Monday, April 27, 2015

There Are No Old Gardeners

"There are many tired gardeners but I've seldom met old gardeners. I know many elderly gardeners but the majority are young at heart. Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized. The one absolute of gardeners is faith. Regardless of how bad past gardens have been, every gardener believes that next year's will be better. It is easy to age when there is nothing to believe in, nothing to hope for; gardeners, however, simply refuse to grow up."~~Allan Armitage

 I love this quote because I find I think about getting older all the time with my garden. I think a lot about planting a more 'maintenance free' garden, because, you know, I'm getting older.  I feel this way mostly in the fall, at the end of the season, when I'm tired and ready to stop thinking about the garden. But it always amazes me how in the spring, it all comes back and you're refreshed and ready to go, already thinking about what new plantings you can make. I hope I'll always be a 'young gardener.' I hope I'll always think next year's garden will be even better. 

I had to work this weekend, but yesterday was  beautiful and I did get outside for a few hours. I have an akebia vine on my fence that would take over the world if I let it, so I spent a good amount of time cutting that back out of trees and plants. It's nice to plant vines when you have a fence, but they have a way of getting into everything.  I've been digging up a few clumps of purple coneflower and phlox, and transplanting them around the garden. I've made the first spray of the peonies with a fungicide, and need to do another spray in 2 weeks. I don't usually like to spray things, but my peonies are pretty important to me, and they seem vulnerable to fungal problems.  And there's always weeding, of course... 

Eileen and Prudy, Plant Weekend 2014
I leave on Thursday for Pennsylvania for our annual plant buying weekend, so I'm getting  excited for that.  Starting to think about pots and plant combinations!  And to make our spring even more exciting, we've started taking down the wallpaper in our kitchen...major kitchen renewal begun!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cherry Blossoms 2015

I went into DC yesterday afternoon and met Walt after work and we walked down to the Tidal Basin to see the last of the cherry blossoms. They were at their peak bloom last weekend so they were kind of  fading when we were there but it was still a pretty sight.  It was a cloudy day so the photos aren't the best.  I kind of focused on the trees themselves, so many are so old and gnarled, it makes you wonder how many more years they will last.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Planting an Hinoki Cypress

We have had a few perfect spring days lately (not today, it's raining), and we have gotten so much done in the garden!  I am making lots of progress with my Things To Do In The Garden list. The biggest project this spring was removing a huge burning bush that had overgrown its space in a corner garden by the garage.  After lots of work, Walt finally got most of it out and this weekend we planted a new Hinoki Cypress 'Graciosa.'  I really wanted a conical evergreen for that spot (Christmas lights!) and I just loved this variety of hinoki cypress the minute I saw it. It will eventually grow to about 8 feet tall and 30" wide.  It has the prettiest foliage, kind of lacy and fern-like, but a little finer than the usual hinoki. I just love the lacy, layered look, and the color variations of green. I think it's good choice.

New daffodils are blooming! I think they are the variety 'Romance,' and I love the apricot cups.

One of my pink dogwoods is just starting to flower. I have another one, too, but this one is way ahead for some reason.

And emerging bleeding hearts are always such a welcome sight. So great to finally see some colors in the garden!

And the snowdrops are just beginning.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter in Cleveland

Kathryn, Dan, Owen, Julia, Hampton, Kevin

We were in Cleveland over the weekend, and had such a great time.  We saw lots of family, took a long walk around Euclid, went to the Cleveland Art Museum, had macarons and champagne at a cool little patisserie downtown, and watched March Madness.  We had a delicious Easter brunch at my niece Kathryn's house in Shaker (baked eggs in hashed brown nests, thanks Pioneer Boy!) and a wonderful Easter dinner at my sister's, and Tom and Evie even came in from Chautauqua for the day. So nice to  be back home for a few days, and with our family. Of course before I left I collected three or four bags of rocks from my sister's beach, to bring home for my garden. Much of my garden is bordered by rocks from Lake Erie, and I can always use a few (well, lots) more.

We came back on Monday to 77 degrees in Virginia, greened up grass, daffodils blooming, and some early cherry tree blooms. What a difference a warm day makes! Yesterday morning I was outside spreading bonemeal over my perennial garden, something I do every year. I don't know if it makes any difference, but I've been doing it for years. It's the only fertilizer I use. I also cut back my 'Limelight' hydrangea, a little later than usual, but it should be fine as it blooms on new growth. It's raining this morning, so that bone meal will soak in nicely around my plants and strengthen those roots!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Before a Departure in Spring

Daffodil by Nisaburo Ito (1910 – 1988)

Before A Departure in Spring 

by M.S. Merwin

Once more it is April with the first light sifting
      through the young leaves heavy with dew making the colors
remember who they are the new pink of the cinnamon tree
      the gilded lichens of the bamboo the shadowed bronze
of the kamani and the blue day opening
      as the sunlight descends through it all like the return
of a spirit touching without touch and unable
      to believe it is here and here again and awake
reaching out in silence into the cool breath
      of the garden just risen from darkness and days of rain
it is only a moment the birds fly through it calling
      to each other and are gone with their few notes and the flash
of their flight that had vanished before we ever knew it
      we watch without touching any of it and we
can tell ourselves only that this is April this is the morning
      this never happened before and we both remember it