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*Spring 2016*

Lori

By Lori

20 comments


Last autumn, before the confused and disjointed winter of 2015/16, my plans and dreams seemed to have got ahead of my vitality. (aging knees) I wanted to relocate the greenhouse …and that didn’t happen. Things are prepared for it so it will require some patience while the snow cover melts.

Last December I started digging a new area beside the stream which is a sunny upland spot which looks perfect for strawberries. Yes, it was December and I was turning sod! At the same time, down at the east side near the road I managed to dig out a bank of sand and silt that had filled up the side of a long rock wall into a bay of muck. The stream straightened out… with the new culvert in… the little stream bank has started to look like a rocky retaining wall. I

have plans! I wander there often and muse. Last summer I got an inspiration and completed most of the hard work..there is still some to do but the wall area is cleaned of wild raspberry and I’m making planting pockets for daffodils (spring) hosta and asclepias (summer) and asters (autumn) with some of the hardy sedges and grasses from the pond area, zebrina grasses too, perhaps… at the top of the grade I want to add rugosa roses in an informal hedge as forage and camouflage for the deer who come down to the stream in winter. This will be a little pocket of wild roses and butterfly attractants. Shrubbery seems to be the logical planting with so much area to cover.


I didn’t take as many before and after shots last autumn as I should have… at present a lot of the area is still under snow. For the last week we have had temps hovering around zero, day and night. The maple sap is running but I can’t get into the bush for the snow (can’t use my snow shoes at the risk of doing myself some more damage (knees again.) so I sit here and watch the drizzle. I’m thankful for it. Other years we’ve been locked into horrid winter right up to the last week of March.

More blog posts by Lori

Previous post: _Apple Trees in blossom_

Next post: *"Spring" 2016 ... I give up!*



Comments

 

How different to here......we haven't seen a single flake of snow this winter.

16 Mar, 2016

 

Im glad the winter has been a bit kinder Lori. And you're right to take care of your knees. The work will wait. :)

16 Mar, 2016

 

What a wonderful thing to have a running stream with visiting deer, as long as they don't eat too many of your plants. It will look lovely when framed by the plants and though I am not keen on Rosa Rugosa in the garden, it's a wonderful plant for hedging, copses and keeping people out! We inherited one slap in the middle of the flower garden - murderous - when it's not ripping either my hands or head to pieces when weeding it's throwing out suckers to spread everywhere! One day when I have replanted enough of the extras as hedging I am going to dispose of it - just don't tell it yet, it might exact revenge!
Best place for you to be while the weather is not good - indoors, resting the knees and dreaming and planning what will be.

16 Mar, 2016

 

Glad your winter was not as hard as usual Lori. Boy have you did so much before the snow and your knees stopped you. Better start stretching those muscles ready for when the snow has left. We have been blessed with a milder one than usual too. Down to two layers out there today..:-)

16 Mar, 2016

 

Do you notice much of a difference in your garden when you don't get much (or any) snow, Paul? Strangely, I seem to lose more perennials in mild winters than in the cracking cold ones. Of course we still have to get through April yet... April really is not a kind month here. According to our weather people we are due for a three day mini-winter over the coming weekend. (Minus 14 for one of the nights) the poor trees are running sap...wonder what it will do to the tiny buds? dreadful.
That's good advice, Karen. You know the siren call of spring though, right? darn old knees!
It is so great to see the deer, almost year 'round, Honeysucklegold ..they come in the winter and eat the new buds on the crabapple and apple trees and they love my hollyhocks too...but the area where I want to put in the shrubbery is well away from my kitchen garden and (hoped for) strawberry beds... I think the roses will be just fine there along with some other flowering shrubs... still in the process of decision. :-)
oh dear, stretching exercises... the very thought, Sandra! as I just mentioned to Paul we have been warned of a "cooling" trend coming. I hope we don't have more deep freeze left....I've been spoiled by this mild weather and I don't know if I could take it... sniff...sniff... :-( minus 14 C.... noooooooo.......

17 Mar, 2016

 

Oh Lori I feel cold just reading your blog! I hope you can get to the maple trees before long.

Your plants for the stream area sound wonderful - it will be just magic when you get all that done.

17 Mar, 2016

 

Thanks Stera. I'm very hopeful but it looks like old man winter is taking another swing at us... minus 13 overnight!

18 Mar, 2016

 

You've done a lot of work there. I hope you'll be able to finish it this year :)

19 Mar, 2016

 

Ive only been in this garden for a little over a year Lori and we've had no snow to speak of but, I remember a couple of really bad years for snow , one of them was 2010 when it snowed twice(heavily) before Christmas (almost unheard of here in Essex) and yet, we didn't lose any more plants. This winter in this garden, being so wet I have lost a lot more plants in the very wet, heavy cold clay than I ever did in snowy or cold winters at the other house.

19 Mar, 2016

 

That sounds like a really good plan Lori, your stream area will look fantastic with all that planting in place. There is nothing like a flash of inspiration to get motivated and start digging....after the next cold spell. We've had such a mild winter here that my colonies of greenfly are still thriving, blimming things, I've sported green fingers all through the winter squashing them in passing. The deer will appreciate your rugosas, mine used to be cropped regularly. Btw acupuncture is very effective for dodgy knees with high success rates, maybe worth considering? Keep warm for now. When does your spring melt usually start? and is there a lot of snow higher up to come down your stream? Or has that been affected too by the mild winter and you might escape any flooding? Keeping fingers crossed for you.

19 Mar, 2016

 

Hywel: Hello! (I was thinking the same thing while writing the blog!) I would like to finish it..but I have a nagging doubt. Over the last five summers I've had my hands full just trying to keep the grass cut! (so maybe the answer to my problem is ... learn to live with it! LOL... )
Paul: the heavy clay and the wet will get them every time. Have gardened in clay soil and it's punishing but this little bowl valley is mostly sand and silt and very prone to erosion. I had the best show on my water plants and irises after the horribly long and cold winter of 2013/14. that winter was followed by a lovely warm spring which turned cold in June (below zero for 4 days in a row) and we lost most of the apple blossom. I'm longing for a nice normal spring. What are the chances?
Marianne: so far so good with the flooding..I think some of the work that I did last year has helped in that regard. (gave a precis of the winter in another comment, I think) I can't wait for spring. Thanks for the acupuncture suggestion.. have to admit I never thought about it. I had to smile at the mind picture of slimy green fingers!...in our town garden, June always brought the saw fly larvae and I refused to spray so I would spend mushy hours green to my wrists...crushing the little blighters! (then I'd sluice down the rose bush and Austrian pine with soapy water... just to make sure I got them all!)

19 Mar, 2016

 

My thoughts are definitely turning towards spring, started digging my lawn up but of course I'll loose a couple of inches if I dispose of or try to compost the sods, so I decided to try out digging up small sods and get rid of as much clinging soil...mud...as poss, easier said than done, and just put them back roots up hoping they will die. I have gardened unorthodox and by the skin of my teeth in my French garden, mostly with good results, so decided to carry on experimenting here. I reckon it'll take me about a month! Back is already objecting huh. But checking the earlier sods 😆 they are turning yellow!

22 Mar, 2016

 

I do that with my sods Resi and as long as you get them deep enough it works very well.

22 Mar, 2016

 

What do you mean stera? Do you bury them again upside down? I just leave them on top....???

22 Mar, 2016

 

Here's an idea for you M! Dig spade size sods, turn your sods upside down and cut away most of the soil with your spade, then bury the grassy/root part under the soil part and continue as with a double dig. This puts the grass and it's roots deep enough underground that they will rot rather than sprout...contributes green manure to the area. Once or twice, I've redug the bed and removed any pieces of sod that didn't break down before adding rotted compost and sand (it was very clayey) and be prepared for liberal applications of heat liniment (on your tired back)... ;-) The Sod turn idea is an old one, isn't it Stera? It's something I learned from my Dad. We always had a huge veggie garden and the plot was clay-loam. Perfect for a garden but a little heavy.. When he couldn't get a plow and tractor onto the land (usually in wet springs) he would start the garden by double digging over.

22 Mar, 2016

 

Yes I do bury them upside down - if left on top they tend to grow again especially if the weather turns wet. I dig down as near a spade depth as I easily can, making the sides of the hole as vertical as possible (otherwise there never seems to be enough room to get the sod in!) then plonk it in soil side up and fill the hole in again. It takes time but saves time later because there's nothing else to do. When the sod is too big for the hole I bend it and then advice on choosing artificial grassbang the spade down on it and it usually settles.
If you're unlucky enough to have couch grass in the lawn though that's a different story...

22 Mar, 2016

 

Ok, slight change of technique here, I'll put the dug out and scraped off soil on top of the upturned sods, I wish I'd mentioned this on GOY before I started!! More linement required 😕 Thanks stera and lori.

22 Mar, 2016

 

keep the liniment on hand, Resi!
Stera mentioned couch grass!...OMGoodness! what a nightmare. I have a whole bed which is being consumed by it... it's trying to snuff out anything in it's path...the only plant that seems able to coexist with it (and maybe even hold the upperhand) is Rudbeckia! I will have to do a "hands and knees" weeding of the new growth and stay with it all season long. It likes dry and sandy areas so I'm going to water the stuff and weed it out fiercely. If this doesn't work... well you know what that means? To Heck with it!

24 Mar, 2016

 

I'm lucky in to have very little couchgrass in my present garden, but in my last one I resorted to watering with water mixed with salt and vinegar, successful in some areas but not in others...! Good luck with the "what the heck' sentiment. Go for it girl 💥 you might loose a few Rudbeckia though..

24 Mar, 2016

 

toothy grin.... :-)))))

26 Mar, 2016

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