Sunday, March 28, 2010

finding the borders after and under late winter detritus

About 3 inches of daffodils are up. Most of the snow is gone. So I couldn't resist being outside a bit today; I know it's too early but... or maybe it isn't.

Anyway, I raked some, just dumping slightly-mulched the leaves into either one of the garden-beds-to-make* or under the white lilac and excessive roses**. They don't need the mulch at this time of year, but I figure those beds need more soil eventually and this should slow down some of the silly spread-themselves forbs. Wish I knew more about what's native or not.

I pulled old stems and leaves and bits of gravel and some persistent spreading ground cover off the rocks that edge the flower beds (the ones with shrubs and perennials along the road). I cut away old daffodil leaves, sedum plants, peony stems. I'm not much of one for annuals unless they self-seed. I have mixed feelings about sedum and some of the geraniums, 'cause they spread so. And the snow-on-the-mountain! If only it would be well-behaved ... but it tries to take over and isn't even as useful as mint. I planted bee balm with it last year, that should teach it . Let 'em duke it out. The bee balm (non-native varieties, though I tried to find those) is nice for the Ruby-throated hummingbird when the lavendar (er, lilac?) lilac isn't blooming.

The daffodils come up through years of gravel dumped via snow (carried in snow shoved onto these beds by the plow) mixed with whatever I toss in the previous fall (generally their own old stems and leaves). Once I tried to move them. I dug down at least six inches and never found the bulbs. I figured they must be alright enough then, and put the dirt back.

I am a very haphazard gardener. And lazy... no, no, I mean efficient. (Thus choosing perennials.) Well...

* We're gradually, year-by-year, adding beds for vegetables or herbs or whatever. Some are raised beds; this area will be more terraced with river rock "walls".

** Moved from my Mom's; some are transplants of her old roadside roses, which we "pruned by the plow" every year. Some are just random things she moved or divided. I do not pamper roses (indeed, I barely give them any attention), so mine are thorny, leggy, sometimes buggy, and smell wonderful.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

ooh, that smell

When we got home late this afternoon, the air was full of the taste of crisped maple sugar. I guess either Highland or Hillsboro (or both) were boiling off today.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Yesterday through the window

The lilacs have buds! Well, the white lilac anyway; it's the one with slightly better drainage and gets somewhat less snow plowed into it. The purple lilac is older, but has lost quite a bit to snowplowing (the shove of the snow more than the plowblade). (Oddly, the road and lilac have not moved in the over 13 years I've lived here. Go figure.)

I also saw a Dark-eyed Junco on the hydrangea. I haven't seen many of them this year. Was I not feeding enough, the right stuff? Was the snow just too deep for under-shrub feeding in the visible places?

The creek behind the house is running slightly high and cheerfully loud, and bit blueish with spring meltout. Oh, there's plenty of sagging snow and spots of ice over the mud still, and I'm sure we'll get some more before spring is solidly here, but this feels so welcome.

On my way to one of my clients' today, I saw a pair of Canada geese! They appeared to be playing the goose version of tag, as they swam in this semi-seasonal pond near a plowed field off Route 116. (This is the same field where I got my car stuck one day last year, because I'd turned off the road to look more closely at what turned out to be statues of swans. Ahem.) The Canada goose may be a year-rounder, maybe, out on Lake Champlain, but I don't see it up here in the winter, so that's a sign of spring for me. On the way home, I saw another waterfowl, possibly a Common Merganser, but I didn't have the chance to be sure. Either way, spring birds are a delight.

Oh, and in clicking through for the links (so you can see more about these birds), I found this painter, Catherine Hamilton. Love her touch with watercolors.