Saturday, March 28, 2015

Six Inches

The weather diagnosis people at NOAA have regular problems with quantities. The general prognostication is usually on target. I just can't ever count on the specifics.

Maybe an inch of snow in the night turned into twelve plus hours of steady snow and six inches on the ground by morning. The low was 18, lower than what was suggested.

What daffodils? I won't know how they fared until late tomorrow afternoon.

Thankfully it wasn't a wet heavy snow.

And it proceeded to melt the moment the sun came out.

Which is good. A guest is coming tomorrow to check out the Bulbapaloozathon. I can invite you to see the wild cultivated gardens, but my diagnosis of how things will be could be a little off.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Then It Snowed

A big box of summer blooming roots and tubers arrived that needed to be planted in my stomped through beds. There were dahlias, begonia, calla lily, gladiolas, astilbe and crocosmia.

I'm still not willing to discuss what the construction worker dudes have been doing to my new beds. I think it is plain to see.

Every thing but the crocosmia got planted. I have a whole new bed in mind for that and need to discuss it with the Lady of the House. I did wait until the major stomping was done. Now if they can just confine themselves to the paths and keep their debris out of the beds all will be well. I'll have a word with the fence painter when I see him just to make things clear.

The summer roots and tubers were planted and then it started to snow. Someone's diagnosis was slightly off apparently.

This new bed's fate is unknown. The construction is the base for a wedding gazebo. It will have two side walls on either side parallel to the wall in the foreground and fill will be brought in to level the lawn area. The lawn's fate is also unknown. It may become a stone patio for church pews. An extra wide aisle for the bride has to lead up to the gazebo some how.

This new bed will have some adjustments coming for sure.

I think the new beds on the view side of the house are pretty safe, minus the current losses, as long as the railing builders and painters don't have any accidents.

The Posh Estate #2 has a name and it's own website. The Inn at Tranquility Farm is going to be a distinctive and unique event venue and lodging destination situated in the peaceful Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. With over 60 acres of land, Tranquility Farm offers an exclusive, elegant and exceptional back drop for your special event or wedding day.

I will be the gardener in the background.

And the head operating technician of fisheries and pond scum.

It was a might too cold to be gluing stiff pipe and filter falls together. The second fall will have to wait for a day when it is not snowing. I did spend some quality time organizing my rocks and tidying up the area. I work better in tidy.

It is a close to finished pond, rebuild wise. The pretty comes after the construction, usually. I've been stirring up the water to get the dirt that fell in moving so the filters will clean it up when I have it running. I want my baby fishes to have clear clean water.

Back home on the mountain top the hellebores are blooming well. Then it snowed. And it is going to get cold, as in the lower 20's. Helleborus flowers do not do well with that. I expect they will be toast.

It was nice while it lasted.

Will it be a crushing snow? Daffodils will actually lie down when it gets real cold and stand back up when it warms. Heavy snow can snap the stems though and then they can't get back up.

We have plenty of daffodils in reserve just in case things go bad.

Even the trilliums will do a wilt and lie down routine in the cold. Most of them have not even made an appearance yet so they are safe for now.

What will the garden look like in the morning? The snow started twelve hours earlier than indicated. Will it be over sooner or will there be more than expected?

I'm not in charge so I'll just have to wait and find out.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Other Gardens I Tend

The bulbs are in full swing at Client#1's.

Client #1 has two gardens I tend.

This is the other one. The Magnolia stellata is in full bloom just in time for a big freeze.

I haven't planted any new bulbs in this garden the last two falls. You can't tell the difference. He may have been sneaking in some new bulbs behind my back. It is hard to keep track in a garden packed full of bulbs.

I switched him to daffodils after the great varmint harvest of the tulips one winter. The beds starting filling with bulbs permanently from then on.

I finished early enough again today to add another twenty bags of hardwood mulch to the roadside vegetable garden. It is halfway done. I actually feel caught up with work after such a dramatic backed up start. I can dedicate April to new ponds and new plantings. I may even get some editing in. Come May, my regular schedule will resume in earnest.

The spring ring of crocus is winding down.

And while I was taking this picture I discovered something new, a circle of grape hyacinth in the Great Lawn that I completely forgot I planted. I'll have a smaller purple/blue circle next.

I wonder how the Trout Lily is going to react to snow, possibly one to two inches, and temperatures in the 20's twice?

It's nothing new. We do this every year. I expect we will do it again before April is over. Despite the regular assault a garden continues to form. In another month, the time of the Lush will have arrived.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In Gardens I Tend

The new fountain is full and running at the Posh Estate #2. It is my hope that the construction worker dudes are done digging trenches through this one main entry bed at the least. I know they are not done stomping through it. We won't discuss what they have been doing to all the other newly planted beds.

I will be doing my best procrastination routine to delay planting the flowering perennials until the chaos there subsides. I will remain calm and breathe.

One fall of Twin Falls Pond is up and running. The first test run went splendidly. The second fall needs to be rebuilt. Then it's all about arranging rocks. After that comes plants and fish. This will keep me busy while the construction worker dudes are stomping through all my newly planted beds.

I will remain calm and breathe.

I calm right down the moment I pull into my driveway. I am the only person who is authorized to go stomping through any notion of a proper bed that you might find here.

Then over the creek and through the woods to supper I go. There are calming sights along the way.

After dinner there is time for a stroll through the ridge top garden where the forest floor is bursting with colorful life.

The Puschkinia above and the Chionodoxa here have been self sowing dramatically. I thinks it helps that I have been killing off the Silver Lamium that used to form a thick ground cover in large parts of the garden.

Chionodoxa and daffodils.

There is a freeze and a chance of snow coming for Friday and Saturday. The bulbs usually handle that with no problems. Bud break for most everything else is still in a contemplation phase so all should be well with this freeze. April can be cruel though. The gardener always wishes for the best.

I will remain calm and breathe.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Roadside Compliments

I finished work kind work early enough to stop and fetch some mulch for the roadside vegetable garden. If I do it a bit at a time when the time presents itself, it will get done sooner rather than later.

While I was spreading mulch another neighbor came to a stop on the scenic byway.

"You really keep this place tidied up and looking good. I appreciate that."

Um, gee, well, thanks. Actually I said I was looking forward to when more flowers were blooming and have a nice day.

There is no messy trash on my section of the scenic byway. It is pretty disgusting a quarter mile in either direction of me. Maybe he was referring to that?

The newly planted potato aisles are mulched. That was a dozen bags. Another forty to fifty should do the whole vegetable garden. Gardey pulls weeds all day. There is no need to come home and do it some more. It is a good thing when I can weed the entire roadside vegetable garden in fifteen minutes.

At home I edit. That's a little different than weeding.

More anemone are coming into bloom. These are pretty good multipliers and spreaders. I should transfer some of them into my section of the wild cultivated gardens.

Crocus multiply well too as long as the varmints don't find them and eat up the bulbs.

More gaudy. I don't know why this sets me on edge just a bit. Is it the perfect circle that makes it seem so unnatural?  It feels like I went to the craft store and stuck a bunch of fake flowers in the ground.

Up close it's not so bad. Then you can tell the flowers are real.

But it is done and I ain't digging them up to change things. Maybe if I added some pink flamingos?

I like them this way.

A lot less gaudy, but equally thrilling is the baby Oconee Bell, Shortia galacifolia. It had four flowers last year. I'm only getting two this time. If it forms a dense mat as it should, the flower display could become quite showy in years to come. When it gets a bit bigger I may slice off a piece and try it in a sunnier location.

Another new thrill is the native Trout Lily that I transferred into the garden last year. All three places I planted them have returned. I am hoping they reproduce and spread about. The hillside where I found them was covered by thousands.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tiny Blue Bulbs




Sunday, March 22, 2015

While I Was Planting Potatoes

The suggested rain held off for the day. It wasn't sunny, but it was warm enough to overcome the shade. The first of 10,000 daffodils are ready to pop.

The ring of spring around the fire pit is at peak.

It's actually kind of gaudy.

The colors are so vibrant against the barren.

All the different colors do not flow. I wouldn't say they clash necessarily.

The intensity is just a little jarring after so long without.

And fun and enjoyable, a real spectacle of spring.

Very soon yellow will become the dominant color of spring. Gaudy will be gone and I will miss it.

Meanwhile, the roadside vegetable garden was completely dunged. That was my project for the day. The time for the first planting and sowing is now. I needed to get my potatoes in.

Three rows ready for potatoes.

I dig a trench about  eight inches deep, put in the seed potatoes and cover it back up. I don't do that hilling up routine as the potatoes grow. Gardey don't have time for that. I get plenty potatoes anyway.

Next comes a fresh layer of mulch. I can't go another season without it. My tree trimmer's wood chip dumping ground is still closed off. I have no idea where they dump their chips now. This year I will have to buy bagged hardwood mulch for the garden. It will serve the same purpose and decompose just as well, feeding the soil as it breaks down.

And while I was planting potatoes a passing car came to a stop. That pretty much means I can't ignore them and have to see what they want.

"I'm your neighbor from down below and I just wanted to tell you I really love the bike."

"Thank you."

"I really, really love the bike."

"It amuses me too."

This was after discussing dung, wood chips, mulch and a no-till garden with another neighbor who stopped to check in.

Working in the roadside vegetable garden seems to be my neighborhood social hour.

At least the word will get out that the guy who lives in the roadside attraction at the top of the mountains seems friendly and normal enough. Trust me. They talk amongst themselves.