Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Eighty Degrees In The Shade
The past several days have been summer like. Every house has someone outside happily cleaning up winter's debris. Perennial plants are appearing everywhere and showing major growth changes each day. Pleasant as it is to be once again working outside in shirt sleeves, we cannot forget the new growth turned to yellowish mush last year when seasonably cold weather followed early hot days.
Arbutus flowers appear to be only days away. These plants have been under frequent watch since the buds first formed last fall. The exposed white tips of the soon to be opened flowers are new. Despite their location under a white pine tree, afternoon sun strikes these plants daily. As a result these buds are developing ahead of our other more shaded plantings. Huge quantities of work cry out for our immediate attention but the arbutus will be checked daily. We want to see every stage of the development of arbutus flowers.
Our first snake of the season lives in a hole in the wall that separates lane traffic from the arbutus. Becky spotted it without the ear piercing scream that usually greets the first snake.
Our garlic bed is a regular stop on our tour of the back meadow. 270 cloves were fall planted in this bed. Leaves made small by an encounter with the lawn mower were placed over the planted garlic. Soil temperature moderation, weed suppression and water retention were the goals of the leaf cover. Still some of the emerging garlic leaf blades were trapped by the bigger pieces of mulch. A helping hand set them free. Very little work will be required here as this crop moves toward harvest. Mulch will suppress weed growth giving the garlic a tremendous head start.
Here we see a piece of a Royal Jelly Siberian Iris removed from its former home. The Smith & Hawkins spade purchased in Manhattan and transported to a Brooklyn apartment before being delivered here by daughter Amy is only used to divide plants. We wish to avoid a broken tine that might result from contact with stones in the wilder sections of the garden.
The harvested iris was taken from the gap between the wall and the large clump. It will not be missed as the older plant still holds a large spot in the planting. Despite their being a common garden plant, the crocus are making a rare appearance here. Browsing deer usually bite off the early green leaves before the cages are placed. This year we won that race.