Since the byline for this garden blog is “a chat over the garden fence“, I like to feel like we really are just having a conversation here. So before we move on to tidying the garden, here is what has been happening this week.
On Saturday, we had two friends over for a socially-distanced picnic. It was only about the third visit we’ve had with anyone here in the last year, and it was so wonderful to be together again. Three out of the four of us have had the first vaccine shot. It will probably be April or May before I can get mine, but I just had a mid-decade birthday, so maybe I’ll be bumped up a level.
I was glad for the refurbishing of the Sunbubble I’d just completed, so they could sit in it and be comfy and warm during our outdoor picnic.
Whenever friends are over, I always get excited to take them around the gardens and show them everything that I love so much. My non-gardening friends are probably very patient with me about this. 😉 To them it probably just looks like a rather unkempt place with the occasional pretty bloom. But to me, every plant and square foot holds some memory, some love and care. In fact, I often talk to the garden, to the earth deep below, the sky, the wind, the plants, the bees and crows and fish–all of it is dear to me.
As I shared in my last post, the daffodils are in bloom, as are the rosemaries, acacias, quinces and nectarines. The nectarines are so pretty, I would grow them for the blooms alone!
There is often a sunny patch of weather here around February — a false spring if you will — and I always have to restrain myself from seeding the whole summer vegetable garden. Though the soil is getting warmer and buds are breaking, there is usually some cooler weather to follow, with occasional frosts on the full moons of March, April, and even May. (We’re in a low spot in the area, so higher elevations near us may not have this issue).
Spring Tidying Tasks
So until it is time for planting the 2021 summer vegetable garden, spring tidying is the garden focus:
- Finishing any dormant pruning, removing dead overgrowth and tidying perennials
- Trying to stay on top of the rapidly sprouting weeds
- Doing any remainder bare root planting
- And tidying our own plant nursery
The Plant Nursery
Our plant nursery is just a homely little spot filled with propagated shrubs and trees. Some of them propagated themselves, like Japanese maple and buddleia seedlings. Others, like the rosemaries, air-layered themselves — sprouting additional roots where branches contacted earth — and then we removed them from the mother plant and potted them up. Some were purposely propagated, like heirloom roses. And whenever something outgrows its location or for whatever reason needs to be moved, it gets potted up and placed in the plant nursery until ready for transplanting.
Over the course of the last year, the nursery space filled up and so it is getting a clearing out now and all plants are getting transplanted to somewhere on the property. I always feel that the rainy winter and early spring here in Sonoma County is the best time to plant out shrubs and trees, so they can get settled while the soil is still moist. Our dry hot summers and sandy soil are a harsh environment for a plant to get adjusted to, so I find winter and early spring the best.
So this last week, the Japanese maples got planted out in a new spot that, I hope, will one day be a cool shady walk during hot summer days, and that they will nourish the low-humus soil with their leaves every fall.
I don’t know where I will put the new heirloom roses. Our existing ones are in wine barrel planters that are rotting, and I’m afraid of loosing some to gophers. So these new ones are back-ups. 🙂
There were also some pittosporums, escallonias and buddleias that were placed along empty spots along borders. Those are some of our best evergreen hedge plants here. And the rosemaries are great amongst the vegetable garden beds, where they add some winter interest and design “bones” to the otherwise mostly dormant winter garden. They could, however, use some pruning–another tidying task for this month’s list!
What garden tasks are you busy with now? Sending appreciation to my friends, family, fellow bloggers, followers, and Twitter garden pals! Happy gardening!