Welcoming Spring with Mulched Flower Beds

Saturday was spent weeding – yes, the weeds are poking through already! Followed by mulching the flower beds around the house as well as the herb garden.  Seems that we had a great opportunity to get this done much earlier than in past years, and just in time for Spring to arrive.  Actually had to double check when the first day of Spring happens in the Mid Atlantic region – found the answer on the Farmer’s Almanac website.  It happens at 12:30 am on March 20th, 2016.

Herb Garden in June

We have had so much rain this spring, that everything is just simply LUSH.  We’ve been harvesting herbs for a while now, some of them have had two cuttings!  Of course weeding takes a lot longer, as they are very lush as well 🙂  Here are some favorite views from our “kitchen garden”:

oregano in the front left,
then 3 sages in the middle,
parsley and thyme in the back
sweet alyssum with geraniums

mint and lavender drying
in the kitchen
lavender (left), tarragon (right)
daisies and roses in the background

Herb Garden Replenished

After re-arranging the paths of the herb garden to line up with the greenhouse, we had to do some replanting…and of course the annual herbs had to be added in as well.  Some of the new plants include:

  • Curly and flat (Italian) Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Rosemary
  • Summer Savory
  • Cumin
  • Chamomile
  • Basil … lots of Basil


 The herbs that overwintered are doing great and we are just about to do a “first cutting” of tarragon, Italian oregano and Greek oregano.  Our chives are blooming beautifully right now, as is the thyme.


Assessing Winter Damage

The 2014/15 winter was harsh – maybe not record breaking, but awfully cold.  The good news is that we had a lot of snow, which helped to insulate the roots of plants.  The other good news is that we never experienced a period of warming temperatures in early spring, only to dip into deep cold again.

All in all, we could have done worse.  It seems that our grapevines sustained no winter injury at all – mainly due to the fact that we only planted hybrid varieties, which we selected for cold hardiness appropriate for our growing zone.

We did loose a few blueberry bushes, but those had been weaker plants going into the winter.  Also one of our Asian Pear trees did not make it.

However, our blackberries did get hit by winter damage: probably between 15 – 20% of the fruiting canes are damaged.  Luckily this does not mean that the plant itself is dead, there will just be less berries.  (we had expanded our blackberry patch, so we probably come out even at harvest time compared to last year)

Some of our herbs did not survive the cold winter either – not surprisingly, the rosemary did not make it, but neither did the marjoram.  All other perennial herbs are growing fine and the dill self-seeded again.