« Happy Birthday, Big Sister | Main | Starting Seeds »

March 27, 2005

Spring has Sprung

As far as I’m concerned, spring officially began yesterday. With temperatures forecast for over 50 degrees, we brought the willow furniture up from the basement storeroom and set it under the pergola. When the weather gets warmer, we’ll treat the furniture with a clear waterproofer to help them last longer.

The new loveseat we commissioned this year looks great with the other pieces
and it adds a few more seats around the copper fire pit. I was ready to sit out yesterday afternoon with a glass of something but by the time I was finished doing my spring garden clean up, it was too chilly.

Soon, though, we’ll be spending our days amidst the gardens – reading books with Graham, taking naps in the sun and catching up with our friends and neighbors. Just seeing the furniture from the window makes me smile. From March to November, it gives us nearly nine months of pleasure.

Working in the garden again also gave me a great deal of pleasure – and pain. By the end of the two and a half hours I spent bending, straightening and carrying, I was feeling my ancient years. If this is what 40 feels like, it stinks. I’m hoping it’s just that I’m terribly out of shape.

In my excitement to be outside again, I cut a wide swathe. All the ornamental grasses that looked so lovely in the fall, but now seemed rather sad, were chopped down. Any remaining perennials that had escaped the clipper last fall became compost. The hydrangeas were cut back, with ivory panicles floating down like rain in a sepia photograph. The gardens are now bare and ready for the flush of spring growth.

And the growth has already begun. While cutting things down, I saw what was coming up: pale, tender shoots of the first daffodils; needle-thin chives; green pebbles of sedum and feathery yarrow.

The list of new growth continues:
• Scottish campanula
• Several varieties of thyme including the wooly thyme surrounding the prairie garden stepping stones
• Daisies
• Strawberries
• Mums
• Penstemon “Husker Red”
• Primroses
• Heuchera
• Hellebores

In the ornamental grass bed, the gray kittenish fuzz of prairie crocus brought back memories of spring in North Dakota and begged to be stroked. The uncurling leaves of prairie smoke promised splendor to come.

Next to the house, I lifted bags of leaves and found hollyhocks and lavender “Hidcote” basking in the southern sun. The hollyhock leaves were emerald green and some were as big as my hand. The lavender was also lush; last year’s growth managed to overwinter under the added protection of the bags.

I tried a new chore this spring. Each summer we mulch extensively with shredded cypress. We typically think of it in July or August when the perennials have already grown so much that it’s difficult to spread the mulch around the plants. In particular, the beds underneath the flowering crabs have never received proper attention. It occurred to me that with everything cut back last fall, I could spread the mulch now to get complete coverage, and I wouldn’t be harming anything since the ground was still frozen and the daffodils hadn’t come up yet. Brian was able to pick up the mulch yesterday morning at Home Depot and it was my last accomplishment before dragging my tired body in the house for supper.

With my Concord grape vine pruned back today, my early spring chore list is complete, all before the end of March. Now I can think about planting!

Posted by maasx003 at March 27, 2005 7:09 PM | Gardens

Comments

Jacki--I figure I can keep on top of what needs to be done and when, by reading your wonderful garden info. Thanks!! oh yeah, are you making wine from the grapes ???? Is that better than Mogen David that Grandpa Bader used to let us sample??

Posted by: karen m at March 28, 2005 7:05 PM