Marty's Garden, April 20th, 2019


If the last four weeks are any indication of how spring will progress, I say, bring it on. From March 21st till now the temperatures have slowly inched up and at this point I gamble on continued good weather. Two weeks ago I put the dahlias out on the porch; a risky endeavor considering they do not handle any cold weather well. The first night I tossed a light frost blanket over all of them; just to ensure the 38-degree weather didn’t do them in on their first day out. After that, they have remained uncovered and while the wind occasionally whipped them around a bit, they have come through unscathed. Today I put them in their designated beds and the drenching rains we are expecting should water them in well. Then I will keep my fingers crossed for the next three weeks in the hope no unexpected (but possible) frost will hit between now and mid-May. Well, as a gardener I am an optimist but not every plant benefits from this trait. However, when I am overly optimistic if something will live in my garden, it also provides me with new opportunities when something doesn’t. Yes, life in this garden occasionally can be rough. 

My blue river of grape hyacinths flowed a little more powerful than a year ago. I added more bulbs this fall while some of the baby bulbs from previous years’ growth are now starting to bloom as well. In time (give or take two to three years) I should have a nearly solid blue flow from the tops of the rocks to the top of the retaining wall. Then, as the grape hyacinths fade, the ice plant will start blooming with bright yellow flowers. Without a doubt, my springs will be colorful!

 Something that didn’t do well in the garden, my much heralded Schip Laurels, got the old heave ho a few weeks ago. They looked raggedly and while it is claimed they have no “significant pests” bothering them, mine had many leaves with large holes in them. No clue what was eating them, but happy they were not. The best looking two got relocated; the others were put out at the curb at trash time. Instead I reworked the entire bed. Two lengths of willow screen were put up against the fence. This will serve as a background for a few clematis plants which (in time) will disguise the willow screen and the fence which is still slightly visible behind it. An arbor was put in the middle of the bed and right behind it… a door. While it is a non-working door, as plants grow up around it, it will look like a gateway to another garden. The arbor will have yellow climbing roses growing up and over it, mixed with clematis ‘Betty Corning’. ‘Betty’ has blue purplish bell-like flowers and it will clamber through the roses. On either side of the arbor, large hostas have been relocated from other spots in the garden. Meanwhile I also dug up a few patches of Irish moss and put it down in front of the door. This will become my bright green entrance mat in front of the door. Today I noticed the nose of a Hosta coming through a patch of Irish moss; it will have to be teased out and relocated. Meanwhile the Solomon seal planted last fall is also coming up in front of the door. This too will need to be dug up and put off to the side. The vision that came to me last fall is slowly becoming reality in the garden; so far, my spring is off to a great start. Let’s see what the rest of the growing season will bring.