The Vegetable Garden
Let’s start by looking at the department of agriculture. The vegetable garden isn’t being very productive right now even though it could be. Hoop houses constructed over the beds would have been an asset this year if I had ever gotten around to building them. As it stands the only plants still alive in the garden are the cilantro, the strawberries, and of course - the weeds. There’s a weed for every season isn’t there? A major cleanup is needed but I’ll do that right before I begin planting, possibly in conjunction with my new raised beds I’m planning on building. It won’t be long until it’s time for sugar snap peas and spinach.
The Birdbath Garden
Here is the backyard birdbath garden. It doesn’t seem like much now but the mounds of dead branches and foliage once contained bright flowers like coreopsis, verbena, and salvias. The bush on the left is the butterfly bush while the one on the right is a ninebark. I surrounded the ninebark with two ‘Powis Castle’ artemisias both made from cuttings.
Here is one artemisia now, just trying to maintain its silver foliage throughout the winter. It looks a little worse for wear but once warmer weather returns it will once again be big, bright and beautiful!
My ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint isn’t looking too happy right now. Really, not much is! Once things begin to warm up I’ll cut back the dead foliage and the plant will be good as new – and maybe better! I like to leave the foliage on through the winter to help shield the crown of the plant from cold weather. It’s just a little extra insulation to keep it safe and sound. I rarely trim anything back in the fall.
And here is my wayward ‘Purple Homestead’ Verbena. I’ve found that it detests wet winters. A shady spot where it’s wet in the winter is doom to this drought tolerant sun lover. This verbena was a cutting from another one I have on the north side of our house. This one is in full sun on a slightly mounded bed which was ideal for it to prosper last summer. It overtook my ‘Jethro Tull’ coreopsis fast and kept going. Verbena seems to walk by rooting along the stem in various places and dies back over the winter from where it started.
Can you guess where our next destination might be?
The Greenhouse Gardens
If you guessed the back gardens and the greenhouse you got it right. In front of the greenhouse area are two garden beds haphazardly created last fall with grass clippings and leaves. Grass clippings make a great mulch/compost layer and break down very fast. The leaves were gathered up in the fall with the push lawnmower and it's bagging attachment. I know that mowers are not the most eco friendly tool to use (especially when you catch them on fire) but it’s still a necessity in our yard - there are only so many gardens I can put together each year. I would love to try out one of the battery powered mowers one day but right now they seem a little on the pricey side, but enough about the economy!
This bed is the left hand bed. Since you really can’t see much of anything other than leaves so let me tell you what is here. You’ll have to trust me now and you can see it later! (Did I just sound like a politician or what?) A small maple tree that needs moved is on the right and a ‘Shenandoah’ switchgrass is on the left. The switchgrass was a gift from my parents last year – is it odd that I like getting grass for my birthday? The little pot is a temporary protection measure I put around a crape myrtle to prevent rabbits from finding the small plant. It came from cuttings I made in the spring. On the far end of the bed are several small forsythias that I planted in the fall. They will border our yard and this garden. Also in this bed is another artemisia, a salvia, a bunch of seeds that I hope will sprout for 2010.
This garden is on the right side in front of the greenhouse. The mound in the back needs leveled once the greenhouse work is mostly completed. Another switchgrass is on the right and together the two grass clumps flank a wide grass pathway between the gardens. Another crape myrtle is hiding behind its plastic palace of protection while Russian sage and artemisia help to fill in this garden. There’s yet another small maple that needs a new home as it stands right in front of the greenhouse front door. I’ll find it a new home in the next couple weeks.
Lastly you can catch a glimpse of the front of the greenhouse. Siding is on its way up and a new special feature is in the works for the front – hopefully soon! It depends on the weather of course (as I’m writing snow is still falling - in excess of four inches). To see more of the greenhouse including the other views visit my post on putting siding on the greenhouse!
I hope you enjoyed the state of my garden! Please keep in mind it’s still January and I’ll be in a better state of mind in Spring!