Yeah, you caught me on a down day. We all have days when it’s almost too much trouble to get out of bed, but when I wandered around the Net looking at some of the current garden blogs, I had to wonder. These people seem to love every aspect of their gardens – and all the time.
I’m having trouble loving mine at the moment.
Over scotch the other night Mayo and I discussed turning it into an evergreen and annual garden. Or, more precisely, I ranted and she listened. That decision isn’t made but see below about perennial damage to understand why I’m on the rip.
I kept the vast majority of weeds – particularly grasses – out of the perennial gardens last year. I really worked at it. But you’d never know it this spring.
As an example, I purchased an Iris setosa, a delightful small arctic iris – and worked to keep it totally and completely grass free. There wasn’t a bit of grass within 1-metre of this plant.
But this spring, it was as if I’d never done a darn bit of weeding and grass spikes have appeared in the middle of the plant. Let’s just say I was less than impressed.
As an aside, once grasses get into an iris, the solution is to dig up the plant. There’s no other way to really get the grass out.
I’ve written about the vole damage here. As I wander around, it’s worse than I wrote about. The %$#&% creatures also got into the roots of a goodly number of my perennials and chewed those up. We’ll have to see what’s going to recover and what’s going to the great compost bin in the sky.
The Vegetable Garden
The vegetable garden is turning into Fort Mayo. Last year, the chipmunks and rabbits got anything low and the deer got everything high. Seriously, it was the first time I’ve even seen deer snipping off green tomatoes from the staked plants and the pole bean harvest was less than a full meal. My deer herd is “going gourmand.”
I’ll have posts about Fort Mayo on the vegetable site blog when I get it done. Let’s just say I’m ensuring nothing gets into this vegetable garden. And when I say nothing…
My Stone Work
Two seasons of almost-inactivity with the stone (one with an eye issue and no-work doctor order and last year with the heat) and I’m far behind on that project. I have high hopes for this year and getting it back on track. Right now, a half-completed wall and pile of stone grace my front yard.
Starting To Replant Trees
As I write this on a Saturday morning, I’ll be picking up two Silver Maples from a fund-raising project for the community restaurant here on the island. I’m not holding back on the protection – they’ll have hardware-cloth tree protectors during the summer and an aluminum foil wrap for the winters. (I’ll have videos for you next fall.)
Tree Survival Rates From Last Year
I note the voles got trees that were wrapped normally this year either by going up on the snowbanks to eat their way down or getting under the protection at the bottom and eating their way up. A significant number of the neighbor’s protected trees were taken out that way.
I also planted 100 trees last spring from the tree nursery in Kemptville. I should have saved my time and money. I believe two have survived relatively unscathed. Between the deer eating the tops and the voles taking the bottoms…
This Isn’t News To Nursery Folks
Much of this won’t be news to nursery people. Every nursery staff member can tell you stories of mice and voles or chipmunks decimating crops. Unwrapping the perennials was always a crap shoot in the spring when I owned or worked in nurseries. Staff can describe the panic of freezing-rain storms on acres of plastic or what happens when the snowload on a greenhouse or unheated cold frame is exceeded. We’ve all lived those days.
More than once I’ve fired up the furnaces to their highest settings and deflated the double layer of plastic to get heat to the outer layer and melt off the ice before it could either a) overload the greenhouse or b) turn to ice sheets that would slit the plastic as they were blown around by the wind.
But I’m Tired
After over 40 years of fighting the good fight in the nursery industry, I’m feeling a little tired of it all. Maybe it’s the weather today (overcast and cold-rain) or perhaps it was having another month-long bout of a wicked cold for the second year in a row leaving me – yet again- struggling with the resulting loss of fitness and strength. Maybe it’s losing a ton of plants. Maybe… Whatever it means, this kind of tired means I’ll do something about the gardens.
I’m not sure what it’s going to be but spending a lot of money to replace shrubs and perennials yet again isn’t high on my retirement priority list.
This year I’m planting the entire garden to annual flowers. I have a bunch of seed packages and I’ll pick up some plants to trial. I want instant and constant color and annuals are the single best way to get that.
Stay tuned. I’ll let you know as soon as I figure it out.