Sunday, March 2, 2008

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Winter is my least favorite season. To get through it, I planted a winter garden. It truly makes a difference to be able to journey into the garden on cold days with limited daylight hours and admire the texture, foliage, scents, color, and flowers.

As I did my monthly photographic journey through the gardens, it dawned on me there was more interest in February than in March. The Forsythia was still in bloom as were the Daffodils, Vinca, Camellias, Hellebores, Rosemary, Veronica, and Crocus. Now the Candy Tuff (Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’) was also blooming. However, the Flowering apricot (Prunus Mume) and Daphne were waning. Noting this made me realize I was mourning the loss of the season. Or perhaps, I noticed that my spring garden did not look as promising as my winter garden had been. And yet, the only real difference was the lost of the fragrant flowers.

Finding the Candy Tuff was a nice surprise. I planted some last spring and forgot about it. Candy Tuff is an ok plant in the summer, but I grow it mainly for the pretty white front-of-the- border ground cover flowers in early spring. But now I will remember it. By forgetting about it last year also meant there was not coddled in any way. Obviously very drought tolerant…thriving on neglect.

Aster could not break the ice this week, for it was just too thick. Lara Rose edges him away announcing she was strong enough to do it. Neither could crack it – it was just too thick. For two days we had to get water from our rain barrel to top off the birdbaths.

Adding an additional 6 cu. yds. of composted leaf mulch and 20 bales of pine straw on Friday earned me the right to take Saturday off. A friend visited, as she was interested in adding some plants to increase her garden’s winter interest. The sour smell from the latest batch of mulch did nothing to discourage our journey and visit. It was a delightful afternoon.

The gardens are receiving sufficient rain – not enough to replenish the city’s water supply, but certainly enough for our gardens. Still, I considered another water storage vessel in anticipation of a hot, dry summer. The rain barrels are full and it is great to have this water there, but I wanted to store some water in my transitional zone to have it closer to where it might be needed. As such, Aster and I came up with a plan. We would use one of our galvanized trashcans, camouflage it, and store in discretely in the area we expected to need it. Then we would store our indoor pre-warmed water there, lessening the distance to bring water to where it was needed. Camouflaging the can with oil-based spray paint with a 6 year old was a real treat – NOT! Somehow we managed to get it done with most of the paint on the can and not the kid. Now our nutmeg, sage, and a touch of black cammy can is just the ticket for water waiting for a dry spell.

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