GFSD-Garden of five sisters and one daughter

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.     


The river continues....

Low  34 F

Last year, I planted bulbs in the Winter/Spring garden or GFSD.  This garden was planted for fall, winter, and spring interest because it is behind the new corn patch and, theoretically, it is hidden in the summer months.  I say theoretically because this spring, corn seed germination was so poor that the EM tilled it all in and the patch was home to pumpkins, squash, and extra tomato plants.  The river did indeed bloom this past spring.  As you can see from the above picture, I planted the daffodil 'Accent' which has a salmon colored trumpet.  These are beautiful but I found, that given the distance of this garden from the house, bright yellow would have been a better choice.  I also interplanted with tulips in this bed.  DSC_0005 If you are going to dig a trench to plant this many bulbs, it is wise to optimize that effort.  The tulips flowered just as the daffodils faded. Very satisfying!  This weekend, the EM said he would help with the digging.  Of course it involved the initial use of equipment.Dsc_0007 (2)   He has a harrow on his tractor which he ran along the edge of the bed to loosen the soil and then he hand dug the bed.  Gee, it was much easier his way.  Plus, he works about five times faster than I do.  DSC_0006 Here is the trench continued in the serpentine pattern.  Once the trench was completed, I added some organic fertilizer and some super phosphate and I sprayed the bulbs with neem in order to make the tulips less palatable to the critters and to also mask the scent of the organic fertilizer which smells like molasses which is an ingredient in the mix. DSC_0007 It was an impressive trench don't you think?   DSC_0012 I ordered bulbs from two sources this year, Brent and Becky's bulbs and Colorblends.  Brent and Becky's sent the bulbs within the week.  Nice beautiful bulbs and great service. The Colorblends order took a bit longer to arrive but I have to say that I have never seen daffodil bulbs as big as these.DSC_0010   A couple of them looked as large as an amaryllis bulb.  This year I chose a really big yellow daffodil, 'Gigantic Star' and planted one hundred of them in the trench along with Dsc_0004 (2) a blended tulip collection of one hundred bulbs called 'Orange twist'.DSC_0005 I also added  fifty tazetta daffodils called 'Martinette'  to the trench.  The tazettas are described as a 'bouquet on a stem'.  I was going to plant the tazettas in another area but the trench was dug and looked so inviting that I thought it would save me quite a bit of energy.  Bulb planting is hard work.  The tulip blend will be interesting as there is no way to tell how the bulbs will actually lie in the garden bed.  I could have all the oranges in one spot and the yellows on the other end.  Only time will tell. DSC_0014 This new trench actually completed the river of bulbs which is the length of this garden.  I know I will enjoy the daffodils for years to come but it remains a mystery as to how long the tulips will provide color.  I am hoping that they bloom for the next  five years or so but you know how it is, the gardener's optimism is sometimes greater than the reality of nature.   Are all your bulbs tucked into their bed for the winter?


One year later!

High 75 F
Low  54 F

It is so easy to get overwhelmed with gardening chores and priorities must be set.  The GFSD was started over a year ago and it was designed for winter and spring interest as the garden would be hidden in the summer by the corn crop.  The mulch was purchased this spring to keep down the weeds but other, more visible, gardens required more immediate attention.Dsc_0002   The GFSD has suffered as the mulch was not put on the bed and since the corn crop failed it is very visible to me as I walk around the garden in the morning. I am not proud of the way it looks. I did  work hard this weekend to try and bring order to disorder.  The EM harrowed the corn patch once again and the plan is to plant a cover crop for the winter. Dsc_0007 I spent most of Saturday weeding this border.  I know, it looks pretty dismal. In addition, I did have a couple of shrub failures.  The Disanthus cercidifolius, a shrub which seems to have no common name, leafed out this spring but a late frost shriveled the leaves and it never put out another flush. I will get another as it has a lovely cercis/redbud like leaf and beautiful plum fall coloration.  The other two deaths in the border were two out of three Microbiota decussata which is a lovely shade loving evergreen ground cover.  Oh well, spit happens.  Don't you love to get dirty in the garden?  We have had quite a bit of rain lately so the weeds came up easily but some of them were pretty mighty.  The after shots were taken on Sunday. Dsc_0010 I worked on Sunday and the EM mulched the bed. Dsc_0011 It needs just a touch of raking and a more well defined edge but it looks considerably better. Tucker loves to lie in new mulch. Dsc_0012 Now I have to start thinking about extending the 'river of bulbs' in this bed. Dsc_0005 Is anyone else thinking of bulbs this time of year?


The river is running!

High 52 F
Low  35 F

Epimedium x rubrum
We are back to seasonal temperatures which is great for working in the garden or it would be if it were the weekend.  I also recorded more than three inches of rain over a two day period which was much needed after over two weeks without a drop.  In early spring, rain is expected and when it doesn't show up plants start to look a bit stressed.  Dsc_0012_2 The river of daffodils has filled in with the Dsc_0013_2 little species tulip 'Lady Jane' bridging that middle gap. Dsc_0006 When she closes up her pale peppermint stripes are more visible. The daffodil 'Accent' is still blooming although it is a bit bedraggled after the rain and the interplanting of tulips is starting to become visible.  Dsc_0001 I have been out with the deer spray  as the new, tender, plump buds look tempting even to me.  These tulips are 'Avignone' which is listed as 'spinel red'.  I think I need to look up spinel.  They should be very hot.
Epimedium  x versicolor 'Sulphureum'
The epimediums are in full bloom and they are curious little shade plants which are quite drought tolerant.  The flowers are so small as to be almost insignificant unless you are slithering on your belly through the garden.  I currently only slither with the camera but someday it may come to that but not just yet. Dsc_0016 The foliage is always lovely with a bit of color variation in the leaves which float on wiry stems above the garden. Dsc_0015_2_2   I should have more of these little beauties which are hardy from zone 4 through 8.  Do any of you have epimediums and, if so, which is your favorite?