From the baby birds leaving their nests to the abundance of beautiful blooms, it sure feels like summer is near—and the recent weather suggests that just might be true.
Here are the farm, the arrival of June means the gardens are all nearly planted, with the cucumbers, lettuces and other greens all thriving in addition to the fava beans inching their way up the trellises and the fragrant herbs growing in abundance in the Walled Garden.
Warm weather plants such as the tomatoes and peppers are ready to go in the hoop house, with the eggplant and summer squash starts to follow. We’ve begun checking the strawberries to see if any are ripening, but we will have to be patient as those look to still be a week or two out. In the meantime, we will enjoy the peonies as they start their vibrant season as well as the first flush of English roses in bloom.
Around the rest of the farm, the animals are enjoying a ‘spa day’ to brush out the last of their thick winter undercoats, while Dave and Beth Richards of JohnnyAppleBeez will soon come to retrieve their orchard mason bee houses from the garden, which will be filled with the cocoons of baby bees; the Richards will help these bees become next year’s crop pollinators.
As the summer season gets under way, we are also kept busy planting both veggies and herbs for kitchen gardens and summer color in beds, pots and borders for our Parterre clients, and then with the special events and weddings happening here at Bella Luna. We love hosting gatherings big and small, and would love to host your family and friends for your next celebration.
Enjoy this most pleasant start to June and we hope to see you here at the farm soon!
April’s many showers have indeed brought May flowers, gracing Bella Luna with a lush beauty as spring has gradually arrived at the farm. The better weather of late has really jump-started our ‘to-do’ list, keeping us busy dawn to dusk trying to keep ahead of the weeds that seem to pop up overnight now that the sun seems to have arrived.
Gardening planning is always one of our favorite winter pastimes, and now is the time to make those dreams come true. Thus, our gardening company, Parterre, is busy doing just that for our clients; we are putting in new herb gardens and early seasonal vegetables into kitchen gardens, as well as adding colorful plants to containers—this time of year is perfect for a garden makeover or update as all our Northwest plants are just now springing to life.
Here at Bella Luna, the apple, pear trees and blueberry bushes are abloom in both the orchard and the garden where Woodinville’s Johnny Applebees LLC recently installed specialized orchard mason bee houses to aid pollination and good fruit production. We are also finishing up planting peas, carrots, lettuce starts, kales, cabbages, garlic, leeks and onions. (It’s time to secure the gates to the vegetable gardens so we don’t have any furry guests nibbling tender new shoots!)
When it is sunny out, the ‘girls’ venture out to enjoy the lush green pasture, where they also like to stretch their heads over the fence to nibble on any brambles they can reach. We are also once again treated to the chorus of frogs at night, so loud we can hear them indoors—a most welcome symphony after such a long, wet winter.
The classic adage is proving true: Early spring showers are indeed bringing flowers as the seemingly-continual rain and milder temperatures have finally begun to kick-start the flower beds here at Bella Luna now that we have reached the month of April. As we are busy both indoors during drippy days and outdoors during the sun breaks, there are lots of developments to share:
Nestled amongst the sea of early daffodils and tulips, other flowers have also begun to bud, including the rhododendrons, hellebores, and primroses, as well as evergreen huckleberries and hot pink salmonberry flowers—a favorite snack of the girls, both feathered and furred. These spring blooms regularly find their way onto the farmhouse table bringing a delightful glimpse of the season inside on gray days.
In the orchard, a new resident is about to move in and join our budding fruit trees—the bees. Our friends Dave and Beth Richards of Woodinville’s Johnny Applebees LLC will install several of their specialized orchard mason bee houses in sunny, south-facing spots here at the farm to help with crop pollination. Mason orchard bees nest in reeds and natural holes, hence the design of their handmade cedar “houses” which are filled with natural reed tubes. These busy, non-stinging bees are considered nature’s ‘super’ pollinators and as such are a very welcome addition to the farm.
Spring is also in swing in the vegetable garden, where we have been both weeding and adding compost like mad, getting the first sweet peas, snap peas, favas, onion, leek and garlic starts into the ground, as well as early spring lettuces, Swiss chard, kale, beets, and carrots. The herbs continue to grow apace in the walled garden, kissing the air with the savory scent of thyme, parsley and chives. The team for our landscape design company, Parterre, is also bustling for our clients’ projects despite the drippy weather, installing pear and apple espaliers (they make amazing “living” fences!) and planting French lilacs to grace their gardens with incredible fragrance later this spring.
As it is the season for planting, we are especially excited about Snohomish High School’s upcoming plant sale, which kicks off this year on May 2nd. Produced by the Snohomish Agriscience students and the Snohomish Valley FFA Alumni Association (in which we participate), this sale will help you dig into spring—come stock up on herbs, vegetables, flowers, perennials and more all cultivated by the high school students. More information available here.
As always, we wish you the best this season and hope you too are enjoying a bountiful spring!
As the old saying goes, March seems to have come in like a lion, bringing with it almost every kind of weather—rain, hail, sunshine and even some snow showers. Still, every sun break, mild afternoon and budding branch reminds us that spring is on its way to Bella Luna:
The first daffodils, primulas and crocuses are beginning to pop up out of the soil, and some of the plum and cherry trees are beginning to bud, soon to also grace us with their beautiful fragrant scent. We’ve been spending more and more time out of doors, as are our resident animals—the chickens strut in their outdoor enclosure and the ‘girls’ are shedding their thick winter undercoats in favor of a sleek new look.
The pace has picked up in the gardens as the plots begin to awaken from their winter slumber: Seeds are going in the greenhouse and the new lettuce and kale starts have already taken root, as have the onion sets and leeks. Later this month the spring peas will be planted and we will begin harvesting our first crops of flavorful spring greens from the hoop house. By the end of the month, if it is warm enough for new growth, we should also see the first signs of watercress and perhaps even begin scouting for young rhubarb!
Things are also accelerating in the gardens we care for away from the farm; our gardening and landscaping company, Parterre, has been busy planning, planting and pruning for our clients across the Puget Sound. Spring is a busy time as we design and install food gardens or incorporate edibles into existing landscapes, creating visual interest by combining bright, vibrant blooms and other ornamentals with such edibles as pea towers, herbs and even edible flowers. Every tree, shrub and stone is thoughtfully hand-selected and each garden we design is a unique and personal creation for the client—it so gratifying to see each one come to life in the spring and summer.
As the days continue to lengthen, we look forward to bidding adieu to winter produce in favor of all the fresh and bright spring flavors the farm provides. To spring—and beyond!