No gardeners should ever need to go to the gym. My wonderful crew of young people and I spent all last week moving mountains of wood chips, compost and loam with wheelbarrows. It hurt midweek to even sit down.
My bare-rooted perennials for the business arrived and needed to be planted in the field. They will stay in a holding pattern until time to pop them into someone’s perennial beds.
Everything is all neat and tidy . . . . for about five minutes until weeds and bugs arrive.
We moved a large cold frame from a spot it was occupying for at least 10 years. It had a thick layer of weed mat on the bottom. When picked up, a fine healthy patch of mugwort showed itself. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. Why, oh, why can’t plants I love be that tenacious? People often ask what to do about mugwort. My standard reply is “Sell the property!”
Nothing is ever easy. Every fall I carefully drain and coil my hoses and somehow they turn into a twisted mess when I try to get them out in the spring. It could have something to do with my tendency to go headlong into all my endeavors.
I am about to start transplanting tomato plants. I wonder why I find it necessary to plant the entire seed package? Then, I hate seeing their little lives wasted, so I save every one.
I think this may be a universal character trait of all gardeners. It seems everybody begs friends to take tomato plants.
I have an inordinate number of crows on the property. They hang around the hen house and enjoy their cracked corn. I am fond of them. They chase away the red-tailed hawks who would love a nice chicken for supper.
My maternal grandfather, Popop, loved crows. He admired their ability to clean up road kill. There was plenty of it in our little town. People hit deer all the time and no one ever picked them up. A murder of crows made short work of the carcasses.
The home section of the April 3 New York Times had a two-page article about moss. There were some remarkable photographs. The article was about a North Carolina woman who grows the stuff for her landscaping company. The article mentions the method I have tried with zero success. Putting moss and buttermilk into a blender and pouring the slurry on a desired location. My cats always lick it off the stone walls.
A primer from Penn State Extension titled Forest Moss lays out practical and ecological guidelines for collecting moss. Who knew that stripping a log completely of its moss cover will take 20 years to grow back?
The oldest purveyor is Moss Acres, a family business at the edge of the Pocono Mountains. You can look them up at mossacres.com. I plan to give them a ring this week.
I wintered over several potted fig trees under a thin layer of plastic. For the coldest part of the season, I bundled them in Reemay held together with clothespins. They cannot tolerate freezing below 10 degrees. I grew them from rooted cuttings of the brown turkey variety. Sumner Silverman shared those cuttings with several of us attending Homegrown a few years ago.
I have yet to see any forsythia in bloom on my daily travels. This seems unusual. I took a trip around West Chop for the sole purpose of looking for positive signs of spring. I always enjoy the long-legged metal mouse on the left, right before the big turn along the water. I’m fond of yard art.
I’m looking forward to the merchants’ window boxes in the next few weeks. I noticed the nurseries are open and offering pansies.
I know folks are always complaining about too much government regulation — mostly big business. The horrible mud slide in Washington state is one example of needing more. How could no one see it coming? There had been warnings for over 50 years. There was excessive logging of the old forest above the area. Please do not think I’m blaming the victims. Honestly, it boggles the imagination to think of what they must be experiencing.
I know it is popular in some circles to ignore those pesky scientists or scoff at environmentalists, but folks, we are on this fragile planet together. Our actions have consequences. The chemical spill that left West Virginia residents with water so polluted they couldn’t even wash themselves, never mind drink the water.
Then, the coal ash spill put cadmium and arsenic into the Dan River in North Carolina.
We really do need to think seriously about alternative energy sources like wind and solar. Kudos to Goodales. They installed huge solar panels into the big sand pit. If they have a massive energy spill, we’ll call it a sunny day!