Friday, February 5, 2016

Back To Winter

I woke up to a trace of snow and seventeen degrees. The day never warmed up enough to be useful. I never got motivated enough to do anything useful.

I did ponder the cabin side bed. The original thought was a zen like sedge lawn of sorts with a few flowers for interest and the one Japanese maple tree. I have the start of that. Then a whole lot of asters and other tall wild flowers that I don't have the heart to whack moved in. Some iris, mums and daylilies with no place to go ended up in there. The zen lawn of sedge idea got very cluttered.

I need to be ruthless this year and rip out the tall wild stuff and other extraneous intruders. I'd like to add more of the variegated evergreen sedge. The acorus was a nice addition to the theme. There is room for more of that. Wish me luck.

I wandered down to the fire pit this morning to stir up the coals and burn off the remnants of some bigger log pieces. I forgot to contemplate the rearranged art piece while I was down there. It was cold.

I wandered back at the peak of no where near warm, grabbed the metal ring and pulled it out. I like that better, simple, with the glass in front of the tile table top.

This can be contemplated as winter returns. Snow is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday and the high temperatures next week don't really qualify as such. The crocus and species tulip ring around the fire pit has been put on hold.

I couldn't just toss a perfectly good piece of junk. It didn't get far. It ended up hanging in a tree.

It will need to be painted again. I'm thinking red.

Someone thinks this cracked pot has a familiar vibe. I'm thinking any time their business gets done outside it's a good thing. Just going outside is a good thing. Their minimum operating temperature is no better than mine.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Preparing For A Crocus Ring

Last time I wandered down to the Great Lawn I noticed the ring of crocus and species tulips around the fire pit were starting to come up. Two sunny sixty degree days have a powerful effect. I don't want a big hairball of sticks in there when they are in bloom. It was time for a fire.

While I was down there having a fire I made an adjustment on something that has been bugging me  for weeks. Can you spot it?

I wasn't liking the placement of the glass table top and metal ring anymore. I decided to combine them into one art piece with the tile table top and see if I like that better. The metal ring definitely needs a new coat of paint. Maybe the metal ring just needs to go away.

It's free art made with junk. Absent any financial commitment, it is completely changeable. I'll ponder it some more.

I am a bit surprised 'Jelena' is still blooming. The Witch Hazels have a very long bloom time. I can't wait for them to grow into eight foot high shrubberies.

Now I am ready for a crocus and species tulip ring. I can only hope there are not a whole lot more wicked, branch shredding winds before they bloom. I'd have to make a hairball of sticks some where else in the garden.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It Rained

A lot. On ground saturated with snow melt. And all that water pouring from Culvert Falls disappears into the ground just past the maple tree. How is that possible?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Chasing Snowdrops

My endurance for work is on a low ebb. Or maybe it is an enthusiasm deficit in the face of cold, wet and brown. I was tired when I got home and thought a walk would be good to help build my endurance back up. I thought the three lazy creatures I live with should go to after sleeping all day.

There are some crocus coming up by my front porch. They appeared during the pre-winter warm spell and hadn't budged since they first came up. Two days of warm has them moving again. The cold will be back on Thursday.

"Come on. Let's go for a walk." My little pride follows. Miss Collar is always in the rear so Button can't sneak up behind her and jump on her head.

I looked in a lot of the right places and did not see any crocus coming up. I am seeing more daffodils just breaking ground.

On a warm sunny day the snowdrops open their petals wide. I have seen a number of bees crawling inside.

When we arrived next door, Button and Miss Dinah promptly sat down. Lazy beasts! Miss Collar maintained her distance. I wandered around the garden looking at snowdrops and picking up sticks.

The trip back home was more problematic. Miss Dinah gets a bit scared when she loses sight of me and starts wailing. I have to keep calling until she finds me. Button waited in ambush and pounced on poor Miss Collar, his common tactic, as she followed behind. There was a mad chase through the forest, over limbs and logs and into the stream. She got away.

Now we can rest.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Another One Bites The Dust

Under the cover of deep snow, some damn varmint finished off the second Hesperaloe. Damn varmint! That's two down, six left. The others all survived four degrees. Cold hardiness was my main concern. That is going well. I was not expecting they would end up as tasty morsels for some damn varmint.

I do know that fresh from the nursery, pot grown plants are always more succulent and tasty than a plant that has had time to acclimate and harden off in the environment. Now my hope for the Hesperaloe is that they will get tough, woody and unpalatable.

Except, some damn varmint ate a tiny sprig of a Yucca filamentosa that followed me home a while back. Damn varmint! That has not happened before. All the larger yucca look fine. Was that an accident? Am I having a population explosion of voles? They sure better not develop a taste for yucca roots.

Button needs to get busy.

That is why the poisonous daffodils are the go to bulb of choice. The damn varmints won't eat them. Unfortunately I am a gardener who covets pretty. There are quite a few entirely tasty and edible bulbs planted in the garden. I won't know if anything is missing until spring.

Under the cover of deep snow and in the presence of actual winter conditions, the daffodils that poked up early came to a complete halt in growth. That is one of the good things about daffodils. Up to a point, they can put a halt to things and wait for better days ahead.

The entrance to the garden expansion and nature walk in the forest starts at this end of the slope where the varmints have been dining.

I have pretty much tidied the first section of the forest. The next section is going to be much harder. There are huge rubbish piles left over from a neighbor logging a good number of the giant dead hemlocks. That needs to be burned.

Once they were gone and the sun hit the ground, a forest of vicious blackberry and locust sprang up. It is a tangled thorny mess. Only persistence will get rid of the blackberry. I have to burn up the rubbish to access that part of the slope before persistence can even be attempted.

Another day.

I did get one winter project completed this year and winter isn't over yet.

The snow is gone though.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Chop Chop And Snowdrops

Another group of small dead hemlocks were cut down in the direction of my garden expansion. I have already planted a Dawn Redwood tree and a few rhododendrons down here. I found a native azalea and Goat's Beard. The area is full of Buffalo Nut, Pyrularia pubera. The cleaner it gets, the more wild flowers show up.

My tidying this morning is just a continuation on the slope behind the cozy cabin to bring that part of the forest into the garden. There are no big planting plans. The main goal is tidy. I will make a path, edit and let nature do the planting. It will be a nature walk.

The main planned chore for the day was next door in the ridge top garden where hundreds of snowdrops are in full bloom.

I saw lots of snowdrops. They multiply and set seed readily.

Dividing and spreading the bulbs around speeds their dispersal. It only takes three to four years for a new planting to turn into fat clumps.

The ridge top garden melts before anything else. That makes any kind of work a whole lot more pleasant. I headed over there to continue on with the chop and drop of all the dead sticks from last years wild flowers. I like a clean slate for the Bulbapaloozathon.

My endurance seems to fade a bit after sitting around so much. A couple of hours of chopping wore me out. No problem. This section of the wild cultivated gardens is almost done. There is less than a quarter to go. I'm still not seeing much daffodil activity, so there is time.

It's looking tidy. I like that.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Some Tidy

A tidy forest is a happy forest. I have been looking at dead hemlocks on the east side of my driveway for far too long. In the winter it isn't noticeable to anyone but me. Come the time of vegetation, all that dead hemlock feels like getting poked in the eye with a stick.

It was past time to start cutting it all down. The sooner it hits the ground, the sooner it will decompose and disappear.

Two of my baby Witch Hazels are along the drive. I also planted what I hope is a Sourwood tree. They could use the extra sun and elbow room as they grow.

I cut down quite a few of the smaller dead hemlocks and cleaned the dead out of the half live ones. It's a start. There are still quite a few large ones and one monster that need to come down. I'll need the chainsaw for that.

The plague of woolly adelgid that killed the hemlocks has abated with the release of predator beetles. In the last two years the hemlocks have started to grow again. The few living ones that remain could also use some air, light and elbow room.

Hemlocks are one of the few conifers with enough latent adventitious buds that allows them to tolerate regular hard pruning. It is quite possible for the half dead ones to reassert their true nature as a dense conical evergreen tree. I'd much prefer living hemlocks along my drive than a forest full of dead ones.

It's a big chunk of forest with a lot of mess. It could take me a while to reach optimum tidy.

A sunny sixty degree day did enough melt for me to get down the driveway. I'll need another one tomorrow before I can get back up. I'd rather walk for as long as it takes than shovel.

I also planted some seed today of Goldenseal and Asclepias incarnata. They both need some cold stratification to germinate. I should get enough of that before spring. I covered the pots with another tray because there are all kinds of varmints that just love to dig in fluffy potting soil and newly planted plants. Damn varmints! I hope it works.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Slow Melt

It has not snowed in a week. Cool days and frozen nights make melting a drawn out process. Last night a strong north wind carrying colder cold blew in. My plans for the day were cancelled in the face of a strong wind chilly.

If I had this much snow left after many days of sun, I couldn't be sure the roads at the Posh Estate which sits in a great deal more shade would even be fully melted. Private roads quite often have plowing issues.

So I wait for more melt. The next two days may get close to sixty. That may clear the snow before the next storm arrives. That should clear the rest of the circle of snowdrops planted around the heiau.

'Jelena' is about done blooming for the year. 'Diane' won't be putting on much of a show with so few flower buds. 'Arnold' will do just fine when it decides to bloom.

At this point, next week's storm is looking more like rain than snow. That seems odd. It can change of course.

There wasn't much melt at all today. It took forever to get above freezing. Snowless clouds whizzed by all morning. The wind didn't die down until mid afternoon. I waited.

What will the groundhog say? I'm hoping for snowless and cool, forty five degree days and freezing nights for February. I need to get some work done, but I sure don't want a second false spring in one winter.