Thursday, April 24, 2014

Refreshing the canvas... the NW quadrant / Warning... looks like a tornado may have happened by!


The photo above is of the gazebo pathway as it appeared in 2009.... the many Picea pungens 'Montgomery' were a perfect size and I am amazed at the growth over the past six years. It's not that I was overwhelmed by the size of plants by last season, but the centers were being shaded out and the time had come for a change. I spent two days this week clearing the canvas and in the post that follows I show comparisons between how it looked in this area, with shots of my 'house cleaning' . I have left behind remnants to provide some height to the area and all sorts of new conifers will be moved in. I plan on planting on amended mounds using baled peat moss, pine bark chips, compost, manure, and some of the existing soil. Originally I thought about bringing in a backhoe and removing all the existing root systems but have decided this won't be necessary... it would have created quite a mess and not allowed me to keep the things I've decided should stay.

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As it was, above... as of this morning below...


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As it was, above... as of this morning below...




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As it was, above... as of this morning below...



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More views... I removed two large spruce trees from the area pictured below...


The rock garden portion will contain miniature conifers and a few alpine ground covers...



 I really hadn't planned on dealing with three major redos this spring... it's just the way it worked out... I'm also redoing a large segment of the SW portion of the gardens and creating terraced conifer gardens on the north side of the garage. It probably would take some imagination to picture where I'm headed with this. I'm not expecting the replacement plants until almost June which will give me a month to prepare the amended soil and to get it in place. I also have a semi load of walnut colored wood mulch coming which should tie the whole project together. Do stay tuned! Larry












Monday, April 21, 2014

We have spring...


Yes indeed... all the conditions required for spring to really be here are being met! Scattered showers and scattered sun... temps in the 50's to mid-60's in the daylight hours... growth showing here and there throughout the gardens... toads during the day and frogs singing at night... a greenhouse jam packed with fresh plantings... and perhaps most importantly, touches of bloom here and there throughout the gardens.


My first daffodils may well be my favorites... I don't recall the name but these say 'springtime' and each little plant is a mere 3" tall.


The earliest hellebores here are generally the whites and greenish white tones... I actually have a hundred plants that have yet to show signs of new growth in a colder part of the gardens.




As you can see here, the more colorful cultivars have a ways to go before their display is full blown. Since joining a group on Facebook called 'Heavenly Hellebores' I question the value of mine comparatively speaking... my goodness there are some amazing hellebores available these days!


Some of my doubles haven't come into growth yet... they are good sized plants in warmer areas which may mean there is a problem. Many of my doubles tend to bloom on the earlier side of things as well.





Every year we pull, gift, and/or toss pails full of Scilla siberica and it never fails to return as if was never disturbed. It seeds prolifically here... the reason we need to keep it under control is that it can actually strangle out our daylilies.





These are the first tulips to bloom this season... they look like emperor tulips but are much smaller. There is a ton of tulip growth in the gardens, but many of them aren't going to bloom... perhaps we are approaching a fall when it will be necessary to reinvigorate the tulip plantings. When the tulips send only one leaf, they won't bloom and probably need transplanting.


The chionodoxa and croci are pushing through and beginning to bloom as well... chionodoxa are one of my favorite minor bulbs...




I am finally able to work in the gardens after this severe viral respiratory infection... while still on inhalers, if I move slowly enough and take the odd ten minute power nap, I've been able to get in a seventeen hour day today. I got a goodly amount of glass work completed, all the lawns fertilized before the showers began,  lots of chainsawing and hauling of branches and trees away, as well as teaching a voice lesson this afternoon.


Now that life in the gardens has started anew, I am able to look back on the past few months with some wisdom rather than relying as much on emotion. I realize that I was a bit compulsive about the inordinate amount of damage from this winter but now that I'm actually in the gardens, I can see how I will get past these problems. There is a lesson here... no matter how good the imagination, it really can't totally replace the actually physical involvement of being at work in the garden space in terms of sorting out the problems... my friend Scott's advice makes more sense than ever... don't worry about it until mid-June in this climate... by then it will not look as bad relative to the good things that are happening. This reminds me of a favorite quote by Dag Hammarskjold in his book 'Markings'... 'Never measure the height of the mountain until you reach the top and then you will see how low it was'... (this may be a bit loosely interpreted as I haven't seen it in print in almost fifty years) I've tried to keep this as a part of my life philosophy since I was a teenager but sometimes I forget...

It's hard to live a good life without a few good philosophies to fall back on...
Larry