Could be worse

There’s never a shortage of tribulations and trivialities for the gardener to whine about, and he does. He curses the snow and ice, but also rain that saturates and shatters perfect flowers of peonies. Particular venom is reserved for heat and drought, but it is cold, and especially cold too long into spring that is…

Unauthorized clean up

The assistant gardener (my wife) has been home this week for spring break, and fortunately it’s been rainy until today when I came home to a trash can filled with a variety of clippings. I don’t dare dig deeper to see what’s beneath the ivies and periwinkle that she is always welcome to snip away…

Distractions

The garden’s inventory gets longer as my memory gets shorter, I fear. Perhaps it’s just today, but I can hardly recall what’s planted where if it’s not up and growing. As I add new plantings this is likely to result in conflicts, and with planting a few Japanese maples last week it occurs to me…

Time for planting

All but a few small areas of snow have melted, and with milder temperatures (not quite warm by my wife’s definition) forecast for mid week, the time is right for planting. Ideas have percolated through the winter, and now at least some fraction will be put into the ground. Good sense dictates that cleaning up…

Questionably cold hardy

Unsurprisingly, leaves of three of four ‘Beijing Beauty’ mahonias (below) are brown and brittle following a winter when multiple nights dropped to zero, and possibly a degree or two colder. The fourth, nearest and evidently protected by the house, shows no sign of winter injury. While the parentage of ‘Beijing Beauty’ is unclear, suspicions seem…

Spring bulbs

Somehow, a small patch of Winter aconites was further reduced, likely when a rhododendron and divisions of Carex ‘Evergold’ were planted in the vicinity. When bulbs are unearthed while planting, they are immediately replanted, but certainly some are not seen when a clump of soil is dug so that they are buried beneath the rhododendron.Too…

A windy early March

In the best case, clean up of this garden requires every available weekend day in March. The little that is accomplished in small spurts of effort through the winter months hardly matters, though it was nice to get outdoors for any reason. Every spring, gatherings with family and friends are discouraged until order is restored,…

Hellebores are good?

I question if a gardener, and by this I refer to myself, should feel obliged to keep proper records of what he plants. Is it sufficient to state that “hellebores are good”, or is there an obligation to specifically recommend ‘Anna’s Red’ (or any other) if he has found this to be an exceptional hellebore?…

No more reading

Not proudly, I admit that I am not much of a reader, at least not of books. Too short an attention span, I suppose. Nevertheless, to fill the winter hours I’ve reread five books long dormant in our small home library, and purchased and read two others. So there. All were garden related, one on…

Relaxed

This period of rest is nearly at its end, for better and worse. While I fret over the multitude of chores that must be accomplished by the start of spring, I greatly appreciate the more relaxed pace of winter. Not that there is nothing to be done, but there is less urgency that tasks must…

Seventy in February

In the last weeks of a very average winter that seems so much worse by comparison to recent mild winters, a seventy degree day in February encourages that the worst has passed. Besides an improvement in the gardener’s disposition, there are also tangible signs of the change of season. For weeks, a scattered few snowdrops…

Winter jasmine

Better judgment, too rarely exercised in this garden, recommends that I not photograph yellow blooms of Winter jasmine that arch over the edge of the koi pond. A wide growing paperbush along side of the pond makes viewing of the Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) ever more treacherous, with the route over slick boulders at the…