My Blog List

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Late Winter Flowers

This whole month has seemed more like March than February. It's not just the unseasonably warm days that we've had, like today and predicted for tomorrow; it's the whole look and feel of the outdoors, even on the cold days.

The crocuses have been blooming for about a week and a half, but today was the first day I've gotten out to photograph them in the yard:


I can't resist taking these pictures every year. I managed to get a shot of a bee on this group of flowers. He's on the lower left:

 
Unlike the crocuses which are wild, the last picture is one of the hellebores Pam has planted:
 
 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Warm weather subtractive gardening

The uprooted tree that took out a large bedding area two years ago gave us the opportunity to add plants in the back yard last season. Other than annuals, there hasn't been such opportunities to plant in recent years since much of the yard is full, and gardening activity has mostly been cutting back and taking out. Truthfully, we haven't done either as much as we should, and many gardeners would describe our plot as over-grown.

Yesterday and the day before, the temperatures got over 70 degrees, and I took advantage of the warmth to work in the yard. Much of the time was spent digging up ornamental grasses which have become too numerous. We like the looks of these grasses, especially as they sway in the wind during the colder months, but those same winds also messily blow the dead stalks throughout the lawn. Adding to the labor of constantly picking up those stalks is the necessity of cutting the stalks back in the early Spring to allow for the new growth to emerge.

I've become increasingly aware of how easily ornamental grasses can spread by noting their increase in the wooded parkland across the street. Those plants almost certainly spread from ours, but upkeep of them I don't consider my responsibility. Although the woodland plants seem to do alright on their own, during the Spring growth I wouldn't be satisfied with the appearance of those which have spread in our yard, so they have added to the maintenance burden.


The poor dwarf spruce tree on the left of the picture above has had much of its foliage die off because of crowding-out by ornamental grasses that spread into that area. I dug out most of them in hopes of giving the tree opportunity to recover. Others, I simply cut back to reduce the work I'll have later when I'll cut them all.

We had some very cold days earlier this Winter. but the recent warming has fooled some plants and animals into thinking Spring is here. Some of the grasses I cut or removed had new growth on them which I normally wouldn't see in early February, and Pam and I have both seen forsythia blooming. Some of the Canada geese in the park seem to be pairing off in preparation for mating season, and I think that is earlier than usual. Humans, however, shouldn't be fooled because there could be cold and snow ahead since we're just half-way through Winter. Chances, are, however, that I'll still have time for more subtractive gardening before Spring when the lure of fishing distracts me from work in the yard.