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Diary of a Boy Gardener

We are in the Berkshires, the beautiful rolling hills of western Massachusetts where the season is short and the frosts sometimes win. Visit Sally and David's Gardens and see how two old farts spend their time helping what plants they can find their place in this world.

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Location: Hinsdale, Massachusetts, United States

Retired Service Engineer. Installed and repaired diagnostic x-ray equipment. Trained and supported others doing the same thing.

Friday, May 31, 2002

Let a few days slip by with no entries. David had to work a few full days, so only had a chance to work the window boxes in the eve. The prime coat got put on last night and is still tacky this morn, so out in the sun to dry. Sally finished up the triangle yesterday we bought some more annuals for the new boxes. Meanwhile all this rain has inspired the lawn in a major way. David just ran a full tank of gas thru the 22" self propelled mower, which did about 1/3 the lawn. Maybe another third tonight if the storms don't materialize (at the moment they look like they are building to the west. Things are really growing fast.
A few days ago they were predicting possible frost for Sunday and we were really worried and have delayed putting up the existing 8 boxes and planting the tomatoes. Also there has been some damaging hail within a few miles of us in the last few days. But as Sunday gets closer, the predicted lows are rising and the threat no longer seems very real. But we will wait til next week anyway. See youo later tonight for a wrap up.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Today David spent several hours on the new window boxes. Got several made with a new improved way to hold the screen on the bottom (with 3/4 inch sqaure strips screwed in. The hard ones were the ones with angled sides. Sally spend most of the morning in the cottage working on the tree and stuff and David was called to do several construction things. We both had to be gone for a few hours in the morning and babysit in the afternoon, so we hardly did any gardening unless you count watering (which we do a lot of). Storms passed and grumbled to our north and east, but only a few sprinkles fell here. Most things are looking good and even the hostas that looked like they were toast during that last hard frost last week are now putting up some green shoots in the center.
The blue eggs in the robin nests are now little fuzzy things starting to grow.

Monday, May 27, 2002

David had a bad night and low energy morning. Howerver he was able to use the template to make two more boxes plus lay out the wood for the three which are going to be a different style. Sally then needed some work done in the cottage for her new "village under the bank" extending from the tree. By the time that was done it was time to eat and head out for work (yes we ignored Memorial Day). Just got home and after grabbing some grub, sat down here.
Sally was going to work indoors in the cottage due to the wet weather, but after I left it cleared up, so she switched into garden mode. Spent most of her time finishing the triangle garden (from driveway into front of house). She also potted up a lot of orphans who had been heeled in on the compost pile. Lots of progess there. Then there's tomorrow. See ya soon.

Sunday, May 26, 2002

Once again David had to work today. Here it is Sunday on a Holiday weekend and he's retired and still, up at 5:00 to get ready and pack and all that and then drive 90 minutes. Got home around 3:00 pm again, and dragging butt big time. Couldn't be a bad boy three days in a row and it's raining, so can't work outside. Yes, he went to the basement and made the prototype box. It took a few hours, but it looks good. It is drilled but not screwed, because in the morning, many more parts to be made from this first one which we call the template. Gotta make 5 of these pups. Should be able to crank them out in the morning after the coffee kicks in.
Sally also had a non garden day, doing things like the wash and reading the Sunday Times. She spent some time promoting seeds, as in packets into wet paper towels to germinate, already wet ones into six packs and six packs into four inch pots. Gotta keep moving.....
All in all, not a big day in the garden department, but we got some stuff done. Be back tomorrow.

Saturday, May 25, 2002

David had to work this morning. Got home around 3 pm to find Sally at full tilt boogie. She was putting in the sweet potatoes under black plastic. We have never tried them before, it's pretty cold here (for example our lilacs are just now in bud, but a few miles away they have already bloomed).
She has potted up a lot more stuff for the roadside plant stand. We are going to give that a go this year.
I was going to work on the window boxes (was a bad boy last night), but I saw that the new pines we planted were wilty, so out came the hose. After they were done there were the new willows (2 dozen in a hedge row on the north side of the place) needing a good drink too. Then it was off to edge the lawn away from the split rail fence. Still doing that but had to come in to check the weather (believe it or not, we are still in frost danger around here, and there are lots of tender annuals out there needing to be brought in or covered). So blogging til the man says what to expect...
He has spoken and it should be OK. So back out there to finish edging the lawn at the split rail and dressing out with mulch. That's been done and I'm too whipped to do much more. Good evening diary....

Friday, May 24, 2002

Another lovely day. Managed to finish the roses. They all have been trimmed back, had their soil loosened, had the time release food sprinkled and mixed and then a layer of mulch added followed by a few gallons of water. Most look very good. The worst are the J&P Simplicity (aka Duplicity). The best are the J&P Fairy Rose.
Once the roses were done, only had time to water and fluff up the heather on the bank and all trees and shrubs on the bank. Then had to go to work.
Managed to find time to get the cedar for the replacement window boxes, so if I'm a good boy I will go down the basement and make them.

Thursday was feed the roses day and who knew how long that was going to take. We are using the little pellets we got from the Rosarie up in Maine. 1/3 cup per rose mixed into the soil.
The drill:
Revitalize the saucer area around the rose.
Prune as needed.
Sprinkle the pellets around base within about 8 inches of the plant.
Mix into the soil.
Add mulch.
Water with about two gallons (a drench) and move to next rose.
We decided to start with the newest roses first. After five hours of pretty steady work I am about 1/2 done !!! Who knew?!?! Then we had to go down to the center of town and work with the rest of the Hinsdale Garden Club members to plant the four bridge planters. They came out great.
Too whipped after all that to return to the roses, so they will have to be finished today.