32 degrees with a very light frost this morning. Hopefully not enough to set back the trees/plants that are breaking dormancy. It was all melted off by 10 am.
I'd rather put this blog out of my mind. Here it is mid March. February was quite mild for the most part, allowing me to get out for early spring cleanup. All the trees are budding early, and most of the perennials have at least poked their heads out of the ground. I don't think I adequately edged it last year, and the grass paths became wider than the actual beds through grass intrusion.. This caused a lot of overhang onto the pathways throughout the growing season. My new battery lawnmower (which I absolutely love) has a 14" cutting swath so I decided on 24" pathways, and to also cut the corner curves into less rectangular and more sweeping. Gary and I made up enough string lines to lay out half the garden and started sod removal, weeding, and mulching each bed. Slow progress between the two of us. I did buy a small plastic garden cart which made transferring the sod a bit easier than using a wheelbarrow, although the plastic wheels are less maneuverable than rubber. Fortunately, Ben, Loni and Peyton came down one weekend for a mini-work party to help me regain control of the herb garden. I adjusted the string lines, Loni cut them in, Ben dug out the sod and wheeled it over to the chicken yard, Gary tucked the sod around the perimeter where the chickens had tried to dig their way to freedom, and Peyton meandered between work stations taking photographs and helping now and again. I was amazed at how much work got done in just a couple hours! I then spent the following week weeding and mulching. Here are some before/after shots:
Somewhere I have a final overview of the whole garden, reminder to post that when I find it. May still be on the camera card.
I've tried various ways to track what I'm doing (or not doing) in my gardens. I thought I'd give this blog another whirl, after leaving it pretty vacant for quite some time. My intent is not to use this as any sort of literary expression, and perhaps use or not use photos. Just really looking for a quick and easy way to keep track of progress (and ideas) for my own use. For those who may be 'following' me, I won't be at all offended if you opt out. Boring is boring...
Since losing many of my computer files during a Dell melt-down shortly before Xmas, I may also use this blog as a spot to keep track of my various lotions, potions, and preserving recipes. I was tracking that all in OneNote but lost all those files.
Progress 2016: Winter has settled in with wet and cold weather. We had a bit of a freeze in late December and early January, which was pretty (hoar frost and sunshine), but lately we've been in our normal 40-50s range. I work in the yard when it's not too wet out, although the soil is a bit too cold to really dig into.
Last week we hired a local yard service (who we have since renamed El Chapo) to prune all of our fruit trees and shrubs. He was a short Hispanic fellow and it appears he pruned everything to his eye level. Quite a drastic difference, but I am confident everything will survive. The shrubs will likely not bloom very heavily this year (especially the lilac and forsythia) but there is always the next season. I was a bit disappointed with the Sam cherry pruning - that is one of the trees I felt really needed some help. He did neaten up the general shape, but I plan to get into it and clean out more of the crossed branches and eliminate some of the lower head-poking ones. He also did a nice job on the storm damaged Montmorency cherry. Fortunately, El Chapo left all my Japanese maples and younger trees alone. I cleaned out the front bed while he was working to kind of keep an eye on him, but tried to keep my head mostly averted. It looks much cleaner now, and he and his helper did a great job of cleaning up after themselves. I'll try to remember to take and add a photo or two. Per El Chapo, the best time to prune for me is December -- almost all of the trees were full of buds
|Fall 2013||Early April 2014|
This is the official entrance to our home, although it is rarely used by friends or family who come in the side door off to the left. I especially like the burnt log that is a winter highlight but then is completely hidden during the growing season. The lilac was one of my first plantings and came from my mom (a sucker from one of her lilacs). I am trying to massage this garden to having year-round interest, which is a challenge for me.
|Fall 2013||Mar 2014||Mar 2014|
When we were first building (1980) Mom brought up 6 different varieties of grapes. Not yet having a yard or clear thought on how we would landscape, we simply plopped them in an E-W line onto the side of the hill and built a trellis for them. I wrote down the varieties on a paper plate which I was able to hang onto for several years, but have since lost. All I know is the bottom grape is a concord and the top is some sort of a white table grape. One was lost when a hemlock fell during a windstorm and flattened the trellis, but the rest are still alive and healthy. We are missing one support post, but that grape is holding its own so no particular reason to replace it. We initially just mowed under the trellis, but I've now under-planted with various cultivars of hardy geraniums.
Last year I never got around to hard-pruning the grapes in the early spring, although I did keep them pruned to about shoulder height during the growing season. They actually flourished with this lack of care, and I tossed grape treats into the chicken yard (directly south of the trellis) on a daily basis. This year Gary and I pruned them as hard as we ever have, really getting right down to just the nubs coming off the main vines. We shall see how they fare this year.