Friday, April 24, 2009

Weeding and Clearing by the Wheelbarrow Full

I have come to realize that I am most happy in my garden, not when I am strolling through, or planting, or cutting flowers, or even stopping to smell the roses. I am the most happy when I am on my kneepads, struggling to clear stalks or clumps of old growth to make way for the new growth, or pulling weeds by the wheelbarrow full.

Fortunately, in my garden, there is no shortage of this kind of work. Here is a typical "before" garden view this Spring (click the photo for a slightly larger view). Note the hydrangea which needs cutting back, the old stalks to clear off the ground (and remove the weeds hiding beneath them).
Garden area which needs Spring clearing
That is the stuff I thrive on. Tonight I cleared a pretty large patch of my garden, along the top retaining wall on the west side of our lower yard. Old stalks of fall asters to break off, a cascading rose bush to cut back, old iris leaves to pull out, the climbing hydrangea to cut back. A good wheelbarrow full. It looked so clean and green afterwards (but was getting too dark by the time I finished gardening, to take an "after" photo).

Then I cleared out the garden where I grow my dahlias. They don't seem to be coming up this year. I suppose I have lost them. This winter was unusually harsh, and I have lost a number of plants, especially those with a mediterranean or sun-loving heritage, such as lavenders, a rosemary bush, some hebes. Some of these lavenders were pretty sizable, and it was a struggle to pull them out. Another wheel barrow full.

The hillside yielded a full clear bag of old stalks from phlox and daylily and such. Everything I pull or cut is going into my dumping area just outside the garden fence, which is technically still my property, but on the edge of where it falls off into the abyss (we're bordering a fairly steep ravine on the back east side).

It feels good to clear some garden areas, even if by pulling out dead plants. I have yet to plant in the new perennials I picked up at the BRAGS plant sale last Sunday. I was passing by on the way home from church, so as usual, arrived in time for the few remaining plants to be discounted to half price, so filled a small flat with plants. Nothing to rave about, yet. But some plants that I don't have yet.

This Sunday will be the Van Dusen plant sale from 10am to 4pm. As always, I will be heading after church, so will be arriving half way through. But there will still be lots of plants to tempt me, and encouraged by the newly cleared areas, I plan to yield to temptation. Last year, the kids picked up their carnivorous plants which survived very well outside and then overwintered on my kitchen windowsill. The Himalayan Lily which I planted is sprouting this Spring. And a beautiful chocolate coloured geranium I picked up, is looking wonderful this Spring:
Chocolate coloured hardy geranium
I have a few plants in mind already, so we'll see. Let's hope for more of this wonderful weather on Sunday.

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