Monday, April 10, 2017

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm

Cutting Back the Lamb's Ears and Jasmine in the Bed by the Garage

Every day this spring I've walked by this poor Spanish Sage plant I could barely see because it was being covered by jasmine from above. That blocked its light. On April 5 I finally made some time to cut the jasmine back and expose the sage to the light again. 

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm
Jasmine Blocking the Light the Spanish Sage Needs

Here is the same plant when I finished pruning back the jasmine. I also cut back some of the sage. Because it's been straining to get the sun, it got very leggy, and you can see its bare branches that were hidden by the jasmine. You can also see the tiny leaves on those stems. I hope they will now grow up instead of continuing towards the sidewalk. 

Next winter I will have to do this job sooner and cut the sage way back, but this winter I had the flu all during January and then had steady dentist appointments during February and most of March. After getting my root canals done I didn't feel like working in the garden or anywhere else, and I was always playing catch-up on other work. In addition to that, it rained a lot and the ground was wet. 

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm
I pruned the jasmine that was covering the Spanish Sage and also thinned the Lamb's Ears that were trying to smother it.


Not far from the Spanish Sage was a Sweet William struggling to survive -- maybe more than one. It's hard to tell in the midst of all the jasmine and Lamb's Ears plants.  Normally the Sweet William plants that reseed return at this time of year, but this year the Lamb's Ears spread so much that they completely covered any of the seedlings trying to emerge. Although I do love Lamb's Ears, enough is enough. I will probably still have to trim more of it back. I took the photo below on March 28. I knew I had to uncover any plants under that Lamb's Ears patch, and I had to just keep pulling and pruning until I found this plant. I was hoping there would be more. Maybe there still will be.

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm



Below is a close-up of the struggling Sweet William after I pulled a lot of the Lamb's Ears away from it. I had not realized the Lamb's Ears were propping it up. It was also very leggy and fell flat. I may have to prop it up with a small stake to keep it upright. I'm hoping it will spread as time goes on. Plants have an amazing ability to recover, just as my butterfly bush did after a storm knocked it down

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm
Struggling Sweet William after I Thinned Lamb's Ears Around It.
 
The photo below puts my afternoon's work into context. The star jasmine is in the background against the wall. Left to right: jasmine, struggling sage, Lillies of the Nile between jasmine and Lamb's Ears in middle, the space where the Sweet William tries to gain ground, more Lamb's Ears, blooming calendulas with budding irises behind them. Between the calendula and the car, you see the low green of the gazanias with a tall flowering kale behind it next to the brick trim. 

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm



What I Accomplished in the Front Flowerbed 

If you read my last post, you saw the state of the front flowerbed before I started weeding and thinning and pruning on April 6. The Lamb's Ears were out of control, the hyssop that hadn't been pruned was brown and ugly and taking over, the oregano in the pot needed pruning, and grassy weeds were trying to overwhelm anything the other plants were leaving alone. 

The two photos below were taken on February 13. We had had so much rain that weeding was almost impossible. I was also weakened by all the dental work I was having done. After even more rain in March, by the day I started the work the state of this flowerbed was even worse. 

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm

Since it was February, the daffodils were budding. My chard on the right bottom had turned red. You can see the dead growth on the oregano in the terracotta pot. That brown clump to the left of it is the hyssop. It looked even browner when I started cutting it way back on April 6. Pruning the oregano was much easier. 

The worst job, though, was getting the grassy weeds that were taking over any bare ground they could find. Their roots are very hard to get out. They also entangle the roots of the plants I want to keep. Here they are surrounding my catmint. The catmint itself has escaped from its pot and is now also running amuck, but at least I can make tea out of that.  

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm
Catmint in and out of Pot Surrounded by Grassy Weeds

The photos show only a portion of the work that needed to be done. I was trying to finish the most urgent tasks before the storm that was supposed to hit later at night started. Here is how the area around the catmint pot looked by the time I was through. Not perfect, but good enough to scatter some old seeds around before the storm brought rain to water them. They were very old seeds, but I thought I'd see what happened. Mother Nature often surprises me. 

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm
Catmint Pot After Weeding

Below you see what the hyssop plant looked like when I finished with it. Better late than never. It will grow out again before it's time for it to bloom in June. A few green shoots are already peaking out. I did miss a couple of branches, but I'll get them after I finish the taxes. After the rain, the catmint in the pot perked up again. 

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm
Hyssop after Haircut

Here's how the front flowerbed looked after I finished working and had scattered my seeds. The rain came as promised later and all the next day, so I'm hoping maybe at least a couple of seeds will sprout. On the lower right, in front of the irises, you see a green carnation plant with the leaves of an old daffodil plant in front of it. You could not see that carnation before I cut back the hyssop which was covering it.  I had forgotten the carnation was there. I fed it. 

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm
A Good's Afternoon's Work in the Flowerbed


When I finished for the day, I took the pictures of the flower beds and then turned to get the sky toward the west. The sunset promised rain. And it came. I'm glad I pushed myself to get some of the preliminary work done before it started coming down. 

Garden Tasks Finished before Storm


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