Sunday, March 6, 2011

Capricious Spring Weather

Warm and windy days dried the ground quickly after Monday's torrents of rain.
On Thursday afternoon J. decided the garden was dry enough for a first "turning" of the soil.

Branches from recent prunings, dried stalks from perennials
and other spring clean-up refuse made a crackling bonfire.

J. takes time-out with friends in the spring sunshine.

This little area is at the right side of the carport as one heads into the back yard.
The soil is very shallow there and the roots of the invasive but beautiful "water maple" run close to the surface of the ground.  I cleared weeds last spring and sowed a variety of annual flower seeds.
The only things to flourish here other than a resurgence of weeds, were the catnip and some basil. The catnip is flourishing around the barrel planter. The narcissis bulbs which were disappointing as winter house bloomers have been plopped here with a grim "last chance" warning.
On Thursday the soil was just right for some serious digging. I took up sod and weeds, clipped the most unruly of the slender tree roots--far enough from the maple that it surely will not be compromised.
My plan is to remove the top layer of soil, put down a weed barrier fabric.
Behind the garage Mr. Rogers created a raised bed for his wife, using what appears to be large flat rocks that were part of the old house foundation. These rocks of various sizes and shapes are about 1 1/2-2 1/2 inches thick and lightweight enough that I can move them one at a time. [Groan!]
I will settle carefully chosen rocks in the replaced soil and tuck in herb plants.
Various gardening  aches and pains kept me awake most of Thursday night and before J. was out of bed I was headed to Wal Mart up at the junction.
They did not have landscaping fabric--a frustration, since I was rearing to go with my project.
[If ones back is already protesting might as well finish the task and then collapse!]
Completion of my scheme will now have to wait on finding the weed barrier fabric which will be the only cost outlay involved.  I have two varieties of thyme which spread thriftily over the past season.  They can be divided and put in place. I also have marjoram, hoarhound, lemon balm and some low-growing clove pinks for color.
I may splurge on a lavender since this soil is gritty and should please lavender's need for good drainage.
The soil in this little space is very different to the soil of the nearby gardens.  I suspect that the coarser texture is a result of the demolition of the older house and perhaps some fine gravel spread in the area before the foundation for the 1980 construction began.

By Friday afternoon the temperature was on the decline and the wind was a very real force.
It rained in the night and there were grey and sulky skies all day on Saturday.
We woke to a cold blustery Sunday--the sort of day my Dad would have called
"wild and wooly."  Even the noisy "peepers" have ceased their mating songs and taken refuge where -ever such creatures lurk when it is cold.
I pulled on my wellies and tugged a fleecy hat low on my brow before going down the road to find the daffodils which J. noticed on our way home from church.
These are naturalized in pastures, roadside ditches and in abandoned yards.
The ones above were bowed by the searing wind but still a brilliant patch of color.

This is the abandoned house just down the road.  There is a gate and a wire fence which I wasn't inclined to clamber over. The pasture is tenanted by a few dozen beef cattle. Last spring we noticed them resting among the daffodils.

Here the dooryard of the empty house slopes down into pasture. Daffodils have spread around the tree and across the shallow ditch into wilder ground.

I came home facing the bitter wind with a few daffs clutched in a cold paw.
The catkins are from the still unidentified tree in our front yard, with a few snips of dogwood--not an artistic arrangement, but so good to have something fresh. The cats, especially Teasel and Charlie, were anxious to help as I clipped stems and poked them into the pitcher.
{The beautiful pitcher was a gift years ago from my dear friend, CWT--who posts here as zephyr}
She has just started a blog  which I think many of you will enjoy as it develops.  C. is a gifted poet, artist, and gardener, now retired in Maine.  I look forward to the treasures she will be sharing.


  1. What a lovely read ...perfect before I turn in ...alittle late.
    I rather prefer jugs to vases , for flowers especially spring daffs.

  2. Morning MM,

    A cold a frsoty start here this morning, what a change from a couple of days past. I think 'capricious' is the perfect word for it!

    Sounds like you're all busy as usual and have lots to do. Seems like you enjoyed it too.


  3. I enjoyed going with you on your jaunt, in the blustery cold. (I could handle it for a day.) The daffs are worth the cold.

    I always love seeing your homestead, any time of the year.

    Hope your weather continues to warm on up so that you can play outside all the more, enjoying the beauty that surrounds you there.


  4. Snap - we have a bonfire burning slowly as I write tthis. I have just been feeding it with dead grass and leaves, twigs and the awful brambles.

    It's great that J has been able to get on your land so early - there's an old English saying: "A peck of March dust is worth a King's ransom" - just for that very reason.

    Now, I need to get back to MY plot of land and carry on with the weeding.

  5. Spring is still hiding out here in Maine. A bit of snow, 3 to 5 inches instead of the 5 to 9 that was predicted! for that I am grateful! Then rain so we have crusty ice over our snow filled walkway! Tight, tight daffodils that I purchased have opened beautifully. Need more!

  6. Spring is on its way, the urge to plant is as strong as ever. Its a cold sunny day here, we might even get two days of sun. I want to buy some herbs too, lemon mint grew like a weed in my old garden but none here.

  7. Oh my. Peepers. Really. We are fully two months away from such wonder. I thought of you this morning as I read my March issue of Martha Stewart Living. There's a nice piece on an amazing Kentucky garden.

    Have you written about this maple before? I'm not familiar with it.

    Our land right next to our house used to have sheds and barns a long time ago, and we still occasionally dig up some coal in the garden. There must have been a coal shed once.