Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Swamp

This is the side yard:

That swath of blacktop is a tiny, private road.  Small cottages were built on the property at some  point, so one part of the yard is somewhat surrounded by tiny houses.  If you look closely, to the left above the arm of the swingset, there's a diamond-shape in the lawn.  I think at one point, this area used to be a driveway, and the diamond, a planter.  There are concrete bricks tapped into the ground there.  Quite likely the worst part of this bit of yard is the soggy nature of it all.  

The lawn dips for about 24 inches on the house side and creates the trough of no drainage.  What to plant, then?  This fall, the girls and I planted crocus and tulips in the diamond for some spring color IF the wet nature of the soil hasn't rotted them away.  Next, I'm going to plant 4 elderberry bushes here.  Elderberries will tolerate a number of harsh soil conditions, wet soil being one of them.  

In my spring garden planning, I also ordered 3 apple trees.  THREE.  Two of them are rooted to dwarf stock, but the other is a big mystery.  In fact, if anyone has any information about the root stock on the apple trees sold by Seeds of Change, I'd greatly appreciate it.  I emailed them, but still waiting for a response.

So, where were we.. 3 apple trees; 4 elderberry bushes; 4 Nanking cherry shrubs.  Wait--what? Cherry shrub?  That's right.  I was just as surprised as you probably are to find out that there are sour cherry-like fruits on a shrub.  There is even a Wiki on it.  Far less maintenance than one would have for a cherry tree, I'm all for the shrub version.  These were shipped bareroot, and after a long soak in a jar of water, they started leafing out.  I wasn't expecting them to be shipped until April, but due to a snafu, I got them last week.  Here they are, leafing out on my kitchen counter, before they get transplanted to pots:

Don't mind Henry.  He's chilling out in the grape hyacinths.
I'm anxious to start seeds, as I'm sure every Northern gardener is; but, I know better to do so in my zone 5a region.  In a few weeks, I'll start onions and leeks from seed.

On the "Money Pit" front, the range finally died its big death, so I had to break down and buy a new one; it arrives Thursday.  The dishwasher also decided to break down mid-cycle, but all that is needed is a new timing element, which is on order; it is still a perfectly good machine!

As it warms up, I'll be out on the front porch, painting over the terrible sea-green.  Hopefully, there will be a few stretches of warm, dry days so I can paint the front door.  I'm not banking on that, though.  Spring tends to be rather wet in these parts.

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