Gardening activities of late?

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Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27
Gardening activities of late?

As the weather here has been spring-like for the last 10 days or so (ha! we're not fooled!* ;D), the snow melt has proceeded rapidly. We spent a very pleasant few hours over the last couple of days cleaning up the troughs, and cutting down perennials in the front yard (the back yard is largely still snowed in, in this second very snowy winter in a row). Now, of course, the backs of my legs and hamstrings are tight as guitar strings from bending over. (And this, despite that I exercise regularly... it just ain't fair!) Have to hobble down the basement stairs to tend my seedlings... arrgh!
What's everyone else been up to?

*Naturally, snow is forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday. ::)

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Well, as I told elsewhere in the forum, more snow last night. Can't see even the snowdrops along the wall, the snowcover is between 40 and 100cm still. It has never been a winter like this here for 100 years. If my muscles aches it is of removing snow from the driveway.
Luckily I have quite a few seedtrays down in the basement starting to germinate!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Post scriptum: This day has been mild but overcast and I found the first snowdrops! They peep out of the snow along the west wall of my house. Late, but welcome they are!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Yesterday was the warmest sunny day so far, reached 54 F (13 C) and the snow pack is receding quickly, more than half my yard now free of snow.  I spent about 5 hours outside, the first official "work in the garden" day in 2010. The ground is mucky, soft and wet on top but frozen below, so I focused on cleanup, pruning, cutting back perennials and shearing last years foliage on Epimediums.  Just as you experienced Lori, today I feel like someone beat me up with a large stick, I'm so sore from bending.  I too regularly exercise, mostly long distance running (and I run all winter too), but of course, one uses different muscles.

This year we had lots of snow in December, some more in January, which as it turns out, getting early snow has a beneficial effect for overwintering plants.  Checked yesterday, and the snow just coming off Iris suaveolens, the dwarf fans of foliage look very fresh, whereas in many years they get so blasted from insufficient snow that the clumps look terrible, even when flowering.  So, it'll be a good year for it.  Also checked Helleborus niger, and it is later than normal with the buds just starting to unfurl, the snow deeper this year where it is growing.  A couple photos from yesterday.

It is going to be warm and sunny again today.  Going to do a little field trip to a location nearby, where I tagged dozens of plants of Aster pilosus (now Symphyotrichum) of a population that exhibits tremendous variation, probably the latest blooming and most serviceable Aster ever.  The tagging was for me to go back and collect seed, but it wasn't ready in early December, and a couple days after my last seed check we had many deep snowfalls thus ending the season.  Believe it of not, the seed is ready now, and I will take some cuttings too, as the shoots sprout very early.  I will be posting a photo essay on this Aster.

Trond, good to hear you have seedlings coming up, and the snowdrops has appeared.  So far, one one pot is showing germination here, Iris sintenisii ssp. brandzae.  The snowdrops have been flowering for 1 week here.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Boland
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

Part of my garden is melted while a 3 foot drift still remains in other parts.  We had 118 mm rain in the last two days but it was only 1 C (lucky it wasn't snow!).  I have seen crocus and snowdrops open in some gardens up against south-facing walls.  I was amazed to find my Erica carnea 'Bell's Extra Special' in bloom....this is a new one and I didn't realize it bloomed so early.  My others bloom in April.

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Wow, it's a beauty!  I hope you were not affected by the power outage associated with the storm?

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Boland
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

Thankfully we got rain in St. John's so we had no power problems. Parts of the island did loose power and it may take several more days to restore it!  Major sleet storm!

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Boland wrote:

Part of my garden is melted while a 3 foot drift still remains in other parts.  We had 118 mm rain in the last two days but it was only 1 C (lucky it wasn't snow!).  I have seen crocus and snowdrops open in some gardens up against south-facing walls.  I was amazed to find my Erica carnea 'Bell's Extra Special' in bloom....this is a new one and I didn't realize it bloomed so early.  My others bloom in April.

Todd,
My Ericas are still covered with 3ft of snow. Usually they are early in bloom but they grow along the roadside so snow is heaped up in huge drifts. Now we have had mild weather but little sun for three days and nights (- do you have a word including both day and night? In Norwegian day + night = 'døgn'.) so the snow recedes fast.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I have to say, today I saw the first flowering crocuses in front of a south facing wall. I had to dig for something at home. Removed 30cm of snow and found some Hellebores. They were not untouched by winter!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Hoy wrote:

I have to say, today I saw the first flowering crocuses in front of a south facing wall. I had to dig for something at home. Removed 30cm of snow and found some Hellebores. They were not untouched by winter!

That is why, aside from low growing Helleborus niger, I don't bother trying to grow the larger H. hybridus type, as they get so battered and beaten that they're not really worth growing here.  I have seen magnificent stands of Helleborus in climates one or two zones warmer than where I am. And as well, when I lived in Zone 7-8 area of the Pacific Northwest, the "evergreenness" of Hellebores of all types could be fully appreciated and enjoyed every day of the year.  But now with all of the interspecific Helleborus niger hybrids, maybe there is hope for hardier more winter-forgiving hybrids suitable for northern gardeners.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Today is very foggy and wet. The snow still linger in my garden but the cover is much thinner. Some places I can almost see the ground. As the snow recedes I find the remains of the neighbors' cats digested food! (Did I get that right?)

Now I have trouble with the blackbirds (althoughthe cats are frequent  here), they dig everywhere hunting for maggots or whatever they find. They ruin small plants and disturb the roots.
Anybody else having trouble with birds and cats?

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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