March: Cut clematis back to about 2', cut off as many dead lilac heads as I could comfortably reach, snapped off dead stems of phlox, sedum, and peony. Weeded and cleaned up the south half of the bed until the sun went behind the house. Cut back the geranium and lambs' ears to about 6" from sidewalk, trimmed rupture wort in sidewalk expansion joints. Pruned barberry for shape. I'm still pulling out that dang decorative allium that never did much for me to begin with, curly hair or something like that, wasn't very impressive but sure regenerates itself at will. I guess I never quite get it all, I don't think it goes to seed, must just multiply like a bulb.
March: Sunny 15 C. Finished spring clean-up on the yard side of the herb border. Pruned the honeysuckle. All the daylillies took a hit from the deer (I guess) while we were gone, hopefully they will all recover. Dug out a good portion of Lucifer, not sure what to do with the extra corms. Offered them on the PNW plant swap but you really need to have the room to let these guys spread out. They look so nice when allowed to be in their natural vase shape, but they do tend to flop into their neighbors and pathways. I'm torn about putting them down by the pond - they are not natives and I'm really trying to keep that area as natural as I can. On the other hand, they could really spread their wings and provide a big pop. Another option would be to intersperse them in the front shrub/tree screen. I'm liking the shredded leaf mulch, it seems to keep the weeds down and looks nice. I'll have to approach Dick about getting some leaves from his yard service this fall, although he's pretty much into 'better living through chemistry' so not sure about that idea. The herb fence is looking pretty ragged, but doesn't really serve any purpose other than delineating the herbs. Might be a good subject for a family work party - spray it with a solid stain to brighten it up. Last time I stained it was when Dad first moved up to Stanwood (2005?), and I could not get him interested in running a brush back and forth to save my soul. He'd just pull up a lawn chair and sit for one beer while watching me work.
March: Sunny, 12 C (mild). Began clean-up, got about half of it edged and weeded. Most perennials are emerging. This bed could use some more evergreen anchors. The hebe is nice on the south end, and there's a young heather at the north end - something in the middle would be good. It's nice to cut back all the winter stalks, really neatens things up. Fens ruby is a thug in this bed, but I'm OK with that, it seems to mix well with the other plants and I have no qualms about yanking it out during clean-up. Think about trying to propagate the honeysuckle by layering, this is the prettiest and most fragrant one I have. Remember to dig out Lucifer by about 1/3, not sure where to put the extras, maybe down by the pond? Asked Gary to secure the iron flower to one of the fence posts, I'd like to rejuvenate that and make it functional again (it has a small oil container behind the bloom for night lighting). He couldn't easily find the drill so on the 'honey-do' list.
Sunny, 5 C. Edged, weeded, cut off old leaves of hellebore, divided Jack Frost, moved large clump of purple hellebore under honeysuckle (it was getting buried by the pieris). Keep an eye on this as they 'resent being moved.' Pulled out all columbines which were likely all Granny's bonnets. Perhaps try some others this year, or maybe some wild foxglove? Lightly pruned Grandma Ghost, but this needs a more extensive cut back. The birds use it a lot for cover while at the feeders. Pruned pieris to about the top of the porch, try to keep this small and compact. Lily pips are just poking up, daffs are about 6". Carefully spread out the daffs a bit (I know, wrong time, but it's easier to do it now). Hellebores are almost open, Jack is just emerging, the epimedium is spreading out nicely. Found Randolph lounging under the azalea, likely waiting for a bird to murder.
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.