Sunday, March 29, 2015

Take What The Day Offers

An overnight freeze created a hard surface on the snow cover.  We went outside early so that a walk about on hard snow was possible.  If we avoided holes in the snow created by animals or dark leaves, no joint jarring drops into the snow pack were part of the experience.  By afternoon ever strengthening sunlight and a cloudless sky softened the surface of exposed ground.  This area near the house lies in full sun and gets more heat reflected from the white house siding.  This was a chance to start garden cleanup.  Working gently to avoid damaging frozen plant parts, dried leaves were pulled clear.  It is impossible to overstate the impact on my mind and spirit  that resulted from this simple task.

These hens and chicks are self planted in the gaps in the stone wall leading up from the basement.  Still partially trapped in the ice of melting snow, these colorful plants appear alive and well.  If any plant can display strength of spirit, these certainly do.

Bluets grow like a weed in the proper conditions.  We have tried several times to introduce them here but they do not flourish.  This clump is growing at the edge of the stone wall forming the shade garden.  One rogue deer has the nasty habit of feeding in the shade garden.  It took out the center of the bluets but left young growth at the outer edge.  Our wire cages remain held fast by the snow so there is nothing that we can do other than yell at the deer.  Like talking to a group of eighth graders at lunch time, our voices here have little impact.  A physical approach is usually necessary to move the deer away.

This spot has enjoyed several seasons of growth with no interference from us.  The daylilies should have been removed from above the daffodils planted here.  We have allowed these plants to go their own way but when the ground truly softens the daylilies will be removed.

This catnip was found growing wild here when we first explored this land.  It resists our attempts to tame it and simply grows in locations of its choosing.  The extra potency of this freshly dried catnip has made Becky's knitted and stuffed cat toys wildly popular.  She has often received reports that Fluffy opened the package containing the mailed toy without human help.

This perennial flax was deeply buried in snow removed from the driveway.  Sand was thrown with the snow and the dark color hastened the snow melt.  New green growth under the snow must impress any who see it.  I do see a weed well into the crown of the flax and that is annoying since it will always be impossible to remove completely.  So far it looks like this flax will be magnificent this year in spite of it.

Fierce winds removed much of the snow cover from the shade garden as it fell.  This area cleared early and open ground pulled the deer in to feed.  A wire cage was found that could be moved here to protect these Dutch iris.  Deer do not usually eat these plants before they bud so protection is in order.  This day helps us believe that spring flowers will soon be ours.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Oh Deer! When Will It Be My Thyme In The Garden?

The thick layer of snow in the garden is finally beginning to recede.  It's moving a little like a glacier, but faster thank goodness.  We never got a cage on my tree peony last fall.  When the snow uncovered it, the deer gave it a hard trim. It  happened before in 2008.  I have never been sure if or how to cut it back.  This year that decision has been made for me.  Either way what's done is done!

These two deer  have spent their time close to the house and garden since last summer when they were beautiful spotted fawns.  Apparently their Mom is smarter than average and knows a safe spot when she finds one. We see the three of them often.  I spotted these two nibbling on the magnolia bush.  I said, " Please leave the magnolia alone, we won't have any flowers.  Come over and trim the thyme instead."  Yes, I talk to the deer, but imagine my surprise when they did exactly what I suggested.

There she is looking at me with that doe-eyed look and my red creeping thyme dangling from her mouth.  Mother Nature has been hard on us and them this year. The deer are so hungry that they are eating plants that they usually ignore!  I guess I can wait for my thyme in the garden.  We have a temporary truce as long as they leave the magnolia alone and stay out of my shade garden.  I will be watching, ready to speak sharply to them when necessary. I save Ed for back-up!