Gardening with Galligan: Spring at Last!

CAROL GALLIGAN PHOTO | Some of my ‘dafs.’ I like to plant in frequently traveled spots. These are right outside my front door.

CAROL GALLIGAN PHOTO | Some of my ‘dafs.’ I like to plant in frequently traveled spots. These are right outside my front door.

Finally, finally, finally! After such a hideous April, a wonderful May! I keep wondering if it’s my imagination or not, but it feels like a more beautiful one than usual. One thing that is definitely not my imagination, however, is that there are far more than the usual number of ospreys. Every single nest is full. I can’t remember the last time that was true.

The entire Island has turned pink and yellow. And if any of your neighbors has bothered with roadside plantings, please remember to thank them, as well as those who planted and tended all those wonderful fruit trees, especially the white Bradford pears, and the gorgeous pink fruit blossoms now smiling down on us amid the haze of glorious spring green. True, that shade will soon give way to the less interesting, darker green of summer, but we’ve already had that pleasure for well over a week, as I write, and there will be yet another week until you read this.

Almost all of my bulbs came through beautifully, and I’m especially pleased with one of my new additions (before I get to my $127 disaster). I often plant with an eye to vantage points, i.e. from which window the flowers can be seen, since spring is often both chilly and/or wet. And since I see my azaleas from my bedroom window, I take pains to surround them with tulips in carefully selected shades. This year, I added 100 muscari, the bright, blue Dark Eyes variety and my only regret is that I didn’t buy several hundred more and continue their parade down the rest of the border. Which, indeed, I will do next spring.

Now for the bad news. Not many years ago, a new muscari was introduced, of all things, in pink! There are probably at least 50 blue varieties. I resisted ordering them for some time, since new varieties are always really expensive. Last fall, resistance crumbled. I bought 100 for $126.75 at wholesale price, no less! They came up, sort of. I thought they looked somewhat sickly, but I didn’t get to worry about them long, since they were completely eaten down in the first few days. I forgot that deer and other types like muscari. The ability to make dumb mistakes increases, unfortunately, with age.

I hover every morning over the caladia I was in the midst of planting, last column. They were supposed to germinate in three weeks — we’re now four days past the three week mark, and as of this morning, only 10 of the 15 have sprouted. And of those, only two are up several inches, the rest just an inch or so tall. I have a bad feeling that they’ll come into their own some time in late August. I’m tempted to plant them in their pots to facilitate bringing them indoors. Clearly, should I venture that way again, starting much earlier is key. This news from the “Live and Learn Department.”

I’m still figuring losses; two of my climbers died. Why? No idea, but they did. I hate when a perfectly healthy plant just doesn’t make it through the winter. Of course, another way of looking at it, is that you can enjoy shopping, and I do. Next week, I think.

I hope your spring has gone well. Back to you in June, rose time!