Saturday, April 18, 2009

Crocosmia Cleanup

Today was a perfect gardening day, mostly sunny, calm, and with 90% probability of precipitation tomorrow. Ideal weather for transplanting and dividing perennials. So while my husband and kids went to visit their grandma, I got their approval to stay home and spend the day gardening.

Here is a diary of my gardening day:

11:00 AM - Into the Garden
I finally got the family out the door, and slipped into my gardening clogs and gardening clothes (ones which will end up in the laundry for sure!), and started out. First I did some light weeding in the herb garden, took a few "before" photos, and got myself in the mood for the big project.

11:30 AM - Tackled the Crocosmia Patch
The crocosmia patch, which started as a few small plants maybe 4 years ago, has become a large patch, a couple of feet across, blooming handsomely in front of my buddleia each year (see 2008 photo - 3rd photo in the posting).

In the last couple of years, though, a nasty creeping grass poked its way up through the centre of the patch, and my attempts to pull it out between the blades/leaves have failed. I had this project on my mental list already last year, but never got to it. So this Spring, my patch looked like a hairy mess (as always, click any photo for a slighly larger view):
Early spring
Crocosmia in early spring with nasty grass
So I decided to dig up the whole thing, separate out the crocosmia corms, and then replant them. Little did I know how big of a project this would be. When I started digging, I found that the patch went down about 6" to 8" deep, and was a big mess of tangled, connected corms, shooting out sideways (which is why the patch spreads so nicely) but also vertically, forming little chains. Reading in Wikipedia now (see Crocosmia article), it indicates that the corms are able to dig themselves deeper in the ground (wow! weird!), so that the youngest corms are on top, the oldest further down. What an amazing survival strategy! And good reason to think about where you want to plant crocosmia, since it may be a bit difficult to remove later!

1:00PM - Break for Lunch
After 1.5 hr of heavy shoveling, cutting, tugging and pulling, I was more than half way through the patch, but quite exhausted. So I took a break for lunch, and then collapsed on the sofa for an hour.

2:30PM - Back to the Crocosmia Project
After my break, I want back to the task with renewed vigour. Even after cleaning the soil off the crocosmia corms, and pulling off much of the roots too (the fine grass roots looked very much like the crocosmia roots, so I wanted to be as sure as I could that I've removed those grasses), I ended up with an amazing pile of crocosmia. Probably 25 to 30 pounds worth! If they were edible, I'd be pretty happy!
Pile of crocosmia corms
I decided that instead of just replanting a patch, I would plant a ring around the base of the buddleia, and then about 12" along the edge of the grass. In between, I planted some daylilies which I salvaged earlier this week. I took the opportunity to also remove some of the grass, and expand the garden bed by a few inches also. I also removed a lavender which was dead. (This cold winter killed off a few lavender, one rosemary, and possibly a few other plants and small shrubs).

I ran into lots of roots of the buddleia, which I tried to work around, or push back into the soil. So I hope he will forgive me, and do well this year. The hummingbirds sure do enjoy his flowers. I think the garden looks pretty good now, and I think it should fill in quite nicely:
Newly replanted crocosmia around buddleia
5:30PM - Cleanup and Wind Down
After the 3 hours of tough gardening work (5 hours total today!) I was beyond exhausted. But I managed to put away the wheelbarrow and buckets, and tuck the extra crocosmia away in a shady spot near the house (I must have some 10 or 15 pounds to give away!), and make my way back to the house. On the way, I overseeded the lawn in spots where it was too bare (it was recently dethatched, removing a significant amount of moss).

6PM - Dinner and Blogging
I managed to microwave a 5 minute Red Curry Chicken frozen dinner, but it was quite unimpressive. The taste was fairly good, but the chicken was rubbery. My body is aching all over, especially my feet. My plantar fasciitis was diagnosed just recently, but I guess I've been suffering for about 6 months now. I finally sought medical help, and am in physio sessions twice a week, to try to resolve this situation. It seems to be helping, but it may be some time to be entirely pain free, if that is even a possibility.

I am very thankful for my chance today, to spend the time in the garden. There are few other activities which I would enjoy more.


O.I.M said...

sounds like a very productive day in the garden. I'm sure the new plantings of crocosmia will look fantastic. hope you feel better.

Kate said...

Thanks for the link to this one. And, I loved your 'diary' of events! I've had days like this, where I'm so exhausted I'm almost too tired to eat. Love the idea of the Crocosmia, for the hummingbirds!

Garden Lily said...

Kate - Yes, and that's the best kind of exhausted, isn't it?

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