Saturday, February 20, 2010

Late Winter Joys

Icy cold this clear and beautiful morning. The lacy, bare branches against the sunrise sky are reminders that it is still winter.

Yesterday, one of the neighbors was mowing his lawn. A few clear days and everyone starts seeking outdoor chores in the late winter sun.

I went grocery shopping yesterday. I like to shop about a 15 minute drive from home. On the way, I saw daffodils blooming; duck weed in the drainage ditches forming large mats; Redbud, Cercis canadensis, just opening; Candytuft, Iberis sempervirens, in bloom; Indian Plum, Oemleria cerasiformis , the first native shrub to bloom every year; grasses and grains reaching for the sun; and a couple of horses just horsin’ around.

We took time to cut back our bamboo, Phyllostachys nigra. It was causing problems for the neighbor. It looks like hell now, but in a couple of months it will have new growth and fill out.  And what a difference in the light on the east side of the house.  That bamboo has been growing there for 26 years!  It took ages to fill in and get its hieght.  I didn't realize how much shade it cast.  We'll miss it on sleep-in days and this summer when the sun gets hot.  But in the interest in neighborly friendliness, it had to be cut back.

While we were working it was hard not to enjoy the Hellebore, Helleborus sp. The one in the front yard is white. They are the same plant. I took a cutting off the front yard plant to plant in the side yard. I am thinking it might be the amount of sunlight.

The Candytuft is still in its winter color. While I noticed some blooming; mine is not quite ready. We have been teased that when it is in bloom it looks as though we dumped snow on the parkstrip. I love this hardy plant. It is very drought tolerant. I don’t water it at all during the summer. Since we don’t get much, if any, rainfall from mid-June to late August this plant is pretty dry.
After it blooms I run the lawn mower over it to remove the seed heads and force new growith in the middle.  Otherwise, it gets bare in the middle of the plant and looks 'leggy.'  I prefer it to look tight and lush.

My favorite Camellia japonica

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