Spring at last!
Finally had a day when I could get out and start some spring clean-up. Got
the oak leaves out of the front bed where they were smothering the bulbs. I
know you are supposed to wait before you remove mulch, etc., but oak leaves
really do a job on small bulbs. Unfortunately I discovered some of the effects of
this miserably cold winter. I seem to have lost my Santolina ericoides. It
was quite a large plant - about a two-foot spread - and must be at least 20
years old. I can't remember exactly when I got it, but I can place it that far
back - maybe farther. I was able to find two small stems with tiny green
tufts of leaves, but most of it is totally dead. I cut it all back except for the
live stems, and hope there is enough life left for it to come back. I am
sorry to lose it - that has been a choice plant in the front of the bed beside
the drive. Oh well.
When I got down into the back - it's been such an icy slope that I haven't
been down there for a long time - I also found that I have lost a red-osier
dogwood. That's not quite as much of a loss as the Santolina, as it has always
been pruned by the deer, but I'm sorry to lose it completely. My Berberis
julianna looks pretty sick, too, but then it has never liked cold winters. It
must be at the edge of its hardiness range, for I know there are huge ones at
the NY Botanical Garden about 40 miles south of us.
I have had this plant for more than 45 years, and when the winters are mild
it looks pretty handsome, but it always suffers in hard winters.
Lots of things are beginning to come up. Yellow, white and purple crocus
are beginning to bloom. I found a few Iris reticulata, and a couple of Iris
danfordiae. Even one dear pulmonaria has a bud. Some of my crocus seem to have
been bitten off right at the bulb level - I am thinking maybe voles or some
other small creature is eating the bulbs. There are several sections of the
so-called lawn that have been dug or borrowed into. I know a skunk has been
around, and they dig in the lawn for grubs, etc., but usually not at this time of
When I got into the back garden I found the catnip was putting up tiny
leaves, so I picked a handful. I tossed all the little leaves on the kitchen
floor, thinking I would clean up later, and went to put away my tools. When I
returned in three or four minutes, what an orgy was going on! Three of the four
were rolling and twisting on the floor, purring loudly. The fourth was
standing by, trying to get her share but not finding a space. When I came back
after my shower, thinking I would have to sweep up the remains, there was not a
scrap of catnip remaining.
Heard the peepers last night for the first time, and today the leopard
frogs in the pond were making their quacking sound, so I guess spring is really
about to be sprung. Much as I look forward to our birding trip next week, I
will hate to leave things here, except that I know it won't last. We'll probably
have another snow. It's supposed to rain and be colder over the weekend. Oh
Auralie - Z5
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