Weather: Cloudy 10 C / 50 F
Groundhog Day came and went in these parts and Puxsatawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. Despite the depressing news, Groundhog Day is one of my favorite holidays. Before you come to conclusions, I do not love the holiday because I believe the forecasting abilities of a two-foot rodent. Rather, Groundhog Day is special because it is a tangible reminder that shadow or no, February has arrived and with it– longer days, warmer temperatures, and of course, shorter lifespans for snowbanks. (I am really, really tired of the snow).
The weather warmed up just enough for me to do a thorough survey of the property and capture my contribution to the Propagator’s Six on Saturday project.
Bit by bit the crocus are pushing their green leaves through the soil. With any luck, there will be buds by early March.
TWO: Veg Bed
The tree service came this week and took down the two small pines that occupied my planned veg bed. As this picture clearly illustrates, there are a ton of weeds and ground shrubs that must be removed before I install two 4’x8’x20″ raised beds. If the weather cooperates, I aim to have this area cleared by March 15th and the beds installed by April 1st in time for spring planting. Fingers crossed!
THREE: Maple Tree
The original plan was to have the tree service remove this maple from our front lawn. Although it has beautiful red leaves in autumn, it is coppiced and thus had 7-8 trunks instead of a single strong trunk. Of the 7-8 smaller trunks about 5 or 6 are diseased, hollowed out, broken, or a combination of all three.
Despite this disfigurement, my husband made a very strong argument for clemency- he loves the leaves. Thus, at the last minute I was convinced to allow the tree service to simply trim it for health and aesthetics. I’ll give it another year or so before we make the decision to cut it down completely.
FOUR: Brush Pile
The tree service removed that HUGE pile of brush from the front lawn. I am sure my neighbor is happy!
FIVE: Blackberry Patch
Right near my compost area was an out of control blackberry patch. OUT. OF. CONTROL. I could see clearly where the patch was initially planted- An area 4′ x 10′ just to the right of this picture, was filled with canes contained by a gauge-wire fence. However, despite the fencing, there were blackberry canes everywhere! Not only within the original plot, but spreading to an area 20′ x 40′ all along the edge of the wood.
Last Fall I had cut down the canes (remaining cane-stumps are evident in this picture), only to reveal a rotting hardwood tree stump 2 feet tall surrounded by several logs. Thankfully the tree service removed this stump and logs (however leaving me with a bit of sawdust!).
From everything I’ve read, invasive blackberries are a pain to remove from a garden, especially if no chemicals are used. The goal is to be vigilant in cutting down new growth all next season and hope that the rhizomes eventually die. There is too much to do in the other beds this upcoming season to tackle anything else.
SIX: Holly Bush
The holly bush in the back garden provides some much needed color to an otherwise dreary landscape. The problem, as with all the plants on this property, is that it is terribly overgrown. I’ve noticed that it is a haven for a variety of wildlife including birds, squirrels, and even a family of woodchucks (perhaps distant relatives of Puxsatawney Phil)! Thus, I’ll hold of trimming it this winter and prune it this summer.