Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dogwood Winter

That's what the older folks call a cold spell when the dogwoods are in bloom. It should be our last one of the season. Let's hope so, the tomatoes in the hoophouse are about to bust out of their two liter containers. I'm ready to get them in the ground.

Speaking of planting out, I've got to be at work in 4 hours. It's finally light enough outside to start working in the yard, but it's only 28 degrees. While I might be a fanatical gardener, I'm not stupid. As soon as the thermometer hits 33 degrees, I'll head out and uncover the Thundercloud plum and Japanese Maple. I wrapped them last night with old sheets hoping to protect the tender growth from too much damage. The house across the street has a light frost on the roof. I can see frost on my truck too. I expect to lose a few new seedlings that have popped up over the past week or so. Hopefully none of my wintersown annuals were affected too much.

Today's forecast is for 61 degrees and sunny. The wind has died down at least. Through the trees in the backyard, the first rays of the sun are starting to appear. It shouldn't be long now before the temperature begins to rise. By the end of the week, we'll be back in the upper 70s with 40s and 50s at night. I may as well have another cup of coffee while I wait. As my dad says, "Might as well, can't dance." I still have no idea what that means after 36 years.

10:12am - Nothing got damaged as far as I can tell. I just planted out some hardy hibiscus, pink and violet queen bee balm, artemesia, and coreopsis Full Moon. I potted 12 sprouts of datura inoxia into small containers. I'll take a couple of these to my sister for her beds on Sunday. The hostas under the oak tree were pretty well shaded from any frost. It was a light frost. None of the wintersown plants have been hurt even after 3 weeks of nice warm weather. The plum tree and the Japanese Maple were covered so they seem to be fine too. 43 degrees here now and sunny. The wind is picking up again. I hope it blows this cold front way east and out to sea.

8:20pm - Left work around 6:20. There was just enough daylight left to plant 18 petunias and 18 white vincas in the white bed out back. I also planted a red alternanthera I received in a trade. I planted the two purple ones that I purchased on opposite ends. The red castor bean plant that I started from seed a couple months ago went in there as well. It's been struggling in the tiny cup I had it in, so I hope it likes its new home. I tossed in a few datura inoxia as well. The rest of the space in that bed will be planted with zinnias - "Purity" which are white as well. This bed will contain only white flowering or dark red/purple foliage plants.

Opposite this bed, I planted another wintersown datura in front of the nandinas I transplanted yesterday. I already have ginger lilies and some grasses in that space. The remaining space will be taken up by two white brugmansias. I'll wait until after Easter to plant those, just in case mother nature decides to throw me a curve ball.

In the front bed, the lantanas were planted. Near the Russian sage, I planted the yellow one. Near the coreopsis, I planted the purple. In between, I planted the bi-color orange/red/yellow lantana. All three have donated cuttings for the cloner and I hope to fill in the daylily bed along the edge of the retaining wall this year. I'll pull them out at the end of the season. I hope they'll give my wintersown daylily sprouts a bit of protection from the sun.

The plan now is to plant something everyday until it's all done. Tomorrow evening, I'll find another area to work in. The acorns in the perennial bed are really starting to worry me. I think this fall, I'll need to be a lot more diligent about removing them as they collect rather than hoping the squirrels help out.

In the back yard, I watched the two owls fight over something they were ripping apart to eat. I don't want to assume what they had caught since I couldn't see, but the victor wasn't too keen on me watching him/her have dinner. They are incredible animals. I hate when they stare at me.

It's still 55 degrees. The low tonight should be in the 40s. Tomorrow will be a gorgeous day with highs in the 70s.

1 comment:

Dirt Princess said...

I hope none of your plants got any damage. I went out this morning to survey mine. I did cover up most things...but not all. There aren't enough sheets/tarps! I hope this is the last of it