UNDOING WINTER'S DAMAGE

I've been feverishly working on finishing up the new garden area in the side/back yard and I'm almost there. I'm at the really fun part of arranging and planting now. I love planting a new bed. There is something so wonderful about a clean slate to plant in.

But with me spending so much time in that area of the garden, the rest of the garden has been completely neglected. I have so much weeding and edging to do, it's not funny. I've been down this road before and every time I tell myself, "NO MORE GARDENS!" The (maybe) good news is that I'm starting to run out of places to put new gardens. Also, there's a special satisfaction in working in this area of the yard because it has been a weedy mess since we bought the house and I've put it off for more than a decade just because I knew how much work it would be. It will be very nice to have a nice view to enjoy when we sit on the deck.

I'm showing you this little peek of a small portion of the new garden area not because it's particularly good—it was taken at 8:30 p.m. after a full-day rain with my phone—but because I feel like it's a little mean to keep talking about it and not showing you anything.

The goal for the weekend is to finish up the planting (I get to the point where I just need the plants to be in the ground so I can stop worrying about them in pots) so I can move onto the other areas of the yard that need serious attention.

I tend to organize my gardening tasks so I can check them off my mental (and sometimes literal) list. In the past I've set goals such as, "Weed the garden." The problem with that is that it's just not possible to weed my entire yard in one day. You'd either die of boredom or suffer severe hand cramping. And then if the next thing on the list was to mulch, well, by the time I got back to the part of the garden where I started weeding, the weeds would all be back and I'd never feel like I'd finish.

This year I've sort of mentally divided the yard into areas or specific gardens. My plan is to tackle an entire garden at one time: weeding, edging, mulching (in some areas, I'm not mulching everything this year), dividing and sowing a few annual seeds. This way I'll at least be able to enjoy a completed area while I work on the others.

Once I get every garden in good shape, then it's just a few hours of routine maintenance for awhile. In theory, anyway.

Even if I've not been working in all areas of the garden, I have been surveying them (this is what cocktail hour is for) and I'm happy to report that the damage from one of the nastier winters on record is not nearly as bad as I had feared. I lost a few perennials, but in most cases these were plants that were either new and not established or already stressed going in to winter.

The smokebush with 'Princess Diana' clematis growing through it in happier times.
The one shrub loss the garden suffered is as heartbreaking as it is befuddling. The purple smokebush (Continus coggygria) has always done well and I quite liked its location at the back of the patio garden. I grew a 'Princess Diana' clematis up it to great effect: the smokebush looked like it had nodding fuschia flowers on it. Smokebushes are notoriously late to leaf out so I kept thinking it would spring back to life, but when I started cutting into the wood, it was all dead.



When something in my garden dies, I rarely replace it with the same thing because I tend to believe that the original died for a reason. I can't explain the death of my smokebush, but I knew it needed to be replaced. So I did just that. Fortunately, they are quick growers so I don't think it will have a hard time supporting the clematis.

On the bright side, the replacement smokebush has a much nicer shape than the original. Let's chalk that up to everything happening for a reason; even in the garden.

3 comments :

  1. Looks great. What is the tree and what did you plant in front that looks almost white? I am trying to do the same concept as you: work on one area at a time. When we have visitors we try to make sure there are no weeds by the paths and the grass is cut. That makes them miss the weedy bits elsewhere. But right now the weeds are on steroids!

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  2. Im beginning to think we are gardening soul mates! The only way I can manage my garden is to break it down into areas too. Maybe it's just good task management. Whatever it works.

    As for the winter damage....we lost a few perennials, a troublesome rose of Sharon and a new buddleia. The rose of Sharon has been an ugly scraggly mess since we moved here and I don't think I'll replace it as it has babies at its base. But the buddleia is another story. I did replace it, but planted it somewhere else in the garden. Maybe that spot wasn't meant to have a butterfly bush.

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  3. Hah! We are birds of a feather: "No More Gardens!" followed by huge new garden areas each spring. And I agree that dividing the garden into areas makes the work a lot easier to get a handle on. Good luck -- this is the time when keeping up gets hard, with rain followed by rampant weed growth. I need to go outside and work too. Thanks for the post! -Beth

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