The ornamental grasses are looking quite ragged by the time spring rolls around. Most people cut them down which is laborious unless you possess a weed whacker with a blade. I have several clumps of grass and these by the fish pond stand alone, away from any structures or other plants so my preferred method of maintenance is to burn them.
Burning reduces the grasses to black char very quickly. From start to finish might take a minute and a half or so. Wednesday is often 'pizza night' here with the neighbors and because burning grasses are such a spectacle it is a plus to have an audience when they are burned. This was Gibbs' first official Burning of the Grasses and he was on a leash since he is a bit ignorant at his young age of the power of fire.
Controlled burns were a part of my youth. The local farmers would burn the fields to sweeten the soil and rejuvenate the fields. That vivid green arising from blackened fields seemed almost miraculous to me when I was small.
These grasses provide a screen at the back of the fish pond and give a sense of enclosure as they mature.
If you burn your grasses it is important to take a bit of care and have a hose, a rake and some people on hand just in case. The fire is incredibly, impossibly hot and it is fast. I cannot imagine what a prairie fire must be like and I always have a renewed respect for firemen after experiencing the heat of the flames generated by the dry grasses.
Here is the grass garden behind the pond after the burn. Neat and tidy with minimal effort, a night of entertainment and the added benefit of sweet char.
It is Bloom Day and quite a different Bloom Day than one year ago. There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground last March but this year has seen temperatures in the 70's already. Today though it is cold and rainy as befits a 'normal' March day. Is there a 'normal' concerning weather any more? On to blooms. Last fall I planted more crocus and many of you know that my least favorite color is school bus yellow but school bus yellow is a 'fifty mile per hour' color or perhaps a '100 yard' color. It can be seen while driving that fast or from that far away so school bus yellow it is mixed with purple to soften the glare. Snowdrops are also blooming in the photo with the crocus. I am working are larger drifts and pools of them. They do have incredible fragrance and spread quite easily. They are best moved as the flowers fade or while 'in the green'. The little Iris histrioides 'Katharine Hodgkin' is a wedgwood blue beauty which has bloomed in this location for three years now. This is a tough color to see in the garden with leaves littering its base but up close it is soothing and sensational. The hellebores are sporting flowers and this one with the speckled face is an unknown cultivar. I have cut off the leaves at the base as they become quite ratty looking after snow, ice and cold has attacked them. The flowers show up a bit better as well. I know the foliage stays beautiful in climates a bit warmer than mine so perhaps pruning is not necessary for every garden. Gardening is so regional. Bloom Day this March seems much more promising than last year. Several gardens have been cleaned out already. As a New England gardener, I enjoy the down time of winter but an early spring is very welcome here. Many thanks to Carol of May Dreams blog for hosting Bloom Day. You can visit her blooms and many other gardens by clicking here.