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Featured Blog: Dave

Tidying the ivy

What to do, or not

I tire quickly reading monthly or seasonal lists of chores that must be accomplished in the garden. Certainly, lists are appreciated by some, but I’ve no doubt that lengthy lists can be a discouragement to casual gardeners to even get started. I readily ignore admonishments and go about my business, doing just enough in early…

The perfect tree, probably not

Perusing a recently delivered catalog with many out of the ordinary plant offerings, I am tortured by the listing of a Dove tree with variegated foliage. Rarely do I curse my too frequent neglect and occasional loss of new acquisitions, but by sheer idiocy a young twig of a Dove tree (Davidia involucrata ‘Lady Sunshine’)…

Distractions from winter

The first small steps have begun to tidy the garden for spring. It is quite a mess, perhaps worse than usual with inordinate areas of mud and the usual piles of leaves. I have attempted, with limited success, to stay clear of well trodden paths, particularly the narrow, swampy area that leads to the lower…

Two Dianes and other witch hazels

Curiously, two witch hazels (Hamamelis x intermedia), the red flowered ‘Diane’ and copper colored ‘Jelena’, flowered in mid-autumn, with no weather related cause that I could determine. I was, of course, concerned at the time that flowering then would mean no blooms in February, an unwelcome tradeoff since there are numerous other flowers in autumn,…

More swampiness

I don’t believe it’s possible for the lower half of the garden to be any soupier than it is today. The repeated cycle of freezing and thawing opens air pockets in the soil that are now filled with moisture from recent snow, ice, and rain so that every step in the back lawn leaves a…

Fair weather

The assistant gardener is a fair weather sort, plagued by a variety of cold related irritations so that she’s rarely outdoors below fifty degrees. As always, I’m out slip sliding in the garden in ice and snow, and now sinking into the quagmire, no matter the heat or cold, though a visit on a breezy…

A week to savor

After the recent stretch of severe, though not unusual cold for early February, this is a week to savor with temperatures in the fifties and sixties, and a day when some spots peaked in the low seventies (Fahrenheit). More typical colder weather is on the way, but it’s winter and it should be cooler than…

After the freeze

The anticipation of an incoming few days of extreme cold, and the subsequent waiting to discover damage to the garden’s treasures is quite unpleasant, filled with imaginings of the worst that could happen. Previous experience, that injury is rarely as severe as feared, reassures somewhat that damage from a single night of two degrees below…

Below zero

Three consecutive nights with temperatures below ten degrees (Fahrenheit), with the second freeze falling to two below zero, have destroyed the remaining yellow blooms of late autumn and early winter flowering mahonias (Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’, before and after, below). All of several cultivars were tardy flowering in November, but then also slow to…

Clean? No chance

Being on the backside of the aging continuum, I am more often confounded by goings on in this modern age. I don’t think I’m out of touch, but perhaps I am. The rock and roll vibe passed me by in the eighties, and amongst current mysteries is the “clean food” movement. Always, I’ve advocated that…

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