Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another Day in My Garden Journal

A day without sunshine is . . . well, a cloudy day!

The last two days were definitely NOT cloudy days! I am from Nebraska where we make hay while the sun shines so I happily spent my time recently out of doors in the yard/garden.

Hmmmm, I've often wondered aside if I should call the area in which I toil a yard or a garden? That is a musing for another day I suppose.

Anyway, whatever it is, it beckoned! Thursday dawned bright, warm, humid and quite windy. Assuredly, it was not a day for an industrious raking of the leaves (where they spawned from, I do not know as I raked all of them up in the autumn!). Not only was the day absolutely perfect for doing more clean-up of the garden but it was ripe for inspecting the ground for "almost spring" surprises. Frankly, this time of year is as exciting as Christmas for me! There is no more thrilling sight than to see a plant reawakening after winter's freeze! Okay, I can think of one but this is a close second . . . :)

Back to my gardening :) My efforts were concentrated on the front gardens, the brick patio and the "small triangle" bed.

The front gardens had liriope to be cut back before the new growth begins and as full as it is becoming, the hands quickly became sore from the shears. Roses and the woody parts of the nandina were pruned. Winter-damaged stems of the hydrangeas were cut. Dead foliage from last year was picked up. Woodland poppy seedlings were transplanted along with two clematis (a burgundy and a white) which will now grow up a new cedar and copper trellis. Pulmonaria seedlings were popping up and needed to be relocated. While tending to these chores, lo and behold! What did I see? A hosta shoot! This is the earliest ever for one to appear in my garden! Who DOESN'T believe in global warming?!

My "small triangle" bed is an area at the front door of my parent's home (a guest house in my backyard). This garden contains a variety of plants, one of which is my favorite: Black and Blue salvia. It is the best hummingbird magnet I've ever had in any of my gardens! Bees love it also. One small plant has become quite a mass and was a mess of dead, dry, sticks. This is also the earliest I've seen growth on it. But the lovliest surprise of the day came when I saw the surprise peony.

Year before last, I purchased a gorgeous orange daylily that apparently had a stowaway in it's nursery pot, for last spring Inoticed a plant that I'd certainly not installed. It was too soon to flower but was easily identified as a peony! It is pushing it's way up again this year. The anticipation builds until it does bloom to see what wonder I have! Will it be white? Pink? Red? Whatever, it is exciting! Plus, I got TWO plants for the price of ONE! What gardener does not like a deal?!

Here, I might mention, is where I explain my brick patio. Over time, it seems to have turned into a small nursery of sorts. I have a 9 x 12 greenhouse but that is where I store my tropicals over the winter season and start seeds for the spring. The patio outside my laundry door is where I store the perennials, shrubs and trees I find at close-out sales. I purchase them at fantastic prices and then use them in my community for beautification projects, mainly at the public school campus. This "nursery" is the bane of my 83 year old father's existence! You see, he is my chief waterboy :) "Are you ever going to plant these?!" What he does not realize is that I DO plant them but then buy more, constantly turning them over :) To him, if you have seen one sedum, you have seen them all. I would like to come up with another viable solution for "nurserying" them. We have a new commercial greenhouse at the school but then I would have to traipse over there all summer to take care of them.

All of the "nursery" plants need to be spruced up, pots cleaned of their debris, repotted if they are outgrowing their current containers, and moved (for the brick patio itself to be cleaned). What is fun about this job? I come across thrilling plants that I forgot I had! And of course, I see the baby plants emerging from their winter sleep. Again, the proverbial Christmas!

The above took two days of work. Why does it seem that although I spent two days working in the gardens, there is more to do than there was before I even began? I do believe the chores are splitting and multiplying before my very eyes . . . like some type of alien life from outer space!

Regardless, I had a blast! The sun was on my face, the wind chapped my cheeks and the fresh air invigorated my very soul! My three dogs had interesting adventures helping me sniff out the new shoots and making themselves general nuisances :) My dog Mikki, spent most of the time Friday laying at my feet, wanting affection which I was glad to give. She is dying and loves to be with me in the garden. There is no more fitting place for her to be for her last days.

So, to this update I add the following that are now making themselves quietly known in my garden: Cape Cod tulips, daffodils, agapanthus, canna, pineapple sage, mexican marigold mint, stachys, peony, ajuga, creeping jenny, camellia, hydrangea, azalea, achillea, clematis, buddleia, solidago, weigela, pieris, beauty berry and akebia. Think that covers it!

A history note. Last year, the unthinkable happened: I couldn't have cared any less for gardening. I wondered if I'd feel the love for it ever again as I had in the past. I now happily know the answer: a resounding YES! My passion and excitement are back as strong as ever and it has returned to become the best therapy ever!

There are many more days needing to be spent on cleaning up and I welcome each and every one of them!

Plant on baby and let's get dirty!

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