Monday, May 23, 2011

In the Garden: Go Ahead, Laugh

It is that time of year again. Time for me to fight off the invading hordes of mosquitoes, no-see-um's, midges, blackflies and more. Time for gardeners everywhere to get back into the garden and restart the war on weeds. The crocuses are gone, so are most tulips and daffodils. The weather is more consistently nice, mild, and when it is breezy, the bugs don't make you want to run yourself off of a cliff.
I was going to post this photo first, but the Poet's Daffodils, top photo, are so pretty (they date from the 1500's originally), and so much less scary than me in all my bug-fighting glory. You see, I taste like Skittles to bugs. I am a gourmet feast. While others may be standing about, enjoying the weather and remarking how nice it is to be drinking and eating outside finally, how nice the weather is and lack of bugs are great, I am the one being feasted upon by every flying, biting insect out there, and then swelling up afterwards (and NO! I don't scratch them either, they just swell, it is SO unfair *stomps foot*). So I take precautions, frightened dogs and good looks be damned.
I end up having to wear a t shirt, sweater, bug jacket, light colored pants (my fat legs love that, ew), plenty of bug spray, shoes, and long gloves that can be unrolled up to my elbows if thorns threaten to tear my precious bug jacket. Still, I get bitten. Anywhere the mesh rests on my skin, they bite through. Heck, they even bite through my pants, and occasionally my sweater as well. So I dress like it is below freezing, even though it is short-shorts weather. And I WIN! Mwahahahaha! I only got about 3 bites in 45 minutes on Saturday when FINALLY getting into my gardens for the first time all year. I saw that my bleeding hearts (or dancing ladies, I really like that name much more) are doing very well (see above photo), and I even had a hummingbird around them (didn't have my camera for that one, and I'm still kicking my self for that!).
The weather has been warm, but totally rainy so it has been impossible to get into the yard for anything more than untangling doggies who insist on getting their leashes caught on things in the middle of the yard. In 45 minutes on Saturday I managed to get the dead branches out of one of the front gardens, and start the war on the weeds and grasses that insist on lodging in my gardens. The wheelbarrow was full, the deadwood gone, and I knew that was all I'd be able to manage for that day. I know it looks terrible to leave the dead stalks all winter, but the birds really enjoy the seed heads over the winter, in fact, you can often see them hiding behind the stalks during snowstorms, or eating the seeds all throughout the winter, so I leave the deadwood for them and remove it during spring, though I am sure it would be easier in the fall.
Here's the garden, beside the wheelbarrow. Yeah, I know, the garden still looks awful, but that is because the crocuses, tulips and yellow daffodils have all come and gone, and I'm still waiting for the balloon flowers, veronica, bee-balm and lilys to bloom yet. I think I need some more late-spring flowers to hold the garden over until the next flowering. I'm still learning all of this stuff, so if you have suggestions, I'd be more than happy to hear them! I also need to put down more soil and more mulch. And on that vein, what do I do with the old mulch? Do I mix it in with the new soil? Throw it in the compost pile? Mix it in with the new mulch? So many things to learn, and I'm researching SEO and Analytics, and so much more, all at the same time, oh my!

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