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April 11, 2005

Moving right along.

Went out of town last weekend, but still had a few hours' daylight Sunday, after we got back, to do some minor chores. Trimming, mostly, since it's still really too early to harden and plant most of the stuff I still have living in the laundry room (I estimate I lost a third of the plants, between them getting mildewed and some not thriving once I put them into the peat pots, for whatever reason).

Tony spread some topsoil and dropped some grass seed in the parts of the front yard that haven't had grass on them since we bought the house, essentially. Don't know as it'll take this time, either, but I guess it's worth a shot.

I trimmed up the weeping pussy willow, just took off the obviously dead stuff. It's dropping the catkins already and getting leaves on it -- now, I guess, we'll get a better idea of what it's going to look like most of the year. It's still lashed to an old coat stand we had that lost one of its legs and wouldn't stand up anymore. Tony just removed the opposite leg, left the other two on it and jammed it down into the ground beside the root ball. I took off any branches that obviously were dead -- since the living ones have started budding leaves, it's pretty easy to pick out the deadwood. It looks pretty good, with that done.

Let me tell you -- the first four inches of the dig were the worst. It doesn't matter where in the front yard you dig, frankly. There were three silver maples out there in a triangle, none of the three sides of which was longer than perhaps twenty feet. Silver maples top-root like crazy, too. That whole part of the yard is a carpet of interwoven maple roots with a thin skin of soil and some pathetic grass stretched over the top. We'll probably have to either resod or have topsoil hauled in to make any difference in it. At least if we did it, now, it would be worthwhile -- it would get rain and sun, now.

The Atlas cedar seems to have some little nubs of new growth here and there. I hope that means whatever I did (or the weather did, or the tree guys did) to it, it's going to snap out of it.

Trimmed the big red rosebush out front. There's a lot of new root growth on it, though some of the canes I didn't cut off completely also look like they have a good bit of growth on them, too. I snipped off all the 'dead ends' on it, the canes that obviously were dead and not going to produce this season. I probably could cut it back a lot more after this growing season, though in truth I think it's a climbing rose and probably wouldn't appreciate being scorched-earth pruned every winter.

Also snipped off several big (relatively -- it's actually a smallish thing) dead branches on the corkscrew hazelnut. I'm seeing root sprouts as far as six or eight inches out from the main graft, now. Not sure what that means -- it may mean the poor thing took some serious impacts when the monkeys took down the maples, back in the winter, and though there are leaves on the rest of it, the shock may have jarred the rootstock (which would be regular, run-of-the-mill local hazelnut, I presume) into shooting up a few suckers at a distance. Still, it looks all right.

The blue boy and blue girl hollies look a little ... well, beige. I don't know what happened to them, either. They don't look terrible, just not as good as they could. I'm guessing the shrub fertilizer I put on them last winter wasn't good for them. I kind of wonder if that wasn't what got to the Atlas cedar, as well.

My bulb bed on the back slope has bloomed. The rabbits are hell on it, though -- those indigo-colored hyacinth flowers must taste really good, since they eat the shit out of them every stinkin' year. There are also several daffodils back there that I briefly considered taking out, but then I took the same tack with them that I have with lots of stuff here -- if they're healthy and I don't want to put anything else there, heck widdit, let 'em stay. They're not costing me anything.

The weeping cherry out front, of course, bloomed full the day before the only rain we've had here in two weeks. By the next morning, all the petals were on the ground. C'est la vie, I guess -- it's kind of a fragile looking plant to start with, it's what I found most appealing about it. The leaves, when they come, are pretty too -- I just wish the branching on it was a little denser. It's been there five years and hasn't grown much. Maybe having full sunlight most of the day will kick it in the ass, too.

The stub of the flowering almond that the tree guys mangled practically down to the ground has a couple of tiny sprouts on it. That's where I want to put one of the Cecile Brunners, when they come, so I'm going to have to do something with it. I suggested to Tony maybe we ought to dig it up and sock it in the ground on the slope out back. If it lives, it does -- if not, oh well.

I should get the other flowering almonds soon, here -- I had to call and correct my credit card number with Spring Hill (talk about a curt, almost rude CSR, especially since all I was doing was making sure she could get her money!), so it may have delayed the shipping of that part of the order. They also may have a 'ship to Zone 6' date that's later than I think. Possibly, they don't ship them until after bloom. That means, hopefully, I'll get them in time to plant this weekend.

The tulips I planted last year, both in the front flowerbed and back by the entrance to the animal run, are up and pushing blooms up. Not sure if I really think they'll survive the onslaught of rabbits -- I put some of that nicotine/naphthalene stuff around them over the weekend, though that doesn't always keep the rabbits out. I think they have little tiny rabbit-shaped nose plugs that they use, this time of the year. It's the breaks of living in a neighborhood like ours, I guess. It's perfect habitat for bunnies. I did notice the tulips out by the end of the cat run didn't look as nibbled as the ones out front -- the cats and their smell probably discourage the rabbits. If I could only get Gord to pee on the tulips, they probably wouldn't eat them at all. Of course, cat pee probably wouldn't do the tulips any good, but neither does nature's only non-hoofed ruminant.

Spring Hill did send me the couple of bags of anemone corms that, basically, were free when I ordered the flowering almonds (I had a $25 coupon from the catalog to use, but I had to bump the order up to $50 to make it worthwhile using it). I don't know what to do with them, yet -- these are supposed to do okay in full sun, unlike the older ones I planted here. I think those prefer at least partial shade, they don't do so great once the weather gets good and hot.

Back when something happens.

Posted by Melinda at April 11, 2005 11:55 PM


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