Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Indoors and Surveying the Winter's Damage

Growing from seed has been so uplifting this winter, I have been thinking about growing some more unusual flowering tropicals from seed over the summer.

Did you see that lambs quarter growing with the salvia!  I didn't either, until I looked at this picture!

Most of the snow fall of yesterday has gone.  We had some rain overnight and fortunately it is warm enough it didn't turn into a sleet storm.  Also, although the ground is frozen still in many spots, several micro-climates around the yard are sufficiently warm any bulbs planted within the cold dark reaches of the soil are thinking about it.  I planted a bunch of tulips and grape hyacinths in pots so I could use them in the spring in pots and planters (like the ones fastened to my deck windows) last fall.  I'd like to bring them out to where they could start pulling in the sun's rays, but they are still frozen to the ground.

My plants under the lights are getting ahead of me.  Generally, I can set some of the trays out (of spring onions, spinach, or some cold hardier annuals) to harden off, because the soil is warm, closer to 50 degrees, and cover with a make-shift green house made of plexi or plastic and brick.  Not this year.  That is messing with my timing of pricking out and potting on of seedlings, which requires more space per plant. I'd also like to start some more seeds and take some more cuttings, but I'm running out of room.

I also like to approach my spring clean up in easy stages.  I'd be too stiff and my hands too soft after the long winter to cut back and rake out all of my garden beds in a single day. I start around the house, concentrating on the deck area, and the street view.  It seems I get around to the side where all my roses are about the time they begin to think of blooming, although I do trim the roses themselves back as soon as possible in the spring so they don't waste their spring growth on the bits I will prune off later.

This year I actually trellised my 'Red Blaze' rather than let it flow across the ground behind the Knock Outs.  It should be a nicer show in June and July than this.

And you can see I have a bit of house painting to do where snow sits against my house in the winter!

One of my other climbers, William Baffin, was moved to trellising against the fence.  I have never been a big trelliser until I saw the difference it made with a climber tied up across the way in the yard of my neighbor.  After seeing his 'John Cabot' trellised I tied up my on my front porch also. (In this zone there are a limited number of climbers.  The Canadian Explorer Series being the majority.  it's no surprise, my neighbor and I would have the same roses in our yards.  They are almost the only roses which will do well here.) Many more blooms and a much bigger impact, I recommend it for any sprawlers or climbers you may have,

So trellising it is.

I fear for winter damage, too.  I already know my spruce at the back corner of my lot have taken a hit.  It appears rabbits have eaten of just the tiny leaf buds on my Golden Shadows dogwood.  I have never seen such peculiar damage from rabbits.  I have a pagoda, cornus alternifolia, out front and have not suffered this sort of rabbit damage there. That hosta bed pagoda is beautiful in form and shape.

I don't want to look at the blueberries.  I'm just not that brave yet. Winter has been long and cold.  I also have to inspect my fruit trees for tent worm egg capsules, a reminder for all of you to do so.  Here are some good pictures of what to look for.

Drupe of cornus alternifolia, pagoda dogwood. (Picture taken last fall.)

Finally, this spring, I should be moving this 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple.  I have no idea where, though. (Picture last fall.)

This boulevard cypress has received little winter damage this year.  It seems little changed from this picture.  Often the amount of trimming and shearing needed renders it more poodle-like and less plant-like.  The soft, blue, needles have been so tactile and gorgeous, that even having to stomach its poodle-days each summer has made it  a worth-while and comment-worthy addition to my yard (however poorly sited (under my bathroom window, and thus on top of the sewer line.  I guess I feel keeping its top topiaried (in a manner of speaking) may discourage excessive root growth as well.  At least I hope so!

A lot of my smaller conifers look smucked flat by the weight of the snow. I'm not sure what to do about that.  I don't want to create shelter around them for mice and voles.  Mice and voles like nothing better than to crawl in amongst protection of a small conifer or a rose and girdle that beauty over winter for you, killing it.

Blue Flax

One of my indoor gardening projects has been to grow this beauty from seed.  In 2011, I mistakenly weeded this out in late fall cleaning up my scree garden.  Eek! I am really happy to report that I may have a nice drift of these beauties, which only bloom until about 1 PM or so, but for a good two months!  I can handle that, but because of this non-blooming aspect, you seldom see them for sale in a retail setting.

I have my work cut out for me this spring.  Someday soon, I will be able to feel dirt on my fingers and the sun on my back, rather than dirt on the grow room floor.

1 comment:

  1. I think the long winter made the rabbits hungry, and food was in short supply. I got an unusual amount of rabbit damage also.