April 8: final day of gardening vacation, and the beds are all mulched

I am now at the end of my week-long gardening vacation. For the first four days, I was in the garden all day almost every day, coming inside only quickly to eat lunch. I was so occupied in the garden — moving plants, edging beds, spreading mulch — I didn’t even come inside for my afternoon coffee.

 

On Tuesday I repotted tomato seedlings, trimmed rosemary, fertilized yews, planted a fuzzy lamb’s ear for our daughter, and then finished mulching the front beds.

final day front beds mulched
Front beds mulched!

After getting all of that done, I was able to rest on Wednesday — a cold, windy day. I took it easier most of the rest of the week, taking on various odds and ends before tackling the mulch on the back hill:

  • Pruned forsythia
  • Pruned roses
  • Planted remaining crocosmia corms
  • Broke up sod on back hill in places I want to sow seeds
  • Hammered fertilizer spikes into the ground in the drip line of the new trees

On Saturday, three Virginia Tech students arrived in a cold drizzle to spread mulch on the back hill bed as part of the VT Big Event, a day of over 1000 service projects in the town of Blacksburg, from the students of Virginia Tech to the residents of the town in thanks for supporting the student body throughout the year. It was miserable out there, and when it started sleeting, I sent them home. They had gotten about half of the hill done. The sleet turned to snow for my husband’s April 7 birthday.

apr 7 snow
April 7 snow
rhododendrons and snow apr 8
Rhododendrons and snow on the final morning of my gardening vacation

The snow melted off pretty quickly this morning, Sunday, the final day of my gardening vacation. My husband started spreading the remaining mulch out back before lunch, and I took over after lunch while he ran errands with the kids.

As the mulch pile shrank, we realized we were going to come up short. I ordered 12 cubic yards, and I spread the final wheelbarrow full still having several small areas that need mulching. I should have ordered 14 or 15 yards and saved any leftovers for filling in throughout the summer. Next year!

Even coming up short, we were able to get the majority of the hill done, and I’m so happy with it. Check out the before first:

back hill before mulch
Back hill before mulch

And then the after:

back hill mulched
Back hill mulched 😍

Now it just needs to start warming up, the plants need to start growing, and I need to fill in those empty spaces with perennials, grasses, and seedlings I’ve got growing in my office.

The blueberries are about to flower, the blue Salvia is working on its buds, and the Redbud tree is about to burst into magenta bloom. The Echinacea are pushing up leaves, as are the rue and the bee balm. Joe pye and milkweed should start pushing up leaves soon too. The milkweed was emerging April 14 last year, and Joe Pye weed as well.

We’ve got one more small snow in the forecast, and then some warm temperatures coming at the end of the week. I’ve got my fingers crossed there will be more green by next weekend, and lasting warmth.

all beds mulched front and back
All the beds are mulched πŸ™‚

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