Sunday, April 20, 2008

Earth Day Weekend Garden Report

The violets of our old house are not numbered amongst the plants who made the trip with us. I was just starting to feel a little badly that I hadn't brought at least a single clump of them...when these pretty little things suddenly began blooming out in front of this house.

As the Full Frog or Planter's Moon made our evenings glisten and gleam this weekend, grape hyacinths have begun springing up along the outer edges of the front garden. Here, a pair of them frame a columbine plant and one of the pink Dutch hyacinths.

In fact, all of the Dutch hyacinths I planted in the fall have turned out to be pink, which makes me grin. I'm a bigger fan of the purple/blue ones, but these smell as lovely.

This weekend, Somewhere Joe pointed out that spring has made me prolific, and the season is certainly inspiring. Not only are new green things appearing in the border daily--old friends like moonbeam coreopsis and purple coneflower and assorted phloxes--but I also have a lot to get done when spring arrives. It's the nature of my job that I'll be busy at work when June begins busting out, and I like to head off to work in the mornings then knowing that all's well in the garden.

Toward that end, each morning this weekend I've been working on finishing off a little more of the front garden bed. Particularly, the far end where I wanted to get a nice big birdbath installed. We have so many birds around that I know it'll be popular...and it's always fun to watch them.

I had dug out this bed and broken all the sod into squares back in the fall, but had run short to finish the project then, with the moving and winter bearing down on us. So at least that tough part of the job was done...all I had to do was seperate all the dirt from the clumps of grass, which were just beginning to green up again.

By late this morning, I'd finished off the bed and was ready to embed some stepping stones and also the birdbath itself. Yah, I know the path of stones isn't exactly level, but they are reasonably secure, and water won't pool on them on very rainy days.

Here's a close-up of the birdbath, which you'll recognize from last summer in the old orchard garden. The stones in front are mica-flecked or have crystals in them, so they really catch and play with the sunlight.

They look a little stark here, but I hope soon to have them planted with some dianthus and creeping phlox, which ought to thrive on the spillover water from the birdbath and the full sun.

I'm glad to have this section finished off. It will be at least partially a vegetable bed, with some tomatoes and another go at the Three Sisters Garden.

Here's my next target: the section around the lamp-post. It will be slower work here, owing to both underground electric (danger Midnight Gardener, danger...)and an overgrown clematis vine I don't want to damage. But I imagine about the time I've finished that, the lilies should have begun to emerge, and then it will be safe to install the soaker hose throughout the whole layout.

Not all of us were hard at work this weekend. Em just loves to lie in the sun and bake her head, occasionally looking up as I dash past to the shed for some tool or other. It takes quite a bit of coaxing to convince her to come inside when its time to head off to work.

Owen's also been busy around the house, not only scraping off old exterior paint and re-glazing windows, but also replacing the old landscape timbers that line the backyard gardens with some of the new rocks we recently acquired.

It was while he was on a ladder working on the former project Friday afternoon, when he overheard two of the neighbors talking about of them's a bit deaf, so it wasn't difficult. The reviews are good, though: sounds like they are very impressed with the work we're doing to clean up the place...but he also heard one of them refer to me as "the young one."

It's not untrue, four years seperate us in my favor, so I got a bit of a giggle from it all. He, on the other hand, is taking it a little more seriously. Meanwhile, Em's trying to convince him that they might think he's younger if he also took her for a walk around the block every day.

I was out examining newly sprouted things when this robin came bobbing along to inspect the new garden. I was happy to watch him try out the vantage point from each of the taller rocks in the edging, before hopping up to survey things from the fence. The sun was already sinking, so I wasn't disappointed that he didn't visit the birdbath. I imagine it was a little chilly. But I'll be watching for him in the morning sun.


Sh@ney said...

Do you live in the countryside, it is a little hard to tell, you seem to have close neighbours, but do I detect some bushland in the surrounds?

Those plants are so pretty and I love the old log fence to, it has that true country feel to it...
What other veges will you grow?

Charlotte said...

Wow! Impressive amount of work done for the weekend, and it is going to look amazing.

Here in Portland, everything is abloom--but alas, we are having freezing temperatures and even snow. Very unusual for us and everyone is complaining about the lack of spring-like weather. The apple and pear growers up the Gorge have been panicking about losing their crops, but I'm hoping it didn't get quite as cold as anticipated, and that they will be okay.

Our last frost date is April 15th, but the nurseries were warning people off planting last weekend, so hopefully everyone listened!

I can't wait to get my hands in the dirt this year. Thanks for a great vicarious experience.

Chris said...

Wow, love your pics of the flowers, very beautiful. I think you have inspired me to do some things different with my house's landscaping. I love your blog! Wanted to say hi and I will be checking it out alot!


Greg said...

Hey Shaney, hard to designate exactly what sort of countryside we're in. The Cape has some wonderful wild spaces (there's conservation land and a small lake at the end of our cul-de-sac, which I've yet to properly explore...), but we are smack-dab in the burbs on this particular street. It's never far to find the wild side around here, though.

I must confess that growing veggies isn't as much for me as the flowers, though I've always been pleased when things turn out well. The Three Sisters garden includes corns, beans and squash...and I'll probably find room to let a zucchini or pumpkin vine trail around, too.

Considering the recent Munchers, it may also be wise to set up a seperate bed for lettuce and other greens, if only to distract the bunnies from the flower garden. An offering, if you will...

Greg said...

Charlotte, I've been seeing pics of your recent snows on all the lovely flowers--so sad. Hopefully it will be the briefest of set-backs and you'll be out there getting your hands dirty, soon.

I'm keeping the ever-growing sunflower seedlings inside for a little longer--our last frost has recent come at May's end--but I may take a chance with a few of them, since it's been so lovely. Of course, the PWN experience is keeping me from planting them just yet.

Greg said...

Thanks for stopping by, Chris! Glad I could inspire you...can't wait to see what you come up with!!

Jenn Thorson said...

Gosh, it's coming along so nicely. I imagine you'll be able to transform this in no time!

Pink hyacinth instead of purple or blue, eh? Isn't that JUST like Hyacinth?

"Mind the pedestrians, Richard." :)

Greg said...

Oh, Jenn, of course you are also a fan of Mrs "Boo-kay" (Bucket)--such a fun show. Fortunately, hyacinths in general are much more agreeable. ; )

Sh@ney said...

Oh you have a bunny problem, thats always going to be an issue no matter what you have in your garden...We don't have that issue here, being that our burbs are like CBD's...More bitumen less flora &

I am no expert, but I watched a local program here not so long ago about hare's in the rural areas & they suggested 'deer blood'. Of course your not meant to go and shoot one or the likes...You can buy it in a dried formula...Not sure whether your local garden centre would stock it...But Marigolds are also good for a deterent...Do you have them over there?
I am guessing species of plants will differ in countries, but there are still many varities that we share.

Butch said...

You both really have been busy. Nice work and it won't be long til the birds consider the new bird-bath their own.

It is amusing to listen to those that are hard of hearing, ( more than I am, that is ) and observe their "stage-whispers" thinking they can only hear themselves. We used to giggle at my great-aunt who would think she was whispering in the next room. When she would get a wee bit excited in her not-so "sotto-voce" whisper, it would get even louder for effect. She never knew we could hear every word she was saying. Glad your neighbor's "whispers" were favorable.

Give a pet to Emily for us. ;-)

Greg said...

Hey Sh@ney...a little cross-cultural foot-noting, if you please: "Bitumen" I figured out (sorry you've so much of it), but I'm a little stumped on CBD.

Meanwhile, thanks for your suggestions re: bunny deterrents. I *do* eventually plant marigolds every season, as I've known them to be good for keeping away some of the less-welcome insects...but I never imagined they might also be keeping away the bunnies, who've always been right around nearby.

I've relieved to know I haven't got to sacrifice a stag to keep the Long-Ears at bay, at any rate!


Butch, I've always been most amused at how hard-of-hearing folks often suffer near-miraculous recoveries when you are whispering something you don't intend for them to hear!

Emily says "hi" back to you, and wants to know if you've any treats for her (since we are obviously keeping her on starvation rations...not!).

: )

Anonymous said...

It really looks like everything is starting to come together nicely, even if you do look like "the young one." ;-)

Sh@ney said...

CBD = Central Business District.....
LOL..... Sorry my friend. ....Sometimes one simply forgets we dont all talk the same way!