Be sure to enjoy the small pleasures while gardening

Published 9:20 am Saturday, June 2, 2012

Carol Hegel Lang, Serendipity Gardens

Now that I have my containers and gardens planted I can really enjoy the pleasures of gardening. This year with our early spring and summer-like temperatures in May I was done planting before Memorial Day and already starting the maintenance program for my gardens.

Carol Lang

We’ve had some dry conditions from the heat and wind the last couple of weeks and so I have delayed doing much fertilizing opting for the plants to become well established instead.

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Everything seems to be blooming ahead of schedule and right now all except two of the 11 rose bushes I have are blooming so I need to get the Epsom salt and fertilizer on them.

My Flower Carpet roses are just loaded with blooms and survived the winter just fine. William Baffin is another story as it doesn’t have as many buds on it as it usually does and some of the leaves are yellowing. This rose is a climber and gets to about 20 feet tall and it will be covered with hundreds of blooms.

Mine grows free-standing with canes several inches thick but if you have a young one you will probably need to stake it to a trellis. The Alba rose has not opened yet and doesn’t usually bloom until around Father’s Day but I am guessing that by the end of this week it will be blooming too.

I don’t know what I would do without my trusty old wheelbarrow; when I am planting flowers I use it to mix the potting soil, sand, compost and peat moss together. Now that it is time to start weeding the garden I haul all of my supplies in it (hoe, pruners, trugs, fertilizer and other things) so that I have everything right at my fingertips. When I start mixing the liquid fertilizer into buckets they are loaded onto the wheelbarrow and then I can easily move the heavy pails to where they are needed. This little contraption is definitely a workhorse in my garden.

Carol Hegel Lang took this photo of these flowers in her garden.

The irises are blooming so I have started deadheading them as they finish blooming. This time of the year deadheading is an every day task so I always carry pruners with me and a bag to pop the dead flowers into so I can empty them into the composter. Your tulips and daffodils should be done blooming but make sure that you only take the flower stalks off; leave the foliage to die back as that is what gives the nutrients to next years flower buds.

Finally I got my patio furniture out of storage, and now I can sit under the gazebo in the evenings and really enjoy the gardens. The other evening after the wind had died down I sat for about an hour before dusk and enjoyed the birds as they came to the feeders hanging on the gazebo. A nuthatch was quite brave and actually landed on the table before heading to the peanut feeder. My little wrens sang so happily and the cardinals called back and forth to their mates. Life certainly is good.

So far the weeds haven’t gotten ahead of me, and if I can keep up with deadheading and fertilizing I should keep the gardens looking good. With three garden tours booked I am really going to have to stay on top of everything and then I am also hosting three family gatherings. A busy summer is ahead of me for sure.

I made a new garden just for cutting flowers this year and most of the plants are coming from seeds. Now I need to get in there and thin out the seedlings so they have plenty of room to grow. This is a small cottage garden like the rest of mine but it sits between two other gardens, the Victorian gazebo garden and the driveway border gardens so I hope it won’t be so busy that none of the gardens will stand out amongst them.

It has a small curvy brick pathway with only a few perennials planted among the annuals. The garden is lit at night because the American flag is directly in front of it and this flag is lit at dusk so the light will cascade down over the garden illuminating it too.

Soon the plants in the containers will fill them with colors of pink, purple, blue and white which is my color theme this year. I am only allowing a very few kiss-me-over-the garden gate plants to grow this year since I am trying to keep the gardens more civilized looking rather than the sometimes-wild look they have.

This quote from Voltaire I thought really spoke of my thoughts on my gardens: “Love is a canvas, furnished by nature and embroidered by the imagination.” Enjoy your summer with your gardens and stop and smell the roses.


Carol Hegel Lang is an Albert Lea resident and local green thumb. Her email is