It’s hard to believe that it has already been two months since my last post!
Our first spring blooms are now open, with the daffodils beginning to display. So what have I been up to in the garden lately?
The major chore of the season so far has been renovating the hedges! We have two hedges that define our front garden, and one had become particularly infested with scale, causing a lot of die-back and unsightly gaps. It has been about 15 years since we last renovated these, so it was due, and I finished reducing both sides to just above ground-level three weeks ago. Now that it is done, it’s amazing how much these simple hedges add to the garden. We often see them as a mere barrier between us and the neighbours, but they do a great deal more, helping to add structure to an otherwise mostly unstructured garden and defining it clearly from the lawns on either side. The front feels quite naked now, with the perennials still mostly lurking beneath the soil, and the woody plants yet to leaf-out. So until we have regrowth there, the only things that add structure is the front entry pergola and a shaggy line of Golden Pfitzer junipers along the front sidewalk.
After the hedge renovation, we worked at cutting back the perennials, raking out excess leaf accumulation and pruning the trees and shrubs. I did major work on the apple this year, lowering it and cutting it back from where it hung over the neighbours garden. I like the broad canopy it provides, so I have left that spread mostly as it is, just doing a bit of thinning here and there. This means that lots of latent buds will now be stimulated and I’ll have lots of new green water-sprouts to deal with this year.
The task I worked on two weekends ago was the back garden pond. It is twenty years old now, and it was due some proper dredging and edge repair. I drained the pond as far as I could last year and then hopped in to complete the work on Saturday. I took out five 5 gal. pails of leafy black sludge from the bottom, which was added to the beds in the vegetable garden and to the compost bin. A bit of an odiferous task, but a necessary result of trying to keep the pond looking natural for so many years, rather than keeping it as a sterile ‘swimming pool’.
The pond edge is another problem I have left for years. Initially, I had lined the edge with landscape wall blocks topped with natural stones. However, it turns out these blocks had little resistance to freezing and they soon began spalling, causing the edge to shift and become infirm. This year I chipped-out the soft block edge and adding paving stone supports to the natural stone. This may look a bit odd until then are covered with moss and plant roots, but it will save me the back-breaking garden-devastation that would occur if I was to rebuild the pond edge completely. And of course, there is the usual spring pond tasks, cleaning and resetting the pumps and filters and filling them up with (expensive) tap water.
Yuet volunteered to paint the garden entry pergola (which she was later to regret), and the front entry way is now done. Time is all that’s needed now for the perennials to rise and the shrubs and trees to leaf out to make the front ‘presentable’ again.
Until next time!