tomato plants very soon. Stay posted!!


We’ve been eating these gourmet lettuces and greens for lunch every day; they are so good! The deer netting to the left is to keep my chickens from enjoying them, too.


This photo is for my Dad. 🙂 I think I’m going to have the first ones this year, Dad, I love you.


We watch the western skies for incoming weather, since most of the weather in our area blows in from the west. Thankfully, we’ve got a nice sloping hill to the west, on which to sit in the evenings and watch the weather and the sunsets. The grazing deer and occasional buffalo. Just joking about the buffalo. The neighbor’s black Angus steer are very picturesque, though.

Happy springtime to you, Gentle Reader, if you are reading from our hemisphere, where spring is bursting out all over.

Thanks for popping by, dear one, and I’d just love it if you left a comment or had a couple seconds to share this post. It’s a hug back, as it were. 🙂

Thank you again, and many *hugs* to you, yours, and to all your springtime endeavours!


13 thoughts on “It’s all about the garden: what’s going on in April at our place

  1. Jillian

    I love dogwood. We get the most beautiful pink blooms here. We just finished planting the new garden today. There is still room so I’m off for parsnip seeds in the morning. Once my dogwood blooms I will try and send a pic on facebook.

  2. Chef William

    What a great opening picture, you found the gold at the end of the rainbow. And yes it is kind of spring down here although we are hard put to establish seasons. The rainy season is two months away and the ground is bone dry. The river reduced to a trickle. That means watering twice a day. I will miss the dogwood. I always wanted to plant one in Wisconsin but somehow didn’t get around to it. Enjoy all those tomatoes and do save me some seeds. I hope to be in the states in July or August but that depends on a lot of things falling into place down here.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I will save you seeds! Absolutely! Hope to see you in July or August. I could even send you home with a whole carload of heirloom tomatoes, at that time of year! 🙂

  3. OrangeBlossom

    Love your posts and pictures!! That granddaughter of yours is very talented!! I don’t think I could draw a lady like that half as good!

    Thanks for pics inside your hoop house. On my list for future years. What is the size of it?

    My goal this year is to plant bee happy plants and flowers. Have any recommendations? Goal is to start bees next year

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Ohhhh I so agree about my granddaughter ! She is a jewel and is very talented! I mean, really! Look at that eye she drew! *blushing with pride* And the hoop house–I could post more pictures, if you’d like. In another couple of days it will be fully planted. It is (let’s see if I can remember) about 60′ long, and 30′ wide, I think. It’s a monster when it’s full of fruiting plants, but it seems small right now—I’m squeeezing in as much as I can, because everything I plant does better in there. Yeah, get one if you can! I applied for the EQIP cost-sharing, so the fed. government (farm bill) paid for the lion’s share of it. Pity they don’t send out folks to build it, though. That’s quite a challenge. But doable. Bees? They loooove fruit trees, for one thing. dandelions. Clover. Flowering vines (we have a silverlace vine growing up our house: when it blooms the bees are ecstatic!) are fun. There are a lot of wild things that are probably already growing around your house that they will like. Then plant a selection of flowers so something is blooming all the growing season. I actually have a bunch of Bee Balm seedlings that I planted just for our bees this year. Oh, there are many flowering trees that they also love: we have planted several linden trees because we absolutely adore linden honey. That’s a slow-growing tree, though. Making honey is patient work, ma’dear. I see bees in all the flowers: marigolds, roses, honeysuckle of course!

  4. Elsa

    Happy springtime to you Amy. We, her in Ontario, wait until May 24th to plant outside, that’s when the danger of frost is past. I planted seeds under growlights, cheap shoplights as you had suggested, and they seem to be coming along, the tomatoes are getting their second set of leaves, I like you, adore tomatoes, and I have several varieties started, I will be starting the mouse melons you mentioned in one of your posts last fall, looking forward to those, I try something new every year. I also have many flowers coming along as well for my bees, I have two hives, the little darlings are out and they’re bringing in pollen from the dandelions. They’re delightful to watch while I wait for planting time.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      OOOoooh this is the most fun kind of convo I can have this time of year, Elsa, so thanks for joining me in garden talk! I have two rows of the mouse melons in my hoop house (as we speak!): they are protected in there from frost. And I’ve got 56 tomato plants already planted in the hh, too, with a few more (cough) waiting for me to put them out into the other veg garden. I’d love to hear which varieties you planted this year? Bless you for keeping bees. Is it as difficult to keep them alive there in Canada as it here in the US? Or is your environment kinder to the pollinators? They are a delight!!

  5. Lucy

    Amy dear you are my Spring time gal….LOVE all the goings on from your neck of the woods….where as in my neck? welll a lot of cactus are in bloom here and really simply stunning! I hope to get back at it one day when me good ol knees are all fixed up…in the mean time…keep the stories comin oh and I adore also the GRAND (kids) pics! One, puffy sleeve had strips the other dots…that girls got it goin on! Yes be proud!
    ps…I agree weed pullin after rain is waay betta : )

  6. Sharon H

    Well, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Mouse Melons before today. I guess I need to google that!
    I have a nice hoop framed area that I use to winter over my plant nursery things, since I don’t have a greenhouse. But in the summer the plastic is exchanged for shade cloth and then the plants are set up on pallet tables….I need one big enough to walk in so I can start my own tender veggie plants…sigh, maybe one day.
    I love to watch the bees….all kinds….honey, mason. And bumble bees, working over all the blooms in my space….such busy little things.

  7. Connie Stahl

    HI there, I’m reading your post watching it SNOW!!! HARD!!! Here in Castle Rock Colorado. Champing at the bit to get out there and start planting. But alas, Frost warnings for the next 3 nights. We need a hoop house! We had to bring back in 6 week old chicks yesterday from our 2nd rehabbed coop. My husband calls it Juvie Hall. 21 chicks that age make quite a racket in our mud room. But when JOAN, my favorite pullet ran over for her snuggle ( I know, I’ve never had a snuggling chicken before) her little feet were freezing!! I made my long suffering husband feel the icyness he rolled his eyes and helped me catch them all and return them to their brood bins. Some day spring will come even here!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh, Connie, I totally love this picture. Thank you, thank you for sharing it with me. I’m so comforted to know that I’m not the only one!! 🙂 And here’s hoping that warmer weather comes to your part of the country sooner, rather than later!

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