Pick your favorite subtitle: “Like a Phoenix From the Ashes”, “Jewels in the Snow”, or my personal favorite, “Is That All?” With so many bloggers showing (off) their spring blooms, I am eager to share just what is happening a far northern garden. For all you smart aleck types out there: yes, this will be brief.
I have gotten into trouble before jumping the gun, usually planting annuals out too early, but this spring I think I may truly have tidied up just a bit too soon. I hold myself blameless (a good idea for my long term garden mental health): I’ve had nothing whatever to do in the garden since November 4th, so apparently, obviously, unmistakably, plainly, and clearly, I’m desperate (and have a handy Thesaurus).
A soft drizzling rain kept me company for a quick bed cleanup. Just to help the crocus breathe, I rationalized to myself. First thing first. I found the wheelbarrow loafing in the side yard (see above) and was heartened to discover it wasn’t frozen to the ground. Step two: find Felcos and pruning saw. Step three (after trying Felcos and saying some un-ladylike things about their performance): lubricating pruners. Step four: slip in snow on way to prune. Final step: the really fun and satisfying part, giving severe haircuts to anything above ground that catches my eye. One wheelbarrow-full of clippings later, the big reveal. OK, the only reveal. Everything else is still under snow or a sticky, silty, sodden mess.
I made the same newbie mistake I do every year and went full throttle: two hours later I took a short break to assess just how many dead leaves and twigs were in my hair. Answer: a few, but no spiders, hurrah! I am unsettled to discover I have a twinge in my lower back, but the sight of some blooms, green things, and brown dirt more than compensates for the pain. For now.
Among the joyous discoveries, the Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’ lives and may (steady on, Christine) bloom. I have never seen a Mag growing in Alaska…so yes, a coup for me, but I’ll try not to let it go to my head. The Fothergilla ‘Mt. Airy’ lives, as does the Acer maximowiczianum. Crocus are blooming like mad in purple, white, and yellow. The ones not nestled in snow, that is.
The disappointments must lead out with the Bergenia. I have extensive plantings and many are a brown, sodden mess. Others are cheerful green (see below) or burgundy, which I much prefer to the dead look. Honestly, who kills off Bergenia? I guess that can be my claim to garden fame, kind of like the cook that burns water, “Psst, she kills Bergenia!”
I can’t end with a complaint because I worked in the yard today. A real privilege after a long winter. Perhaps northern gardeners should have a parade day to celebrate the start of work in the garden again. (I’ll be the one in the pink coat with bits of twigs and leaves in my hair.) We can even throw goodies into the crowds of spectators (my vote is for handing out back pain meds). Now I just have to come up with a theme song and name for this parade. It’s too late (and I’m too tired, as evidenced by all the parentheses in this post) to come up with anything clever (or even stupid) tonight. If you have any ideas, do let us know….
What’s your claim to garden fame?