Monday, March 19, 2018

Not Quite Spring

It's an interesting time of year in the garden. When the sun is out, it's promising. In the shade, on a breezy slope, or when it's overcast,  things feel grim. The grim days check the enthusiasm of newly growing plants, protecting them from overgrowth that might fall to wind or late frost.

It's time to cruise the landscape with pruning shears judiciously editing the dead stems I left in place last fall. Those stems break the wind, protecting tender new leaves. Once the new growth is a little tougher, I'll trim the stems to just a bit higher than the new leaves, to protect them from passing gardeners. A little effort this time of year saves days later on.

Some of last year's coles appear to be making a bid for eternal life: the long bare stalks that toppled in a freeze are sprouting new leaves. I shoveled a trench in the compost border and buried the lower sections. Something may take root.

A deeply shaded north border with little traffic has evolved into an elegant, simple woodland. A neighbor's pine tree dropped needles and cones over the winter, mulching out the fragile lawn and establishing a clearly defined area of duff that contrasts with the fine old grass that grows where the sun falls nearby. It is so beautiful and so unexpected in this dense neighborhood that I will go out of my way to protect it from wheels and rough projects. There's much to be said for letting the garden tell me what it wants to do. The minor amount of stoop labor it will take to keep the space looking cared-for is far less than mowing used to require -30-

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