Friday, March 21, 2014

Some Die-back in the Garden

Left, Japanese cypress in warmer days, may have been a victim to this extreme winter's depths.
Yesterday was the first day of spring.  Lots of snow covering the garden, snow banks are piled high, but the roads ae generally clear.  Plants are beginning to poke their last years' growth above the snowline. I fear damage and death to those zone-challenging plants will be coming.  My motto, "It's not dead until it is warm and dead."  Warm it has not been.

Walking as I do with a cane and a lot of effort as I do these days, is not conducive to getting out in the garden.  Sitting on my deck yesterday in the bright warm sunshine (it was all of 40 degrees (F) here, heatwave!),I could see a lot of plants needing trimming and pruning.  Already I am fretting over pruning my Katsura trees into their neat lollipop shapes and how far I might be able to trim back the dwarf leaf Artic blue willow (and whether it is a height that won't leave it denuded of the ability to generate new growth and allow me to trim it without using a step ladder (something Handsome Son is already cautioning me not to do).

From the deck I can see brown Japanese cypress.  Brown is not the right color.  It is typically a tantalizing lime yellow and fresh green.  There has been tip die-back in the past,   This spring, from my deck, I can see three feet of "tip die-back" and I am worried.

But the joyful factor was not lost on me.  I was outdoors, sitting on my own deck, with the sunlight hitting my skin looking at my garden.  And as bad as things have been for me these last six months, that was not lost on me.

My yew that surrounds the base of my 'Crimson Frost' birch has a big brown splotchy appearance and the larger box in my garden has definitely had some wind burn or sun scald.  Yesterday, the widow-maker limb of my ancient white pine which broke off in April of 2013 (and lodged some 60 feet up) was removed from my roof by Handsome Son after antics involving a water-filled milk jug, rope and a gym shoe.  It has soft landed there a few days before during a windy evening, with no damage.

There will be a lot of debris for spring clean up, as my putting the garden to bed last fall did not take place.  First, however there was the attempted task of building a handrail on the steps to aid my progress up and down the step in less than safe and dry conditions.I feared at one point I might need to widen the steps or install a ramp for access.  At this point neither of those is a necessary plan, thank goodness, but for safety, all concerned feel a handrail a must.

Each day I am pushing myself.  Each day, my muscles are screaming back at me.  I want to just get up and move, but like this winter, both are something this gardener is still working through.  Like my beautiful Japanese cypress that has suffered tip die-back in the past, I will not count it or me out, not until we are both warm and dead.

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