Bzzzz April 20th, 2010

The spring days grow longer and warmer. Of course, it’s welcomed. Still, the precious bit of time at the end of the work day that I can spend watering, weeding, moving plants, starting new plants, potting up containers, is never enough. I have big plans for the summer of 2010. Where will I find the time? And the energy?

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?

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Bzzzz April 8th, 2010

Every spring since I started gardening, I reach the point at least once when I feel so overwhelmed by what has to be done that I seriously think about sitting down for a nice, long boo-hoo.

There just isn’t enough time to clean it all up! I don’t have enough energy for all of this! Everything is asleep and it’s difficult to imagine a garden springing up from the ravages of winter.

Thankfully, Mother Nature usually kicks in about this time and starts presenting small gifts. The hellebores climb out of the rotting leaves and from under the snow with profusions of blooms.

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Kingston Cardinal’

The daffodils poke their heads up and begin to bloom.

The tulips aren’t far behind.

Garlic that I planted back in the fall is growing. And it’s safe to put out the lettuce starts.

And it all begins to look hopeful and (Dare I say it?) pretty after all.

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