What a wonderful feeling to be in the garden from morning to night! It is true, I can easily ‘pot around’ the garden all day… but not necessarily “work” all day. There is a lot of reflection, the observing of nature at work and the changing of the landscape day by day. There are breaks for snacks, planning and just finding a cozy spot to take in some sun. Oh, I don’t mind saying it, I love to stay home and just enjoy my wild space out back. Old friends come around again, Yesterday, the House Wren arrived from his winter home. Straight to my back porch to the trellis were their bird house hung last year and they raised their brood.
House wren and her brood
Could it really be the same bird? He knew exactly were to perch. There it sat singing loudly for his mate to come and join him! And then there is this squirrel that lost half of its tail last year, -to Misha, my neighbors semi feral cat- I saw it this morning digging around the garden for its forgotten acorns. The hummingbirds always arrive the first week of May. Last year, I was a bit late setting out the feeder and one hovered right in front of the french glass door for a good 30 seconds… right in front of me! it was magical, we stared at each other and it was as if it was saying: Helloooo, were is my syrup?
So besides all the chores, the garden cleaning and planting, the mulching and composting, the rewards are in the sense of creating a small habitat outside your door that is both healthy and inviting and in a sustainable way, harbors life for so many other creatures. Many we don’t even see or know are there. That is my reward. Every creature and plant a prayer of hope. Happy gardening friends!
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
I know many of you are out in the garden eager to see plants growing and blooming. I went out last week and started cleaning out the huge amount of oak leaves from my neighbors trees that end up in my beds. Even though they look unsightly, it is a very environmentally sound practice to let the fall leaves stay on the perennial beds thru winter. Many species of insect and amphibians find shelter and hibernate there for the winter. So now that the weather has finally changed, off they go to my huge compost bin designated just for leaves. In the fall leaves that lay on grass get mulched with our mulching mower as I explain here. Some more spring chores:
- Pruning. This is the best time to prune some shrubs and clean up any fallen branches from the yard. The general rule is to prune in spring only shrubs that bloom on new wood. Shrubs that bloom in early spring generally bloom on old wood or stems that formed last summer, it is best to wait until after they bloom to cut back. Some examples of early bloomers are Forsythia, Mahonia, Salix, Daphne, Deutzia, Azalea, Rhododendron and Weigela to name just a few. Read more about pruning in this post.
- Divide Perennials. Early spring is the ideal time to dig up and divide large clumps of perennials like Hostas, Iris, Pulmonaria, Brunnera and Lilly. Although you can divide some perennials anytime during the summer, it is much easier to do it now when the crown be easily seen. More here.
- Hummingbird Feeders should be out by April 15 when the first migrating hummers start showing up on their way north, sometimes so exhausted that a sip of nectar can replenish their energy and make a life or death difference. Some may even choose to make a home in your garden!
- Feeding and top dressing beds probably the best time to apply a bit of nutrients to the soil as needed. I use good organic products for my evergreens, Azaleas and Rhododendrons, a light layer of composted soil mixed with mushroom manure on the perennial beds and fix any bare patches of lawn.
We all know that the work seems a bit daunting at this time of the year, but it is thrilling to see plants spring into life and discover that once more the cycle of life continues. Enjoy the outdoors!
“Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day-like writing a poem or saying a prayer” -Anne Morrow Lindberg
Posted in Seasons, Spring chores, Uncategorized, Wildlife
Tagged Brunnera, Deutzia, Dividing perennials, Forsythia, Hummingbirds, Leaf mulch, Mahonia, Pulmonaria, Spring chores, Weigela
This girl is still here, I have been watching her for the last two weeks, with a certain foreboding of the day when she will decide that it is time to start her migration. From time to time, I have seen her fight off visitors; who are they? I think females from the North are passing by and taking a rest at the feeder. Males hummingbirds started their migration in August. Only adult and immature females remain. From here, they face a 3,000 thousand mile trip to Central America! There are still plenty of flowers in the garden to keep them busy. And, since I have an all organic yard, there are plenty of insects about. She is still visiting the feeder quite frequently. I would keep all feeders clean and fresh for migrating birds.
Check out this great site. I received it in an e-mail forwarded from a friend: Hummer Nest ’05. It is an unusual series of pictures that follow a nest until the birds fledge. Probably the only wild nest I will ever be able to witness. It is several pages long so keep clicking through.