The side garden near the chicken coop—where we sit on the bright green Swedish bench to watch Chicken TV—is a major project. It was a long-neglected area that we once referred to as Winifred’s Poop Garden because of its liberal use by our now-deceased Belgian Malinois.
Last year I divided variegated hostas and supplemented them with ‘Sun and Substance’ and a couple of ‘Blue Angel’ hostas. The slugs love the variegated hostas, so they’ll slowly be replaced with other plants. Several tiarella, or foam flowers, have gone in. Twenty more are on the way. I’m keeping my eyes open for more dramatic, thick-leafed hostas that Mr. McGregor’s Daughter tells me will be more slug-resistant so I can toss the variegated slug bait to the chickens.
Trying to establish a little green bit of lawn in front of the bench where the two little Papillons can lounge has been a struggle. It was looking pretty good last summer, but the snow plows did severe damage as they piled 5-foot tall walls of snow in the area this winter. The chickens are attracted to the fresh soil when they’re on walkabout and have managed to dig up the tiny grass seedlings I’ve been nursing. Now I’m thinking I’ll transplant more of the creeping Jenny from other parts of the yard to create a different kind of ground cover.
In the front of the house—a shady, north-facing exposure, the ‘Encore’ azaleas are blooming despite severe damage from the heavy snow. The hellebores have been casting off seedlings for a couple of years now and I will be moving them over to the woodland garden sometime this summer.
In the potager, the angelica anemones are blooming. I must figure out a plan for them, as they re-seed prolifically and clog up my garden paths. I feel guilty pulling them up like weeds, but what is a gardener to do? One must have paths!
I continue to be amazed by the simple little yellow pansies that I had planted in window boxes last fall. They hibernated under a couple of feet of snow and snuck out small blossoms despite the cold. Now they’ve roared back to life. I need to re-plant the window boxes, but the pansies look so vibrant and healthy, I’m temporarily relocating some of them into other containers.
I continue to tell myself to put one foot in front of the other and to stop to enjoy the sound of the birds and the beauty of spring. After all, the work is for a reason. Right?