Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Our To Do List Grows

As the sun climbs higher and its light grows stronger, the gardener stirs and finds activity among the plants.  These hens and chicks have had a good winter and look ready for the next growing season.  Sited adjacent to the ramp leading out of the basement they receive almost daily attention because we walk there many times each day.  Any weed that tries to grow here is quickly removed.  The growth habit of the hens and chicks tends to claim an area as its own.  Either way weeds have no chance here.

We found catnip growing wild here when we first came to this place.  Every year since then we have tried to transplant catnip wanting it to grow in open places.  Every year our transplants die while self seeded plants flourish.  This catnip is growing among the Siberian squill.  We will find out if squill plants can be reset after we remove the catnip.  The root mass of the catnip is huge and dozens of squill will be displaced when it is levered out.  Or we may just keep the catnip cut to the ground as this area belongs to the squill.

We expected that our snowless winter would be hard on the cardinal flower.  Repeated unprotected freeze thaw cycles have pushed the crown of this mature plant out of the ground and many of its green leaves have already turned to grey mush.  Still the plant is alive and it will soon get some help.  One tray of new cardinal flower transplants will be placed on the stone wall near the basement ramp.  If a freeze threatens the tray will be moved into the basement.  In the past this method has been foolproof.  We really love the intense red color of cardinal flower blossoms and find them well worth the effort needed to help them survive here.

These thyme plants on the patio outside of the west door have received frequent attention.  When Becky finds the morning sun oppressively hot, she moves to the shade of the house to tend her plants.  Seated on the edge of the patio, she moves with the shade and beats back the weeds.  In most areas of the garden the weeds appear ahead of the cultivated plants but here the favored plant grows alone.  Outside work is close at hand and we are itching to get out there and start again.

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