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A definite benefit of gardening is being in touch with the weather. It’s a necessity, and counters the tendency of a modern life to live in isolation from nature. Of course, mankind has always been in something of a struggle with natural forces; but that is just an explanation for why we complain so much about the weather. (A vestigial sense of our recognition of nature’s importance in our lives).
Funny how the weather in spring sends a message about the rest of the growing season. We can’t always make predictions, but we sure know if we are going to start early, late, or on time. This year in Ohio it has been wet. Despite the fact that neighboring farmers have tiled the fields in past years, a large pond formed in the field across from my house. Gardening and farming will have a bit of a late start in my area.
(This is my main indicator on how saturated the ground is in the entire Central part of the state). Plenty of flooded fields and swollen streams noted between here and the city, too.
The ground is much too soggy to work, but pruning and clearing winter debris is in full swing.
The Spring Walk
I took the “garden assessment” walk the other day. Crocus are starting to bloom, and many other early spring bloomers have popped up and are showing color: Muscari, Scillas, Puschkinia.
Scillas and the P.s are in the family Asparagaceae, I just found out.
I had a nice surprise with the Snowdrops. Planted here very early on, they stayed put in their little places for years and years. Even the crocus tended to rove, but the Galanthus nivalis just seemed content with its little spot.
I finally planted more, because I like them so well, but drew the opinion that snowdrops didn’t particularly like my garden. This year, however, a number have popped up in the grass in surrounding ground. It was one of those unexpected delights of the garden.
Every year I tell myself I will dig up some of the bulbs around here and replant them in new places, so maybe this year. And perhaps scatter some fertilizer to give the bulbs a boost.
2017 was the first year, in as long as I can remember, that I didn’t plant bulbs in the fall. If I divide my daffodils this spring, it won’t matter, because I can increase the plantings by hundreds if I want to – all I need is the energy.
The State of the Roses
My roses go through hell here. The winters winds are so desiccating, the temperatures so low, and the snowcover so nil, that I am reduced to only the hardiest. Each year had picked off more and more of the Hybrid teas, the heritage roses, like ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’, and even the shrub roses like the ‘Königin von Dänemark‘. The real blow came with the advent of Japanese Beetles to our region.
But I have a few survivors. I was worried that my new rose hadn’t made it, but thankfully saw green stems below the snow line. This year there was snow cover during the worst of the winter freeze. I’ll try to coddle it once it gets growing.
It is “Coral Drift® Groundcover Rose“. What I like best about this rose is that it is an everbloomer, and not stingy with its blossoms. It gives autumn roses – the only rose I have grown that will bloom so late. Growing in an exposed position, it truly lives up to the “hardy” designation.
My Poison Ivy Saga
As my garden has matured with trees, shrubs, and organic practices, so has the proliferation of the poison ivy plant. First in little ways and out-of-the-way spots, it now is a thug. My family members are highly sensitive, so it is left to me to wrestle, struggle, and otherwise go to war against it.
When I was young I was immune to it, a trait I inherited from my Dad. I find that now my body has become somewhat sensitized. I tend to (very carefully) use long handled clippers to remove it.
Well, some very lush growing vines have been a problem and I felt that without the oily leaves I could safely get to work on it. Think again, Ilona. I ended up with a mild case that is over a large part me. I use gloves √ long sleeves √ long pants √ socks and shoes √… and sometimes a hat. Still, even after washing well, the itching developed. I am still itching.
Not a surprise when considering the yards and yards of vine and root, and the many upright bushlike growths that I pulled up and hauled out of the place where it had really taken hold.
Things to know about Poison Ivy
- The offending oil is found in the roots, stems, and branches, not just the leaves.
- The oil can last on surfaces for years. Wash off the clothing and gloves.
- When washing up, after gardening or a walk in the woods, scrub off the oil.
- Never burn it, the oils get into the air and can result in severe allergic reactions.
… Besides gathering up wind blown branches, this is my main activity lately. I had my husband use the chainsaw on some trees. One of my daughters put in a major effort in an overgrown part of the yard.