Marty’s Gardening Journal, April 5th, 2009


Hellebores white 2At the big box garden centers truckloads of annual plants have already arrived. It is still a bit early to get tender annuals, such as zinnias, impatiens or vinca in the ground as they will not withstand any frost which can still occur in this region (zone 6b) between now and mid May. But hardy annuals or even semi hardy annuals can be found now and put in the ground. Just keep your fingers crossed that we don’t experience a severe frost which will wipe them all out. I too could not resist the lure of more color early in the season and bought a few pansies and marigolds to liven up the garden. So far, so good. Hellebores pink

 Walking through the garden now I am greeted by the many flowers on the Hellebores (Lenten rose) sprinkled throughout the garden. Growers have been busy hybridizing this interesting perennial, bringing us many different varieties of flowers. I have white, red, pink and ruffled flowers, some speckled inside in a contrasting color. The flowers last for months on the plant, but early spring is when you notice them most before other plants steal their thunder. At one of the small flower shows I attended two months ago I came across a new variety with a white flower which stood up straight rather than the more usually seen nodding head. This plant was in nearly every exhibited garden, but none of the vendors carried it and I am still trying to find it at every store I visit, so far without luck.

Pulmonaria (lungworth) Somehow, somewhere an insect found its way into the house and suddenly big bites were taken out of orchid leaves and the staghorn fern. At first I couldn’t find the culprit, but it seems a weevil-like bug was responsible for the damage and, once found, it was summarily executed. For now no new damage has been done and while the holes will not go away, new leaves will grow in time and obscure the damage.

 All the willows have now been cut back, or hat-racked, or pollarded, as the horticultural term goes. That left me with many (many!!) long, thin branches, which we planned to put through the shredder. However, with branches so pliable, the shredder finds it impossible to cut them to bits. Instead they wind themselves around the blade, bringing the shredder to a full stop. Now The Spouse has found himself in charge of cutting up these branches in small sections so they can go in the trash. At the rate we are going, it will take a full month to get rid of it all, but as always, The Spouse is indispensable doing the work I would rather not be doing. We do make a great team!Hellebores pink

The gazebo, home to odds and ends stored over the winter time, has been cleaned out. Favorite chairs are put back in and two new storage racks were purchased to hold plants and garden related items. After all, my budding orchid collection needs more space than ever before, at least that’s the excuse I gave The Spouse when the racks arrived as large packages in the mail. Putting them together was literally a snap and now all I do is wait for better weather to arrive so I can move plants outdoors. It will not be a moment too soon for sunshine and warmth to arrive; the plants and I are both anxious to go back outside.