Wednesday, May 7, 2014


We've had a couple nice days, in the low 60s, with some sun and some clouds. On Monday Jim and I moved the remaining yard and a half of soil and compost from the driveway to the compost pile behind the berm. Shoveled it all, by hand, and then trucked it back with the John Deere trailer, and then shoveled it out. Hard work. Ow.

Leaves are starting to create a haze on the maples and viburnums and in the woods. But for some reason, I have populated my garden with a lot of trees and shrubs that are very late to leaf out.

This black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) looks like winter did it in, but it is just very slow to wake up each year. I have put two black gums in the front yard, paired to showcase the house, but they look just as dead at this time of year.

The black gums make up for it with green glossy leaves in summer and fabulous fall color, but spring is not their season.

Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria 'Grace') gets cut back each winter, and then looks like dead stumps well into spring. It will leaf out and regrow rapidly, but it is late to get started on that, and isn't doing a thing to screen the gravel garden from the street right now.

I also have Rose of Sharon by the back porch -- another very slow waker upper. And clethra on the berm will look dead for weeks yet.

The birches are always late to leaf out and I have so many in my yard. The winterberry hollies come in late, and their blackish colored stems make them look particularly ominously dead right now.

The fragrant sumac groundcover, Rhus aromatica, which blankets the driveway garden, is just bare twigs. It's another one that makes up for a slow start with glossy green leaves and great fall color, but it will be late May before that part of the garden looks like anything other than a brush pile.

This first week in May there are signs of wakening everywhere. Just not so much in my garden.

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