Wednesday, March 30, 2011

No Spring in my step

If anything my 'step' is buried in snow - again!

So far this year 'Wintersowing' might be the only way go.

Wednesday afternoon:

Within 4 hours we got 4 inches of snow.  It's still falling. 

For over a week nights have been in the low teens. The days hover just above freezing.

Spring?  Spring?  What is this "Spring" of which you speak?  There is no sign of Spring here in Ohio. *sigh*

I think I should have held off changing the blog title pic.  

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring beds

All the Fall backbreaking work of weeding, leaf collecting and mulching really pays off big time in Spring.  Since I pull all the weeds and annuals and cut down 95% of the perennial stalks in November, then mulch deeply with tons of leaves, there is very little to do to make beds ready in Spring.

As you can see, there are no weeds.  No cleanup per se.  This type of gardening is a function of my using all of my leaves in Fall.  I mulch the beds for winter.  There being no sense mulching over weeds or annuals those get pulled and put into compost.  I also have to cut back the perennials so it's easier to move the leaves around on the beds.  More debris for the compost.  I leave up just enough decorative stalks to have some winter interest (autumn joy sedums umbels, astilbe sprays, and the like).  It's easy enough to clip those off this time of year when it's not actually warm enough to play outside, but nice enough for a bit of a walk-about with clippers.

While it is a lot of work, I've no regrets doing so much in October/ November.  It's usually dry that time of year and I've had all summer to get myself in shape which makes things go smoother.  (This time of year the ol' muscles have gone a bit soft over the long winter and don't want to hit the ground, any ground, running. ;-D )  About all I'll have to do in early May is pull back some of the mulch to let the sun warm up the soil before I install any plants.

Rest assured, however, I'm not sitting around with my feet up, goofing off until May.  No sirree.  I've been busy and have posted on 3 of the side pages today (Propagation, Flower & Vegetable).  Lots more to see over there. Check 'em out.

Meanwhile, here's a quick tour of the backyard beds as of today.  Point your cursor at any pic to pause the scrolling and view the name of the bed(s).

Bottom line, though, the biggest benefit of doing all the work at the end of the year is psychological.  When I finally tuck in for winter and look outside for months, there is not a lot of hard work staring back at me, waiting, making me dread the thaw.  Nope.  All that looks back at me are finished beds.  Beds that are probably looking in at *me* and waiting, maybe dreading whatever crazy plan I hatch this year. LOL  

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Easy mark

And that mark would be me!  I can be such a pushover when someone or something shows a kindness.  Like a bit of good weather.

First off - it's been a WHOLE WEEK since we've been buried in snow!! The mind reels.

Second off - today is our 3rd sunny day in a row and my whining ways have gone a 180.

Although Thursday was in the 50s, the wind was fierce and relentless so I went out only long enough to take out kitchen compost.  Friday though.  Oh Friday!  Lovely lovely Friday!  It got into the 60s and the winds died down to tolerable.  I felt like the energizer bunny!

I worked in the veg gardens.

I worked in the flower beds.

I even bought materials for some garden projects.

And...let's not forget the basement plants

(Links to all these pages mentioned are on top of sidebar.)

While trimming back spent stalks around the place, I came upon my new little bed next to the garage.  Now mind you, when I made this bed last fall and posted that I was going to grow annuals here this year, I remember how carefully, how thoroughly I dug up all bulbs that were there and moved them to another location.

So what are these??  Good grief!  LOL

Today is still sunny, but cold (low 40s) and windy again.  I think I'll stay inside.  It's probably best.  My muscles are reminding me that they've gotten a little soft over the long winter.  Maybe I'll just mosey back to the basement and sow something till another nice day rolls around.  At least my mood sure has improved! :-D

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Thursday, March 17, 2011


There are signs and portents of change popping up from below, with a bright sun and blue sky above.  Seductive, but Ma Nature will have to do better than this to get me to play outside anytime soon.  Once burned (frozen?)... ;-D

So if you want me, I'll still be in the basement.  Visit.  I'm doing most of my posting on the Propagation Page these days anyway.  

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Now you see it...

Friday morning - 8" snowfall.

Now you don't.
Saturday afternoon.

There's something dreadfully wrong with the weather... drastic shifts like this are rather disconcerting to say the least and don't help my mood any.   I'm staying inside;  I don't trust Ma Nature anymore. She's got some serious issues this year and I'm not playing with her until she gets some therapy!

If you want me, I'll be in the basement.  Visit.  I'm doing most of my posting on the Propagation Page these days anyway.  
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Grim & grimmer....


I must sound like a broken record by now, but hey, I don't make the weather, just report it.

On the 25th we got 8~10" of heavy wet snow.  Then on the 28th 2" of rain on top of the snow caused a lot of flooding.  Up in Gates Mills the dam broke and a wave of water raced downstream.

Cleanup is still ongoing and people are pumping out houses.  Over the weekend we received another 2" of rain.  Then since yesterday so far we've gotten about 1.5".  And it's still coming down.

I went out for groceries this morning and saw flooded fields and the nearby creek has turned into a lake with a rolling current down the middle.
There's just no place for the water to go anymore.

It's going to rain all day and into early evening.  Then things will get ... bad.


Rain will turn to freezing rain, then ice, then heavy wet snow:  4-6 inches tonight, then another 4-6 inches tomorrow.  And, as the weatherman says, "....with locally heavier accumulations to the south."  Which means south of Cleveland.  Which means us here in Canton.

Many have put up a brave face this winter, but the fight is gone out of some of us (mainly - me).

I'm so tired of it all.  Just so darn tired. 

But the daffs don't seem to mind. (Maybe they just don't know any better.)  Still....they do hold the promise of Spring.

Hope.  Hope.  Hope.

Guess I'll just curl up on the couch and watch a movie.  Oh goody....

They're showing "The Day After Tomorrow".

Oh. Perfect. Juuuust perfect.  :-/

Alright, instead I'm going down to the basement where I'm way past playing with seeds and sprouts.  I'm practically farming! 

Friday Morning: 

The first wave ~ 8".
More to come...
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Losing yew

Last April I planted 20 1-gallon yews along the back property line
Then, in June, I planted 6 3-gallon yews along the North property line.

Due to the heat last year and lack of rain, I watered them all religiously.  They rewarded me with lots of bright green growth.

In November I gave them all a good tuck-in with hollytone and a deep drink.

Then winter came - a long cold snowy icy no-holds barred winter.  The plants scoffed at such things.

In December I noticed that my neighbors were walking their dog into my yard and letting it pee on my northside yews.  I just couldn't believe they did that!

So I put some stakes on the property line, strung a clothesline and pinned up old bits of tarp and landscape fabric to mark my territory!  It didn't look nice, but it did the trick.

Fast forward to a brief February thaw.  Camera in hand I wandered out to the back of the yard and checked on the eastside yews.


Oh my poor babies.  They were just ratty sticks!  Not only had the deer eaten off all of last year's new growth, but down into the original plant!

I was, well, furious!

I went over to check on the eastside yews, expecting the same but - hello!  No chewing at all.

Apparantly the clothesline of flapping fabric kept the deer at a distance and they didn't browse on them at all.  Sufficed to say there will be a LOT more clotheslines and flapping fabric around the yews next winter.

Actually, I may have to put some up sooner than that.  Just look at those deer heading right for the yews this morning.  Grrrrrrr.

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