Monday, 23 February 2015
After nine hours of exhausted sleep, I still found it rather hard to get going on my day-off garden projects. Allan headed off in the early afternoon to float his boat around somewhere.
What to do? The back patio certainly could use a good weeding:
Ruching out the weedy grass and leaving just the poppies would be a good patio project.
In the spirit of procrastination, I was propping up the front fence telling a passing friend, landscaper Steve Clarke, how I planned to pull many the shotweed out of the front garden today, when my neighbours Jared and Jessika (of Starvation Alley Farm organic cranberry fame) appeared. I asked them if they would mind if I made a half moon edger line down their side of my east fence and they said it would be fine. So there was my day’s project, even though I had originally meant to spend the time removing fiddly little weeds. Because Jared and Jessika were bundling their dogs into their vehicle, it would be a good time for me to dig the edge on their side of the fence without making the dogs feel trespassed upon.
I had a walkabout while questing for the red wheelbarrow.
crocuses in the back garden
a bad sight: hardy fuchsia with annoying orange montbretia popping up at the base.
Allan is lucky he went boating or I would have asked him to totally remove that fuchsia/montbretia combo for me. I found the red wheelbarrow (just the right size so I don’t overfill it) in the bogsy woods with some river rock that Allan had been gathering for the swale.
By the gate into the neighbouring yard, I saw another project that needs doing: In several areas of the garden, I need to remove the rampant seedlings of “touch me not”, AKA jewelweed, policeman’s helmet, or wild impatiens, before it smothers good things.
a mess of touch me not
The project began at 1:30.
before, the east side of our fence
an hour and a half later, after removing two strips of sod
Jared and Jessika plan to till out a bed here for planting beans to grow on the fence. Digging out the strip along the edge will benefit them, and it also greatly benefits me as the grass grows under the fence and makes the narrow garden bed on my side very hard to weed. I did the same sort of edging outside the west fence (Nora’s back yard) earlier this year. I have hope that the edging will help the maintenance with or without a bean bed. Last summer, I edged along the fence down by the gear shed and the line has held up well since then.
This was a mess last midsummer.
When the edging was done, my big plans for the day went awry as I went into the house, sat down, and did not manage to get up again for an hour or more. By then, the sun’s angle was blinding for seeing little weeds. I did remove some shotweed from the front garden, since I’d said I would, and then tried to return to the mission of weeding my side of the east fence. By then, I’d missed the warm and balmy afternoon and the soil was cold and I was mad at myself for losing so much time to sitting (not even reading, just goofing around looking at Facebook on my iPhone!)
I was reminded of this poem:
Timothy Took His Time
by Frieda Wolfe
Timothy took his time to school and plenty of time he took
but some he lost at the tadpole pool and more at the stickleback brook
ever so much at the linnet’s nest and more at the five bar gate.
Timothy took his time to school but he lost it all and was late.
Timothy has a lot to do, how can it all be done?
He didn’t get home ’til close on 2 when he might have been home by 1.
There’s sums & writing & spelling too and an apple tree to climb.
Timothy has a lot to do, how shall he find the time?
Timothy sought it high and low, he looked in the tadpole pool
To see if they’d taken the time to grow, that he’d lost on the way to school.
He found the nest and he found the tree and he found the gate he’d crossed
But Timothy never shall find (ah me!) the time that Timothy lost!
I dawdled a bit more by walking around admiring plants.
Lonicera standishii has been blooming with small ultra fragrant white flowers for weeks.
narcissi backed with hellebore
Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem, given to me by Sheila.
It’s supposed to be a runner, which is why it’s back by the bogsy woods. There it is, running, with a kazillion baby touch me nots that need pulling.
I further procrastinated by looking for growth on the plants given us by Todd.
I am embarrassed to say that when watering in the greenhouse, I found a dried up little Garnet Wiegela from Todd, in a little pot in which I had planted it to give it time to grow on, and which had gotten shoved behind another plant and dried up. Sorry, Todd! Very careless.
Hellebore ‘Golden Sunrise’, still a baby
I pondered whether to cut the hardy fuchsia, below, all the way to the ground, or just trim the ends off since the branches are putting out new growth. I like fuchsias to be tall. But the new basal growth looks lush. Such musings can use a lot of time.
The ribes (flowering currants) are starting to show some colour.
I returned to crocus admiration, after noticing that the pale yellow Corylopsis pauciflora is in bloom right above this patch.
You may note a lot of twiggy debris on the soil. I’m influenced by two gardeners in that regard. Ann Lovejoy recommended the “chop and drop” method of garden clean up. And Anne Wareham’s book The Bad-Tempered Gardener firmly makes the point that it is senseless to haul debris to a compost heap, let it break down, and then haul it back into the garden. Unfortunately, I cannot use this brilliant method of gardening at work because most of our gardens are public and people expect to see neat and tidy soil in winter.
Pulmonaria in Allan’s garden
Impatiens omeiana already popping up among the black mondo grass in Allan’s garden
a handsome hellebore
In the front garden, a potted, lopsided, struggling daphne had put out some incredibly fragrant flowers.
It looked to me like deer have been putting their heads over the low front fence and tasting these tulips.
I searched the garden for an old piece of birdcage to protect the tulips.
a line of early species tulips coming up in the front garden
Oh dear, one of TWO big clumps of epimidium in Allan’s garden that I have not cut back to let the flowers show.
Hamamelis mollis in front garden, smells like apricots
haze of yellow Hamamelis mollis flowers
Ribes speciosum in the front garden
grass path toward back garden, where I SHOULD be weeding the east edge
I ponder how I could get more garden space by narrowing the lawn, but there is something comfortable and expansive about the wide swathe of green.
By now, you can just imagine how much of the time that I took out into the garden today has been lost without much getting done. At five o clock, I entered the fray of weeding the narrow east bed.
It was a mess.
The first bit I tackled had that horrible grass, not couch or quack grass but another one with tiny, tightly meshed roots. It is tightly matted around the base of an old lilac, and the soil feels tight, too.
It’s a tight mess.
Adding some mulch would help loosen this soil so that the roots slip out easier. Right now, it’s a misery to weed in cold, damp soil.
My beautiful Drymis winteri cheered me up.
Seems early for such fat buds on Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’, whose tag says “blooms June through September”.
By dusk, I had the narrow bed looking not perfect, but much better.
Allan said last night that he wondered why gardeners back east, when reading Pacific Northwest gardening blogs, don’t all move here when they see how mild our winters are.
Because I got so much less accomplished today than I had wished, I long for tomorrow off, as well. It cannot be, because there are still gardens where we have not even begun spring clean up. I swear that next year I will have more time to spend at home where I am happiest. I swore that last year, too, and the year before. Life is short and I simply must figure out how to make it happen.
Next: Allan’s day off on the water.
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