In the Garden: Horticultural inspirations

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In the Garden: Horticultural inspirations

leopardi

by Greta Belanger deJong

Create a garden sanctuary. Plus, tomato and cool-weather planting guides.

gardenRule of thumb is to begin planting four to six weeks before the last frost which, in Salt Lake City (zone 5) is April 26. So, weather permitting, you can plant as early at March 15. If you’re in surrounding canyons, your site is a wild card and you’re the best judge. At whatever elevation, the ground must be dry enough: Squeeze a handful of dirt into a ball and drop it from about three feet; if it falls apart, plant.

Plant cool-weather flowers and vegetables NOW!

Rule of thumb is to begin planting four to six weeks before the last frost which, in Salt Lake City (zone 5) is April 26. So, weather permitting, you can plant as early at March 15. If you’re in surrounding canyons, your site is a wild card and you’re the best judge. At whatever elevation, the ground must be dry enough: Squeeze a handful of dirt into a ball and drop it from about three feet; if it falls apart, plant.

Seeds

Flowers: alyssum, blue marguerites, godetia, larkspur, sweet peas, poppies. (For better germination: Freeze poppy and larkspur seeds for two weeks before planting; soak sweet peas overnight.)

Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, many lettuces, peas and spinach. (You can begin planting beets, carrots, chard, onion sets and radishes two to four weeks before last frost: approximately March 29-April 12.)

Seedlings/plants

Flowers: bachelor buttons, calendula, columbines, dianthus, pansies, poppies, primrose, snapdragons, stocks, roses.

Vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chives, garlic, kale, parsley, potatoes­.

Plant a sanctuary

Sanctuary” implies an enclosure: a hedge, trellis, natural wood or artistic metalwork will do. Arched entryways accentuate the transition between “inner” and “outer,” and can be made from vine-covered trellises, branches, wrought iron. If your arched entrance has a gate, consider hanging a sign on it, with a thoughtful quote or maybe a name for your garden. Inside the enclosure, consider focal points, lighting, pathways, a sitting area and possibly a water feature.

No earth of your own? Create seclusion with potted plants: a small tree, bamboo, quick-growing castor beans. Or place a window box on the ground, string up a simple trellis and grow some peas or beans for a short-term (but tasty!) retreat.

Tomatoes!

As recent as 20 years ago, a tiny yellow pear-shaped tomato was considered a novelty in the garden; a tomato was supposed to be round, and red, and while it may vary in size, the flavors were not all that different. We ate what was commercially available—from the grocery and from the nursery.

Thanks to heirloom seed savers and a reborn appreciation for variety, tomatoes of many colors, sizes, shapes and flavors that flourished long ago are again being grown.

Wasatch Front gardeners in the know go to Tanya Chatterton, whose acreage surrounding her Sugar House shop-in-a-house, Traces, is a magic land of flowers and groundcovers, backed by a huge tomato-filled garden.

Talk about variety: Her offerings include early, mid- and late-season producers, and a range of colors (red, green, purple, pink, yellow, orange, white, and combinations thereof). Some grow to two pounds or more, with an average diameter of five inches. Others are smaller than your thumb. Their names beat the well-worn Better Boy and Early Girl, too: Try Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge, Silvery Fir Tree, Thessaloniki, or maybe Japanese Black Trifele.

Chatterton has many varieties to choose from. She is taking orders now. (Email her for complete list with descriptions, or view it HERE.)

Traces: 1432 S. 100 E. (across from Whispers). 801.467.9544. Email Tanya for list: TracesSLC@hotmail.com or view here:

No more Mr. Iceberg

Easy to grow and good for your body, greens mean go for great flavor.
Most prefer cool wather, so plant early and harvest often.

Garden writer Rosalind Creasey divides the “fancy greens” into these
categories. Try some of each!

• Mild, tender greens (lettuces, baby chard, mache)

• Hearty greens (pak choi, kale, spinach)

• Strong-flavored greens—use in moderation if you are not familiar with them (arugula, cresses, mustards, mizuna, other Oriental greens)

• Bitter greens (radicchio, endive, dandelion)

• Flowers (nasturtium blossoms and leaves, calendula, borage)

• Herbs (basil, mint, sorrel, parsley, etc.)

• Weeds (purslane, lambsquarter)

For a fragrant garden, plant these:

Shrubs: lilac, honysuckle, rose (always check the label regarding fragrance), Chinese wisteria (make sure you get a female plant)

Flowers: sweet peas, sweet alyssum, sweet William,
lily-of-the-valley, evening scented stock, marigolds, petunias, dianthus

Herbs: lavender, sweet woodruff, thyme, rosemary, basil, sage, mints, more

Perennials in the food garden

Fruit trees, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries), rhubarb, grapes, asparagus. Moreso than with most perennials, pay attention to available light, proximity to structures and the ultimate size of the plant. You don’t want to have to transplant.

 
 
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