Sunday, April 18, 2010

Springtime Projects

Peonies: Not a native, but still a trouble-free and attractive plant.

Soon, the peonies will fill out this garden bed.

Knowing that a rainy weekend was in the forecast, I set about last Thursday to finish one of my many current "projects:" raking out the area in front of the forsythia (a space about three feet wide and 20 feet long) to plant (horrors!) grass seed. The forsythia threatened to close off the walkway between them and the large rhododendron in the backyard.

So I pulled up the last of the expanding forsythia plants. (They came up more easily than expected when pulled by hand.) I used a hard rake to gather up all the cuttings on the ground, raked them onto a tarp and hauled away three tarp-fulls to a dumping area for brush behind the tool shed. It's not feasible nor practical to try to haul this little stuff to the landfill, not without a pickup, anyway.

Not wanting to chance sowing grass seed that wouldn't germinate (the stuff in my garage was dated 2001), I ran down to Ace for a new bag of the stuff, passing by the pricey Scott's grass seed for the more reasonably priced no-name variety ($6). Grass seed is grass seed, right? But Ace didn't have any hay bales, and since I have lots of birds around that will likely eat up that grass seed, I headed down to Agway for the hay bale ($9, ouch) and then to Ring's End, for 4 7-foot-high metal stakes, needed for my expanded veggie garden.

I got the grass seed down, and then the hay, spread thinly. I also reseeded a smaller area of lawn directly under the bird feeder. It wasn't the sunflower seed that killed the grass there, it was damaged when I had my brick patio expanded a few years ago. I thought weeds would just fill in the bare spots (as long as it's green), but that didn't really happen, so....

I also got my hummer sugar water feeder out and hanging. Seems to me I recall the male hummers returning as early as mid-April, and since it's still quite chilly these nights, I wanted to make sure the welcome mat was out and hanging when the little guys return. I just checked my Nature Journal...yup, in 2007, my first hummer sighting was on April 25.

I keep feeling like I am SO far behind on spring vegetable planting when I read other gardening blogs. (I have 49 bookmarked and usually go through all of them a few times a's very inspiring.) However, I have to remind myself the average last frost date here in western Connecticut is May 15. I do plan, however, to plant my lettuce plugs and spinach tomorrow and hope for the best.

I'm not sure what others do, but on relatively warm days, I've been shuffling all my little seedlings outside to a sunny spot, then bring them back in at night before it gets too cold. It can be a little tedious.

The crab apples are ready to bloom.

Any day now...

While in Wal-Mart today, I spotted a cardboard bin of Elephant Ear tubers. This is something I wanted to try this year after seeing another blogger's photos. They look so lush and tropical. I don't think you can overwinter them, but I plan to investigate that at some point. So I bought two tubers for $3 each and hope to pot them up this week.

I am still on the hunt for reasonably-priced Fox Valley river birch and I wouldn't mind getting a native honeysuckle.

1 comment:

  1. I had to laugh.. sounds just like my day in the garden! I hung the hummer feeders last week, and most of your other chores were mine too (except the vegetable garden, not doing one)