Category Archives: winter

First gardening of the season


It was supposed to rain all weekend but today turned out to be one of those glorious sunny days that has a large gardening to do list attached to it.
It was a few hours of yard clean up and getting the nails dirty.
It’s also the first day of Day Lights Savings time, which just screws us up.

The Plot

We had a gorgeous weekend. Out of the blue I have become garden crazy again. I love beginnings which is why I guess I particularly love Spring. The last two years I was either distracted by other things or perhaps completely burnt out on our yard to maintain it for long. I hope this year is different. I think we’ve also had a couple of very wet springs prior to this.

At any rate, the game plan this year was to survey the landscape literally before buying a ton of plants that I might or might not do anything with….and starting projects that then go dorment in two months.

I had done well this year until yesterday morning and it became apparent not only did we need garden hose heads but also a few violas.  Also butter lettuce, ranunculus (a 1.00 each!) and coral bells. They all made it into the ground and the place looks perkier because of it.

I spent the entire weekend working non-stop but barely making a dent into yard chores. The Secret Garden, The Milagros Garden and the Chore Garden are now all de-grassed and fluffed I guess. We sat in the green chairs both Saturday and Sunday and had a quiet happy hour watching crows chase hawks in the sky.

The chickadees are back and  so are the cut worms and large lazy bumble bees. I had forgotten the huge sense of serenity I get from spending a weekend meditating on pulling up grass and moving dirt around.

Next weekend I have to deal with the front yard. The daffodils and tulips bloomed appropriately in time for easter, but I know they are also surrounded by weeds. The front lawn also needs to be mowed which puts me in a foul mood. I actually like mowing the back yard as it is easy and instantly makes everything look better back there. The front, not so much, especially the parts with the downward slopes.

I keep threatening to add a rose garden or a vegetable garden up there, but then Ben reminds me how much I hate tending to anything in the front yard. I wish there was a glorious solution. Until then I have a few bits of upkeep to deal with up there.

Pies not weeds

Thankfully my six year old garden can somewhat take care of it’s self, although some serious garden planning needs to occur after this season. We never mulched and either due to the fact I didn’t get the seeds out there in time or the very wet weather, the flowers are rather dismal this year. Currently we have daisies and bee balm, one or two dahlias. Thats it. I’ve been horrible about weeding.

Too busy making pies.

February – where did you go? Plot ‘09

I went outside to just do one dreaded task (the annual picking up of the dog poop) when suddenly I found myself full bore into garden chores. Just a clearing of leaves there yielded a crop of bulbs ready to pull from the earth, a trim of overrun grass there cheered up another corner and a wack of the leaves to the hellebores left them all looking rather smart. I would lock the shed and another task would catch my eye, and I would march back in, promising just five more minutes.

The neglect is guilt rendering, but I also find it remarkable, in this year three of gardening, that some of my work has managed to pass on long run results. Bulbs planted two years ago are appearing, buds are forming on shrubs, and other plants are setting their green nibs.

Clearing out the shed earlier, I found boxes of all the plant tags I had unceremoniously kept in case I needed information down the line (Ha! the first time I had ever looked at them). I stood there in awe over the amount of plants that have gone into the ground and unfortunately many have not returned. I had forgotten about so many. And some of the ones that have survived are looking a little sad.

That being said though, I did in the earlier part of last year get some things done. I attempted to finish planting the slope, which I can see after a nasty winter is going to be another full time chore.

I made a bed for my irises and very favorite plant- the Wild Spice rose (talk about bounty from neglect). There was much dirt digging, which unfortunately soured me on that particular task still, but once it is done, it is done.

Chore List:
I had so many thoughts about what I want to do when I was out there. There are roses and the smoke bush to plant. I think it is time to move the Hydrangea, and maybe put a shade lover there in it’s place.

I have seeds to start sowing indoors. And then there is hard scape. If I could manage to get some more privacy in the works I would be so much happier about being out there.

Also all those irises that Yvette gave me last fall that I planted in the raised beds out back, will need to be transplanted in the near future.

Next weekend I really need to put up the compost the straw and get some weed pulling in if the weather is nice. I was out there in a shirt and vest today, the first decent weather since I have been sick any way. And geez, a full day for sure, I need to cut down some trees. Or time them, what ever.

And I want documentation. Time to revisit flickr.

Here is a challenge: how can I become an engaged gardening 12 months of the year versus six. And maybe we are including February in that equation, and at this point the month is almost over.

PS- This seems an oddity- I almost got right in the way of a yellow jacket on my hellebore today. Isn’t it too cold for them?

kind words amidst the snow


A few kind words from Mr. Demetre:

Your hands hold roses in a way that says
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes
In such kind ways,
Wishing ever to sunder
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.

from Richard Wilbur, “The Beautiful Changes

Thank you!

*a tiny footnote, for various reasons I’ve taken the comments sections out, mainly to skirt that modern marvel of spam. Yet I had to share Jim’s lovely sentiments today.

Rallying myself to wade into the drifts to refill the bird feeders that were buried in snow last night.



Sunflowers, meet winter.

The pre-winter chores were done just in the nick of time, it has been nasty and not the sort of weather you just want to hang out in at all.

I completely forgot about the paperwhites I had potted up two weeks ago, and they sit nicely outside in the snow, probably not a ghost of a chance for them now.

It will get better

A few things to note- it’s March and ever since a week ago the daffodils starting appearing and by about 5 days ago suddenly the Freesia is in bloom.
I had been worried after my incredible lack of interest in gardening that over took me last August that I wouldn’t care ever again, but I have spent the last two weekends in the yard, Sundays anyway, and have to rip myself in for dinner. I planted bulbs on the hill that I started in boxes late January, so we’ll see if cheating works. I have again spent hours digging up grass. Ben has been bringing me presents- black mondo grass, English daisies and pansies to plant- so suddenly we are rich in flowers and botanicals. Also heathers, which out of the blue, when I saw them in bloom this week I have fallen in love with for the first time in my life. I love this time of year.

A robin was keeping me company yesterday, nibbling on the berries that grow out of some bush that is climbing the fence from our back side neighbors. There is something so inherently peaceful about working in the yard, it is necessary. And it has been nice weather, not really rainy at all which might be problematic.
I was wondering if I should take a pruning class for next year- to nab the lilac trees and I am certain there is one big dead plum tree that should be taken out.

So all yee, do not abandon hope for the winter is almost out of the clear. I report it was a rough winter and wonder for the future how does one get on with things in January and February? I do believe this is why they invented Mexico. I do believe my sense of hope is hinged directly on available daylight and ability to not have to wear five sweaters to sit in comfort. I am sitting in the studio with out the need to plug it in.

So how to survive the interim seasons? January and February felt as if they had no end in sight. The darkness really got to me this year, adding to the troubles I was having with the family. And from July 14th until probably mid September, when bulbs go on sale, I get that summer ennui . So what can I do to get through those 4 months. How about some light therapy for the winter?

This next weekend I have many day lilies to plant, and I think I need to go get some soil and add some amendments. To make all the plants happy. The straw helped immensely this year, another thing I did late in the season. I haven’t removed too much of it as we still have fear of frost for another month, actually April 15 is the date. The peanut butter plant is actually sporting new growth.
I forgot about those little sappling leaves that take hold all over the yard that make a weeder almost lose their mind when you unearth raw soil. And the damn dandelions are what prompted me to furiously go hacking about these past two weekends.

It has been incredibly nice to see things that I planted last year come back to life. The hellebores, only half of them survived, but the two that are doing well are getting big. I need some summer flowers that like shade to go there as well. None of the purple hellebores survived this year, which was very disappointing (so I actually lost at least 3 plants).
The witch hazel is absolutely necessary. It could be the most important plant in the yard- the blooms and the smell are so incredible, literally lifting me out of depression.

And the tulips and the bulbs that Ben gave me the first winter we were here are all coming up. I have no idea how many years you can rely on tulips to come back, but what a joy! We have many back yard projects to execute this summer so I will document them all in this journal.

Today is also the first day of daylight savings time. I tried to go to bed early last night, but with not much luck. It is very dark outside at 7:12 am, but tonight there will be longer hours.

Now what to do about those cutworms.