Saturday, April 28, 2012

Clearing the Beds & Garden Recycling Notes

It's way past time to get the garden beds cleaned up and into spring.  The rest of you are making me feel like a bad mother, with your tidy, tended gardens and bursting spring harvests.  While you've been fluffing those carefully mulched beds, I've been out being chased by wild boars on my bicycle.  No lie. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is an amazing place.  Hair-raising might be a better word.

But, anyway, I'm at work in the gardens around the farm.  Firstly, because I've been cursed with a cold and I can't breathe enough to pump bike pedals. Secondly, because - as always - I've been sucked into plant sales and come home with trays of stuff that have no gardens ready to receive them.  So, wheezing guiltily, I'm at work on this one balmy afternoon for this week.  Hoeing away (no mulch down yet), I was thinking about recycling (yes, it's Earth Day Week) and how gardeners are intuitive, natural recyclers. Not just composting, but plant dividing and sharing, seed saving.... and then there's the entire world of recycled garden art.

Here's an example from my side garden (admittedly still looking a bit ragged):

Add to that the fact that virtually everything in this garden - daylilies, palms, coneflowers - are all divisions, swaps, or gifts from friends, and there you have it.  A totally recycled garden!  Which will now be mulched with  aged shreddings from the last time Dominion Power cleared their right of ways down here.  Voila!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It is Spring! Where is the Gardener???

So now April has vanished and I don't even know what's happening in my poor, neglected gardens!  Seems like every "good" moment, I'm off bicycling to fulfill this commitment to biking 200 miles on my 60th birthday.  I've actually decided to hire HELP in clearing the last of the winter weeds and spreading fresh mulch.

Law. Where's my botanical sense??
But there are lovely things happening without any 'interference' from me.

Here's a beautiful outburst worth sharing, blooming without attention along the front fence.  This is "One of the loveliest of all the Viburnums, kern-s-pink-up-close.jpg'Kern's Pink' (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum 'Kern's Pink') features bronze-tinged foliage and delicate, soft-pink flowers in May. In full sun or partial shade it can grow to 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide. In time some flower clusters will be pink, some white, and others mixed pink and white." (Description courtesy of Ozark Gardens website - a great place for you viburnum lovers.)

A closeup of the blossoms on my bush - pretty lovely, eh?
Meanwhile, my old giant honking viburnum - the one I keep meaning to prune every winter - is heaving huge blossom clusters over my head - I swear they get larger every year.  Take a look:

You have to love the magic that makes these things happen - whether you are right there fussing over the plants or not.  It's a beautiful day outside - I hope everyone is out playing in the garden!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Need a Loquat?

This is a "shout out to my homies" here in Hampton Roads.  Several of you have coveted my beautiful Loquat trees (Eriobotyra japonica).  I just stopped in at a neighborhood greenhouse/nursery operation down here in Blackwater on Hungarian Road (Cedar Creek Greenhouses) and, as I was driving out, I happened to glance into one of the unheated houses to notice TWO loquat trees, probably 7' each.  They are a tad spindly; loquats really need a bit of room and these were seriously pot-bound.  BUT, if you haven't found any loquats at other local plant outlets - here's your chance.  Alas, I did not stop to get the prices.  If you are seriously interested, let me know and I'll go ask.

These are extraordinary trees for our area, not over-sized and beautifully evergreen with deep green, almost hard, leaves and very fragrant flowers that turn into golden nuggets that are one of my favorite little fruits (if it's a spring without hard freezes to damage the forming fruit - like this spring).  For beekeepers, they are even more special because they bloom and provide food for bees during November and December, when there are few other flower sources around.  On a warm winter day, our loquat trees vibrate with hundreds of greedy bees.

Very cool plants - go get one!