Monday, January 20, 2014

Before The Incoming Vortex

Half of the garden becoming  made an appearance before the incoming polar vortex. The suggested low keeps getting lower. The suggested amount of snow isn't much and getting smaller. There is no suggestion this will be pleasant.

The direction a slope faces in the mountains is critical to snow melt. My melt line is distinctly delineated by the valley like crease in the middle of the garden. This is the idea of micro climates made visible. Which plants can better handle more freeze thaws and which are better suited to staying cold and dormant with fewer extreme swings?

If I kill something in one half of the garden I can always try it on the other side.

I had some time after a short day of work to do some more chop and drop in the sunny utility meadow. I'm almost done in there. I'll be moving on to the ridge top garden soon.

What I have been itching to start is my new short stone retaining wall for the lower switchback path. The ground can't be frozen though if I want to set the stones right. That isn't likely to happen now until at least next week. The polar vortex round two is gonna be cold.

I made sure the three half civilized varmints spent the day outside. It was actually a lovely day. Once the vortex arrives they won't be going outside if they can help it.

This was a little surprise. I found some crocus breaking ground. There was some talk of Bulbarella giving me a sack of the earliest blooming crocus she found in a catalog. She gave them to me since she figured she'd never be here in time to see them.

Now I of course have no recollection of where I plant bulbs. I know there are regular crocus and fall blooming crocus in there. If these are the super early ones, well it will be a surprise. I have not seen any other crocus yet. I looked.  I haven't even seen the snowdrops over here yet. I don't think they will be blooming until after the vortex has passed.

I finally figured out that this mystery grass is Andropogon virginicus, Broom Sedge or Yellow Bluestem. It holds its dried flower stems exceptionally well. It is much more noticeable dead than alive. I saw it first years ago in the wildflower end of the roadside vegetable garden. It has been spreading itself from there. I need to learn to ID its seedling stage so I can leave it when it shows up in a good location. It will make a fine texture in the winter garden.

Half a day of half the garden is all I got before it disappears again tomorrow. It is January. It is to be expected. It is to be expected until the first of March. At that point one can hope for more sunny and less bone chilling days.


Dianne said...

I am so dreading this new round of cold. I was busy today trying to get ready...I am prepared, but never ready! Only 11 days left in January as we continue to move toward warm. I had never thought about the snow lines, but they are very evident here as well.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The Vortex is howling through here today too. Brrrr, yesterday was such a wonderful day. Sunshine and warmth without the wind. It was great to get out without freezing. It won't be as long as it has been.

Les said...

How come the mountains hold back much needed summer rain, but can't hold back another dance with the vortex.

Christopher C. NC said...

Dianne I have one client whose entire property is a north facing slope. It can be a perfectly lovely day and cold as crap there.

Lisa I get out at every opportunity. I know there will be plenty of days for naps.

It's a vortex Les. What can I say. I'm just happy it has been reliably cold all season without freakish warm spells waking things up.