The First Working Saturday

I canIt’s Saturday, it’s warm, I’ve been gone all week, and I couldn’t wait to get out there in the garden and get going. I started this year with my least favorite bed. I figure if I start the spring clean up here, or perhaps I’ll keep it under control and stop avoiding it so much.

There’s not much that will grows here. It’s got very poor soil, and it gets very weedy unless I stay on top of it all the time. Largely, that’s because it was a wild area not that long ago, and I think I’m still fighting back the meadow that it really wants to be.

Heather.We try to hide the well as well, which itself is not in a great spot. We wanted a circular driveway, and so we had to run it right where the well already was. I bought a bunch of heather and put it into this bed last year, but there’s not much sign of life in any of the plants yet. I put in $120 worth of heather last year, and I see maybe 8 plants that might make it.

The far side of the bed has a driveway cut out that never stays weed-free, and pulling weeds out of this gravel is awful. I put down a semi-permanent weed killer last fall, and I’m hoping that will help me. I’m so tired of weeding that spot. The bindweed in particular is awful here.

Now thatThe metal posts we put up for the snowplow driver are all bent. I’m not sure why we bothered, but I think they might have done some good. Maybe the plowguy noticed when he hit them? We can hope.

The after pictures look pretty good. I pulled about ten baskets of leaves and weeds out of this bed today. I have these weird thoughts about pulling out all of the dead leaves. The plants have adapted very well to trap leaves that will decompose and improve the soil around them, and here I go, pulling all of that organic matter away so that my garden will look prettier. But I promised them I’m give them a nice dose of good compose Real Soon Now. Promise.

Ugh. ItUgh. It’s not bad enough to have the sawmill on the front porch, but Frank added a blue tarp to complete the look. Yes, I know. I wanted the sawmill too. But I really really don’t want it to stay up on the deck for much longer.

When I got done with my least favorite bed, I started on one of my favorites, the one that you see first thing upon entering the homestead right now, the other side of the circular drive. We’d planted about 500 bulbs in that bed last fall, and in one particular spot, we saw many rodent tunnels around the new tulip bulbs, and very few actual tulips. That’s pretty depressing.

There were so many leaves and last year’s growth to clean up in this bed. I definitely need to put some stepping stones in the beds so I don’t compact it when I have to get back in there. The bed is really too big. Too wide, too deep, but it’d pretty. The red-twig dogwoods are looking very red these days, and I love the way they contrast with the yellow, blooming daffodils.

I think I’ve decided that all of my Halloween mums have got to go. They are far too invasive. Frank’s mother, Ginny, had given us these a decade or more ago, and in the old garden, I had them confined to a hedge like area, and I really enjoyed how tough they were. They often didn’t bloom until after many hard freezes, and then I’d have all these purple blossoms in November, when everything else had died. But now, in the new garden, the landscaper had them put all over the place, and they are taking over everywhere. I will become ruthless about pulling them out. This bed in particular looks much better after the mums are pulled out, not to mention all the old leaves.

Pretty soon, all the bulbs that survived will be blooming, and I can’t wait. Many of these are new this year, planted last fall. There are quite a few from previous years, though, and they are clumping up nicely. I think I’m going to put the lilies that I bought at the flower show around all the tulip bulbs, the next time I get out here, maybe. Soon. I think they’ll co-exist nicely.

Since I was already working in this bed, I decided it was time to give my zebra grass his yearly haircut. (I’ve only had him this one year, so it’s a first for me, and I was nervous. I must have read about it twenty times. Just do it!) I cut him back hard, as I was supposed to, but there’s no sign of life in him yet, though. This is his first year in my garden, and I hope he comes back.

The daffs on the otherside of the ornamental grass were covered under so many layers of leaves that they were all bent over, and I’m glad I got out there and got them uncovered in time to recover. I still need to get the gravel out of the bed that was pushed in from the snow plow, but I didn’t have a rake out there with me today, so I’ll have to remember to get to it soon. It makes it all look messy, still.

We’ve now got to figure out where to put all the rubbish when the compost bins are all full. Frank spent much of today covering the future potato patch with mulch and various other stuff, so no compost got sifted. (Frank says that the compost bins were still frozen solid.) We were hoping to empty out one of the bins so that we can use it again. I think he’s decided that he just needs to build another set of three, quickly. Perhaps over in the future veggie garden?

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