FROM MY GARDEN – In troubled times, gardens are good for the soul
by LINDA MARRONE
Published - 04/12/20 - 09:00 AM | 2464 views | 2 2 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
‘Camelot’ foxgloves and ‘Pacific Giant’ delphiniums growing along with other spring flowers and roses in my garden last spring./ Photo by Linda Marrone
‘Camelot’ foxgloves and ‘Pacific Giant’ delphiniums growing along with other spring flowers and roses in my garden last spring./ Photo by Linda Marrone
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These days, just like most of us I am spending a lot more time at home and for me that gives me more time to spend in the garden. Plants and nature are good for the soul and they help me reflect on all the positive aspects of nature and not just the scary ones.

Recently, I called Green Gardens Nursery in Pacific Beach (4910 Cass St., 858-483-7846) to see if they were open and much to my heart's delight, they are! I love it when I can help local businesses, especially during these trying times. The Nursery is usually open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily but you may want to check on times before you go, just in the event that things change.

If you can't make it in, they are offering free local deliveries on orders $50 or more or you can call in your order and pick it up at the curbside.

To respect public distancing, they are allowing only four people at a time inside, to keep everyone safe. My delivery included a variety of pansies, violas and spring flowers, along with a 6-pack of assorted lettuces, 4-inch pots of thyme, oregano and of course, my favorite fairytale flower, foxgloves.  

 

Spring is the perfect time to plant and even a small pot of flowers, herbs or a house plant can lift your spirits. A small rectangular box that I keep on the patio outside my kitchen was filled with lettuces and arugula in late winter (thanks to Chrissy at Green Gardens who planted them for me) and it yielded greens to add to salads for months since most leaf lettuces will continue to produce leaves as you snip off their outer ones.  

 

Lettuces enjoy the cooler weather, so there is still time to pick up small lettuce plants in 6-packs at the Nursery and plant them in containers or in your garden before it gets too hot. Containers filled with herbs are always a welcome addition to both your outdoor garden and a sunny windowsill.

I have a small basil plant growing on my kitchen windowsill and it has thrived for months. The freshly torn leaves were a welcome addition to pasta and many other dishes for most of the winter and they added just the right summery touch to a homemade pizza Margarita last week – well semi-homemade since I used frozen puff pastry as the crust.

 

I planted my pansies and violas in containers and all around the garden, along with the foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea). In February, I also planted a few 6-packs of the hybrid foxglove, "Foxy" and they are just beginning to show signs of sending up their enchanting flower spikes. Foxy has a smaller flower spike than most foxgloves, which grows to about 2 to 3 feet in height. I find this type of foxglove perfectly suited for container gardening.

My recent purchase of the foxglove "Excelsior" came in 4-inch pots and it is a hybrid I am not as familiar with that Luke at the Nursery suggested. "Excelsior" will have flower spikes that will grow up to 6 feet in height and they come in the usual shades of white, pink and lavender. 

 

All foxgloves love well-drained soil and mine grow in areas with morning sun and partial shade. I water them as they begin to dry out and as they grow, they get fed with either Eleanor's V-F 11 Plant Food or with fish emulsion a few times. They can also be planted in full sun this time of year but will require frequent watering, even after they establish.

 

As their flower spikes grow, secure them with bamboo stakes, so that they don't break. Hummingbirds and bees flock to foxgloves, but if you have children or pets that might nibble on leaves, do not plant them in your garden because their leaves are toxic. Keep the area around your foxgloves baited for slugs and snails with non-toxic snail bait, such as Sluggo, since the slimy little creatures love to eat their leaves and unfortunately it doesn't seem to affect them at all.

 

As I was getting ready for spring earlier this year, I updated the virtual tour of my ever-changing garden, which has been my passion for over 30 years. Since our local garden tours have been put on hold for now, you can take a tour of my garden on LindaMarrone.com. Enjoy, I hope it lifts your spirits and gives you hope for brighter days ahead.

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