Monthly Archives: January 2011

Confessions of a Compulsive Gardener (part 2)

While I am happily knitting away, in this very snow-stormy winter, eating lots of hibernation foods and also enjoying a beverage or two since I can’t go out and drive anywhere , the garden is calling my name (well not really silly else I would be on medication locked up somewhere). What I am “hearing”  sounds suspiciously like  cries for NEW PLANTS!  Well, happy to oblidge.

Lest you think I can supress my gardening compulsion for any legnth of time, let me asure you it never really goes away. While my hands are occupied, my mind is busy busy busy planning and dreaming.

And what am I dreaming of….well, in a happy way a couple of new climbing roses from my favorite rose breeder, David Austin Roses  www.davidaustinroses.com  and the two clematis I ordered that are overwintering in the cutting garden . I got them from my favorite vine nursery , Brushwood www.gardenvines.com. I also have my usual crazy order in at Bluestone www.bluestoneperennials.com  and just a few things from Khlem’s song sparrow  www.songsparrow.com

What I am dreaming about in a dreadful thrash about the covers kind of way is the fact that the new fence installation left me a huge chunk of lawn that needs to be removed then the area tilled and soil amendments added…then several bushes and one tree need to be shifted… and a pathway added ..and perennials divided to continue the pattern that is already started abutting the sidewalk.  This will be a huge chore that is already taxing my brain as to how I can most effectively rearrange the plants without spending days on the couch eating advil and wearing ice packs. I may even hire help….we will see how it goes. Anyway, while I avoid thinking about that , here are some photos of  a few plants I have on order.I must love them now because when they arrive and I can’t remember where I meant to plant them, I will not be so enamored.

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Confessions of a Compulsive (Gardener)

When I really sit to think about it, which I shouldn’t at all because it makes me seem obsessed, I spend a heck of alot of time in my yard. From spring clean-up through fall clean-up , I average more hours a week than I care to admit. So then, what happens in November when there is no garden?  Bill would love it if a job mysteriously appeared making me a useful asset to the household blah blah blah. The house would love it if I would spend some time organizing and cleaning:  not happening. The children would probably appreciate some fun field trips, or creative and delicious suppers. Keep wishing kids, mama will never be much of a cook, and I’m not great at planning the outings either.

What actually happens is I subsitute in another obsession hobby to suck up the time vacuum left behind by the garden; knitting.  Since November I have made 6 pairs of woolly socks, 2 warm hats to send to my nephew and his wife in Colorado, a vest and mittens for me, a baby sweater, and presently have another pair of socks and a sweater on my needles. Then add to that the huge stash of yarn and stack of patterns hidden here and there to keep normal people from commenting on my over zealousness. Must I mention the books, pattern websites,blog reading  and magazine subscriptions? I think I will keep those to myself TYVM.

 It is actually easier to hide all the gardening stuff. Once the plants arrive ( the trickiest time to keep them hidden because of the pots and boxes) I just have to get them in the ground super quick and no one is the wiser. No living being ( except maybe my friend Christina who knows  the garden and  my personality as well as I do) could possibly cast doubt on my insistence that

“no, that’s not new,that plant has always been there. It must not have been in bloom when you were here before”

and

 What do you mean that new tree in the way of the mower Bill? It has been there for years, it must have had a growth spurt.”

Then a lot of them die anyway , and now with the bunnies ravaging everything as well, it is hard to tell that I have gone a little overboard in the plant purchasing.

Not so much with the yarn and stuff. I cram it in a lot places, but  to no avail. Plus I get VERY frustrated  and loud and compulsive borderline frenzied when projects don’t go well, which is surprisingly often given that I have been a knitter waaayyy longer than I have been a gardener(.  I think the frustration  is due to the fact that there is no “thing ” like weather, or soil, or rabbits to blame ,just me and my crappy attention span).

I truly believe if I had a less weird interest, like reality TV shows, or skiing, I would be more inclined to share it with the world. Everyone can “water cooler talk” about The Bachelor or snow conditions . Who wants to hear me go on and on about soft squishy yarn and delightfully warm woolly socks? I know, no one.  But there it is anyway, my garden surrogate , my sanity for winter, by substitute obsession.  WANT TO SEE SOME PICTURES?????????

thanks to my sock models: Erin and Faith!

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No chatter today, just pictures taken this morning after night of heavy snow here in The Burrow. It is t a perfect winter scene out there, and even nicer to view from the windows while sitting near the fire. … I luv ya though, so booted up and braved the wind and snow to take these photos for you :)

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So you think it’s time to rest?

After a very nice holiday, with Dave home from the Airforce (he is at the Defense Language Institute in Monteray,tough gig!)  and CJ home from college,and Bill on vacation for 2 weeks, it is time to focus more of my energy on chores and less on overeating and wine .

 Over the break we had what was declared a “blizzard” and although we had up to 70 mph winds, we only recieved a few inches of snow. A few days ago I finally got around to a yard inspection to look for limbs and damage and it was not too bad. A climbimg rose came unanchored because the ground is frozen I can not upright it’s trellis and the canes are scratching a window so they have to go. This is not, I repeat NOT the time to prune roses of any kind, that is for very late winter/early spring, but I did it anyway. Crossed fingers we have no more 60 degree winter days and it is ok come spring.

Being outside reminded me, or kind of jolted me out of my gardening lull, that it is time to prune lots of other stuff. Winter is optimal pruning time because deciduous trees are free of leaves so you can really see the structure as well as  what needs cutting and le’ts face it, no other garden chores are stealing your attention at the moment . It will also keep you away from the avalanche of catalogues arriving in the mail threatening your third borns education fund. (Sorry Erin, I will try to practice restraint this year)

This month I plan to prune a few pear trees and maybe the apple out front. They all constantly have water sprouts (those wierd branches that grow straight up to the sky) and every year need lots of pruning. while I am out there I will scan the other trees and bushes for any crossed branches that will cause damage and easy entry for bugs/diseases and take those out as well.

Two FYI s  1.) If you have spirea bushes, in the fall (or now) use your hedge trimmmer and just lop them off to about a foot high.They grow more like perennials and will shoot right back up into bush form very quickly in the spring, it saves  deadheading and thinning too.

2. )While you have your clippers in hand, bushes that flower in the spring that you can force into bloom in your house( like forsythia and cherries), only need 6 weeks of dormancy before you can cut branches and bring them inside to bloom. We are rapidly approaching that window so don’t wait until late Feb or March.  If your forsythias are like mine( unruly overgrown messes )then you can cut till your hearts delight for a couple of months.

…….and by the way …pruning is not scary. If you have never dared to hack at your bushes and trees, take a class, it will empower you. If you just need to re-fresh your knowledge check out the great how to videos on finegardening.com, or take out a book from the library. Better safe than being sorry after you re-create Dr. suess’ who-ville in your backyard!

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