March 6: Garden cleanup; lots of things emerging

I want to believe the warm weather is here to stay, though I know from the forecast that it’s not. Still, it was warm here this weekend, and I took full advantage of it to get the garden cleaned up. I pruned roses, cut back ornamental grasses, raked leaves out of flower beds, moved lavenders, transplanted hydrangea, and kicked poor performers to the curb.

As I worked, I smelled fresh mint in the mint patch. I listened to birds chirp and leaves rustle in a warm breeze. I was surprised by the first forsythia blossom. When I pulled away dead debris and raked out leaves that have insulated the ground these last 5 months, I found leaves emerging underneath – sedum, tulips, columbine, goldenrod.

Feb 13: Plans for the back hill

To do

I finally figured out a way to plot out plants in a way that I can visualize how they’ll look in the space. I photographed the back beds, then annotated the photos using Preview on my mac. I had to combine two pictures to get a full panorama of the back hill, but I think I’ve finally (mostly) gotten to a point where next time it’s warm enough to work in the garden, I know which plants to move and where. I’m hopeful I can get most everything moved before my gardening vacation in March, when I’ll mulch.

I want to rearrange everything: every circle shown here is a plant I need to move 😬

Already done

These are the plants I’ve already moved; I shifted my work day earlier Friday so I could take advantage of warm temperatures to work in the garden.

This is the bed I created in February of 2021. In its first season, I sowed seeds for annuals (zinnias, dill, and Mexican sunflowers), but they took too long to come in, and I am not patient. Then, once they exploded in bloom, they were messy and too tall. So this year I’ll try something different. I’ve moved a bunch of perennials, some of which are early bloomers and some are later. I also plotted a little path through them so that it’s not just a giant rectangle and it has a little more organic shape.

I’m excited for the next warm day so I can start working on the rest of the hill.

February 16: cutting back, mowing leaves, and compost

I’ve got my gardening vacation on the calendar — first week in April — but there’s so much to do, I don’t think I can get it all done in one week.

It was sunny and 50 degrees today, so I started early with the cutting back and the turning compost and the getting ready for spring.

In fall, Brian raked and then spread the leaves at the top of the hill. I mowed them today to shred them for the compost pile and to spread on the hill to help prevent erosion.
I made compost! The pile on the right is ready to go. The pile on the left is my working pile. It should be ready in about a year.
The bulbs our mail carrier gave me two years ago (she’s also a gardener) have finally made flowers! The first flowers of the 2020.

March 25: more seeds, more snow

We got another doozie of a snow. I think it was probably 8 inches, but I don’t know for sure.

morning after snow
More snow!

I forged ahead anyway. I’m pretending this is the final snow, and I planted more seeds indoors today:

  • Sage (10)
  • Kale (8)
  • Purple basil (6)
  • More Scabiosa (10)

I cleared out all the pots that hadn’t sprouted yet to make room for these new seeds. Only 4 of the original 12 Scabiosa seeds emerged from the March 4 planting, so I started some more. The ones that sprouted look healthy, so here’s to hoping at least some of these new ones will come up.

I had planned to take this week off to garden, but was fortunately able to push it out one more week. I don’t really want to garden in the snow. Hopefully next week it will be a little warmer for digging around in the beds.

March 18: lots of transplants, ripped out mint and bee balm

I was supposed to sow seeds today. In order to do that, I needed to move a bunch of plants to open up the spots where the seeds would go. After nearly 6 hours of ripping out mint, digging holes, unearthing plants, hauling them up hills, reburying them, and watering them in, I am pooped. And I didn’t start any seeds.

Here’s what I did do. Everything is still dormant, so I’m hopeful they’ll get established in their new spots and continue growing unstunted:

  • Sprayed weeds and grass that didn’t get killed the first go round.
  • Ripped out the mint under the stairs — two wheelbarrows full! I’m shocked by how much it spread. It was like an infestation.
  • Moved pink hydrangea spot vacated by mint.
  • Scooted white hydrangea closer to driveway.
  • Divided yarrow: moved one division next to white hydrangea, moved one to bed 9 out back, moved a small offshoot next to bee balm on side of house.
  • Moved 2 milkweeds (and a 3rd tiny one?) to bed 3 out back.
  • Moved 3 echinacea to bed 3 out back.
  • Moved 3 clumps of bee balm to bed 9.
  • Ripped out the remaining bee balm from front bed.
  • Moved 4 baby echinacea to fenced veggie patch so they can be protected from bunnies while they get a little bigger.
  • Moved 3 rudbeckia from herb bed out front to bed at top of hill out back.
  • Planted 5 liatris corms in butterfuly bush bed.
  • Moved Shasta daisy to it’s correct place in the butterfly bush bed.

I’ve got a to-do list at least as long as the one above to get to before I can actually plant the seeds. I’m bummed I couldn’t get more done today since we’re about to have 2 days of rain (and possibly sleet and snow). I guess we’ll have more rain in April, so everything can get watered in then. And this week I’ll try to chip away at my list :-).

March 11: tomato, Mex SF, and Scabiosa seeds sprouting

We planted these seeds on March 4, 7 days ago. The Mexican sunflowers and tomatoes started sprouting on March 9. They are growing under a shop light, I think it’s this 2.8 ft LED one.