Get in the Garden


There was a paper shredder explosion in front of my house after recycling day last Thursday. It inspired me to get outside and clean up. I couldn’t pick up each tiny piece of paper so I started clearing out leaves and cutting back all the old plant debris from last year. I got the rake and shovel out. It felt so good to be in the garden! With a sweater, it was comfortable outside. After some clearing, I noticed my perennials have begun to sprout!

The Daylilies are two inches tall already! This plant is low maintenance. It tolerates many soil types including our sandy mix here in Rockaway.  Do you know where the name comes from? Hemerocallis, means “beauty for a day”. The flower opens early morning and dies by nightfall, lasting only one precious day. But so many flowers appear consecutively that you’ll have a constant sunny sea of yellow from late May throughout all of June. Deadhead the old flowers to insure the best possible blooms.


After removing the wiry remains of my Nepeta Walker’s Low, I saw a half inch of purple and green pushing its way out of the earth! Walker’s Low you’ll see all around Rockaway. It’s the dark lavender-blue flowers. It looks like a small bush. Find them along the boardwalk garden beds, the 100th precinct and across the way at  the library, to name a few locations. Walker’s Low is another great plant for our coastal environment. It does well in all soil types and is drought tolerant. It will bloom in late spring through late summer. Cut the plant back leaving three inches after the first bloom ends. You’ll get more flowers in a few weeks after that.  The perennial is aromatic. I use it to make cold tea with lemon, it’s so refreshing on hot summer days. The plant is also a favorite for our felines. It’s commonly known as catmint and your kitty will go wild over it.

Towards the right side of the garden I saw bulbs sprouting. I was confused for a minute because I don’t have bulbs in the front yard but then I remembered my friend Josh Gallagher gave me a bag full of tulips and I planted them late last fall! We don’t know what color they’ll be but I’m looking forward to the surprise!

I spent about 2 ½ hours outside. I would have worked in the garden longer but it started to rain. There’s much more work to be down and I’m eager to get out there again. Clearing out old organics, turning the soil and adding compost to your garden beds should be taken care of now, as your perennials are waking up from winter. More importantly,  If you’re going to transplant perennials or shrubs or prune trees, don’t waste a minute! After moving them to the new location, give the plants a healthy watering and they’ll do just fine.


I’m so excited its gardening season again and now they’ll be no shortage of things to write about in my column!

Previously published in The Wave.