As early spring progresses and I am more regularly out in the garden, it is clear that the cursory clean up of the garden was inadequate. Yes, the clearing of piles of leaves brought hellebore blooms into full view, but the current sloppiness is hardly acceptable. Additional raking is necessary, or perhaps the rapid decay that follows spring rains and warming temperatures will beat me to complete the task.
There is little doubt that the insulating and moisture retaining benefit of a covering of leaves also moderates the warming of the soil, thus delaying growth of Solomon’s Seals that now barely poke through the soil, but not through several inches of leaves. I can hardly complain, but these few seventy degree days make one anxious for all of the spring garden to arrive at once.
I am pleased, but surprised by the number of dogtoothed violets (Erythronium, above) that are popping up. I don’t recall planting so many, handfuls here and there, but the result to date earns praise that none were planted with idiotic conflicts that often result from planting during the garden’s dormancy. The varied planting sites assure somewhat that one will be a long term success, and of course today I believe that all will flourish.
Fiddleheads of Ostrich ferns have jumped from barely visible a week ago to a foot tall, and one area where several were transplanted shows encouraging spreading. The Ostrich fern regularly pops up between path stones, and these are relatively easy to pry out, sometimes to transplant, but more often to discard. The native clump of Ostrich ferns where the first transplants were harvested, in a damp spot at the edge of the forest (beside several skunk cabbages, below), varies in vigor from year to year, while ones transplanted to the drier garden have thrived.
Christmas ferns planted in midwinter, ordered in January, then delivered in a week, are showing the slightest new growth. It is the newest plantings that the gardener is most anxious about, to see this initial growth, with confidence that ferns are properly sited to thrive so long as they did not freeze or rot due to the winter planting.