Jerseygator's Blog


First warm day gardening

Posted in Garden by jerseygator on March 18, 2010

The weather has turned from snow a couple of weeks ago to a relatively warm but overcast day yesterday.  This was the first warm day that corresponded with a day off from work, so I got outside to the garden for the first time since last fall.

Wow.  With all the heavy snow this year, and subsequent snow melt, the back yard looked post-Katrina.  Items that had been left out  had been picked up and moved about.  Being from the south and having lived through two mild winters, we were really novices in preparing for winter.  We had left out lawn furniture (no place to store it) and forgotten to unplug our hose prior to the freezing weather, so there will be a lot of cleaning of wicker and we’ll need to call a plumber.  One snow storm came complete with strong winds and a 60 foot tall tree was uprooted and fell into a couple of other trees.   It’s hanging right over our vegetable garden and back fence, so is going to have to come down soon via the chainsaw.  There is a lot of cosmetic work to be done to the yard “hardware” that will have to be completed.

The Weeping Cherry will soon be filled with white blossoms

The yard and garden themselves are not as bad.  I decided to focus mostly on the front yard for curb appeal and attacked the front bed with pruning shears.  The butterfly bush was cut back to about 18 inches (I did this last year and it grew back big and beautiful).  I had to look up how to prune lavender; you have to prune about halfway into the new growth (gasp!), so I did.  I’ve decided to try and propagate the cuttings, as I wouldn’t mind filling the entire bed with lavender; it’s my favorite flower.

The clean front bed

The daisies are starting to green up, so got cut back to new growth, and the weeping cherry got a major haircut, as it was so shaggy I couldn’t mow around it.

On to the back yard.  Two rosebushes were addressed.  I had a terrible time with black spot fungus last year due to all the rain, so I cut them back as much as I could and removed all the old mulch from the entire bed.  I re-mulched with compost, which I started turning and sifting today, and will  hope for the best.  Old hydranga heads were removed, as well as dead stems (but not much pruning otherwise!).  I’m also going to take the crushed eggshells out of the freezer and bury them around the hydranga; I’m hoping for pink blooms this year.  Last year the blooms were all a muddy purple, hinting that the soil pH is pretty neutral.  I figured it was easier to alkalinize for pink than acidify for blue. (Although Steve is bringing us some coffee grounds from the bakery, so maybe I’ll go blue after all.  I sound like the fairy godmothers from Sleeping Beauty: pink, no blue!)

Overall, a great day.  It’s a good feeling to look out the window and see a neat, trimmed front yard.  I’m still not looking out the back window very much, but maybe next week.

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