The Temporary Garden Thaws Out

Now that the snow is gone and the winter is (hopefully) over, the Temporary Garden has finally thawed out – at least to the point where flower-hunting is possible. But the pickings are still slim, as shown by this one clump of purple crocus and one lonely aconite shivering in the chilly wind.

first crocus 2015

chilly aconite

The aconite does have about a half dozen friends still in bud, although I could have sworn I planted at least a dozen of these in the green last year.

Can I get away with putting catkins in the ‘flower’ category??

April catkins

I’m a bit puzzled by this shrub because although I’ve had various pussywillows in other gardens (Salix arenaria, S. melanostachys, S. chaenomeloides ‘Mt. Asama’ and S. koreana) none of them held their catkins at as much of a right angle to the stem, nor were any of them nearly as large; these catkins are easily 1” (2.5cm) long. (If these were a cat breed, they’d definitely be a Maine Coon!) Logic suggests that this should be the so-called ‘giant’ pussy willow, S. chaenomeloides, but these have absolutely no pinkish tinge and are twice the size of the ‘Mt. Asama’ cultivar I had previously. In any case, this is getting coppiced in the near future because it’s already more than 8 ft tall.

No post-thaw walkabout is complete without a “body count”, but it seems as though there may be only a few at this stage. This pine is struggling to maintain a bit of green at the very top, which means that eventually it will transform itself into a sickly lollipop if it doesn’t expire outright.

bad prognosis

I deliberately didn’t photograph what looks like several swathes of dry burnt Phlox stolonifera with no green in sight; too depressing. And after all, the temperatures still haven’t gotten above the low 50sF yet.

The ‘Leaning Tower of Rhody’ was apparantly left to grow like this (why??) and then the weight of all this winter’s snows certainly didn’t help matters. The weight of the ends will probably prove too much for the branches anyway and so after this spring’s bloom it will get a severe cutting back. There’s barely room to walk between it and the adjacent raised bed as it is.

the Leaning Tower of Rhody

Today is supposed to be about 60F (I’ll believe it when I see it) which means the first chance to get into the garden for a cleanup. It will also be the only chance for a while, because the forecast is for rain every day right into the weekend! And the Money Pit (my name for the house that’s attached to the Temporary Garden) still needs to have the ripped-out  bathroom replaced, which was put off due to a combination of the winter from hell and an obscenely expensive emergency car repair in January. However, it’s now time to get that project going before the oaks start flowering and causing untold misery via pollen coming in through doors that will be constantly opened by the workmen. Timing is everything!

  17 comments for “The Temporary Garden Thaws Out

  1. April 6, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I can’t believe you have flowers already! So beautiful to see!

    • April 6, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      “Already” was starting to feel like it would never get here! LOL

  2. April 6, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Ooh, crocus! It’s all I can do to keep my snowdrops open! How lovely to see some color!

    • April 6, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      I feel the same way… I was almost at the point where I’d almost be happy to see a dandelion – and THAT’S desperate!

  3. April 6, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Glad you are finally thawing out. It’s cold here right now but we are expecting a ‘heatwave’, which means up to 16 degrees centigrade over the next few days. Hope you manage to plenty done over the next few days 🙂

    • April 6, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      According to the weatherman, the next chance would be Sunday (the 12th); but after five days of rain it will probably be nothing but muck. I did get a fair amount done today though! 🙂

  4. April 6, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Sorry about your pine and rhody. Jealous of your pussywillows, though. Regarding the winter aconite, it seems that newer bulbs and plants can vary a lot in terms of when they make an appearance. I planted lots of Lenten Roses last year and only two are up and blooming now. The others seem to be taking their time, but there are signs of life.

  5. April 6, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    What a long Winter it has been for you. So lovely to see flowers at last. I hope you don’t have too much frost damage and that you will soon be enjoying Spring in your garden.

    • April 6, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      I spotted some fat buds on a camellia while doing cleanup today, as well as on the small magnolia (and the chickweed is already blooming, drat it). 🙂

    • April 7, 2015 at 11:08 am

      I’m definitely looking forward to that, as well as finally being able to put away the winter coats!

  6. April 7, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Timing is everything. I have a Rodie similar to yours and it seems that is its growth habit. The white plane is dead, sad to say.

    • April 7, 2015 at 11:07 am

      I agree, the prognosis for that one is not good. Perhaps I will root some pussy willow cuttings for a cheap new ‘hedge’ along that property line! 😉

  7. April 8, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Thank goodness you are thawing out, the crocuses look absolutely lovely. That poor rhododendron is actually looking remarkably well despite being so lop-sided. It should respond well to being pruned…the pine on the other hand looks like it may very well end up as kindling for next years’ fire 😦

    • April 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

      Yes, I can see myself puzzling the neighbors with my pruning approach which tends to go like this: Snip, snip. Step back, look at shrub. Snip again. Step back, look from different angle. Snip different branches. Step back, look at shrub. Look again from different angle. Snip, snip. Curse under breath because the last one made it look unbalanced. Snip from opposite site. Step back…. (This can go on for a looong time, LOL)

  8. April 27, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    This is the first time I’ve seen catkins and must say they have a delicate beauty of their own

    • April 27, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      They really do feel just like soft fur to the touch, as well. 🙂

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