2020 June Gardens – For the Love of Dirt and the Spring Photo Gallery!

Jun 28 2020
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2020 Gardens – June blog post. One of my favorite moments of every year is when I open the windows in the master bedroom and know I probably won’t have to close them again for several months. After closed doors, no fresh air, cooped up and freezing outside its absolute Heaven to me. Fortunately Lodi is a lot like me and opens all our doors if he gets home before I do. I hate air conditioning. This house stays really cool most of the time but this June pushed us to our limit!

We got hit by an actual tropical storm for the first time in history!

We sweltered in insane humidity, extreme wind and highs in the 90s for days. After the storm passed we thought we were finally moving on to more “normal” weather but what about this year has been normal?!

Throughout June we saw major heat and 20-30 mph South winds time after time before getting hit by several major storms. Fortunately it didn’t destroy all of our work on our 2020 gardens… Though my poor peonies just laid their heads on the ground and basically gave up *sad face*

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

Lodi is officially from north country now. Not just by address but all the way across the board. I’m so proud of him! Even during a pandemic he found a job up here that he loves.

And he comes home smelling of my very favorite thing: Wood!

For the first time we’ve found a routine and security in our relationship.

We moved in together right when the pandemic hit and all the craziness of 2020 not to mention dozens of absolutely unfathomable things that happened in our own lives – ALL AT ONCE – starting literally the first weekend we were together.

We saw the raw worst of each other and did not always behave well.

I think the 2020 gardens, the yard, the work, the taking care of this place, the manual labor, was all at least partially responsible for helping us find our “normal” and take care of each other too. There’s nothing like Minnesota spring to get us off our asses and over ourselves in a hurry!

These last few weeks of “normalcy” have been Heaven.

Mom just completed her radiation and is back home for good and now gets a several week break to heal. (She was only here on the weekends for five weeks straight!)

I’m so proud of her.

The last few months of treatments were really rough but she powered through and got to the other side. She’s on the path to a full recovery and I am just so universally thankful!

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

I’ll be the first to admit that by fall of last year I was ready to be DONE with my garden. Last year’s vegetable garden was really my first SERIOUS garden. I built raised beds, a little irrigation system and made 45 quarts of refrigerator pickles…

I never wanted to see another cucumber in my life…

I learned a ton!

First lesson: Plant less cucumbers (obviously!!!!) And we only planted the Straight Eight variety this year as it was by far our favorite. Second Lesson: Its a small garden, climbers do amazing and take up very little space in comparison to root vegetables.

Last year everyone I knew said their peppers (both sweet or spicy) basically failed and mine were no different. I’m trying again though with a lot more plants because peppers are just so great to freeze and add to almost anything or just eat raw.

I chose the wrong green beans last year in every possible way. All of my Dilly Beans failed because the beans were simply the wrong choice for the application. (Hopefully I figured out the RIGHT green beans this year because fresh green beans tossed in garlic butter and cooked for a second are basically my favorite.)

With my cutting our cucumber and bean planting down by over half that opened up the rest of the garden fencing for other climbers. So, we planted watermelon, muskmelon and peas as well.

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

(Those seedling pics are from early June – I was pretty stoked to plant a full week early this year.)

I’ve never managed to grow a melon in Minnesota so we’ll see!

After that there was still room for root vegetables besides the pepper plants. The biggest issue is that we live in Zone 3 which has the shortest growing season in the United States! There just aren’t that many options so I planted beats and two kinds of kohlrabi.

I was going to plant carrots and radishes this year too but because of quarantine it took me EVERY store in my small town just to find the seeds that we did plant! I was quite miffed! Seriously, this is north country, even the people that don’t normally garden definitely gardened simply out of boredom this year… I would have thought our stores would have realized that…

The back North/West corner of the garden grew dill really well last year but I wasn’t really planning on making pickles so I decided to spoil us a little instead. We planted Thyme, Basil, Oregano and Sage. 2020 Gardens: Fresh herbs are just an absolute treat!

This is Lodi’s first time really planting a garden.

He told me that when he was a kid all he did was weed so he hated it lol!

Fortunately my little raised beds require almost no weeding. Weirdly enough I’ve had people tease me for how little my veggie garden is but I learned a long time ago that gardens are not only a lot of work but even a small garden that’s well taken care of can produce A LOT OF FOOD!

Besides the vegetable garden we have the L-shaped flower garden beside the house and my grandma’s old perennial/wild flower garden beside the garage.

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

The north half of the house’s L shaped flower garden won’t grow anything but tiger lilies, lily of the valley and ferns so that’s all I’m doing there… I’ve got ferns and lily of the valley coming up (thanks Grandma, I know you planted them) all over the yard so I’ll just keep moving them here every spring.

(That awesome vine I pulled directly out of the woods and planted here one year. Its called Virginia Creeper and anyone that’s encountered it either loves it or hates it. It is totally voracious and we’ll be planting a lot more of it all along our privacy fence.)

The Virginia Bluebells I spotted one day several years ago: a tiny, sad, dying little random plant in no place it ever should have been that managed to bloom one tragic little bell. I moved it here and, amazingly enough, it keeps coming back, getting bigger and thriving.

It doesn’t have a long blooming season but its the first flowers we saw in our 2020 gardens this year.

Last year I broke a shovel and spent several hours of swearing while moving my grandma’s ancient, rock hard, giant, root bound, mostly dead, hydrangea bush. By the end I was so disgruntled that I no longer cared if it survived the ordeal.

It did survive though and its springing up by our perennial chives!

Besides the chives and hydrangea the entire West side of our L shaped garden is full of milkweed I planted several years ago. It returns year after year and those blooms are simply one of the best smells on the planet. It brings all the monarchs to the yard too!

The last of our 2020 gardens is my Grandma’s perennial flower bed by the garage. There are a ton of flowers in there (as well as wild milk weed) that come back year after year and take turns blooming all summer.

After I put in the bench and path to the new garage side door last summer I immediately knew what I wanted in the bare spot between the garden and the lilac bush. We brought several bags in of black dirt and totally splurged on asparagus seedlings to fill the whole area.

(Asparagus can do well here as a perennial. I’m crossing my fingers we have many years of asparagus harvests to look forward to!)

After every waking minute of every summer of over a decade mowing at a golf course… I don’t mow.

I just won’t do it.

Fortunately Lodi took over lawn care with a vengeance! He sent me a picture of a new rider in the back of his truck with the caption: So I did a thing…

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

It’s such a tragedy what a brief time we have with our blooming trees and bushes in the spring here. Lilacs, crab apples, wild plumbs and choke cherries flourish but we usually only get to enjoy their blossoms for about a week at most.

This year I didn’t let the photo opportunity pass me by!

Our little doggo Annie started acting down earlier this month and I just KNEW in my gut what it was. She was stiffer and gimpier than usual. She totally lost her zoom and wasn’t interested in participating with us anymore.

I took her to the vet and they confirmed my gut feeling: Lyme’s disease.

I felt SO bad! Apparently in the last few years I’ve been without a dog our tick problem somehow here in north country became even more epic and Frontline for ticks just doesn’t cut it anymore. I got her on a digestible form of tick control now.

Annie has another couple weeks on the antibiotic and she’s acting about 100% better already!

Unfortunately though that’s not the end of Annie’s troubles…

She also broke a tooth (chewing on a rock or something) and its gonna have to be surgically (and very expensively) removed next month – good grief! Weird silver lining: if Annie hadn’t got Lyme’s disease we may have not known about her abscess tooth until it became a serious emergency.

(She is part Labrador after all and I can see her willing to go on eating even on her death bed…)

With Mom only here on the weekends and friends and family finally able to visit Lodi and I inadvertently entertained for FIVE weekends in a row…

How did that even happen!?

I’m an introvert!

It was crazy!

This time of the year in MN there is so much to do and so much we want to do. On top of entertaining we were tackling the 2020 gardens and a thousand other things on the farm and sitting on our hands because there was so much we weren’t doing!

I love them all so much.
Me too!
I need a SERIOUS break.
Its just gonna be us next weekend! YAAAAS!!!!

Isn’t family great?!

Jokes aside though it was awesome to be with them all again after lock down!

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

They all need attention - the lilacs especially are riddled with dead wood. Someday I will take them all down to the root so they can regrow.

They all need attention - the lilacs especially are riddled with dead wood. Someday I will take them all down to the root so they can regrow.

They all need attention - the lilacs especially are riddled with dead wood. Someday I will take them all down to the root so they can regrow.

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

They all need attention - the lilacs especially are riddled with dead wood. Someday I will take them all down to the root so they can regrow.

They all need attention - the lilacs especially are riddled with dead wood. Someday I will take them all down to the root so they can regrow.

They all need attention - the lilacs especially are riddled with dead wood. Someday I will take them all down to the root so they can regrow.

Continuing the tradition of every year buying, planning and planting over a weekend with my awesome mom in our 2020 gardens, Lodi joined us this year!

They all need attention - the lilacs especially are riddled with dead wood. Someday I will take them all down to the root so they can regrow.

Comments

  1. June 28, 2020 at 9:33 am

    So glad to see your lovely garden report, and hear the news of your Mama – Spring has brought you joy this year and no mistake. I think you might have day lilies somewhere on the farm? I know that in New England they grow wild, but I don’ know about where you are. Here they DO NOT grow wild! and if I want the posh colours have to pay for them. But that’s OK, I love them all. Friends have given me tomato plants this year (I usually buy) and they are looking real good. Some ordinary size and some baby ones which are tumblers so have planted them in the top of an old chimney pot and have loads of green babies already! Because of lock down we have spent days in the garden, under a big umbrella, eating drinking reading an generally watching all sorts of bees and insects and also watching birds taking a dip in our water thing. Thing because it is a terracotta pot which bubbles up through a hole in the top so not a fountain, but the water keeps on the move. The birds love it. The little ones just jump right in, and the bigger ones cool their feet off and drink a bit. Have a lovely July and sometimes have an hour just for yourselves, you and him. x

    • June 29, 2020 at 8:51 am

      Hi Susan, here in northern MN there are tons of day lilies but I know they didn’t grow wild there by themselves. However, they do SO WELL here I know people who have tried to get rid of them and been quite annoyed by their persistence! I love them especially because the kind we have is a late bloomer so we often have no other flowers blooming once they start opening up. Your bird bath sounds great! We have a bad bath that I put a little solar powered “water mover” in it – our birds and little critters love it. I call it our watering hole lol.

  2. liz
    June 28, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Those flowering trees are gorgeous- and your lilacs are beautiful! My lilacs barely flowered this year and my dogwoods were pitiful.Your hard work has certainly paid off- everything looks lovely.

    • June 29, 2020 at 8:52 am

      Hi Liz, our flowering trees and lilacs did well this year but my poor peonies and rhubarb did not – so strange!

  3. Trudy W Locke
    June 28, 2020 at 9:58 am

    You two are very good together!Y’all look like you’re carved out of cream cheese! Very pretty together! I so enjoy hearing of happy couples. Keep up the good work, on your relationship, your home, and your gardens. Best of the season!

  4. June 28, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Your gardens are amazing!

  5. Marsha
    June 28, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Love reading your blog! ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–

  6. June 28, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    What a beautiful garden! Enjoy it while it lasts! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Suzanne M MISENHIMER
    June 29, 2020 at 8:29 am

    Love yr photos!U certainly r a hard worker. Congratulations on finding the right companion! U deserve to b happy.

    • June 29, 2020 at 8:57 am

      Thank you Suzanne! Hope you have a wonderful week!

  8. June 29, 2020 at 10:34 am

    Enjoyed your writing, expecting some further great works!

  9. July 1, 2020 at 7:37 am

    Oh my, your gardens are LOVELY. I adore the natural, old-fashioned vibe of it all! Plus, it just touches a little place in my heart that you have taken over, and so lovingly care for, your grandparents’ farm. I am sure they are smiling down on you. ๐Ÿ’œ
    -Niky
    thehouseonsilverado.com

  10. Suzanne M MISENHIMER
    July 1, 2020 at 8:43 am

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. July 16, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    Lockdowns we’re crazy times. Its so good to hear all your stories on your gardening during these time. I absolutely love climbers for small gardens, So true they work wonders for small gardens. Thanks for sharing, really inspiring watching people do what they love, especially while in lock down. Beats other social media where people are just complaining.
    Thanks for writing. Was a good read.

    • July 17, 2020 at 8:11 am

      Thanks Johnathon, these are very weird times we’re living in for sure!

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