Sunday, March 26, 2017


I have a multi-pronged plant acquisition process for the garden. In my line of work there are often plants free for the taking. Sometimes a few starts can just fall out of the ground from a large patch while I am tending and weeding.

That happened last year with a few black liriope. It happened again this week when I saw they had survived the winter. More will look nice with the variegated sedge.

The Celendine Poppy can actually become a pest in a proper garden. The first time I thinned them a few came home. Now I just toss them. In a few more years I will likely be weeding and tossing them here too.

Why pay good money for plants when routine maintenance will generate rooted cuttings?  I got five yellow twig dogwood starts last week.

It was not intentional, but I got some chionodoxa when I acquired snowdrops from Bulbarella. You never know what will come with something from Bulbarella's garden.

I went over there today with pilfering on my mind. A trillium I do not have has been making babies.

I have been quite pleased with the Trout Lilies that followed me home. Three of the four clumps I planted are growing and blooming robustly. One clump pretty much disappeared. Another clump is definitely reproducing.

Might as well get two of the baby trilliums. They are smaller than the size of a quarter now. I hope they like it here.

I needed a new rhododendron for one that died. I took one low growing rooted stem that was forked and made two plants out of it.

'Arnold' #2 was a gift from Sister #2. I don't pilfer all the plants in the garden. It was planted by the chimney. I still want to add 'Jelena' nearby.

Along this same slope there are other plants that did fall out of the ground, some Pieris, Kalmia and Clethra. The east side of the chimney was tidied several years ago and I have been replanting with more desirable shrubberies.

I thought 'Arnold' #2 was finished blooming when I planted it. I was wrong. The spot I chose has proven to be perfect for the sun angle this time of year. It literally glows in the sunshine.

Last year I acquired some Bird's Foot Violets from a violet covered hillside next door to a garden I tend. All three have returned. I had one before. I think a varmint ate it. I keep trying different location in hopes one of them will be just right and they will start to self sow.

This is but a short list of the pilferage that has gone in to the making of a wild cultivated garden. Many of the obscure native plants are rarely sold in nurseries. I don't mind making more populations of them or saving them from often times precarious conditions in more civilized gardens.

I can bring the wild things home and set them free.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Time For Spring

Last week was winter. This week is spring. It's still too early for any guarantees. April has been known to be cruel. The re-animation of the time of vegetation will continue no matter. Spring is always a risky business.

I began my spring planting right before winter last week with the addition of some new dwarf evergreen conifers to the winter Under Garden. They look to have survived the cold blast with no problems.

The native spring ephemerals are waking up. I added these Trout Lilies to the garden since none exist here that I know of. It's about time to wander into the forest and see what is stirring in there. April is the normal time for the forest floor to bloom.

The Oconee Bell was a gift that I gladly added to the garden. Over time it will form a dense groundcover. The bloom then can be quite showy.

I am giving red and yellow twig dogwood another try. Word was cut stem pieces could be stuck and they would root. They did not. Some rooted stem pieces followed me home when I gave a patch of yellow ones the spring chop down. Starting with roots works much better.

I decided a while back to borrow the land below the Great Lawn that is the backdrop of my garden. I started cutting it down each season two years ago to initiate a change in the inhabitants of this space. As usual a whole lot of the Clematis viginiana has to be uprooted and the Blackberries beat back.

Then it made sense that this was a good location for the red and yellow twig dogwood that I wanted for winter interest. Think a huge mass of spiky Chihuly in winter. So it has begun. Now I need to find a red twig dogwood to chop down. I have also considered trying to see if the stems would root in a bucket of water.

Late this afternoon the grasses along the scenic byway came down. I am now at my most exposed position of the barren time.

In another month it will all be green and Lush again.

I can't believe it. Damn Varmints!!!!! As I was cutting the grasses on the slope below the roadside vegetable garden, the crowns were pulling free as I pulled the cut tops away. The whole crown of two clumps were entirely eaten, as in gone, no more and will not return. The third clump has about one fifth of it left.

I loved those variegated grasses there. Damn Varmints!!! I can't believe they ate the whole thing.

I need more cats. Or better cats. Button is actually a very good hunter only here he is aiming for Miss Collar and a loud ruckus could ensue. I don't like  those loud hissing ruckuses. Neither does Miss Collar.

One minute they are sleeping peacefully side by side. The next minute there is a rumble - at 6:30 am. Button can be a butthole.

Spring is here and everybody is spending more quality time outside getting things done. Ten springs later, a garden has grown substantial form.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Little Things Of Spring

The Under Garden's final month of prominence is at hand. More life is stirring. As the world turns green, the contrast of the Under Garden to the barren will be lost. 

There are daffodils of course. A  good number of them survived the snowsquash. It's all about how far along they are when a bout of winter returns. There are enough that there will be daffodils blooming for another month.

The minor bulbs are beginning to bloom. There are random specks and big patches spread across the wild cultivated gardens. Their numbers increase annually and exponentially.

It still looks barren out there, but a slow walk on a warm day is full of discovery.

The legendary Oconee Bell has opened for spring. This gifted plant has done well for me. Ever so slowly it is expanding. I contemplate dividing it since it now has multiple heads. Patience is a wiser option. Why hurry? I am here for the duration.

The relocated Trout Lilies are up and blooming. The more days that go by the more babies I am finding near one patch. We like multiplication.

I was just pleased that most of the Winter Aconite came up in the second attempt at bulb planting. The first to bloom looks to be making seed. I have seen the first trilliums rising and the Celendine Poppy is forming mounds of foliage as it prepares to bloom.

Life is stirring. The little things come first.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Late Afternoon In The Garden

It seems the days got longer over night. Now I don't sit until after 7pm many days That makes for low blogging enthusiasm until I adjust to this new schedule.

Last Sunday was another matter. A day predicted to be sunny and fifty degrees was cloudy, cold and thirty until mid-afternoon. I didn't think I was going to be able to work in my own garden. It was well below my minimum operating temperature.

The sun finally came out and it warmed right up. I managed to sow peas, spinach and lettuce in the roadside vegetable garden. The potatoes will have to wait for another day. They sit sprouted on the kitchen counter ready to go.

Unsquashed daffodils are blooming nicely.

The Trout Lilies are up. Even better it is making babies. Maybe one day I will have a carpet of Trout Lilies on the forest floor.

Maybe one day I will have a carpet of Winter Aconite in the Great Lawn before it wakes for the season.

The tree formerly known as rotten was rearranged. The grasses in the Tall Flower Meadow were cut and the rubbish was burned.

I even went ahead and transplanted the Red Twig Dogwoods that were worth saving in preparation for finding some Dog Hobble to follow me home. The plan is to close in a hedge of it behind the glass and tile table top. I need six. I might be forced to buy them.

I'm beginning to think my idea of a garden that would blend into the forest setting has gone out the window, particularly during the period of winter interest. Even I slow down to rubberneck while driving by. I know plenty other people do to. That is not a sign of blending in.

Oh well. It was a nice idea while it lasted.

Saturday, March 18, 2017


There has been a great deal of resistance to the full time resumption of my money making rut. I'm willing. Things just keep getting in the way.

The snow has melted. Come Monday I will try once again to start refilling the coffers full time.

I did work today after the rain passed. My second item on the agenda was thwarted by a closed gate to which I have never been overly interested in getting the code. I came home early instead.

No problem. The wind and snow and big rain last night caused the glass and tile table top past the fire pit to fall over. The tree trimmers pulled them - good thing - before dropping a tree on top of them. He just jammed them back in the ground. It was on my list to reset them. Then winter arrived and it was put on hold.

They are firmly reset now.

The low mounding evergreen tapestry of texture and color that is the garden of winter interest rests in a post traumatic phase ready for spring. Is it all over yet?

Tomorrow the grasses will come down. The first sowing in the roadside vegetable garden is planned. I have a little post tree trimmer chainsaw work that needs doing. Tomorrow is my garden day. Then back to the routine.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Dandelion Was Still There

One thing has emerged from the snowsquash no worse for the wear. This dandelion is as perky as can be. I spotted the first dandelion of spring near the dung piles before the snow fell.

The crocus fared pretty well too. They look good enough even with some crisping on the petal edges.

The daffodils are another matter. It is a mixed bag of snapped stems and those that stand a chance of perking up.

The baby Bosnian Pines are upright again. They have a definite lean to the south and the sun. That is more of a long term sunlight issue than a snowsquash issue.

Poor, poor daffodils. All we can do is wait for the melt and some warm. There are certainly a large number of daffodils in reserve. The bloom is not completely lost. It is dented, that's for sure.

I will say our elevation and Tennessee border location does have its advantages. The daffodils I saw today lower down and further south looked miserable. Some actually looked like they froze. The further along they are in bloom and growth, the more susceptible daffodils are to cold damage.

The melt had begun. The coming rain will move it along.

The Winter Aconite are proving to be a sturdy and patient lot.

I will look for them with the crocus in a normal year. We are bound to have one now and again.

While I was looking at crocus, some spiky foliage poking up through the snow caught my eye. I do believe I found one of the missing clumps of crocus from around the fire pit. There they were eight feet away under a fern leaf. They looked a bit large and to numerous to be from seed.

Why would some damn varmint dig up crocus bulbs only to store them below ground eight feet away? Have Carol's garden fairies moved into my garden? Damn Fairies!