Why just do, when you can over-do?

– Posted in: Garden chores, Hardscaping and Projects

I finally re-skinned the greenhouse today. Rather like changing a mammoth bed–old cover off, new one on. I had to do this because the plastic I got last fall turned out to be the kind that makes for perpetual rain inside the house. Disgusting and mildew-provoking, plus it causes wash-outs in pots. The cheapest plastic was not a bargain.
I’ve been waiting for a non-windy, non-rainy, warmish day, and this was the first one. Inside, I’ve already built a new potting bench and this time I under-slung the potting tub so I can clear off the bench and waste less soil.

Those wiggle-wires work a treat holding the plastic, but they are a bear to un-do and re-do. (Note to self: 4 years from now, take off the old on one day, and put the new on the next.) I’m only typing this because of the existence of ibuprofen.

The icebergs on the sides of the greenhouse and along the back of the house are gone now, but the ground is still freezing at night. I was going to dig some roses to ship last Sunday but the spade only went in about 5″. It was nearly 70 today, though, and the cute-as-a-dolly species tulips (Tulipa biflora ) are blooming along with the first of the Hyacinths, poof! new from yesterday. They join several different colors of pink violets (and some violet violets) and single and double primroses. Maple trees are blooming and the Forsythia are just almost ready to open.

It’s been a very strange spring, after a mild to non-existant winter. Our snow cover happened all at once from Christmas to mid January, then it was bizarrely warm and sunny for three weeks. (Three weeks of sun in north Idaho is strange at all, especially in mid-winter.) Our snowpack disappeared and even now, after a blessed 3″ of rain, it is at the level usual for July. I am looking at water restrictions, most likely. Good thing I had planned to tear down/up some raised beds anyway to cut down on some labor. And that I realized I don’t have to grow all the summer vegetables for Mom and myself. This year I will be investigating xeriscaping more thoroughly. I can’t mulch much as the voles think it’s heavenly, but I can be more careful where I line things out instead of just higgledy-piggeldy, out of the flats and into the ground.

As soon as the seeding is done, I’m going to start a general re-do of many of the beds, one I started last spring about this time and then broke my index finger in a couple of places. Just try to hold a spade while wearing a splint, let alone dig.

In the seedpans: whee! Ginkgos are gorgeous from the beginning, unfurling those lovely leaves right away, no messing about with cotyledons. And the taproots are mammoth too. Quercus coccinea push themselves out of the pans on their roots before they break the surface with shoots—–but here they come, and they are red!
Nature, bless her, handing out prizes just for attending.

About the Author

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b/5aLocation: rural; just south of British Columbia/Idaho borderGeographic type: foot of Black & Clifty Mountains (foothills of Rockies–the Wet Columbia Mountains in BC climate- speak)Soil type:acid sand (glacial lake bed)/coniferous forestExperience level: intermediate/professionalParticular interests: fragrant & edible plants, hardy bulbs, cottage gardening, alpines, peonies, penstemons & other blue flowers, primulas, antique & species roses & iris; nocturnal flowers Also: owner of Paradise Gardens Rare Plant Nursery

In its own way, frost may be one of the most beautiful things to happen in your garden all year . . . Don’t miss it. Like all true beauty, it is fleeting. It will grace your garden for but a short while this morning. . . . For this moment, embrace frost as the beautiful gift that it is.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

jenn April 8, 2005, 7:03 pm

Although today I look across the street, and the neighbor’s silver maple is in full bloom, and I wonder how long it has been blooming.

*scratches head*

jenn April 8, 2005, 1:01 pm

*grins and nods*

Judy Miller April 7, 2005, 1:31 pm

Climate is getting weirder. Around here we’re all mystified by the combination of late and early indicators. The double primula are not so much ahead as barely quit from last fall (mild winter); the warm days in February and March bemused the trees—–but they’ve stalled out.
The maples in flower here are the silver maples; most others bloom later I think.
Tulips are late, but the bluebirds were smack on time. I think some of the discrepancy is photo-period related. Birds migrate more along photo-period lines than temperature. Skunks are temp related, and have been around but have tucked back in for a while. My drumstick prims are late–just peeping through the soil now and often they start flowering before the end of March. I feel like I’m in a game of ‘confuse a gardener’.

jenn April 7, 2005, 11:30 am

Zones are so confusing.

You are in zone four, and yet right now you are weeks ahead of my garden in zone five. We won’t get the maples blooming for a while yet, they are still tightly budded and not ready to believe winter has passed.

My primroses are just pushing buds out of the core of the plant…