The Weekly Gardener 1


Sweet Valentine

The Time I Found a Tree

Pink Hyacinth

So, I took a stroll through the garden, encouraged by the unusually warm weather and happy to be able to prune the rose bushes early and finally move that peony buried underneath them, when I found a tree. Happy Valentine's Day to me!

I don't believe the previous sentence managed to convey my stupor and embarrassment, as I'm staring at it in disbelief. I found a tree! In my own garden. How off one's game does one have to be to have a real, full grown tree sneak up on them!

Not that I don't appreciate it, mind you, how do you not appreciate the gift of a tree, it's just that I know every square inch of my little patch of heaven, and for the life of me, I can't figure out how this happened.

I don't know what tree it is, and I hesitate to make assumptions at this point, given that I missed it in my daily gardening routine until it reached a three inch caliper. If this doesn't phase you, it means it's about nine foot tall. If I had to guess, it's probably another elm, which didn't seem to have any problem growing mighty strong from underneath the thicket of wild honeysuckle that got the better of me in the last few years; at least I have a pathetic excuse for why I never noticed it.

A whole tree. My garden is really spoiling me at this point. I usually get perennials that multiply, and volunteers grown from seeds carried by the wind, I even got a zone eight evergreen vine growing with a vengeance, but I must confess I never expected a tree.

I believe thank you is in order.

If it is another elm, it will have to settle its territory with the surrounding vegetation later on. Its older family member is very large, with a trunk that one person can't wrap their arms around and towering over the house at a respectable fifty feet, but that's next century's problem. They live for three hundred years.


Before Planting

Coral Bells

Speaking of gardening mastery, with the weather the way it is at least I can get an early start on spring cleaning. The bulbs and buds are still stubbornly holding on to their dormant status, but the first flowers of spring, the cheerful buttercups, are already in bloom.

It is very warm outside, with temperatures in the sixties and seventies at times, and as much as I hate winter, I can't help feeling uncomfortable about that. I guess this area is officially a zone six now.

The garden is as messy as it gets at this time of year, but I'm looking forward to scraping off all the plant debris to find out what's underneath. I finally moved the Pink Sorbet peony, if what I did can be called 'moving'. It came out in many pieces which are now gracing several areas of the garden. Between the brutal transplantation job and the fact that I disturbed it in spring, which is the worst possible time, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it makes it. At least it's in full sun now, and if nothing bothers it going further, it will have better growing conditions.

Other than that, my precious is buried under a pile of dead leaves and sticks, taking its sweet time to come back to life.

I can't wait to clear up the area around the crab apple tree for my new shade garden. That flower bed is a going to be a dream in blush pink and blue come spring.