My Whimsical Garden-Spring 2015

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The resident wild grass, grown long at the back of my half acre, has fallen to the swishing, rhythmic scythe.¬† It serves now as mulch around the sour cherry whose fruit I will later share with various birds…..if I get to it in time. It serves likewise a couple of alders being cultivated for shade and a hazelnut with its twisted branches entwined.

The Freshly-mulched Sour Cherry

The Freshly-mulched Sour Cherry

A patch of winter-seeded barley is heading out, roots presumed to be running deep into packed sandy soil to help break it up and improve percolation and nutrient transfer. It’s a lovely tall cereal grass with a beautiful seed-head. Some of its straw I’ll weigh down in my ponds next year, to break down and discourage algae. Up to now I have purchased it packaged in cube form.

Barley Heading Out Beautifully

Barley Heading Out Beautifully

A small electric Earthwise roto-tiller purchased last fall¬† has made the newly-aerated ground far less hospitable to the sheep sorrel with which I have previously been plagued. Very durable tines. It leaps and bucks when hitting rocks but isn’t so heavy as to make that unmanageable. Once again electric tools are proving to be good value.

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The extension of the bird-run around two sides of the greenhouse is now complete. I used eighteen guage stucco wire with one inch square mesh, buried galvanized flashing a foot deep at the base of it and back-filled the outside with rough material, rocks, bits of concrete. The wire was stiff to work with but only until the job was done.

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That job and the scything have been good therapy for a left rotator cuff injury.

Rhubarb planted last fall along the back hedge with the idea that it will function as a partial living mulch is doing pretty well. It came from an irrepressible mother plant that had thrived in medium shade. I’m pulling up the surrounding buttercup-infested sod and tossing it into the bird run. The two hens and my newly acquired Indian Runner drake will scratch and hunt through it and keep it moving about until it dries out and expires.

024bThe Himalayan Blackberry vines are vigorously putting out new growth, draped over the frame built for them. It makes for easy berry picking from beneath, drastically reducing contact with thorns. I have a tarp beneath them just now to repress buttercups, having had good luck elsewhere with tarps and black plastic killing of unwanted vegetation.

029bHaving roto-tilled a fair patch of ground beyond that assigned to the barley and some spring rye I was expecting to have perhaps disturbed the purslane too much for it to re-establish itself and would have to transplant from elsewhere. But it is coming up hither and thither as it did last year.

A beautiful name, purslane, and a refreshingly succulent vehicle for some rare but valuable nutrients, cool on the tongue and a slightly chewy, mildly sharp addition to salads and sandwiches. I’d been pulling it up as a weed for years until seeing it praised online last year.

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A new platform for pond plants seems to be repelling the raccoons who so like to tear them up, constructed by wrapping cattle panel around the re-purposed end of a cable drum made of some rubberized material; heavy stucco wire over that with the naked cut ends standing proud.011b

Now I’m looking forward as never before to June being as wet as it has usually been over the years.

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