Friday, March 27, 2009

A nice, big, wet one!

3/26/09 9:00am

Snow, that is. As predicted, March is going out like a lion. And that’s a good thing! We’ve had an incredibly dry winter, and the 12 inch snowfall we had yesterday will go far towards improving soil moisture content.

For those of you who don’t often get to watch it snow I’ve created a little time sequence photo gallery for you. Watch the snow pile up on my chiminea!




3/27/2009 9:00am

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


It’s not just what you see but also what you hear that reminds you that change is on the way. The recent sounds of spring in my neighborhood:

-The buzzing of hundreds of bees in the flowering trees.
-The cooing of a pair of mourning doves. They’ve just arrived and will stay now through the summer.
-The tune Little Redbird* being broadcast endlessly by an ice cream truck.
-The obnoxious whine of a lawnmower.

Take out your ear buds and listen to spring!

*Warning. If you don’t already know this song then do NOT search it. It’s the worst of the worst brain worms and will drive you insane!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Royal Star Magnolia

I’m so impressed. Pam had the correct guess as to the identity of this plant from just a small view of the bud---good job! Today the flowers have opened; isn’t she a beauty! We’ll see how long they last once the snow arrives tomorrow…

Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’ is a shrub type magnolia that should achieve a mature size of 10’ high by 12’ wide. The white, 3" diameter flowers appear in early spring and are very showy. This shrub was planted just last fall in a very hot and sunny location in front of a neighbor’s house. The site is not what I would have recommended, so I’m curious to see how it does. Typically magnolias need a protected site, deep, rich soil and plenty of moisture. But, hey! It survived the winter and is off to a good start. Go Royal Star!

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Day of Spring

Leaves are leaping and blossoms are bursting. Well, a few anyway. Most of the native plants are too smart to be fooled by a mere date on the calendar and will take their own good time to wake up. Many of the Prunus species (plums, apricots, cherries,etc) are in full bloom, as are the Pyrus (pears) and Forsythia.

Can you guess what exotic plant this bud is on? The answer will be revealed when the flower is in full bloom…

Happy spring!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Whack it!

It’s spring clean-up time in the garden. I use these hedge shears not for shearing (heaven forbid!) but for whacking back all of my ornamental grasses and perennials. When the plants’ foliage is nice and dry it’s really easy and fast to go through the beds snipping everything down to the base. And believe me; I have a lot of plants to snip!

Next weekend all of the debris will get raked up and hauled off to our favorite recycler-composter guy.

There are a few woody plants that I will also cut back to the ground, but not for a month or so. These include: Russian sage (Perovskia), Powis Castle sage (Artemesia), butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), leadplant, (Amorpha canescens), and St. Johnswort (Hypericum). I recently read that hummingbird mints (Agastache sp) should also be cut back a bit later in the spring, so I’ll wait a bit on those, too.

Happy Sunday!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Water it!

March is up to her usual tricks this year. She’s come in like a lamb and will probably go out like a lion! With temperatures predicted to be in the 60s and 70s this week---and no wind, yea!---it’s the perfect opportunity to give your trees, shrubs and garden a good soak. One to 1.5 inches of water would be ideal.

If you have new plantings, things that have been put in in the last year or two, remember to water them right at the base of the plant. It takes a long time for plants to establish roots beyond the initial rootball, and water doesn’t move from the “native” garden soil into commercial potting medium very well.

Otherwise, enjoy the sunny warmth of this false spring and hope for some nice, soggy snow!