Friday, February 16, 2018

Fickle February

February has been a fickle month weather-wise. The first half was considerably colder than normal. The ground has been frozen so that not much is growing. These past couple of days have been the opposite, warmer than normal. It will all even out I imagine.  
While it has been warmer the buds of my little patch of Snowdrops finally opened.  I have had to be patient. They have sat here with buds for a long time. It just make me appreciate them more.
While there isn't much to do outside I have been walking around looking. Sometimes that is a good thing. I noticed that the oval garden has lost it's shape somewhat. So I got to thinking about what I should do about this. Also you can see the leaves of the Hellebores just behind this big rock. This has been a tough winter on Hellebores. They usually stay mostly green but not this year. 
Last summer I made a short brick wall as you can see behind Annie. I like the way it has corralled some plants and made the path more defined. So I says to myself what can I put around the Oval Garden to define it better. Rocks I says to myself. I don't have many more bricks but I have oodles of rocks here and there in the garden that I could gather and place around the Oval Garden.
So I got busy, as you can see.
The rocks are all foundlings. Nothing seems to match so I placed the largest ones on the corners (?) of the oval. I set them up with a few flat, then taller etc.
There was a little start and stop. Then no...just following the edge of the bed was not going to do.
So I pulled them out a little. It suits me that there will be a bit more planting area. Plus I got the browned tattered Hellebore leaves cut off. Not only does this look better but there is a little bit of green coming out.
I have a few more adjustments to make and few more rocks to gather.  I think I am going to like it. I have always wanted a rock wall. Who knows where this project will end.
While I was gathering the rocks I found this bit of British Soldier Lichen (Cladonia cristatela) growing on one of the larger rocks. A nice find. This is a lichen that is not often found around here. 
It soon became obvious that I am not the only one that likes the ribbon of rocks that is now around the Oval Garden. 
The Grey Squirrels think I laid a rock sidewalk for their pleasure. They obviously don't want to get their little feet muddy.
See the fencing laying on the ground behind the rocks?  The Squirrels are the reason why I have it laying there, so they don't dig up my tulip bulbs.  So far it has worked. They have certainly investigated this area and have done a little digging but the wire fencing discourages them. 
When the tulip leaves begin to come up I will have to put that fence and more around this area so the rabbits don't eat them.
 Such are the chores of this gardener during this fickle February.
Have you been able to get out and do much this winter?


Thursday, February 8, 2018

First Week of February 2018

This first week of February was a dilly. Not a dilly dilly. More like the pit of misery. It has been colder than usual but we won't let that get us down. Soon warmer weather is bound to come in.  Despite the cold weathers I have been out and about in the garden. Not a lot I can do right now but I just can't stay inside all the time. The stepping stone below has given me the sign of the time. I have never noticed this before on this stone. It must have been very happy to have company.
The things I have noticed most are first of all the birds are giving me the signal that things are changing. They are tuning up for the time when their songs will fill the air.
Inside I have been reading the book Gathering Moss A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Robin is a scientist and a Native American. In her book about mosses she has really drawn me into that mossy world. I have learned a lot with her way of adding a human aspect to the way of looking at moss. 
The book sent me scurrying out into the garden to see if any moss was reacting to the sun that is pouring in despite the cold temperatures. Sure enough... this little bit of cushion moss is greening up. 
Also, on this stick that I brought home last year a little bit of moss is beginning to show. This is a different type of moss than the little cushion moss. See how it stands up. Now if I can just figure out what kind I have here I will be pleased.
I would like a nice crop of moss someplace in the garden. I think the little cushion moss that came in uninvited is showing me where to try this. 
Do  you have  a mossy area in your garden?