21 April 2016

planting and pruning

Spent half the day in the yard with my four-year-old. She really wanted to buy some spring bulbs we saw at the store the other day (on sale). There were a lot of options and we finally chose some pink gladiolus. They are tall and attractive and I do have a good spot for them. We went right to work- loosened the soil, dug out weeds, tufts of grass and rocks, mixed in some vermicompost. (I'm still sifting it straight from the bin when I need some and that's working great). Placed the flower bulbs in- I showed my daughter which end was up and she was quick to catch me when I accidentally put one in upside-down! They seemed anxious to grow, some already had purplish shoots coming up, seeking. We patted the soil back down, covered them with several inches of shredded leaf mulch, and watered thoroughly. Already that little area looks nice and tidy instead of the unkempt corner it was before. I'm not sure how long they will take to set root and emerge from the mulch, but you can bet my four-year-old will be keeping close tabs on that site.
Then I noticed the euonymus shrub on the back corner of the house needed pruning. I wondered if I cut it back flush with the house wall, would it give the little garden plot more sun? So I did it. And then trimmed back the other side, so it wouldn't look lopsided. And trimmed the top. And started taking out a few dead inner branches, and a few more that were crossing each other and rubbing the bark off, or threatening to- it really opened the bush out a lot. I hope it likes that treatment. Looks very different!
I also trimmed some lower branches off a tree that's too close to the little garden spot, but it seems to be dying anyway. Like the tree we took out of the front yard last summer, this one has large sheets of bark peeling off. It keeps dropping dead limbs from the top in any kind of wind. And it has  cavity in the base that seems to be rotting through the center of the tree. I don't really know what's wrong with it, but it hasn't looked good in all the time I've been here. There are a few low "sucker" limbs which I could just reach on a stepstool and I sawed them off close to the trunk today.They aren't small- the base of one was as thick as my forearm- and I hope by removing them I've opened up more light to get into the garden.

I spent more time than I should have, stripping the green leaves off the pruned euonymus and tree limbs, for my compost pile. Didn't want to let all that good greenery go to waste. I mixed them with last-year's leaves and the bin was overflowing, so some is still sitting the wheelbarrow waiting for the pile to sink a bit then I can top it off again. From a distance the bin looks like it is full of fresh salad, all that bright green mound on top!

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