Ready or not... Spring is here!

8:06 AM

Good Morning,
For the past week I have been working in my gardens cleaning out the beds and pruning back old perennial foliage and stems. We have had 80 degree weather for the past four days, so the plants are growing by leaps and bounds.

One of Ellen's perennial beds- freshly mulched
I have personally laid down over 800 pounds of mulch... (If your wondering how I know the pounds- well it comes in 50 pound bags, and I have hauled and carried and dumped no less than 20 bags of mulch in the past few days.)

My husband put the kibosh on my work-till-you-drop-garden-extravaganza on Tuesday. That was the day I raked out the bottom half of the yard, bagged leaves in compost-able bags, hauled about a dozen of those big compost-able bags to the curb for yard waste recycle day, and built a 4 foot tall compost pile with the rest of the leaves. Then I cut back the secret garden, and hauled and laid down about 12 bags of mulch-- by myself, in various flower beds all over the yard... In my defense- it was warm, sunny and hey, I was on a roll.

I was literally staggering in the yard that afternoon when my husband woke up and came out to talk to me. I went to answer him and apparently I made no sense. He turned around went back inside and then handed me a glass of juice and told me to go eat something.

Blood sugar crash, table for one, please.

So I drank my juice, ate a protein bar and came back outside feeling really loopy, only to find that he was hauling more bags of mulch around and finishing up one of the beds for me- before he went in to work a 10 hour shift. I listened to the "are you crazy?" lecture and (for once) didn't argue with him.
Typically I work on the beds in the spring a little at a time. But this year spring didn't come tiptoeing in. It just said "BOOM! Here I am!" and that sent me scrambling to keep up.
Forsythia blooming in Ellen's yard

At the moment in my neighborhood EVERYTHING is blooming, saucer magnolias, forsythia, quince, plums, and those damn Bradford pears...
Yeah, yeah, I hate those trees, the most over planted tree in the mid-west and when they all bloom they smell like a dirty cat box. Not to mention what they do to folks with allergies. When we get the mass bloom of bradford pears, everyone in town suffers.
I woke up with a stopped up head this morning, and even my 24 hour allergy medicine is laughing at the level of pollen in the air from the Bradford pears. They get me every year.

Hyacinth blooming in Ellen's garden
On the plus side my gardens look terrific. Yesterday my friend Kina, came over to help me finish up mulching the beds in the front yard. My husband had lectured me again on not overdoing it and I behaved myself and only hauled and laid down 6 bags of mulch- with help.

Once the beds were done, Kina and I picked up and then dumped the two year old potting soil out of the big 3 foot long flower container into the waiting wheelbarrow. (That old potting soil is great for my compost pile.) Then I filled the big container with fresh potting soil that will feed any flowers planted in there for 6 months. This time-release potting soil is new product my husband brought home from work for me to try out.

Kina and I then sat, she on an overturned bucket and me on the edge of the porch, and planted up the big old container by my front door with multicolored pansies and violas.
It's been a long time since I planted flowers with a friend. I tend to be pretty territorial with designing and planting my planters, containers and window boxes... But being up to our wrists in soil, laughing, planting flowers and brainstorming about ways to bump up Kina's gardens at her house was really fun.

 As soon as my coneflowers break the ground and can be transplanted I am going to pot some up and take some coneflowers over to Kina. She has a spot along her driveway that is full sun. I'm thinking Munstead lavender and purple coneflowers would do well there. After all flowers are meant to be shared.

I texted her yesterday to say thanks for the help, and she finally texted back late in the evening. She had been inspired to rake out her own gardens and had been working in her yard all afternoon and evening. Plotting for new flower beds at her home.
Apparently the gardening bug has just bitten my friend. I had to chuckle, and now I can't wait to help her with her own soon-to-be-flower gardens in a few weeks.

Spring is here- ready or not. So, go rake out last year's leaves, trim back the old perennial foliage, mulch your flower beds and plant some flowers with a friend.
Blessed be, Ellen
Garden Witch's Herbal by Ellen Dugan

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  1. I'm glad you're having so much fun. It's work I wish I could be doing. Here in the NW, it's not quite time yet. We've only had a glimpse, but I made good use of it!

  2. Its still snowing in Alaska, but summer will hit like a ton of bricks this year, I think, like it is down there.

    I'm excited for fireweed. The flower itself is stunning, and the shoots make tasty salad greens.

  3. I live in a small condo complex, but when the snow stops coming we're having a community gardening day. It will be fun to get to know the neighbors more, whilst digging in the dirt.

    Thanks for this lovely post, it has made me even more excited for spring to come.

  4. What a perfect post! I was in Lowes today picking out carriage lights for the front of our house and on the way to checkout I happened upon some gorgeous Heather bushes! OMGeeeeee...I had to have them! I bought two plants, ripped out shrubs in my front beds so these would get all the attention, and now I'm itching to go back and buy more RIGHT NOW. I LOVE SPRING!!!!!!!


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