April Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

scan of april blooms
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For more about this technique, see Scanning Flowers.

With the cold weather this week, the garden has been in a state of suspended animation. No daffodils or tulips yet, though the former are budding and the the latter did add some leaf.

Small, low-growing spring ephemerals are about all that’s flowering. Various iris are past their prime, most having been damaged by temps in the teens. (Same goes for crocus.) Snowdrops are also past their prime on the south side, but in their prime on the north side of the house. Hellebores are peaking. Pulmonaria, primula and corydalis are coming on. Cyclamen continue to bloom, as they have most of the winter. Coltsfoot flowers show up here and there. Willows are still putting on a show.

This time of the year, foliage adds to the display. Old and new heuchera leaves. Lamium. Scotch thistle. Emerging sedums.

It was nice to do a little garden clean-up today. The soil is still a little on the wet side. Now I’ll say good-bye to the ground for awhile, what with a foot of snow predicted for Sunday and Monday.

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BREAKING: Fish alive!

Koi, Shubunkin

With temps up in the 40s yesterday and some sun in the afternoon, the ice cleared from the water garden. Because it’s spring-fed, it’s late to ice over and quick to melt. In it’s short life, I’ve never had to worry much about fish winterkilling. Still, it’s always a relief to see that the koi, shubunkins, goldfish, and minnows (goodness knows where they came from) are fine — if a little on the skinny side.

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Remembering summer 2006 (Part 1)

I rediscovered a bunch of images I’d taken and prepared for blogging last September, but never had time to put them online. The scenes came as quite a shock, now that I’ve gotten used to the snowy landscape. Will try to get the rest of the images — mostly vignettes of favorite plants and combos — over the next few weeks as we countdown to spring.

Click on pix for larger images.

Bathroom view View from the bathroom window, now under that curvy drift in the winter images.

Border and containers
Border and containers.

The container cluster, which is now the container stack in the winter images. Brugmansia, cannas, elephant ears, dahlias.

ContainersExpanded water garden, which finally froze over about 3 weeks ago. Hope the fishies are doing OK.

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Water garden installed

One of my big projects this summer was building a water garden. It’s about 10 feet by 6 feet and 3 feet deep with a ledge for pots of emergent plants around the edges.

Water Garden, Aug. 2005

I chose a spot where I suspected there might have been an old spring house. The digging went quickly. I never found the spring house but I did find water about 2.5 feet down and a drain line leading to the south. I capped the line and lined the excavation with 6-mm clear plastic. I have a standard pond liner still in the box. I just couldn’t bear to use it and cut a hole in it for the spring water to run in and for the drain line to run out. Maybe next year I’ll decide I need it.

I lined the edges of the ‘pond’ with stone, built a small patio for a bench, and also lined much of the bottom and ledges with more stone. Friday, I move the pots of equisetum and corkscrew rush to the ledges, and drew down the water in the half whiskey barrel tub I had them in. Then I lugged the plastic barrel liner over and sunk it into the deep end along with the water lillies and shebunkin. They all seem happier in the larger pool now, joining the minnows that were already there from hauling water up from the stream when I originally filled the pond.

It’s amazing how cool the water is from the trickle that comes in from the spring. (I’ve already soaked in it a couple times after some hot chores.) It’s been very dry this summer, but the ground is sogging around the outlet and is screaming out for some bog plantings — eupatorium, thalictrum, ligularias and the like.

It still has a rough feel to it. But the final stamp of approval came today when I discovered two large frog have taken up residence, hiding in the outlet, behind the rock edgings, or in the lily tub.

Frog on corkscrew rush

I tend not to sit much in the garden. But this spot has already enticed me to pause more than any other.

Update 8/13/2005

I think the frogs really like the water garden. I’ve seen as many as four sitting on the edge of the pond and there are now frog eggs all over the place.


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