Tag Archives: weeding

Sunshine and Weeds

Today was ideal for being in the garden, even if the task at hand was to weed a long strip along the fence on the north side. It was sunny, temperatures in low sixties and peaceful—no mosquitoes, no air conditioners running yet and only one neighbor mowed his lawn.

There is nothing new blooming at this time, but the daffodils continue to add brightness and cheer.

Daffodil

Daffodil

Daffodil

Daffodil

Recently there have been some very windy days, sending drifts of lemony fragrance around the yard from the Daphne odora (Winter daphne) The Winter daphne has been blooming for weeks. Most of the flowers are browned, damaged by cold weather, but the delicious scent lingers.

Daphne odora  (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Progress in pulling weeds today was slow as I have injured my left hand and doctor’s orders are to rest it and not lift more than a few pounds. The hand seems to be improving, but slowly. I could not waste the beautiful day so I weeded with the other hand. This was highly inefficient but it allowed me to enjoy being in the garden, thinking garden thoughts.

One thing I contemplated is where are all the early spring plants I added last year? There is no sign that Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebell) will return—I think it should coming up by now. It was among a group of natives I added to the garden last March. From that group at least the three Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) and three Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox) have survived.  Others which I believe likely did not make it are Chrysogonum virginianum (Green and Gold), Geranium maculatum (Wild geranium), and Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot). There is no sign either of Polemonium ‘Bressingham Purple’ (Jacob’s Ladder), which was crushed by a neighbor’s broken pine tree mid-summer. I hoped somehow it was tough enough to rebound.

It is too early in the gardening season to be discouraged I think. Tomorrow should be another nice day for gardening. With plenty more weeds awaiting, there should be ample time to ponder the fate of these lost plants and to work out how to fill the void, yet again, left by their absence. Better still, perhaps the plants will turn up.

Must-Haves And Have-Nots

The weather today was clear and sunny with the temperature perhaps reaching sixty.  It was a few degrees cooler yet just as lovely yesterday, perfect for putting in a few hours to continue the weeding.  Weeding is not particularly a favorite chore, but it provided an opportunity to be close to the earth—to see what is growing, to remember what plants did well in each spot last year and which did not, to make mental notes of future tasks and simply to enjoy being outside in garden.

Must-Haves

Emerging growth is visible on a variety of plants this week, including some of my garden favorites. I uncovered a few of these must-have plants as I worked my way around the perennial beds weeding and removing old stems and stalks no longer needed for winter interest.

Have-Nots

The have-nots, of course, are the weeds. My fingers are well familiar their root structures from years of coaxing their ancestors from the soil. Lately I have been trying to identify them by name, but except for the dandelion, these are tentative identifications.

Nice To Have, Won’t Have Later

Ample rains and a recent mowing makes the tall fescue lawn appear at its best today, lush and verdant. Under the care of a different gardener, one who believes in lots of watering, the grass might be coaxed into staying this way all summer.

Last year it stayed fairly nice until early June. By then North Carolina’s heat, humidity and dry spells had set in and the grass turned patchy brown until fall. Year-round green grass is not a must-have for this garden and at some point more of the lawn may be given over to flowers. Today though it certainly is pleasant to have the green.

Garden View With Verdant Lawn

Spring Cleanup

Weeds surround iris

For the past week weeding the garden beds has been a main focus of activities.  There are other important tasks, such as pruning and transplanting to attend, but catching the weeds now will save labor later.

This season weeding has proven to be as much an opportunity as a challenge, as it allows a chance to spend hours at a time listening to the birds and succumbing to moments of reflection. And sure enough, it is satisfying to see the results of of one’s labor!

There is another pragmatic and immediate benefit of this week’s weeding.  Mulch is scheduled for Saturday delivery and I want to inspect every inch of the beds to avoid stepping on or covering up emerging plants.

Cosmos Oct 16 2010

Lots of little seedlings were visible in the side garden yesterday, where last year’s largely failed project to fill the bed with annuals – zinnias, bachelor buttons and cosmos – occurred.

This combination should have been a sure-thing, but results were disappointing.  Some seedlings do appear to be zinnias.

Cleome June 26 2006

I will be on the lookout to protect any volunteering cleome (spider flower) as well, which in previous years had overflowed that garden bed.

The cleome’s flowers are so appealing that for a long time it did not matter the cleomes eventually obstructed the path and dominated everything else.

Cleome July 9 2006

Disciplining plants is not primarily important in my garden when they offer reliably luxurious bloom and color, but eventually I took action to suppress the seeds.  Now I hope a few of this old-fashioned plant survived.  Originally they were passed along to me for my previous garden by a friend who purchased seeds during a visit to Monticello.

Rain fell all night and at 7:15 AM it already is 56 degrees (on its way to 65).  More rain and storms are predicted during the day, so there may not be much chance to weed today.  It’s a sure bet the warming temperatures and last night’s rain will encourage even more weeds.  Will the weeding continue to feel more like opportunity than overwhelming challenge?