06 February 2018

leaf blankets

I should have done this weeks ago. My leaf mulching job went poorly this late fall, because machine to shred them broke. So a lot of the leaves I mulched plants with in the yard, have gradually scattered out again across the grass. Windy days, it doesn't stay in place. Bitter cold this week, tonight we are supposed to get snow and icy rain. I went out and used up two leaf bags sheltering the lilac, daylilies, cranesbill, hostas, salvia, dusty miller, little azalea and the sedums. In the back started raking up leaf litter that had collected in corners and against fences. This was a lot easier to heap around plants, as it was partly broken down and heavier being wet. It's a windless day so I expect all the leaves will stay in place and then snow hold them down, but I raked up the corners and shoved it around young euonymous
under rhodies,
and the hydrangeas.
I completely covered my tiny rosemary plant, it looks very sad and cold-shocked. There is still a fragment of green in the garden- perpetual green onions and sage (which has been cut back). My camera wouldn't focus on it, though- the backdrop of leaf litter too busy.
They probably don't all need the extra cover, but I also heaped leaves over and around the echinacea, rudbeckia, monarda, liriope, hellebores, turtlehead, brunnera, nandina, joe pye weed, heucherella, astilbe, bleeding hearts and arum (still green and bright!). Also the spots where I know ferns, sweet peas, gladiolas and rhubarb are dormant under the soil. The ones that have greenery, I will uncover after snow melts, so they can get light. The rest, it will be fun to untuck in early spring and look for the new shoots.

I noticed while I was out in the yard, that the evergreen shrubs against our lower deck look particularly vivid and healthy.
The little ones flanking the large- I think they're both types of holly- always had looked scraggly and kind of unwell, since I lived here. But now they are lush green, and some of them even berried this past summer. I don't think I got any pictures of that.
I don't do much for these. Give them mulch in spring and fall, throw water on 'em when I have extra from the fish tanks, or even the dehumidifier. But I bet it's more attention than they ever got before. Even in winter, even when it's raining, I dump old tank water on the shrubs outside- the euonymous, boxwood in the front yard. The rhodies, hydrangea, hollies and forsythia in the back. Because I learned from some reading this year that trees and shrubs store water in the winter- if it's not a wet winter, a lot of them suffer the following spring and summer. When it rains I give them all just a tiny dose of fish water- including smaller plants like the hellebores, monarda and little euonymous, just to distribute extra nutrients to the yard plants instead of down the drain.

The only yard plants I ignored, not tucking into leaf litter, were the mums. Going to replace them with something else this year.

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