The Propagator welcomes gardeners from near and far to track the week-by-week developments in their gardens.
1. Split rail fence moved. This fence was previously positioned along the stream bank, blocking the view. Not only would disposing of all this wood be wasteful, it would be logistically challenging without renting a dumpster or truck. I also liked the frontier rusticism of the split rails. Then it occurred to me that we could move the fence over to mask the chicken wire placed in front of the dense shrubs at the northeast corner of the garden to prevent our small dogs from wandering too far. Having finally completed this project, I am delighted by the effect, which I think will frame the future pond area nicely.
2. New plants. I revisited a few of the hardware stores that occasionally have plants of interest and located: creeping thyme, woolly thyme, orange thyme, Greek oregano, dill, blanket flower, dock, Erigeron, bellflower, pineapple sage, blue fescue, Avalanche feather reed grass. The focus was on filling in gaps left by a few tender perennials that did not return this year and contributing further diversity to the foreground that I hope will eventually be a patchwork of groundcovers with contrasting textures and colors.
3. Plants added to verge. Purple euphorbias, Karl Foerster grass, blue fescue, Siskiyou Pink gaura, sempervivum, yucca, catmint, red yucca. I was looking for drought tolerance and selected varieties that I have seen thriving in the challenging conditions of a verge. I also feel that these plants will complement the plant sale natives that I had already distributed in this space. I have prioritized planting perennials over weeding. Next, I plan to mulch unplanted areas with cardboard and wood chips.
4. Pond plans. Where there is currently a pile of leaves, I plan to situate a wildlife pond. This pond will be located between the small orchard and the hedgerow/woodland area. I would like to use a 4 ft circular galvanized trough, which will be either partially or completed embedded in the ground. I plan to use available rubble to create “shelves” in the pond for plants and a “ramp” to allow wildlife safe and easy access. I have never had a pond before. J’s anxiety is that it will become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. I know that mosquito larvae are an important food source for the wildlife I am hoping to attract, but I don’t want J to resent the pond. So I’m contemplating a mosquito dunk and/or a fountain or bubbler to agitate the water.
5. Blooming plants. Henderson shooting stars were planted this year after they were acquired at native plant sales. One of them has bloomed already! My red flowering currant that struggled after being planted in the dry heat of summer has recovered over the rainy winter and is flowering. Ajuga is spreading nicely and sending forth purple spires. Best of all, though, in my humble opinion, are the brilliant yellow daisy shaped flowers of Oregon Sunshine against a backdrop of silvery foliage.
6. Weeding. Such a quintessential part of gardening as to be almost part of its definition. The bane of some people’s existence, weeding is a contemplative, gratifyingly concrete, process of clarification, maintenance, care for others. Or it can be framed as a futile effort at control over that which is so much more complex than we can grasp with a garden gloved hand. Weeding tools proliferate – some more useful than others. But while tools can lend greater speed or efficacy to our endeavors, they cannot obviate the painstaking, slow, back-bending business of weeding itself. Lately I have been doing a lot of weeding and more or less enjoying it.