Early May in the Garden

The garden is coming alive again, finally!  It seemed like everything just turned green overnight here, but actually the trees really leafed out while we were gone for a week.  Still, the transformation from bare limbs to verdant green means spring is well and truly here. Our driveway down the mountain is glorious, and the overhanging dogwood is still in bloom.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

So, a trip to the garden center was in order to pick up the torenias, and a few other plants to turn the veranda into an lush, flower filled outdoor room.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Going to buy plants is so fun, and it is difficult not to just go crazy with all the colors and types of flowers.  This is Raymonds, my favorite spot to buy flowers.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I have plenty of pots to fill, some new ones from the thrift stores and some that have been on the veranda for a long time. A couple of gifts from friends of pots or plants all need to be dealt with. DH was kind enough to move my potting bench up to the upper level and set it in the shade for me.  I had to make a second trip out to the local big box hardware store’s garden center for more small seedlings and tomato plants. My bargain buy for this season is the white petunia basket on the ground. Actually I bought two of them on the clearance rack, just $3 each and they contain seven plants each! Just deadheading the spent blooms and a little water is all that was needed. White impatiens will once again occupy the table planters. They are just so perfect, and grow so well in the shade that nothing else would do as well there.  In the background, the redbud is done blooming, and the azaleas finished up while we were gone too, so I didn’t get a lot of pictures of them in full flower.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Torenias will be the hanging baskets once again as I love having the hummingbirds and butterflies.  I place coffee filters in the bottom of the pots to keep the dirt in while allowing excess water to drain.  Adding potting soil, and this year I am shaking in a sprinkle of slow-acting fertilizer and a bit of bone meal into the very bottom soil which is reused from last year.  Then fresh potting soil is added over that and the plants set into place.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Three to a basket, they are hung on the hooks on the veranda.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

The veranda holds four baskets between the pillars.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I picked pink begonias this year instead of the yellow I’ve had for several years.  Good to mix things up so the veranda is a bit different each year. I put one in each of these taller planters I got at the thrift store, along with a white petunia. These will go on either side of the front door.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

New this year will be this fuschia placed in a pot on a stand to allow it to cascade down the sides.  I had one of these several years ago but I tend to forget about them.  This year they were next to the torenias at the garden center, so I got two.  This variety will have dark pink, purple and white flowers.  A little fairy has moved his bakery into the pot too.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Lobelias have such a vibrant blue color and bloom profusely. This year I got one in blue and one in white. More and more I am gravitating to mixed pots of flowers with different colors together instead of single varieties. Last December, a friend gifted me with this white poinsettia, and it is still alive. So I put it in the large ceramic planter next to the door, along with the blue lobelia and a peach begonia, also a gift from another friend.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

This yellow daisy was another gift from friend.  I just realized that my friends just seem to like to bring me flowers! I seem to get new ones every time I have a luncheon or dinner party. I put it in the larger planter on the corner of the veranda with a pink coleus and yet another white petunia.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

This blue pot sits on a stand, and was planted with a pink begonia and a small basil plant. I wanted at least one of the basils near the door in case I need some when it is raining.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

More pots are planted, and set around the veranda.  Pink begonia int he little blue rimmed pot, and a white one with a basil plant in one of the Chinese planters.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Another pot is planted with a couple of yellow celosias along with the white petunia. I haven’t had these before, so looking forward to seeing how they do.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I put the yellow torenias in the rectangular pot like last year. I like the way they cascade down the sides of the planter. Another fairy has moved his house to the veranda, I wonder what his home is like up those little stairs behind the door. The white lobelia got its own pot.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

My seedling starts were not a success, not a dismal failure, but somewhere between.  A few plants did OK, but many didn’t survive and I have no idea why.  I put them under the grow light, and watered them carefully, yet many died after putting out their first set of leaves.  The squash and tomatoes I replanted and the second ones are still alive.  Some of the lettuce looks viable still, but all the herbs need to be restarted.  All the johnny jump-ups died, and that is one of my favorite flowers.  I got some more seeds to start again.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I set them outside a week before transplanting to harden them off.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

The hummingbird vine second planting is looking good. I put it next to the lattice in the front flower bed.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

In the front flower bed, the veggies and flower seedlings were placed in front of the perennials. I got another perennial in a deep purple called a Veronica ‘Inspire Blue’. It is supposed to bloom all summer, so the butterflies should be happy. It has the potential to get 2 feet tall! I put the lattice back out again, and added white bargain petunias to the clay pots that hold it up.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

The snapdragons were supposed to be annuals, but our winter was so mild that they survived. We are Zone 7 and they aren’t supposed to be considered perennials until Zone 9, but who knows!! I am enjoying their beautiful blooms this year too. I got them for just 25 cents a plant last year on the clearance table at the hardware store’s garden center. Great buy!

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I am impressed with how well the dianthus is doing too.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Believe it or not, I still have empty pots.  So, those will get seeds planted for more herbs.  I’ll let you know how it goes in a couple of weeks.

One more thing to show you, as I looked out on the veranda a few days ago, I saw our resident woodchuck on the veranda eating one of my plants!! Opening the sliding glass door sent him running to the other end of the veranda. He went behind my largest pot and stuck his head out. Of course I grabbed the camera then, the good one with the nice zoom lens.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

DH tried to get him to run off, but instead he went behind the grill to the right of the table in this picture, and climbed up onto the shelf under the cover. After DH wiggled the grill while trying to stand well away, the woodchuck circled back around the large pot and made a bee line for the steps.

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Then ran off, jumped off the retaining wall and kept going across the meadow and into the woods. By then he was going at top speed! I could only get one picture as he bolted away.  Little toot, he better stay out of my lettuce!

May in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I have another garden post for tomorrow, a special one for a special day.  Then I have quilting to show, a new recipe, more tablescapes, and the mystery quilt continues soon.  Lots to come, not enough days in the week!

Have you planted in your garden yet?  Any critters visiting?

25 thoughts on “Early May in the Garden

  1. Linda B

    Everything looks so nice, Carole. Good for you. With your seed starting, wondered what kind of medium you were using? You can buy sterile growing medium, but I just mix mine from equal parts of peat moss and vermiculite (the large kind), and it does really well. I don’t add anything else til the plants are up and true leaves showing, then maybe a diluted seaweed/kelp liquid added to the water. I also have really good luck with the planting trays that have a wicking fabric underneath to bring water, so do not have to water from the top. When I repot into a larger container, then I add compost or a richer mix. I need to do that to my poor tomato plants…thought I was going to get them out into the garden, but awfully wet now.

  2. I have 2 plants that came to me as gifts over easter that need to get into pots soon. I like the coffee filter idea to keep the soil in the pot. It looks like you have a great set up for potting! Our wrap around porch is still covered in green pollen, so before I do much of anything, we need to vacuum, blow and wash off the green haze on everything.

  3. Phyllis Smith

    Good morning,

    Your driveway looks so inviting and peaceful like a mountain pathway. Looking forward to seeing all your potted plants and hanging baskets when they come into full bloom. You have really been a busy gal this spring, hope you don’t lose any more of your seedlings. It is still cool here today so will be doing some sewing I think and finish up a few things I need to repair that I’ve been putting off and I want to get my sewing area cleaned up so I can go onto better projects.

    Have a great time today,


  4. I haven’t planted yet but we go on vacation this week. As soon as I get home I will plant. Sometimes I get great ideas for plantings from rest areas, restaurants, shopping areas etc. I used to start seeds and I wonder if you need some bottom heat, air circulation and some real light. Don’t give up yet.

  5. Your post makes me very anxious to get to Maine where going to the nursery is such great adventure. The selection is overwhelming and I always come home with more than I have pots for.

  6. Your visitor did not look pleased to be photographed! We spent the weekend hauling compost to refurbish the garden. I’m not much for flowers, all I have are lilacs, day lilies and irises, though in my perfect world I would have tulips, peonies and pansies.

  7. Seeing all your pretty pots has me itching to get to planting some of mine. Right now it is just too cool though. The woodchuck is cute, but I understand how pesky they can be in a garden. I hope he stays away.

  8. Jennifer Rauch

    I’m itching to add some plants too. . . have to look up Torenias, as they look familiar, but maybe are called something different here? They sure do well @ your house! Got a kick out of your visiting woodchuck! A few weeks ago it was balmy here & I succumbed to planting some bright yellow marigolds I found @ our discount store, thinking it would keep the visiting deer & bunnies @ bay. Lettuce alternating with marigolds. Realized the next week that my lettuce was thriving. . . but there was no sign of my marigolds! Joke is on me, I guess! Re-planted some leftover marigolds, & tho they usually do well in that location, seem to be wimpy this year with all the rain. Lettuce? Doing GREAT! We’ve had several fresh salads already. My favorite nursery closed last fall, so I’ll depend on the big box stores now, have no idea how that will affect my usual garden success. Will simply enjoy your blogs if our gardening is a bust!

  9. Gwynette in NW Arkansas

    We’ve has so much rain and and such chilly nights, I’ve held off on buying plants for my pots. The yellow pear tomatoes, grape tomatoes, sweet banana peppers and a long sweet pepper I’ve never grown before seedlings are doing great this year. Actually best ever and it’s too chilly to put them out!! DH is going to Kansas City for NASCAR next weekend, so that will be perfect for me to plant my big yard pots. No cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, only planting and quilting!!! Thanks for showing your lovely plants and pots. It will be interesting to see them in a couple of months.

  10. lois92346

    I love seeing photos of your plants, Carole – both the successes and failures (because we all have them).. 🙂 I’m looking forward to many more photos as the plants mature and fill in. Hmm…I wonder what tomorrow holds?

  11. Great pictures, it is wonderful that everything is starting to bloom. We bought a few annuals for the yard and my hostas I split and moved last fall are doing well.

  12. Pat Evans

    Too early to put plants out here. We’ve had more rain the first 6 days of May than the average rainfall for the whole month. Unseasonable cold and possible frost forecast for the next week to 10 days. And this after we’ve hit 80° twice already.
    I have so much wildlife that I’m ready to throw in the gardening towel. Even the potted deck plants get dug up by the squirrels and the chipmunks. You’d better watch out for that groundhog. We have them but they’ve never climbed the stairs as far as I know.
    I know once it really warms up that I won’t be able to resist the garden center, but it does get frustrating to deal with Mother Nature.

  13. Rosemaryflower

    Everything looks so nice. I love all of the flowers and plantings. Amazing growing vegetables too.
    We have Robins, Blue Birds, bunnies, stray kitties, turtles, and chipmunks.
    I have done a little gardening this year. I am not truly on fire for it this year. I have to keep my activities rather sparse these days. Focusing on daddy, hubby, grand babies and other family stuff, gives me just enough time for a little sewing

  14. you wouldn’t want that critter to get in the house by accident! I have never seen one close to my house but have seen them from time to time. Lovely plants – isn’t sprint time fun

  15. I love all of your plants! We went to an annual plant sell yesterday and I cannot wait to work in the yard this afternoon. Your woodchuck is cute! I understand the frustration of eating your plants, though. We think we had raccoons (or possibly skunks) that ate our zucchini plants and a couple of our tomato plants last spring. We planted marigolds around the perimeter and they did stay out after that. Other than that, our only visiting critter is a neighborhood cat that likes to try to hunt the birds in our yard.

  16. Mary Sloan

    Your pictures inspire me to start planting this weekend. I have my usual Husky Cherry Red Tomatoes in pots, already started. They usually make enough sweet cherry tomatoes for me. I will supplement store tomatoes for DH.
    Do you have a procedure for cleaning clay or ceramic pots before reusing them? I saw your method for using slow-release fertilizer etc
    in the bottom with last year’s soil.
    I tried lobelia 2016 & as expected, it’s too hot here. I hope to find a Fushia & try that. Could those hummingbird starter plants be from my babies? I have several that re-seed, every year. 2016, they became so thick, I had difficulty trimming them. However, I saved some seed from the planting.

  17. This was a wonderful visit to your garden, critters included. Lovely variety, and when plants do well over winter and flower again in spring, a delight. Lovely hanging baskets along your verandah, truly beautiful, and the potting bench, that is the best I have seen.

  18. Well, it will be Memorial Day here in Buffalo until I can buy annuals and plant them in all the containers. Still unseasonably cold and damp here. This year I bought 2 flats of baby perennials and will put those in containers with annuals and then in the fall, I will plant them in the ground. Your layout looks lovely.

  19. I love all your ideas and enjoyed the photos. I’m very grateful for two things. One is that you wrote that some of your seedlings failed. That made me feel better. A friend sent me some of her seeds, and I’ve lost all but five of the seedlings. Two, you mentioned coffee filters in the bottom of pots. I had forgotten that trick, and now I have the reminder just when I need it. Many thanks.

  20. You have been busy, Carole! Beautiful and inspiring! I have 45 gladiola bulbs to plant. They seemed like a good idea when I bought them! Maybe pictures of your flowers will prompt me to get busy.

  21. I haven’t seen our resident groundhog this year but I’ve seen bunnies galore! Hummingbirds have also arrived along with other spring birds. I was tickled to see a red-breasted grosbeak for the first time at my feeders last week! I have a barking frog that lives under my patio umbrella stand and this year I discovered a baby one under my deck bird bath!

  22. Your little woodchuck is so cute, you got a great photo of him! Isn’t it the best when you can finally plant all your hanging baskets and other pots with annuals? We have to wait until Memorial Day here….which makes sense, since we have snow flurries today. Boooo!

  23. I’ve never thought of going to the Op Shops (thrift stores) for garden pots – could save $$$ if I find any. After your cold Winters, it must be lovely to be able to get out into the garden. Snapdragons are one of my favourite flowers, but funnily enough, I haven’t grown any for years. Our Autumn weather is perfect at the moment and we’re spending every spare minute outside. We can still garden through Winter, but it’s not as pleasant.

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