Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spring is on it's way!

Genesis 2:8-9

Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This is the time of year when I start looking around for what flowers are starting to bloom.  In my garden there is a snapdragon, but I think it is still blooming from last summer.  And then we have a crocus blooming in a rock pile.  But better yet, where the rocks came from there are lots and lots of crocus shoots.  And in two places I have English daisies blooming from last year's plants.  The camellias have been blooming all winter, and even when the weather was very very cold the camellia just kept putting out beautiful pale pink blossoms. 

And of course all sorts of plants are starting to put out shoots and buds, especially the roses.  But one thing is distressing - I have got a warm weather garden, and for the most part my garden, especially the back yard, is dead dead dead in the winter.  I need to do something about that.  So here is a picture of my dead garden at it's north end.

And here is a view towards the south. The two pictures overlap of course, as the backyard is only 50 feet wide.

Saturday, February 23rd

So this morning, after I got my bangs cut at the hairdresser's, we went to coffee and stuff with Ken and Marilyn at the Pearl Bakery. Marilyn loves to talk about gardens so I brought up the idea of the winter garden, which got her thinking. She particularly wanted me to consider seedum, which is what I call rock plants for some reason. As a child I always found them amusing, but not beautiful in any way. But then she came up with the idea of heather. Now that idea I liked. After we were done with coffee we went to Powells, which is only one block from the Pearl. I headed straight for the garden section. I came away with three garden books, all at reduced price - two used and one on sale. It turned out that I already had one of them, which I thought would be the case. It's call "The Englishwoman's Garden". I thought that the one I had was "The Englishman's Garden", but of course it was vice versa. But not problem, Powells will take back the extra.

After that we headed for Portland Nursery, a wonderful place to be on a sunny winter Saturday morning. It wasn't actually winter by normal standards, as I think that the temperature got almost to 60 degrees, and the sky was clear. Marilyn promptly found an expert to help us, a very short garden expert a little older than me. She was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable that Marilyn said it was like having our own private tutorial. She even wrote down the plants she was recommending. The problem area that I really want to address is the space against the wall. I don't want to look out into the garden in the winter and see only the wall. The best plant we came up with was a Japanese red-barked maple - acer palmatum Sango Kaku . It is slow growing, of course, and has beautiful read branches. She said that each year you can prune 1/3 of the tree to keep it in line.

She also said that I should put a handful of lime on the ground around my clematis twice a year, and keep rocks of broken pottery on the ground around it. It's so funny about the name "clematis", the English pronounce it CLAmetis, and we say cleMAtis. In my opinion, and given the spelling of the word, I think that the Americans have got it right. But Riley and I are amused by the British way of saying it, so we say it their way sometimes.

For myself I am an optimist - 
it does not seem to be much use being anything else.
Sir Winston Churchill

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