Fish Pond

The Tide Recedes

Back border no snowThe snow is disappearing like the tide. The edges are clearly visible. Each day a bit more snow is chiseled away. Urns in back borderThe back south facing border is now bare of snow and I am wondering why I didn't add a river of snowdrops to this border. I can picture them weaving under the trees and shrubs. Note to self: Plant snowdrops under the shrubs in the back border. Fishpond areaThe fishpond is still frozen over and looking to the west along the long border and then on to the sunny border, quite a bit of snow still covers the gardens. Long borderNo matter. Sunny, Hot BorderThis gardener is often overwhelmed by huge tasks and finds it much easier to approach the garden cleanup one bed at a time. A good mantra for anyone. Winter Border - GFSDThe winter garden is in dire need of a good cleanup having been neglected last year. Goldenrod and briars are getting a foothold. Full battle gear will be required to uproot these thugs. Today it was sunny but cold and the wind was whipping around tearing the scarf from ones neck and slipping its tendrils down the collar and up the hem. Hydrangea Blooms
Today's gardening chores involved finishing a seed order and reading a bit. Still, the garden beckons. The skeletal paper blooms on the Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' are still standing strong for the most part but in the next couple of weeks this shrub will get a rather severe haircut. It is not unusual for 'Limelight' to push five or six feet of new growth in one season and clipping it hard in mid-March just serves to encourage bigger blooms and a wider girth which is desired in the garden if not the gardener.

Note: All pictures in this post were taken on 3/4/13.     


Inviting Moss

DSC_0008There is quite a bit of moss at Ledge & Gardens. It covers the stone walls, permeates the lawn and sits at the base of the trunks of trees. DSC_0021I have always loved moss. As a child I would find a bed of moss and lie down on it never really minding the wet elbows and knees which inevitably resulted from such a moist, spongy bed. DSC_0006I have used it to line the fairy garden bench which started life with the name 'herb bench'. It is in a bit of shade so moss suits it better. The moss has also taken over the stone patio by the fish pond. DSC_0016This emerald green carpet glows in the low slant of the sun at this time of year. As golds turn to brown, green moss is a welcome addition to the landscape. It flourishes now with more moisture and lower light levels.  DSC_0012Moss has gotten quite a bit more attention lately.  Moss & Stone Gardens is a wonderful website with great ideas on how to use moss in unique and interesting new ways. I recently cleaned out some of the urns for the season and since they are fiberglass and can withstand a freeze better than ceramic or clay, I decided to plant them with moss. DSC_0019The smallest one is cast iron. I love the soft look of the moss and probably should add some decorative elements. Any thoughts on that?


The Fish Pond-new bed!

High 70 F
Low  49 F

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Rhode Island is one of those states which celebrates Columbus Day and since I worked Saturday I decided to take the day off and prepare the proposed bed by the fish pond.  Thanks for all the suggestions concerning this bed.  I will add plantings in the spring but I wanted to get the bed prepared and plant the existing plants before the very cold weather. DSC_0050 I got out all the tools and started with an edge.  The ground is damp and pulling out the first layer of sod was easy but the task of removing all the sod looked daunting so I decided to try 'lasagna gardening'.  It wasn't easy to convince myself to leave the sod.  It just feels wrong! I did it anyway.  What is life without a few experiments?   The cardboard and paper were laid out in the area and the water hyacinths, which have not yet succumbed to frost, went on top to wet everything down.DSC_0052   Then, ten to twelve wheelbarrows of compost went on top of the paper.  I did dig the holes for the plants first with the exception of the Heuchera.  That one went in after the pictures.  Tucker was not impressed with all this back and forth activity but he dutifully performed as  'Job  Foreman'.  Many times I have planted three shrubs only to find that the middle one is not centered so today, Mom and Hopie, who stopped in to bring more newspaper, sat on the bench directing.  DSC_0053 I put the two end hollies in first and then centered the third in the middle.  The compost had some huge worms which I should have taken a picture of but I was so dirty that the camera would have suffered but, they are worth noting.  After all the compost was placed on top of the first layer and the plants were in place I added a layer of pine bark mulch.  DSC_0059 The mulch should keep the compost from running into the pond.  I have plenty of room for those plants many of you have suggested and also a whole winter season to think about them.  The amsonia does look a bit lost but I am on the hunt for a few more.  It may have to wait for spring.  I did tuck some bulbs in this bed berfore putting on the compost and mulch.DSC_0060   Not a river of bulbs, just a few grape hyacinths and some daffodils.  DSC_0063 I am well pleased with the new bed and pretty weary after a good five hours of heavy gardening.  Is there anything as satisfying as a newly prepared bed?  


View from the bench

High 75 F
Low  50 F

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The  bench by the fish pond has a great view.  Tucker and I often have morning coffee sitting on this bench.  The water hyacinths have had a good year.  They don't always take over the pond but this year they must have really liked the weather. Dsc_0044_2 This is the view from the bench across the pond to the far garden. I am thinking of cutting another bed along the far edge of the pool and planting some screening shrubs and grasses so that there is a sense of seclusion to the fish pond.  What do you think?  I am open to suggestions. I have thought of this for several years but haven't implemented any ideas yet.   Dsc_0045 Looking a bit more to the right, the grasses are providing a bit of privacy behind the waterfall. Until this spring, the waterfall had been silent for several years. Dsc_0048 The ledge around us seems to attract lightening and since the power source is in that far off garage just visible in the picture, it has been a task to replace the power line.  Hopefully, this latest one  will weather all storms.Dsc_0024   The new filter is working well and the fish seem quite happy although they do have voracious appetites in the summer. Dsc_0046 Looking to the left from the bench, the rhododendrons and the Kousa dogwood edge the woods.  The deer have limbed up the rhodies quite nicely. Dsc_0025 The Kousa is sporting many berries which are starting to color for the fall display.  The volunteers in this garden include this Verbena bonariensis Dsc_0049 which is providing a hold for one of the morning glories.  Sometimes nature's plan is more interesting than any the gardener can create.   


Mud Bath!

High 77 F
Low  42 F

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Memorial Day weekend is summer kick off here and two cookouts so far have not disappointed.  Yesterday was a bit brisk but today was one of those gloriously beautiful, clear days.  All is looking lush.  Tomorrow morning the tomatoes will go in the ground along with the peppers and maybe some green bean seeds.  I picked a  bounty of lettuce for the weekend parties.  Isn't it gratifying to eat from your own garden?  Work on the fish pond is coming to an end as yesterday it was emptied of its' sludge and refilled. Tucker, the job foreman and dog with a heretofore perfect reputation, has one major fault.  He is crazy about running water or moving water and could not resist this Dsc_0051 mud bath as the EM bailed the bottom of the pond. Dsc_0055_2  He really thinks he can catch it. Dsc_0061 He did get a shampoo and wash after this episode but he overexercised and is sleeping quite a bit today.  He is moving pretty slowly after all that running and jumping.  Tucker just turned ten and that is getting a bit on in years for a dog (I'm going to think of other things).  The fish pond is full now and is awaiting the  fluffing and buffing.  The new filter is running and the water is flowing.  In a week or so I will add some fish to watch from the bench.  What is more relaxing than watching fish swim and hearing the trickle of water flowing down the rocks?      


Weekend projects

High 57 F
Low  40 F
Rain 1.35"

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The fish pond has had no fish in it for several years but it is home to many frogs and currently all sizes of tadpoles.  Some are plump and bigger than your thumb and others are just tiny in size.  I mentioned to the EM (Equipment Manager) that it would be nice to have the water running and the fish swimming and my daughter remarked that it was the one 'blight' in the garden.  She is wrong, there are many but this is a major one.   The problem is the ledge which surrounds us and attracts lightning which burns the line out.  The wire has to be run from the garage to the pond and that is about oneDsc_0025   hundred and fifty feet and goes across the driveway and through the 'Pink Chimes' Dsc_0002_2 (yes, I am liking that name) border.  Not an easy task to dig it every few years and replace it.  I had some work obligations this weekend and came home to find a 'moat' across the drive and men hard at work running new wire.Dsc_0021   Since the pond hasn't been in service, the Iris pseudacorus has run rampant and needed to be pulled out and thrown in the compost.  The two clumps visible in the first picture must have weighed in at several hundreds pounds including the water they were holding.  Not easy to pull out!  I also didn't get pictures of that since the men were ready and the camera was in the house.  It took three of us plus the tractor to haul them out and then away! Dsc_0028 I can see why it is on the invasive species list although it is a pretty iris.  The new wire was inserted in a pipe for protection from the elements and the shovels.  Dsc_0023 The job is not yet complete but I hope there will be some fish swimming in the pond in the next couple of weeks.Dsc_0002 I hope to be able to sit on this bench, coffee cup in hand, under this crabappleDsc_0006 and watch the fish swim while the water trickles down theseDsc_0016 rocks.  Do you have a water feature in your garden?  Is it a place you sit to relax?