Weekend Garden Notes, April 20, 2014
Getting the Garden in Shape
It was a beautiful weekend, and I’m very pleased with myself for all the spring garden chores I accomplished. For starters, cutting back the rest of the stems and stalks, leaving behind enough dead leaves and plant litter to keep the bugs and birds happy.
What’s more, I edged all the beds and borders. I like using a shallow trench to form a clear demarcation between the lawn and the flowers, though in some beds pavers fill this function. I only need to clear the trenches once a year, then keep the turf grasses and other invaders from sneaking past. The soil cleared from the trenches is like compost, full of decayed leaves and other vegetable matter, and you can use it as such.
Plus, I put away the heated bird bath and got our little fountain started up. And did it without pulling any muscles in my back.
First of the Tulips and Daffodils
Species tulips are wild tulips, with blooms smaller than the hybrids, that grow in a swath from Central Asia to the Mediterranean. They are wonderful for many reasons, not least of which is that they tend to bloom weeks earlier than the hybrid tulips. Tulipa turkestanica, with its yellow base and nearly flat cream-colored tepals, is a particular favorite of mine. It seems to be successfully naturalizing in my beds.
Tulipa praestans ‘Unicum’ has vivid red flowers and variegated leaves. It blooms at the same time as T. turkestanica, and they make good companions.
Another early species tulip is Tulipa biflora. Similar to T. turkestanica, but shorter and with delicate, cup-shaped blooms.
The first of the daffodils are blooming, including ‘Little Gem’. There’s also a number of bi-colored Large-Cup daffodils, but I’ve lost track of the varieties. I’m especially fond of bi-colored daffodils with white perianths and yellow crowns.
Containing My Excitement
The hybrid tulips planted in containers seem to have come through the winter with flying colors. I am eager to see them in bloom. Given the severity of the winter, it would seem that burying the containers provided better protection than putting them in an unheated garage. In addition to nine containers of hybrid tulips, I planted one of common hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis).
This weekend I bought a flat of lemon-colored sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) and used it to underplant the container tulips.
I also filled our unoccupied containers, including our old rusty wheelbarrow, with pansies: blue, yellow, white, and white with a purple face.
Finally, I came up with a use for my old shoes. First I should tell you that I hate shopping for shoes (and clothes in general), and I hate throwing them away. I tend to wear my shoes until the sole is worn through and parting ways with the rest of the shoe. I’ve had a few pairs of these old shoes lined up near the front door, but just recently realized that they would make great planters. Ta da! And the extra holes provide openings for more plants.
Did you get some quality time in the garden this weekend?