Ahhh! We survived March. Take a deep breath.. it’s April, a month away from May. Air smells less like dog poop, more like pig poo. Time to go for a walk in the garden to see what’s going on. I’m sure by next year I will have worn a desire path through my entire property, as I check everything out in the same sort of sequence. I do this just so I don’t by some chance forget the flow I want to establish in my garden.
This is when I address my lawn care in terms of the labour, maybe not dive right in until it warms up more. It’s supposed to get cold for a few days.. poor spring peepers! I don’t have a lawn really. I have a muddy yard full of pine needle blowaways that will soon have Queen Anne’s Lace sprouting up (save for under the two large trees, they still have some lawn).. I can use the time I spent de-thatching the lawn in the last house for putting some seed down here, and somehow keeping the dog out of there. I’ll probably tackle my lawn a little at a time. As much as I’d like to go lawn-free here, it is our septic field and everyone needs a nice patch of lawn to enjoy, including our dog. So I’ll be addressing my mud patches, I’ll add some fresh soil, I might cordon it off and spread seed.
I’m also waiting patiently to see if my Canadice grape survived the winter. It had a rough year last year, being a nomadic fella. So far it looks like it may have survived.
I’m going to be planting strawberries as soon as the soil is workable. Some frost blankets came with the house, so I’ll cover them overnight to keep them protected. The strawberries I have I dug up out of the greenhouse, but I’ll be mail ordering more as well, including hopefully some pineberries.
Seeding: At this time, I will do seeding for any last chance tomatoes. I’ll be doing some Peas, spinach, Night-Scented stock, Marigolds, Lavender, Broccoli (in my cold frame), Borage, Asters, Nicotiana, Meadow Rue, Hibiscus and all the rest of my tropical seeds. Some of these seeds noted above are being done indoors, the rest get sown into my cold frame bed, or the actual garden bed if the weather cooperates.
In the garden: Perovskia is beginning to really show life now too. I also cut this perennial back to 1/3 of its size.
I have a raspberry patch. It’s kind of messy and overgrown, so I’ll be pruning half of them to the ground. Next year(or this fall), I’ll prune the other half. I don’t want to sacrifice an entire year’s harvest, since they were so delicious. Raspberries bloom on 2nd year wood, so you want to maintain a good schedule of pruning to make sure you have a good yield. And do I ever.
I don’t have any mulch in any of these beds, so I might start sourcing some mulch and throw it down for any garden that’s been freshly weeded. I need probably a couple trailer loads. I’ll be weighing my options. I just don’t stand a chance against the weeds without it this year.
I’ve been continuing to look over my roses for broken and crossing branches as well as thinning them out. I actually finished as much rose pruning as I could bear the abuse from. I tidied up a ferocious one at the end of the driveway. I came out alive. Bird City has a bit of a thicket of roses too that I’m going to tidy up this year, and if I like it, I’ll keep it. But it is getting rather tangled with the forsythia. There are a lot of other finished flower stems to cut away and raking to be done all in here. I stood up after a 3 hour session cleaning all of this up, and felt like I only covered about 10 feet of barely anything.
I have an unidentified variety of clematis growing up against my deck. When you are dealing with a clematis you don’t know, the general rule of thumb is to wait until you see it blooming. It can be one of three types. If you have sections that just don’t leaf out or bloom at all, you can prune those to tidy it up. Do no more until you determine if it’s a spring blooming or spring and summer blooming variety. This is when I will also give it a light feeding of superphosphate too, to ensure I get a good show of blooms. And if you have a fall blooming variety like Clematis paniculata, you prune that around this time too, right back to the ground to about 1’ … don’t worry, that won’t hurt it. I can confirm, it’s a beast, and will recover with an emphatic revenge.
As for the rest of the gardening tasks, I still continue to scrape off the dead gunk and glare hatefully at the Goutweed. I will kill you soon, my nemesis.
I’m also trying to find the PERFECT art piece for my rhodo forest. It really needs detail all the way around it. I’m torn between two things… either something abstract or zen, or a Green man head. I have a little fetish for green man statuary and suns. Whatever I put out there runs the risk of being pooped on a lot. Sometimes I feel like this is a pheasant sanctuary (not for the faint of heart, if you have ever flushed pheasants unexpectedly out of the bushes, it’s terrifying!) and those phesants love to roost at the tops of the pine forest.
I have walked around in my turning circle area quite a few times, getting dizzy, but I have come to a design decision (I say this vaguely). Right now, what is there doesn’t make much sense, and I need to provide some order in it. It is, after all, the first thing visitors and passerby will see. I’ll share a better post about that later.. for now, I’m cleaning it up and observing. It is going to be a long, multi-phase process, like the rhodo forest.
And as you have seen, our sarcophagus has been filled! Our soil order came, and it’s 2 yards of soil movement down the hill into the greenhouse. As soon as it comes in we will install the hydraulic window opener so this bed can breathe on a hot day. The cauliflower and broccoli are ready to go in, as well as a few green onions and some lettuce seed. What’s the current high in the mini crystal? About 42? The greenhouse was wired up for cool-down ventilation yesterday so the fans will come on any time the greenhouse exceeds 30 degrees.
That’s all for the week this time around, can’t talk, must get as much gardening done before those mosquitoes return and drain me of my blood (you know, that all too familiar, uncomfortably itchy mosquito bite hotspot between the bottom of your shirt and the top of the butt crack).
The inability to find color in the garden right now suggests I seek out some serious late winter/early spring color this year to add to the gardens.
Next week I’m going to do a brief, yet lengthy post on my favorite tropical group (besides orchids apparently) : The misunderstood Bromeliad.