Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Bit of Spring Cleaning

After a weekend of cold drizzly rain (which we desperately needed), it was a treat to be in the garden today in the warm sun. It got into the high 60's, and was the perfect day to do some "spring cleaning" in the vegetable garden and the big perennial beds. Can you believe we're only a month from planting summer annuals?

The blueberries are positively covered with blooms, which are pretty in the walled garden, since everything else there is either still dormant or just starting to grow for spring.

I managed to pull out some of the winter cabbages, which had started to bolt with this warm weather, and are developing that funky odor that occurs when they start their decline. Time to move the last of the "Antique Shades" pansies from the nursery area to the displays at the front of the house, since it still needs to look good for another month before the spring things arrive. They are the perfect color for the brick of the house, but a challenging cultivar that needs lots of babying.

Took the broom to the creeping fig that covers the wall in the garden; it starts to look pretty ratty at this time of year, so the broom makes quick work of brushing away the dead leaves, exposing the new growth; it was exciting to have to tiptoe through the spears of asparagus that have just started popping up in the past couple of days! One of the luxuries of being the gardener is standing in the garden, in the silence, in the sun, eating the first stalk of the season's asparagus......

I was raking away the last of the autumn leaves from the vegetable beds (we leave a light covering there for the winter), and discovered the tiny little shoots of sweetpeas around the base of the tuteurs....I can't wait to see them start racing up the slats in the next couple of weeks!

Across the gravel walkway, the peonies are showing their heads (one in a particularly hot spot is about six inches high already), so I got to put out their cages for another spring show. Peonies always make me smile, thinking of my grandmother calling them "Pee-OH-nies" with the New York accent that still came through, even 70 years after leaving her childhood home.

I finished my day giving a haircut to the "Sunny Yellow" Knockout Roses that arrived a few weeks ago, grooming them to go into containers at the pool in a few weeks. There is something magical about spring, when you can literally watch things grow right in front of your eyes!

Leave the dreaded leaf blowers and power mowers in the garage for just another week! Sit back and enjoy the simplicity of the spring garden.....and look for those first spears of asparagus!
PS....The sakurafubuki is getting closer!


  1. Asparagus spears, a true rite of Spring.

    I'll leave the power mower where it is alright.

    The longer I leave it the better, not my favourite job lawn mowing.

    Will you post up the Sweet Pea progress?


  2. Ooh, ooh, ooh! I must gloat: It actually got close to 70 here yesterday!!! HA!!! (But don't worry, that's freaky warm for MI this time of year; it will normalize soon.) Figs are another one of those plants I mostly hear about, but have only rarely seen. I think they may grow in weird microclimates here, but not all over. Cool! We do get blueberries and asparagus, though! :)

  3. Love the broom idea :). I also love asparagus...pretty nice to be able to pick them fresh

  4. Asparagus spears look too foreign to eat. ;~P

  5. Is the creeping fig in a protected area? Just how hardy is it here? A friend from south Alabama gave me two in pots last fall and I overwintered them. Now I'm not sure where to put them.

    Yes, it is scary to think that planting time for annuals is only one month away. There is so much to do right now and I'm overwhelmed. And it is hard to find good gardening help!

  6. I have heard mixed reviews about the creeping fig and its hardiness. Some have told me to plant it in a protected location in part shade, but I have it out in blistering sun on a brick wall and it thrives! My recommendation would be to put it on a wall that gets sun during the winter months, as well, and it should be fine. If there is a real cold snap the leaves die, but the plant is just fine. When the new growth starts in spring, I take the broom to it, to "exfoliate" the dead leaves. The other cool thing is that as the plant gets older (after a few years), the leaves start to look more like regular fig leaves.