Yes, everyone is feeling more than a bit edgy these days. I’ve found that only hard outdoor work gives me reasonable sleep at night and a sense of near normal. Plus it feeds my sense of accomplishment when I can actually see a big difference. Whenever the weather cooperates, I’ve been edging the gardens. There’s nothing like a good edging that makes a garden look good, and it’s been too cold to plant anything more in the potager. Edging began with the Front Island, which in addition to a tidy edging was enlarged in places. I must confess that over the “dreaming times” of winter, I’d planned to add another garden in the front yard, a second kidney bean shaped island under the black walnuts. New plants were even ordered, that can tolerate the toxicity of the walnuts and the denser shade than the original Front Island has. Then reality set in as the new gardening season began, and I discovered my body is yet another year older. Also, with the “new reality” of a virus-influenced life I’ve decided there are things in life more important than work. So, the existing Front Island has been just slightly enlarged to incorporate the new hellebores, primroses and taller shastas that were to be part of a new island bed. The plan to purchase easy-to-find material like ferns and lungworts locally has been abandoned. The new size should accomodate what will arrive. As I edged, I also weeded and divided and moved a few crowded daylilies and “finished” daffodils. I may also move some gold heucheras that don’t seem especially happy after two years in the Front Island. That’s a lovely thing about gardening, life-long learning.
The Front Garden has some hits and misses. The shorter peony-flowered “Foxy Foxtrot” tulips in the foreground start out yellow and age to a lovely apricot. I love them because they are long-lasting. However, there should be a LOT of “King Orange” tulips but many of them failed to bloom, despite growing huge leaves. It’s not the site because it’s also happening in the other borders where they were planted. I won’t be ordering them again. And, there are few columbines appearing this year, but the iris clumps have expanded, so there should be some pretty flowers filling in soon. This garden also seems to have lots of the earliest daffodils, and now some of the later “Delnashaugh” but not many “middle” ones, so I’ll be doing some more moving around.
Things are progressing nicely in the Deck Garden. It has a lot of “May Queen” shastas that will be blooming soon, but I tore out most of the black-eyed Susans that were choking everything else out. Next to come out, a bunch of volunteer pink tall phlox. I’d planned to pot them for the garden club plant sale, but now they are doomed to the compost pile. For the first time, there were two “Tiger Eye” sumac plants to dig out. I moved them to a spot at the end of the Addition Garden where the the downspout will provide a bit of moisture. I’d been warned that they rooted underground like common sumac, but mine’s been there for about ten years and this is the first time starts have appeared. The tulips here are from ColorBlends, a mixture called “Tang Dynasty,” with which I’m definitely pleased. Next year I’ll put more of them throughout the bed.
The North Island is home to four of my favorite shrubs, which sadly may soon be only three. The white lilac is looking good, with fat clumps of buds that are swelling daily. The viburnum blooms off and on all summer and is leafing out nicely. The gold barberry is looking happy, but the beautiful arborvitae “Philips Magic Moment” appears to be struggling, looking more brown than gold, with many, many dead branches. Both the “Pippit” and “British Gamble” daffodils now under the viburnum must be moved as they are too close. I’ll do it as soon as they finish blooming. Last year the island was filled with too tall “Cresto” zinnias. Their replacement is still to be decided.
Edging the potager’s exterior border took a full two days, but it was worth it. A very happy outbreak of cleavers had woven stalks through plants in the right half of the bed along the fence. Cleavers are very difficult to eradicate because they break off at the slightest tug, making it hard (nearly impossible) to pull out the roots. I’ll have to keep a keen eye out to prevent any reappearance, but at least they are out before producing any seed…for now. The area behind the shed has primroses, but not as many as last year. Some critter dug out several during the winter. Replacements are on the way.
The South Island is also finished, but there’s nothing in bloom there now. It’s a mystery where the daffodils that bloomed there for the first time last year went, but the tags are there, but no plants! Maybe the mulch was too thick? And much of the white lilac there has died. This garden is closest to the neighbor’s field, which gets sprayed. Possibly the lilac was a casualty.
So, with the Cutting Garden edged early in the month, only the Fairy Slope, the tiny Blue Garden, and the Addition Garden are left to do. I may or may not do the top edge of the Lavender Slope. It was done well last year, and doesn’t look bad…yet at least. Even though no one is visiting the gardens, it pleases me to have them so tidy. I’m happy to get this big job done before the busy work in the potager begins. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. Stay home, stay well.