Thursday, January 28, 2010

C is for Cookie (and Clematis)

I do believe I have the winter blues ... I wake up and think, I want to keep sleeping and then I get up and all I can think is I want to go back to sleep! BUT, of course, I am also thinking - constantly - about the garden AND that I am due for a post!

My next steps (2 and 3) for my spring plans involve a new "herbway" and rethinking the edge of my property line along the potager ... these posts coming soon.

I have also been thinking that I would like to give my garden an official name and I have decided to call it Mohala. Mohala is Hawaiian and for those of you who might not know, I was married in Maui on Secret Cove and Hawaii is very special to me and I do hope for many returns. Anyway, from what I understand, Mohala means "flowers in blossom" or "petals unfolding, shining forth." Very appropriate for a garden name, I think! I hope to make a sign to mark the name of my garden: "you are invited to step into Mohala" or something thereof. I have been saving all my favorite broken dishes forever (because gardeners are clutzy right?) to make a mosaic and I think this is what they will - finally - be used for. So, "M" is for Mohala and "C" is for clematis.

I inherited one clematis on this property that looked pretty sad growing in what was now the butterfly garden - its roots were cemented in the clay soil and baking quite nicely. If I know anything about clematis - which isn't very much - it is "cool roots, sunny flowers" or some similar derivative. I moved it to grow along the wall of the front porch and covered its roots with river stone. I am not sure of the variety and don't think it will get tall enough to work its way up to the lattice work above, but it seems to like its new spot and bloomed for me this past spring ...

I would certainly appreciate any helpful hints on what variety of clematis this might be. I venture to guess 'Kilian Donahue' ?

I really do love clematis and haven't had the fortune to own very many which is why I ordered FOUR yesterday from Bluestone Perennials - special discount code - yes! I am risking a couple at Z5 especially where I plan to plant them but "no risk, no reward" a good friend of mine has always claimed. So, I ordered a Sweet Autumn clematis (which has been on my list for a long time), a variety called Montana Mayleen, one called Claire de Lune (my niece's name is Claire), and an heirloom variety called Triternata Rubromarginata (say that even one time fast)! The following photos, in the order mentioned, are directly from Bluestone Perennials web site.

I plan to plant the larger Sweet Autumn and Mayleen to grow up the lattice work of the front porch - they grow larger. Claire de Lune will be planted in my very new "woodland" garden section - more shady. And the tongue twister will have its own homemade rustic trellis along the northside of the shop/garage wall. I would like to collect more over time. Part of creating a habitat is to plant at all levels - ground, perennials/shrubs, vines, tree canopy. Vines are very important and even if they are not native or offering a food source, they are still connecting the ground to the canopy. Most of these are said to attract butterflies. Now I just have to, patiently, wait for spring delivery.

NOW it's time for that cookie!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bloom Day, January 2010

It is all about the evergreens and conifers now ... blue, green ... the rusty petals of cones opening and dropping seeds.

And the buds of the trees and shrubs holding their blooms against grey winter skies waiting for spring.

Here, even in January, the rocks along the river hold colorful lichens and mosses that bloom through the snow.

Bloom day is hosted (and created by) Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010:1 Canada Red

So, come Spring here's number one on my list of things to do. Prepare this little spot and plant my rhubarb patch. I have decided on the variety 'Canada Red' and I will order it from Vesey's out of Canada - should be hardy enough and it is supposed to be nice and sweet. These will be starter plants. I read that you shouldn't plant rhubarb from seed unless you live south. I'll agree with that. Apparently, it will take a couple of years before I will be able to harvest, but I can wait. If I see just one of those beautiful, large, green leaves this season, that'll do it for me. Here's the spot:

Previously this was a little patch that I sort of let grow "wild" and never mowed. But not much of interest has sprouted up. My "intuition" tells me this will be a perfect spot for Rhubarb and those lush, giant eaves should detract from the compost "bins" (to the right) and hide that blessed chain link fence. There is a patch of wild mint growing here that I will save. I think I'll underplant with some strawberries. Strawberries and rhubarb just go together, don't you think? We will see if my "intuition" is in tune come summer.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Garden/Theresa St/2010

That is the file name and location of my pictures on my computer for my garden here in the North Country. I can start a NEW folder for yet another year. This will be my third ... though my first year began in October of 2008 - not much of a start. I hope to add many more years at this location and actually see my garden mature.

So, Happy New Year! That means it's time to start planning my "spring strategy" or "plan of attack." The season can be short so I must be ready to go at the first sign of Spring.

I received a wonderful book for Christmas entitled "Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love" by Julie Moir Messervy. It is very inspiring and enlightening. I will be using it to refine my plans and really think about how I want to enjoy my garden space - and not just what other plants are on "my list" that I can fit here or there for the birds and the bees. I want to be able to sit in my garden (eternally in the making) and enjoy those birds and bees that I have been working so hard to attract!

So, here is a previous overall plan for my small plot that I worked out initially. It is geared toward creating a habitat for wildlife. I have followed it pretty closely but always end up changing a few things here and there and on the fly when digging in the garden.

I marked "feeding stations" and "water sources." Numbered a variety of plants chosen for their wildlife value. "Starred" the neighboring mature trees. "RB" means rain barrel - something I've yet to set up. Well, I move the bird feeders around a lot. And I had to purchase different types of feeders because of some of the aggressive birds here in this village like Starlings and House Sparrows that I never had in the Maine woods in such numbers. I move my bird baths when plants grow taller or bushier. I may have thought that shrub was a good choice but then I'll learn of a better option. I love old fashioned lilacs and really want one - not the best wildlife choice - but can't I have both in my garden? ... A plan is a good place to start but not necessarily what you (I) will end up with.

So, now I am thinking in terms of the "woodland border" section - which will eventually partially shade the "butterfly garden." But the "butterfly garden" can gradually move to the "nice driveway" section in full sun and I can build a new partially shaded perennial border where the butterfly garden border was - and what will that be? And then there is the "wet prairie" section ... and now I am thinking about incorporating "views" and "private retreats." Where will I sit and paint my garden? Where will I sit to enjoy an evening cocktail and watch the birds?

So I definitely need a PLAN OF ATTACK come spring. And think I'll start with digging around in the potager, specifically the (future) rhubarb patch.


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