Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring cleaning

Ahhhhhhh. Sweet, sweet project time, how I ♥ you.

Tonight I accomplished the following:

* gave the backyard lawn a thorough raking over, as it was caked with half-decayed fallen lilac leaves. Will have to deploy some dutch white clover and some shade-mix grass seed; it's pretty patchy and mossy back there. Not that I mind the moss, it's nice and green and soft, but the last thing I need is hostile weed takeovers, and the clover should help to reduce the amount of bare ground available for them.

Speaking of which, the creeping jenny is already on the move, depressingly; I did the "rake first in one direction, then the other" trick advised by Ed Lawrence for creeping charlie, but it didn't do much good. I think I will have to wield a spade and then go sifting through the soil by hand for every scrap of root in that patch in order to stave it off. And even then I haven't got a hope of digging it all out of the garden bed. Goddamn thuggish plant. I wouldn't mind it so much if it actually discouraged other weeds, but nooooo.

* finally transplanted the prairie joy rose, hopefully not demolishing its root system too badly in the process. Ugh. Fingers crossed. The outcome of this will go a long way towards determining my opinion of the finickiness of roses. At least I managed not to accidentally dig up any bulbs while I was at it.

* swept the patio mostly clear of pine needles, revealing a lovely ever-more-established patchwork of thyme and moss and nicely settled stones. It is totally increasing in gorgeousness and I am dead proud of it.

* swept up the astonishing drifts of fallen leaves and cedar bits covering the passthrough between carport and yard. I really have to do something about this area, it's a horrific mess. It would be tempting to dig up some of the pavers and turn it into garden space, especially given all the nice inviting passageway ideas I've seen in garden magazines, but it's so shady in there that the attempt would be an exercise in frustration. Maybe if I get bored in 10 years. Besides, we need somewhere to put the BBQ.

I figure that if I can dedicate the half-hour that is Corey's part of the Zoodle's bedtime routine to yard-work, I will be able to keep at least sort of on top of things. Naturally that is the same time slot I would need to work up to biking to work. Too many damn projects, not enough time. But REGARDLESS, here is my list of Stuff To Tackle In Nearish Future:

* determine outlines of new bed and cover with compost and topsoil
* plant "early spring" seeds, e.g. poppies
* dethatch and top-dress lawn, deploy clover and grass seed
* clean up leaves and other crap out of existing beds

* finish cleaning up throughway
* organize shed so it's not a hazard to set foot in it - just about gave myself a black eye this evening
* top-dress lawn, deploy clover and grass seed
* start shade bed with compost, topsoil, and mulch while I figure out wtf I'm going to do with it
* get the drop on all the goddamn celandine that's popping up everywhere

Sunday, March 14, 2010

(Very) Early Spring

It is probably a sign of sad, sad addiction and withdrawal that I am stomping around out there with a camera in mid-March. NONETHELESS: time for a picture post!



Well, I didn't kill the magnolia, so w00t! Need to scheme some more about what I'm going to do with that new bed. Separate post on this subject to follow.


Crocuses are making an appearance, which cheers me greatly. I had fun pointing them out to the Zoodle, too. I am so glad I planted these things. Can't wait till they bloom.


Also returning: irises. I think the neighbourhood bunnies may have sampled this one, but it doesn't look too much the worse for wear.



SQUEE. I can already tell that last summer's efforts made a fabulous difference back here. Melt, snow, melt!!!


The patio thyme seems to have stayed evergreen under the snow. By the end of this summer, it will no doubt have annexed the whole area. Awesome.


Wow, the hens and chicks are sure looking happy. I don't think it can really be possible for them to have grown under the snow, can it?


I seem to have cultivated a whole host of moss, both in the garden patches and on the patio stones (the ones visible so far anyway). Unfortunately, as pretty as it is, I don't think it actually deters weeds.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spoils of Seedy Saturday

* Cleome in pink, purple and white. Last year I got these as bedding plants, so it'll be interesting to see how seedlings compare.

* Phacelia Tanacetifolia. A very interesting-looking annual; package claims it's good for bees. From what I'm reading the foliage looks like something between ferns and yarrow.

* Poppies. Going crazy with these this year, apparently, because I picked up two more varieties - both self-seeding annuals:

English Elegance

Flanders Fields

* Malva Zebrina. Was it these or Lavatera that get super self-seedy-aggressive? Hmmm.

* Gigantor marigolds (aka CrackerJack Mixed). Last year these didn't germinate so well, but I think the seeds may have been old.

* Nice red hollyhocks. Where to put them?? Maybe in the front yard, at the back of the new bed? It will be nice and sunny there. Not that they'll bloom until next year anyway.

* Mixed Lupins. I hear mixed reports about these - that they're mad persnickety and unreliable from seed, and that they naturalize wildly. I gather they need very particular conditions, but that they go nuts when those conditions are met. Will have to check again.