Monday, January 23, 2017

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good
Yesterday, over two hours were spent in the garden. It was wonderful to be in the dirt.  Soil has such a distinct smell. That damp, moist aroma ascends from your hands and just fills you with good vibes, especially when bad weather has kept you at bay for so long. Five large buckets were filled from weeding and dumped into the compost pile.
Normally weeds are left to cook for several days on the hot driveway before being tossed in the shady compost pile, but no chance of that in January and with freezing temperatures closing in good chance of the little bastards' bare roots shivering to death.
With several new beds planned for the spring, a head start on weeding was paramount. In fact, current plans are to start the new beds well before spring break.  There is currently three more hours, roughly, of weeding and still half the woods left to clear out of Poison Ivy, English Ivy, Wisteria,  and Greenbrier ( there has been some talk with the dutiful husband of hiring out the task - two bouts of Poison Ivy and one bad reaction to steroids was rather convincing for even my cheap-self to hire outside help.)
The Bad
The Bad is not necessarily how much is left to do but why there is so much weeding, how warms things have been this winter. Things were weeded well into the fall but this winter beds became a practical mat of green weeds. Violets were blooming in November; the self-sowing Dill germinated and grew a foot tall before winter knocked back. Hoping still seeds left to germinate in the spring. The weather is turning. I don't know how you can garden and ignore the obvious signs. Science isn't required to tell you the times are a changing.
The Ugly
The garden is new and well ugly. There are very few bushes and they are rather small. We kept a few, for now, of the evergreens but they are rather overgrown and trimmed pretty horribly. The garden even in the summer is mostly just empty. Three native Baptisia, False Blue Indigo, were planted, and while their roots grew strong and deep, all that was seen on top was two little twigs each that did nothing but mock the poor gardener. This gardener is patience, OK mostly lazy, and knows those three little sets of twigs will one day be up to four feet across each shading out plenty of weeds and providing shelter and food for the ecosystem...if I don't kill them.

The glorious weeding ended with the start of the rain that has yet to cease, hence no pictures.  At the moment the wind has knocked out electricity in several local towns so no photos for awhile, plus decent pictures require a jaunt to my mother's house for her camera.  So back to reading gardening blogs to survive the winter.
Those based in the Pacific Northwest West are currently amusing, yes I'm finding joy in their misery. But what is with the zone pushing. Blizzards and highs well below freezing as a normal winter makes it rather perplexing for this new gardener; I love tropicals but there are so many natives that provide so much habitat to the local population that a palm tree in northern hemisphere seems well silly, plus snow is pretty. It is honestly one of the few highlights of winter. It's always missed when it melts. I can imagine it would be much less enjoyable if I was worried about a bunch of finicky perennials,  but than again I don't do well with any finicky thing.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

And now my watch begins

Last winter, I ordered a Wax Myrtle, Myrica cerifera  from the local UUCSJS Plant Sale, and of course went ahead and researched the bush after I placed my order. Turns out the plant may not be so happy in my 6b zone. The bush was placed to provide a view, other than the former neighbor's English Ivy covered shed. So now I sit and wait and watch it sit in 8 inches of snow. 
Look at poor Myrtle, would rather be in South Carolina, so would I.

She was so promising... broadleaf evergreen shrub that liked full sun. Myrtle doesn't seem to mind the bitter wind and snow so far.

So I need to decide, do I ordered more friends for Miss Myrtle,  find her a mate and make her a Mrs. Myrtle? Or do I leave her single and order Northern Bayberry?

I'm looking for a dense border shrub, has to be native, but doesn't have to be evergreen as long as the branches are dense enough.

Any suggestions?

Making Mike McGrath Cry: Houseplant Edition

Direct Source of Heat. Ahhh nice and toasty for my green babies.