We are feeling somewhat mooshy, mishy and mashy as the winter drags its feet in exiting out the doorway. It keeps forgetting things, slowing the process of leaving, saying the long goodbye. It starts to go, hand on the doorknob, then remembers that it forgot something and heads back inside rather than saying the fond farewell. One time it is the overcoat, another the snowboots, yet another the balaclava that has been left on the bench by the coat closet. How can we help this season figure out the time has come, the time is now, William Wadsworth Winter will you please go now!
A spell of sunshine and a whispering wind of warmth might drop the hint that he has worn out his welcome, overextended his stay, that after three days (or months), fish and guests begin to smell. He is stinking up the place. (Hamamelis ‘Diane’ shines like jewelry in the clear strong rays of the orb in the sky.)
There are projects to be started, projects to be continued and projects to be completed, waiting in the great outdoors. The most compelling of these is the sowing of the peas, sweet and sugar snap. The beds have been prepared. The rabbit fencing is up, the poles in place and frost cloth covers the cleverly conceived hoops of old reinforcing wire that formerly served as tomato cages. The bags of thoroughly composted manure, Black Kow have been spread as the weather allowed on a day of thawing. Frozen mulch of any kind is just plain unspreadable, like frozen butter on cold toast. The seed packets are spread out neatly on the table, waiting for their time in the sun.
Also in queue is the area behind the knot garden that has been designated as Fairegarden’s spot of Zen. Inspired by travels and magazine articles, construction for an Asian influenced spot for quiet contemplation was begun last year, click here-Rock My World-A Zen Garden to read about it.
The tree peony was planted in 2000 and the true name for the white beauty was discovered last year, click here_White Tree Peony Identity Discovered to read about it. (Paeonia ostii ‘Phoenix White’)
Some additional plantings were added, Heucheras, Black mondo grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus from other garden beds and a small purchased mugo pine. During the down time of winter’s overstay there have been many hours pondering the plantings in this special space. The art of cloud pruning has been infused into the cerebral folds as something we would like to attempt. The search for the proper evergreen to be cut and trained in such a way ensued and the object of our desire was found on a recent trip to northeast Tennessee.
A Japanese plum yew, Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’, , three gallon size came to live in the Fairegarden. Large enough to begin the process of bending and cutting and inexpensive enough to not cause fear of wasting good money, this shrub has been subjected to the clippers and some wire. (Story to follow about the pruning and planting at a future date). Purchased along with the plum yew were two types of grasses, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’ and M. ‘Little Kitten’. Adagio has been on the wish list for several years, a smaller and tidier version of M. ‘Morning Light’ that graces our mailbox area in front. The plan is for these grasses to be divided and spread on the steep slope over by the western property line’s hideous chain link fence. Several plantings have been done in the effort to obliterate the view of the silver monstrosity. There have been rhododendrons that died, Osmanthus fragrans of which half died and were replaced with fothergillas dug as suckers from a planting elsewhere on the slope. The problem besides lack of moisture and shade are the nearby black walnut trees injecting juglones into the soil from its roots and showering the surface with the poisonous leaves. It is a wearisome battle but victory is in sight, we hope, with these grasses added as filler and winter interest to a desolate winter scene.
Not at all desolate are the edges of the knot garden quadrants. Last month these four sections were liberally spread with a few inches of pea gravel in an effort to neaten up the thyme plantings and deter the devil squirrels from digging up the bulbs in their ritual burial and searching for the buried black walnuts mentioned above. There have only been a couple of digging efforts with the gravel icing on the cake, and the Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ are emerging jauntily through the stones. Crocus chrysanthus are showing colorful buds at the brick edging. It is pleasing to the gardener.
Speaking of crokie pokies, offspring Semi’s name for them, a mass planting of 100 C. tommasinianus ‘Roseus’ mingled among the Geum triflorum in the Fairelurie are beginning to bloom. Even the Geums are showing some new growth, excitement abounds.
Public Service Announcement:
If you see something that looks like this, a tan blob of papery goo, do not remove or destroy it. This is the egg case of a Praying Mantis. When the time is right, many little tiny perfectly formed mantids will emerge from the bottom, ravenously hungry for the insects that are eating your plants. These are precious and dare it be said, magical. Consider yourself lucky if the mantids blessed your garden with their offspring bound in brown foam. Added: The photo below, taken by my friend Laurie, was featured in this post-Space Invaders, and has been added for those of you wanting to see baby mantids emerging. It is an incredible sight, and she took an amazing photo of it. I looked for this post earlier and could not find it. Several hours later I remembered the name. Sigh.
To wrap up this MMMonday post, the brainchild of the brilliant Monica the Garden Faerie, we present this sight, captured in pixels last Sunday on our way home from a weekend road trip. Wild turkeys, a passle of them were spotted along the highway. The Financier was persuaded to stop the car long enough for a quick zoom shot. There were twenty two of these large birds, at least two large males and the rest females. An addendum was added to our bird count to reflect these numbers. Click to read the post about the bird count here-One, Two, Three.
Now Mister Winter, don’t let the door hit ya on your way out!