Six on Saturday- Six More Weeks of Winter?

10 February 2018

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Weather:  Cloudy  10 C / 50 F

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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.

ONE: Crocus

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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

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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

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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

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The tree service removed that HUGE pile of brush from the front lawn.  I am sure my neighbor is happy!

FIVE:  Blackberry Patchimage1.JPG

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

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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.

That is my six!   Be sure to check out the Six on Saturday contributions of the Propagator’s band of merry followers.

12 thoughts on “Six on Saturday- Six More Weeks of Winter?”

  1. It’s hard to make the decision to remove a tree. I once had a corkscrew willow that was so close to the house it was rubbing against the eaves. Still, it was sad to see it go.

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  2. I didn’t know the Groundhog Day?!… is the a specific day of the year? Apart from the forecasts, what is its role? Otherwise for your maple couldn’t you just prune the diseased wood and some of the 7 trunks to keep only 2-3 ?

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    1. LOL– Groundhog Day (February 2) is an American holiday when a hibernating groundhog (woodchuck) is pulled out of its burrow and it is determined if it sees its shadow. Shadow = six more weeks of winter. No shadow= early spring. The holiday was brought over here by German immigrants and it generally took the place of Candlemas. Yes, this is a very odd holiday. 🙂 Your solution to the tree may be a good one. I’m worried how the base would look with 1-2 trunks remaining, however it would be a great compromise!

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  3. Big changes in your garden. I agree with Fred about your maple. I have seen it done with alders in Nagaland where coppicing is done regularly. Only two or three shoots are allowed to remain. The end result is quite attractive and natural

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    1. The coppicing in Nagaland is very interesting! As I shared with Fred, his solution may be a good compromise. We will be revisiting the maple tree situation this autumn.

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    1. Every week, I look at the gardens of the Six on Saturday crew with envy. How I wish I had the early start that you all have overseas! Thanks for your kind words of encouragement. Things will get going here in a few more weeks. 🙂

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