Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In the Garden: Jumpstarting the Year 101

The season got off to a rough start with a late heavy snowfall last Tuesday. Luckily my traditional five days off to get the garden going began Wednesday!

By Wednesday, my first full gardening day, the snow was mostly a memory.

There are certain tasks you need to do before you get to the fun stuff:

1.  Pick up doggie detritus.

2.  Pull leaves off of the gardens.

3. Block four legged beaners from the east side of the yard with their digging, trampling, detritus doggie ways.

4. Locate Gardening Notebook and note what survived and what did not, what to take out or move.

5. Put comfy garden swing and adirondak chair in a nice vantage spot for lots of breaks.

5. Clean out veggie garden raised beds.  I used cocoa bean mulch last year in desperation to help the veggies with the extremely hot summer and the two one week vacations we took in July and August.  I planned to rake that out of the garden this spring.  As it turned out it had mostly decomposed so I left what remained.  I had read as much as i could about a good veggie garden mulch and found nothing satisfactory.  Cocoa bean hulls were excellent.  Weed supressing and moisture saving.  To my chagrin the beds on the south side of the garden had tree roots, those really fine ones in them, no doubt from the arborvitae nearby.

Voila! Just a bit of snow left.  It melted last right on the south side by the fence where no sun could get to it easily.

As we see the ratty gardener didn't get all of the ornamental items taken in over the winter.  Note the poor arborvitae that was split by the heavy snow the day before.  I think my spouse put a bit of twine on it to bring the branches back together.

While taking a break I go to sit in my easy chair with a cup of tea only to find it heavily occupied.  Stinkers.

They can lounge anwhere...

This raised bed had crocus peeking out of the leaf cover by noon Wednesday so I had to scoot out and get the leaves off pronto.

Crocus emerging!

It takes over an hour to completely clear the leaves out.  As you can see lots of things were ready to go as soon as the evil snow left.  Narcissus, daylilies and mini-chives abound.
I had started cutting back my hydrangea stems when doh! I noticed lively buds.  Just got a few side shoots.  The long handled hand rake from Linders has been invaluable for saving my knees.  I can scoot my little tractor around the garden and reach in with the rake.  There is a matching hand hoe that is nice for plumping the soil up a bit.  Yes, the soil in the raised be is warmed enough to dig in.  A single day after ye storm.

I had at least three other varieties of crocus in here but certain four footed beasties broke into the bed and dug them out.  This fall I can safely add more.

In recent years I've become fond of whimsical garden ornamentation.  This bird house from Linder's charmed me in the depth of winter.  It is sort of heavy, being made of metal, and it was difficult to find a tree branch it hooked onto just right.  It looks just lovely, here's hoping emerging foliage doesn't bury it.

The bozos perhaps anticipate the upcoming east side ban.

I read on Facebook that you could give your peas a jumpstart by putting them in a wet paper towel and putting them in a plastic bag for 24 hours.  I did this but only a single pea sprouted.  In the ground they went anyway!

Welcome to the garden!

The fake garden creatures begin to appear.  I have a thing for frogs because I've always liked them myself, and when I first met her my mother in law, she had a dazzling collection of them on her kitchen wall.  Hugs, Mary.

The new gate and fencing which contains the diggingest dogs.  And handsome Mr. D.O.A.

A view from my new snuggly garden swing retreat.  Lots of leaves to pull.  My beloved Rusty Rabbitiques shelves over by the fence, not showing up so much now, but once they're filled with pots they'll give wonderful color to that underused spot.

Inspired by my Master Gardener cohort at work, I'm going to put in a small Fairy Garden around this tree.  It is even more gnarled on the other side.  The first spring we lived here a tornado took out about half the trees in the yard, just yanking them out of the ground.  This one may be raised up this way as a result, but it seems happy.  I always love Scottish Moss but can't get it to thrive anywhere in the yard.  I wonder if it might do well here.  It will look charming for a single season anyway.  The dreaded rocks you see here are I hope! some of the last remnants of the rocks and black plastic that were around every shrub and tree and in every garden in the yard.  Grrr how I despise rocks and black plastic.  These might just make a cute roadway/path in the fairy garden. If not they go poof as have their rocky pals before them.

I have a bad case of what I like to call "Plant Lust".  When I go to the garden centers in spring everything looks so vibrant and beautiful, I MUST HAVE A TON OF THINGS!  Tsk.  Bad for the budget.  So this year I am going to limit myself to plants with pink or white flowers.  This will look happy and charming and it will limit my Plant Lust options.

Unfortunately for me, I also have an obsessive love of watering cans.  No clue where that came from.  I find them irresistable.  These are loveable and practical as a nice concentrated stream of water emerges from their piggie nostrils.

I feel as if I got a ton done during my time off.  Lots to do, but it is heavenly being outside in the sun and warm air so I expect to be out there tons and have the best garden ever.

1 comment:

  1. You are getting me all excited for gardening. Doggies and piggies are darling! Scooter is nifty and Dorothy and Alice are hilarious!